Monday, May 31, 2010


I thought Memorial Day might be a nice time to give you another acrostic. This time I’m revealing qualities I believe make up a person of integrity.

I = Investment
Taking time and pouring into what matters most—relationships.

N = Naked (as in vulnerable…not lacking clothing)
A willingness to let go of arrogance, and conversely reveal authenticity.

T = Tenacious
After falling from the horse, having the chutzpa to get back up with a smile on your face.

E = Encouraging
Knowing life isn’t all about you and that one word aptly spoken can make a difference.

G =Giving
Not having such a firm grip on things they end up tangling you in a vine of materialism.

R = Repair &/or Refinement (toss up)
Excitement about improving…not being bored with where you are, but open to let God do His work so you’re on the way to become who you’re supposed to be.

I = Inside out
A loosened up soul, confident in God’s grace and forgiveness, sharing in an appealing way (and more often than not, words aren’t spoken in the process)
T = Timely
Discernment about when and where to speak, act, and think long and hard about something.

Y = Yearning for God

No matter where you are spiritually, a raging fire, ash, ember or candle…you are eager to grow brighter.

Webster’s Definition of integrity: 1 the quality or state of being complete; unbroken condition; wholeness; entirety 2 the quality or state of being unimpaired; perfect condition; soundness 3 the quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity

What do you think makes someone a person of intergrity?

*photos by flickr

Friday, May 28, 2010

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.

What is your favorite thing about forgiveness?

*reminder to check out Anne’s guest post at Bullets and Butterflies to read how she tackles the question we discussed on Monday on the topic of forgiveness
**photos by flickr

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We Danced at His Funeral

I haven’t written about this much. Some things are so heavy, they press in on the heart with such pressure, writing about them could incite an emotional combustion. Besides, I’m a mom and as all mothers know life doesn’t stop for me to feel. There are soccer games to attend, dinners to prepare and Peter Pan to read for the 100th time (which reminds me I need to check to see if my three-year-old still thinks Tinker Bell died on a cross like Jesus).

Anyway, you get my point. To remember, I mean really remember all that I endured two months ago carries the potential to unleash a firestorm of feelings. But when I do reflect upon my father’s death, having grieved the loss, I try to think of one image the most.

The dancing.

We had a brief meeting with the officiating pastor (one of my dad’s best friends) a few days before the memorial service. I really don’t think he had any idea of what he was in for collaborating with us. He slid a notepad across the table, on which he’d sketched a few ideas. That’s when me, my sisters and my mom whipped out Powerpoint and began our presentation of how we wanted things to go down. Well, not really. But us Paine women—no one could ever accuse us of not knowing what we want. We envisioned a video montage, we’d chosen people to speak, we had a poem we’d selected to read, and last but not least…we had the songs. (Here might be a good place to add that while my father had lung cancer, he’d received a good report from the oncologist the day before he fell and died of a stroke. We had little time to prepare. But like anything, we were up for the challenge.)

I cannot describe what it felt like to walk into a crowded room of people gathered to say good-bye to my father. Old business partners, neighbors, church members. Friends. Family. The messages of those who spoke were beautiful—messages about how my dad encouraged and stirred creativity. One speaker called him a one man tsunami. A video montage flashed on the screen. I read a poem my mother had written to him years earlier, appropriately titled The Dance, a metaphor for life.

And then came time for the end. My oldest sister introduced Life is a Highway. For years my dad informed us he wanted this song to be played at his funeral.

And play it we did.

Not only did we play the song…we danced to it. First our table—the immediate family rose to our feet. Then, slowly, table by table, every single person was on their feet.


A room full of Presbyterians (Presbyterians, mind you) clapping and dancing—dancing as we said good-bye.

Dancing at a funeral.

It’s the way he would have wanted it.

It’s the memory I hold onto.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Someone I Want You to Meet

I want you to meet someone.

The second I came across the blog,
Building His Body I knew I’d discovered a treasure. The treasure has a name—Anne Lang Bundy. In many ways I consider Anne a spiritual mentor and a true friend.

Anne Lang Bundy is wife to John, homeschooling mother of five children, and lay minister to everyone. She writes biblical fiction and devotions among other things; and she blogs at
Building His Body. I can’t wait to see all the Lord has planned for her writing.

Today she’s written a guest post on forgiveness…

Divine Gift

There are some things in life which cannot be had unless they are given as a gift.

Love comes foremost to mind. It is a gift often returned by the recipient, multiplied exponentially in the giving and receiving.

Mercy is a gift which likewise repays. The Bible says that showing mercy
conveys to the one who bestows it life, righteousness, honor, and mercy from God.

Forgiveness is unique as a gift. The Greek verb used in the New Testament for “forgive” is aphiemi, which means to dismiss, to put away. It is the same word used for divorce, for to forgive is to divorce oneself from retaliation.

The person who has sinned is debtor to the one offended. What price might one pay for permission to sin against another? No one has wealth enough for permission to sin! Thus the sinner becomes a spiritual pauper, with no hope to repay such a debt.

The Lord understands this, and made the only adequate payment for sin which can ever be made—the blood of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. By that once for all payment, the forgiveness of God is made available and freely given.

By that payment, the Lord asks us to extend the gift of forgiveness as freely as He has.

To forgive is to absorb the cost of the sin—and that cost may be quite high indeed. But to absorb such high cost shows one spiritually wealthy, capable of extending mercy to the pauper, bestowing a gift which models divinity, a gift of highest value.

He who gives to the poor lends to the LORD,
And He will pay back the goodness he has given.
~ Proverbs 19:17 (author)

God gives us good reason to freely offer such an expensive gift. In showing the mercy of forgiveness to a spiritual pauper from a position of wealth, one has shown mercy to the poor. To do so is to lend to the Lord.

And if it is barely possible for Almighty God to accept a loan and be put in one’s debt—which debt shall be repaid by Him with Heaven’s treasure—then such a debt is purchased with forgiveness of fellow man.

"Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "
~ Acts 20:35 (NKJV)

I invite your comments and questions on forgiveness. Anne has kindly agreed to respond to them individually here. She also does guest Q&A related to Christianity and the Bible on Fridays at
Bullets & Butterflies. This week's question will be:

Why should someone constantly forgive someone they love OVER and OVER for the same thing? At what point would the smart choice be to leave?

Friday, May 21, 2010

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.

What are you learning?

*I’m so excited my novel, Noble Efforts to Engulf the Moon finaled in the Novel Matters, Audience-with-an-Agent contest. I never officially announced it here at All in a Day’s Thought and I wanted to make sure to share the good news. If you’re a writer, I’d strongly encourage you to check out the Novel Matters blog.

**photos by flickr

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby

*Thursday Book Review*

I’m drawn to memoirs, so a book exploring the Hutterite colony in Canada, with promise to describe a family’s experience after fleeing their close knit community, piqued my interest immediately. I have to admit Kirkby’s, I Am Hutterite: The fascinating true story of a young woman’s journey to reclaim her heritage turned out to be different than what I’d expected.

For the majority of the book Kirkby introduces many, many members of the Hutterite community, details traditions, and provides a somewhat colorless history of how the colony became established in Canada. I fought to maintain interest.

In the write up about the book, I’d read Kirkby’s family left the Hutterite colony when she was only ten. Upon reading that, I understood the book would address the time when political tensions caused her family to uproot. I kept waiting to get to the part about how Kirkby’s family had to assimilate into an “English”/modern culture. And waiting. It wasn’t until over halfway through the book that Kirkby writes about the move.

The pages dealing with the move grabbed me more than those prior—those of the day to day happenings in the Hutterite colony. However, Kirkby endured heartbreaking tragedies, endearing me to her before her mother and father made the decision to leave. Unfortunately the gripping tragedies get lost in all the history and overwhelming description.

I empathized with Kirkby having to wear prairie dresses during field day while attending “English” schools. I remember the last hundred pages the most—how her teacher had to convince her father it was okay for her to perform a square dance and how she’d collect saran wrap from trash cans because her family couldn’t afford it, just to fit in with the other children. I craved to learn even more about what the transition must have been like, but had to plow through a lot of history to get what didn’t quite feel like enough.

If you thoroughly enjoy history and detailed descriptions of unique cultures, I’d recommend this book. If you are looking for a fast-paced page turner, I’d skip it.

*I received this book in exchange for my honest review as a part of

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quoting Ray Bradbury

“And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.”

“For the first thing a writer should be is—excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches…”

“The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are.”
“We all need someone higher, wiser, older to tell us we’re not crazy after all, that what we’re doing is all right.”

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”

“The artist learns what to leave out…His great art will often be what he does not say, what he leaves out, his ability to state simply with clear emotion, the way he wants to go.”

“There is only one type of story in the world. Your story.”

“The time will come when your characters will write your stories for you, when your emotions, free of literary cant and commercial bias, will blast the page and tell the truth.”

On this I 8 Wednesday, which quote from Ray Bradbury’s book, Zen in the Art of Writing speaks most to you?

*photos by flickr

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Wiggle Room

You’re invited inside. All are welcome. I’m sure you’ve been told before there’s little room for error… with this, with that. I’m sure you’ve been told this room is little.

Well, what do you think? Massive isn’t it? Check out the enormous chandeliers and the marble floors. Today and for you, the wiggle room is huge. There’s room for you. Room for your friends.

And guess what we do here all day? Laugh. Because God created laughter and sometimes you just need to double over with hilarity.

So have a good one. Tell a joke. Do cartwheels. Jump on a purple pogo stick. Greet a kangaroo in Spanish. Shake your body in a new way—dance.

But if you take one step inside the wiggle room, you must check your pride and perfectionism at the door. It’s okay to make mistakes because we trust God’s grace is big enough to cover us. It’s one reason we laugh so much in here. We’re free.

As a side, wouldn’t that be a fun name for a restaurant—The Wiggle Room?

Pick from any of the questions below. We're flexible here.
If you had a restaurant what would you name it?
What is one thing that has made you laugh recently?
What’s your impression of the wiggle room?
Is it sometimes hard for you to let go of your perfectionist ways?

*head on over to Warren Baldwin's blog to read my article about marriage books. Leave a comment and you might win a free copy of Kathi Lipp's, The Marriage Project!
**photos by flickr

Friday, May 14, 2010

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.

What is your theory explaining why writers get flooded with ideas while in the shower.

*photos by flickr
**Congratulations to all the ACFW Genesis finalists, including blogging friends
Sarah Forgrave and Jeannie Campbell

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

8 Reasons Why I Like Dan in Real Life

The movie has been around for years. But it’s one of those I watch whenever it’s on TV. It’s one that always makes me smile. I’m hoping even if you haven’t seen Dan in Real Life you’ll be able to appreciate my I 8 Wednesday list of reasons why I enjoy it.

« Dan, a writer, is raising three girls all in the delicate teenage years. It gives me a humorous glimpse of what a house with three girls could look like. I was one of four girls, so it also brings back memories.

« Dan’s love story begins in a book store. Really…does it get any better than that?

« Dan, played by Steve Carell, is pulled over for the umpteenth time. He mockingly looks up at the officer upon getting an umpteenth ticket and says, “Put it on my tab.” My husband and I have fun tossing that phrase around a lot.

« I’m fascinated by any family that gets up early, donned in sweatshirts and sweatpants and other such workout clothes, to bust a move out on the front lawn aerobics-style. Purely fascinated.

« The youngest daughter creates a collage of memories with pictures of her mother on it and is desperate to show her father what she made. I was queen of collage-making when I was the same age as the daughter. I connected with her.

« I like how the female lead, Juliette Binoche isn’t drop-dead gorgeous, but is uniquely attractive. It makes the movie even more real for me.

« There’s one scene where Dan helps his brother serenade his girlfriend. The two clearly aren’t meant for one another. Dan has already fallen for the girlfriend, as has she for him. The family puts on a show (so much reminds me of the kind of whackadoo things my family used to do) and Dan’s feelings leak out as he assists, then takes over, singing, “Let My Love Open the Door.” The scene gets me every time.

« The summer cottage is huge, but somehow every year Dan gets stuck in the laundry room and for some odd reason every night someone is insistent upon washing their sneakers. I can’t explain. It just makes me laugh.

Do you have a comfort movie?

*photos by flickr

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tagged by Shannon McMahon

I ran fast. I ran hard. I got tagged anyway. And inside I'm smiling. Thanks, Shannon.

The rules: Answer the five questions below, five times each. Then tag five other super awesome blogging friends.

Question 1 – Where were you five years ago?
1) Wobbling up hills on my bike “training” for a bike tour through Austria
2) Springboro, Ohio
3) Leading a MOMS group of fantastic women
4) Finally rid of baby weight from #2
5) Unaware of the trials awaiting me

Question 2 – Where would you like to be in five years?
1) Agented and published
2) Anywhere God plans to use me
3) More content
4) Frequently visiting my mom in Florida
5) Near water would be nice
Question 3 – What is on your to-do list today?
1) Volunteer at my daughter’s school
2) Get my 1000 words in
3) Take a walk
4) Fall madly in love with my bread maker again as I make cinnamon rolls
5) I should probably shower
Question 4 – What snacks do you enjoy?
1) I tried the best medley at Java Mamas (our church mom’s group) the other night. Wasabi nuts, orange cranberries, rice crackers and a mix of other delightful things from Trader Joe's
2) Dove chocolates
3) guacamole
4) baked brie with apples
5) pistachios
Question 5 – What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?
1) Travel to beautiful and intriguing places
2) Give most of it away—pour it into a cause(s)
3) Shop at Whole Foods ;)
4) Go to at least four writer’s conferences a year
5) I might get my nails done every once in a while

And now my turn to tag five bloggers:

I tried to write the first thing that came to mind. I'm curious, readers of All in a Day's Thought, how would you answer question #5?

*photo by flickr

Friday, May 7, 2010

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.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m going to give you a question my eight-year-old wrote on a little piece of paper and set on my dresser for me to find (spelling and punctuation exactly as she wrote it).

Eat a hourse or color a tiger so he can eat you. Circle one.

Should I be excited or concerned my child likes to ask questions as much as I do? Apparently her questions can be just as far out as mine.

Have at it and I’ll add, if you’re eating a "hourse," you’ll have to eat the whole entire thing or else the question might be too easy.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

*photos by flickr

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fictional Reactions to the Publishing Industry

Be vewy vewy quiet. We’re hunting rabbits, or chasing rabbit trails or falling down rabbit holes. I haven’t decided which. Anyway…today you get to tell me your response to the publishing industry. Sometimes the more I educate myself the more my brain feels like it has a leak. It’s a doozy out there.

So, you tell me on this I 8 Wednesday, which fictional character best describes what you might be caught saying about the publishing industry:

  1. “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Though overwhelmed with it all, you readily exhibit your Dorothy-sized bravery. “I’m not afraid of her.”
  2. In typical Eeyore pout, you humdrum, “Nobody likes me.” And other such phrases like, “I guess I’ll never be published. I’ll never get an agent. Why is it this tale always seems to fall apart?”
  3. “People never give your message to anybody.” “People never believe you.” In pure phony-paranoid pitch, you hold tightly to a Holden Caulfield perspective of the industry.
  4. Or you break into, “What will this day be like? I wonder. What will my future be? I wonder. It could be so exciting to be out in the world, to be free. My heart should be wildly rejoicing. Oh, what's the matter with me?” In Maria’s lovable sing-song way, you swing your suitcase and dance through the streets of Salzburg, confident as can be.
  5. When being introduced to an agent or an editor, you’re apt to assert, “Wile E. Coyote – super genius.” You’re confident alright—perhaps overly so.
  6. You might sit back, fold your hands and smile, saying, “Fair is whatever God likes to do,” if you’re feeling at Peace Like a River.
  7. If you have a Southern and feisty take on the industry, you might proclaim as Scarlett did, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
  8. Or if you are just having a day when you’d like to revert back to childhood, flying amongst the Lost Boys, you might insist, “Forget them, Wendy. Forget them all. Come with me where you’ll never, never have to worry about grown up things again.”

Any of those sound like you? I know which ones sound most like me. Do-re-mi, Swede! ;)

*photos by flickr

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bit by the Story

I’m not afraid of spiders.

Today I’m presenting the lovely topic of how writing is like being bit by a spider.

How writing resembles a spider bite—

~ Spider bites create an incredibly attention-grabbing itch. Once a story is planted in your brain there’s little you can do to dissuade it from infiltrating your daily activities—your whole life routine.

~ Spider bites cause swelling. Whether your stories are character-driven or plot-driven, your imagination will likely swell throughout the writing process. You worry about spiders hiding. You pat your head dozens of times to make sure nothing is there. You might even worry one will hunt you down while you sleep. The same thing happens with a story. You’ll be in a conversation with a friend and have to fight off that overriding thought…I can use this in my novel.

~ There’s a mysteriousness that accompanies a spider bite. Often you don’t see the chomping occur, so you’re left to wonder when it happened, by which type of spider. Oh yes, the same happens with a deliriously entertaining story. It may get you in your dreams. It might pinch you while you’re splashing in water…you’re never safe from the prowling birth of a well-weaved tale.

~ Spider bites mess with your concentration. In other words, it can easily become a consuming focus. Some spiders can even cause infections. Here’s where you’ll need to watch yourself. You don’t want to babble on to every Joe Shmoe about your latest novel. The ideas may be multiplying fast as spiderlings crawling from their egg sacks, but not everyone understands just how bad the bite is.

You may be well aware of the term for a fear of spiders—arachnophobia. For a writer this is writer’s block. My advice—bite back.

Can you think of any other ways writing is like a spider bite? Or do you have any advice for someone who fears spiders?

*This month I’m excited to be in Lucid Magazine, Sage Girls Ministry and at Exemplify, revealing how to talk yourself down from a tantrum.
**photos by flickr

Taking Time

college applications                 homecoming                            flag football                basketball             SATs   ...