Monday, April 30, 2007

From "In The Studio With Michael Card"

(archived shows are free for the listening at (this link doesn't seem to work for me, but it will work if you just type it in)

Today I'm listening to guest Lee Benson, about being a Christian artist. The link is here, and I can't pick just one pithy quote. Just go listen to it.

From "In The Studio With Michael Card"

(archived shows are free for the listening at

Today I'm listening to guest Lee Benson, about being a Christian artist. The link is here, and I can't pick just one pithy quote. Just go listen to it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sometimes it's just nice to have company

Good friends were over last night, good friends we haven't seen in a while. I remembered why it is we need to hang around other with children. I witnessed the following conversation:

TheChild: Mom, I'm hungry because you didn't feed me any dinner.

TheMother (who, I might add, is the single most patient person on the face of not only every planet in this galaxy, but quite possibly some undiscovered planets as well): You chose not to eat.

TheChild: I wasn't hungry then. You should have made me eat.

TheMother: Well you can have some leftover chicken when we get home.

TheChild: But I don't like chicken.

It's a bit like when the kids were tiny, especially one of them, who I won't name because both of them can read, and show no signs of ever being unable to read, and I would be at Target and there would be a child somewhere screaming like a banshee (which I've never heard, but I understand can be quite ...noticeable) and I would think "oh your poor mother" and "he he he it's not my child THIS TIME" and then, with a regrettable lack of sympathy, "yay! it happens in other families too!"

Have I shared yet, how it came to be that the children are now packing their own lunches? They begged to pack their own lunches. Actually, one of them begged for both of them. I bet you want to know how. (This is not a story against EITHER of them because they can both dial my cell phone number, so don't be trying to guess which one.)

I was working industrially one morning at my desk when my cell phone crowed like a rooster. (I thought it was cute, way back when, and now I have to keep using it because I paid for that ring tone) I greeted my child warmly, because I often do.

"Is this my entire lunch?" the darling on the other end wanted to know.

I affirmed that it was.

There was a sniff, and a less than complimentary evaluation of the contents of the lunch bag in question, topped off with "This is the kind of lunch people get in JAIL."

The conversation ended in a manner that my VeryPatientFriend would have frowned upon, and when I got home from work that day, I announced my retirement from the Packer of the Lunches position.

Jail indeed. As a co-worker (the father of teenagers) observed, "No, in jail they make you work for your crappy lunch."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Pondering the deep questions of the universe

Why is my left ring finger smaller than my right ring finger?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


"I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by."

Douglas Adams

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

An Update

The vigil at Stanford is over. (see end of my last post) Ray Miller has moved on, to whatever heaven looks like.

Pray for peace for his family in the next few days. There's nothing quite as comforting as giving a loved one a good farewell.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

'Where is thy sting?'

Life is so complicated and messy and intertwined and beautiful, isn't it?

Yesterday morning in church I stood behind a friend and her parents. Her father has had a rocky several months - in and out of hospital, and finally a diagnosis that resulted in a risky operation - and there he was, singing and smiling. And for all the joy there was, his loved ones watched him carefully, not quite able to believe their eyes.

Over Easter, a beloved friend speculated about her own father's last hours. Had there been a moment when he, like Jesus, cried "Why hast thou forsaken me??" I've thought long and hard about that since, and about my father's last moments and I think - No. That's not the way it will be. We are told "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" and that with Jesus' death on the cross, death was 'swallowed up in victory'. And I imagine it this way - my father knowing this is it, and panicking at the thought of leaving my mother on her own, and there before him - the face of God. And he is promised that everything will be alright, that He will get us all through the aftermath, and over His shoulder, Dad can see glory, and how glorious it is! and with a rising joy, he realizes that this is his, now, and he stammers "all this time, I thought I trusted You - but this, THIS is trusting!", and life, real life, begins. I think my Dad, who worked hard his whole life to look after everyone in his life, is still sometimes amazed and gratified that he was allowed to lay it all down.

And I'm sitting behind Mr K and trying to wrap all those thoughts into words and the music starts and we're singing "And ohhhh we will look on His face" and suddenly it is all too much to bear, the anguish and the comfort.

3000 miles south, a family is holding vigil in an ICU room. It's been many days, and they need bolstering. Please pray, when you have a moment, for Ray and Vivian and Renee and Sharif, and for a husband, father and grandfather whose ending is not yet known.

Sunday Seven

(yes I did just make that up)

1. Walking the dog last night, we saw a young deer bounding down the path ahead of us, white flag flying. It then plunged into the bushes and watched us. Toopka whimpered because she wanted to go catch it, but I stood there and watched it and thought:

I live in a city, where I can go outside and see deer every day of my life if I want to.

Every day of my life.

May I never forget to be thankful.

2. A few days ago the children were bickering in the van, as children do. I interrupted them with a light and cheery song "If you can't say something nice - shhh! say nothing!" This distracted them into singing the song themselves, although they changed the words somewhat. "If you can't say something nice - SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE!"

At least they stopped bickering.

3. Yesterday I was lying on the couch watching the dog at the top of the stairs, terrorizing the guinea pig. I tried to get her to come away.

"Toopka!" I called. No response.

"Puppy, puppy, puppy!!!" I sang. She looked up, and quite possibly rolled her eyes.

"Let's go smell stuff!!" I experimented, and she came rocketing down the stairs like she'd been shot out of a cannon. She was so excited I wasn't sure she'd remember how to walk. It was so cute, I had to take her for the walk that phrase promised.

4. I like Fresca.

5. I am teaching Sunday School this morning. I'm never thrilled to be going in there, but I'm always happy afterwards, because I do love little kids. Even one's who won't answer you with anything but "I told you my name is DORA this week!!!"

6. I got a prize in a poetry contest this week. It cost me $75 to enter and I won $50 - net loss $25. I am getting three other poems published this fall in a magazine I don't currently subscribe to - now I'll subscribe in order to get a few copies. Net loss - approx. $15.

Poetry - Your Key to Financial Freedom.

7. Twelve years ago, I was taking fertility drugs and filling out adoption applications and there wasn't a day I didn't cry over something.

This morning I have okayed the wearing of a Flames shirt to church (it's the playoffs!) and agreed to braid hair.

May I never forget to be thankful.

Friday, April 13, 2007

eye of the ...what?

so when Pingster (yes I know you've never heard of Pingster unless you're his mother, but you don't need to know. It's not germane to the plot, I just had to call him something) anyway, when he was learning to crawl, he would grasp the bushy tail of their placid cat Blackie (I always said he should be named Brutus because he was so big and such a marshmallow inside, but nobody agreed with me) ..where was I? he would grasp the tail of the ever-placid Blackie in his chubby little fist and crawl around the house. (at least I think this was Pingster. It occurs to me now that I may have confused two stories but just pretend, okay? someone's kid did it. Actually two people's children interacted with the cat in less than gentle ways and neither cat retaliated. One was vocally opposed, one was ...Blackie. However, Blackie may have been the cat that the baby would take large bites out of and then splutter fur for the next half an hour) Blackie would look around in mild perturbation, and once in a while, heave a sigh and wander off. Mostly he put up with it. Wait this is a total waste of time, because it doesn't work. I just needed a dragged cat. Oh crap.

(Yes, this is the way I write fiction, too. Want to know how many pages I've cranked out this year? (no you don't) )

Starting over.

A friend (hi, friend-who-said-this) recently said to me "I don't know if I have the 'eye of the tiger' instinct it takes, when it comes to writing." (this is a rough paraphrase)

"Ah" I said, profoundly, and since then, my brain has been going "Hmm. Hmm hmm hmm. Hmmmmmmmmm." And also ...

Do I have the "eye of the tiger" when it comes to writing? Am I determined and focussed and passionate? Umm.

I think I have the eye of mewling kitten whose tail is grasped in the fist of a crawling baby - mostly panicking, sometimes okay with it. Pretty sure there's no escaping it.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Apparently I'm having a p*sting spasm

Today at lunch I sat silent in the middle of a spirited conversation between three women about their parents attitude to their sexual habits. All three of these women were single. All of them had, at some point or another, lived common-law. One of them was still in a committed relationship - the other two weren't. I sat silent because what is there to say that doesn't sound like a judgemental Jesus freak? "I don't think it's emotionally healthy to be sexually involved with someone you're not married to."? I don't mind sounding like a Jesus freak, but I do mind sounding judgemental. I held my tongue. And wished them all peace.

When I left work there was a man wearing dirty old clothes with unkempt hair sitting in the sunshine, holding out a filthy green ball cap. I smiled at him and he smiled a lovely smile in return, and inclined his head. I walked by because I never give money to panhandlers even though I feel guilty about it for blocks and blocks and blocks afterwards. An inner nudge made me go back and put ten dollars in his cap.

"God bless you" he said.

"Well, I'm pretty sure He just told me to give you that" I replied, "so God bless you."

I walked away praying for him to use it wisely, but then I thought - what would Jesus have done? I can't say for sure, but I know there was a time that He healed ten lepers, most of whom bounded away whole and healed without a backwards glance. Only one returned to say thank you. Jesus didn't say "Okay here's the deal. I will heal you, but you need to be grateful, and then you need to go on to lead productive lives." He just did what was there in front of Him to do.

It's four blocks from where I work to where we park. I passed a few more homeless people, and then a group of three ragged dirty men, each carrying a dozen or so cans of beer in plastic bags. I wanted to stop and shake them. I wanted to say "Of course I don't know how it feels to be you, to be where you are, me with my obviously too well-fed body and my purse full of cash and my house in the suburbs, but I do know how it feels to make one bad choice. And then another and another and another until you look up and realize you have dug yourself into a hole so huge there's no getting out, and so you just sit back down in the dirt and give up. And I also know that nothing gets fixed overnight, but one good choice could lead to another one and another one and then another one and maybe one day you won't have to be living from beer to beer."

And then I looked around in the spring sunshine and thought "What kind of a horrible world have we created? Take what you want when you want it, whatever feels good - let tomorrow look after itself."

And suddenly it all felt so hopeless, so incredibly hopeless. What I am doing writing? What possible difference can one more book set in an imaginary world make to this world, these people, this pain? Or a few poems talking about my own personal hurts in a way that makes people feel understood.

And yet.

I am called to obey, to do what is front of me, and no matter which way I turn these days, it's the book that's in front of me. Even if I have no idea why.

Misc letters

Dear OnlineTicketSaleAgent

Here's an idea. When I type the verification code in wrong, how about you just give me a simple message to that effect, instead of crashing my entire computer?



Dear Child X

"Mom, you're probably going to say 'No' to this is a sure-fire way to get me to say it without even listening to your request."

your loving mother


Dear Child Y

Calling "Mom? I need a little support, please!" is a sure-fire way to have me at your beck and call for at least half an hour.


Dear Toopka,

I love your haircut!

Lucky for me

On this day, 46 years ago, TechnoBoy was born.

I've been married to him for over half of that time, which makes me just about the luckiest woman alive.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I done got tagged

This is a meme heavy post because I'm clearing up two tags at once because I can't figure out whose to do first.

Okay Tag A from Kay:

The rules are:
1) Go to Wikipedia

2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.

3) List three events that happened on your birthday

4) List two important birthdays and one death

5) One holiday or observance (if any)

6) Tag 5 other bloggers to complete


I was going to list three but then I saw this one:

1942 - Anne Frank begins to keep a diary.

Birthdays - again, only one:

1811 - Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author


775 - Saint CiarĂ¡n of Disert-Kieran, Irish saint and writer

A worrying number of writers died that day.


International Weblogger's Day – Celebration of the work of webloggers around the world

Tagging: you, you, you, you, you and YOU.

Meme the Second, Otherwise Known as the One Where I Have to Think.

This is from Live a Quiet Life:

Five things I'm obsessed with (not a prioritized list):

1. Food, apparently. I think about it far too much.

2. Writing a novel, more specifically, most of my waking hours are taken up with wondering where or when I will have a chance to write.

3. the puppy who adores me with every ounce of her 12 lb being

4. are the children getting what they need physically emotionally mentally spiritually? did I just say/do/think the wrong thing that will now scar them for life and render them ineffective?

5. God. I try to pray before I even open my eyes in the morning. Sometimes I pray "Please help me open my eyes" ...

Tagging - you, in the corner, trying not to make eye contact.