Saturday, April 23, 2011


I love a good story. And a storyteller who can paint with words. My mother could capture my imagination and weave it through the stories of an era past. Whether sitting on the steps leading into our kitchen or lying with my head in her lap as she stroked my long hair, she would remember pages of her story. I can still hear her voice in my memory.  Soothing, amused, and sometimes pained. I focused on every word and tried to store it in my memory along with nursery rhymes and Winnie The Pooh adventures. I knew then that someday these would be worth retelling.

This August, I'll remember her passing for the second anniversary. She was such an amazing, gorgeous, funny, intelligent survivor of a life that could easily become a novel. What thrills me the most is that she was always a Jesus-truster and in the latter years, finally knew the personal surrendered relationship that makes all things new. I have no doubt she is singing love songs to him in heaven with her restored voice and I look forward to joining in with her someday. What a treat to harmonize together!

Mom was always my sweetest encourager and my efforts at writing were met with cheers. When I sorted through her folders, I was touched to find one filled with every piece I had sent her. From dramas written for church production to devotional thoughts on raising children, they were three-hole-punched and clicked into that folder. Knowing her, she reread them often.

Six months before she died, I had the fortunate opportunity to attend a 3 day writing workshop with a dear friend and mentor. I had submitted light devotional material thinking that was where I needed to pick up after putting my writing on hold for twenty years. When my friend, Cec, met with me on the first day, he gave me some compliments and critiques but then sat back and said, "This is good and it's fine, but I can't help but feel there's something better just waiting to be written by you. I don't know what that is, but I know it's there." At that moment, I knew what it was. I returned to my laptop sitting among the other writers at the table and opened a new page. Memories flooded my mind and I could envision the stories as if I were watching a movie. A little girl in an orphanage during the depression. A life with strict foster parents who showed no love. A teenager with a promising voice singing at nightclubs followed by late night homework. Big band travels. Marriage and divorce. Marriage again and a house full of children and friends needing shelter. Alcohol. Murder. And always hope. My fingers flew and the scenes unfurled. When I told Mom I was writing her story, she cooed over the phone that it filled her with happiness.

It's a disappointment to me that in the two years since then, I've only written six chapters of her story. A blip on the screen. I repeatedly vow to carve out time to write. I head to the library to become a sequestered novelist. Too many times, my plans are set aside for other things on the to-do list. But, when I succeed and sit before the screen, it happens. Suddenly, I'm lying on the couch and if I concentrate, I can feel fingers lightly stroking my hair and hear a beautiful voice telling a tale.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I'm One of His Peeps

I was out the door this morning by 8:30 (a rarity for this non-working woman) and headed to 3 stores before the impending storms dumped copious amounts of rain.  I wanted to scoop up all the needed supplies for dinner.  Today is my turn to pamper a friend who just had a knee replaced by taking dinner to  her family of five.  Nothing fancy, but comfort food: pot roast and brown gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, fresh fruit salad and brownies.  She'll feel satisfied if not healed by the last course! Chocolate has definite healing properties.

As I checked out at the first grocery, the woman bagging asked the question of the day, "So, are you fixing a big Easter dinner this weekend?"  I'm sure she'll hear most women reply with menus of ham and potato salad or maybe something made with jello and pretzels.  She looked disappointed when I answered, "No, not really.  You see, my family's involved at church all weekend.  We always have been, really, and after 3 days and 5 services, they just want to veg."  She nodded muttering a polite "Oh."  I felt like I was suddenly un-American or un-Christian or something very "un". I tried to smile at her and assure her that we loved our church. The one right down the street. It's great. She kept nodding and dismissed me with "Well, have a good one, Hon." I felt I had somehow failed at Invite-Someone-To Church 101.

Driving home, I wondered when Easter became all about ham. I like ham. A lot, actually, but seriously, how did it become an Easter staple? We can't escape the bunny hiding eggs. (Not carrots or anything associated with rabbits. How do you explain bunnies with eggs?)  For way too many, Easter means meals spread on pastel tablecloths along with candy, chicks, daffodils, and children snatching dyed eggs before others can grab them.  It's tradition.  Don't mess with tradition if you want to get along with Great Uncle Albert or better yet, your mother-in-law who prepared all this food.  Still, I wonder, how can we shine the spotlight on, as Linus from Peanuts might say, "...what it's all about, Charlie Brown."

For me, Easter is tied in the top spot with Christmas.  I adore waking on Easter Sunday picturing the joy that Mary, Martha and all the Christ followers must have felt when they found out Jesus was alive.  As one of His, my insides sing with excitement on Easter.  I imagine what it would have felt like to be in their company. The wide-eyed disbelief followed by hugs and shouts of promise and laughter. Oh, to feel that excitement about my savior every morning!  I don't have to be one of those believers in the garden staring at an empty tomb.  I'm seeing my own empty tomb that was once filled with a self-centered life that only gave me frustration, jealousy, worry and despair. A grim hole with no sign of light. That was before I gave in.  I turned everything over to Jesus and said, "I trust you. You lead and I'll follow." Now, there's a light shining - it never goes out.  Now, I look to heaven knowing where my savior waits for me.  He's with the Father.  He's with my loved ones.  He's waiting to show me the room he has ready for me in a place I can't even imagine. Because he won.  He defeated death.  I'll live with Him forever. All because I surrendered to the the One who loves me most.  You can have my candy and ham - I'll take the Risen Christ.

Monday, April 18, 2011

For the Birds

I don't Tweet, but I'm into birds right now.  I've always enjoyed watching them outside my office window. Yellow finches hang on my feeder, woodpeckers drop by for suet, and vibrant cardinals add a splash of red.  An amazing show as long as I keep the feeders filled.

As much as I like the real deal, I'm being drawn to the 2D bird.  Cute little graphics.  Those pudgy little guys are everywhere and I'm all about them.  As a scrapbook fan, I find they're everywhere in the craft world.  As any good scrapper knows, you move from actually doing the pages filled with photos to simply enlarging your collection of supplies.  I've been in that mode for quite some time and could scrap for about a year only buying adhesive.  But, these birds!  So cute.  And, the best part is they don't fertilize!

I made this little guy this morning with my Cricut and a software program that is amazing.  It's called Sure Cuts A Lot and has revolutionized my scrap world.  Can't wait to explore all the possibilities, but until then - I'll be filling the feeders.