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W is for….Waiting

29 Apr

I can’t believe we’re at the end of the month. I’m a few days behind but overall I’m pleased with my progress. I didn’t lag too horribly and will finish out on the first days of May.

Around here we’re waiting on Spring. In Colorado that’s an iffy sort of prospect. We’ve had snow every week this month and are expecting another snowstorm this Wednesday. But my lilac bush tells me that sooner or later this will be over.

Lilacs budding

On the other hand the thing we’re really waiting for is rain. We need it so bad! For the last two years we’ve been in a drought. This year we already have water restrictions and I’m worried that some of our trees don’t look like they’re coming back at all.

Just about every day threatening clouds roll in during the afternoons. This is what we used to think of as monsoons – hard fast storms that dumped all kinds of rain on us. But the clouds keep on moving without giving us so much as a drop. The weatherman says the rain IS falling, only it evaporates before it reaches the ground.

In a way I hope it DOES snow again on Wednesday. We need the moisture.

Oh what I would give for a good old-fashioned thunderstorm about now!

The Usual Sky

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V is for…Verisimilitude!

27 Apr

Some truths are odder than most. Because it’s the weekend and time for a little bit of fun, I offer you this bit of trivia compliments of my husband who delights in the weird and strange.

Charlie Chaplin – picture by Fred Chess. Picture is considered public domain in the USA which adheres to the rules of life of the author + 70 years.

1.       The two men most recognized as wearing “toothbrush moustaches,” Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler, were born within four days of each other in 1889.

2.       Al Pacino’s real-life grandparents and on-screen relatives come from the same small village in Sicily: Corleone.

3.       The first use of the word “burp” in a children’s book was in Dr. Seuss’s “Yertle the Turtle.”

What odd truths do you know?

Transparency….Unspoken

25 Apr

Sometimes I peg a post here as being Unspoken. Those things we don’t talk about. The hidden thoughts, the pictures that evoke emotion too deep for words. Today’s blog (ah, this A to Z Challenge is difficult…and deep sometimes) comes from an overheard conversation.

I won’t tell who the players were, only that I’m sad it was said.

“I feel guilty sometimes.” The pause was painful. “I don’t feel happiness in my marriage.”

There should have been a hesitation. Maybe if the words had been thought about they never would have been voiced. But in a rush they tumbled out, shocking speaker and listener alike. “I don’t understand. What does happiness have to do with marriage?”

Is everyone hiding a secret pain?

Picture taken from Wikimedia Commons. Tiago Lima photographer.

S is for…Snow!

23 Apr

Because it’s April. And Tuesday. Of course we have snow.

 

And this is with it trying very hard to melt as it falls!

And this is with it trying very hard to melt as it falls!

R is for….Re-post!

22 Apr

Hey, today has been a wild crazy day with multiple doctor appointments. The upshot is I’m exhausted and not feeling my best. So for your enjoyment I’m sharing two articles that I liked a lot today.

Even when I went on sabbatical I kept up with certain trade journals and blogs. Even when I wasn’t writing or working actively in the industry that had a way of making me feel connected to what’s going on in the world around me. And also inspired me to keep trying so someday I could plunge right back into that world, ready to work.

Now that I’m cautiously returning, I’m really glad I did. Anyway, here’s my two blog posts from today that I enjoyed most:

1. Steve Laube is one of the most respected agents in the Christian Publishing Industry. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and talking to him several times. If you ever get a chance to listen to him teach at a Writer’s Conference, I guarantee you’ll come away with information sure to help in your writing career. I have nothing but great admiration for him, and honestly I went into the agent biz because of him. Steve, you’re AWESOME!

Today he wrote about trends and whether to follow them or not. It went well with Mike’s blog (which I’ll tell you about in a moment) because I felt that this blog was a challenge to all writers to bring their best game to the table.

Cover Bands Don’t Change the World

 

Subterranea

2. Mike Duran is a writer who’s not afraid to take on the edgy and controversial – in his writing and on his blogs. I love reading what he has to say. Today he gives what I thought was some pretty interesting (and sound) advice about self-publishing. (and he’s got some of the best covers I’ve ever seen. Check out the picture above!)

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not against self publishing in the least. But DO DO DO hone your craft and publish only the very best. Which is the point I feel he is making here.

Self Publishing as a “Principled” Cop-Out

That’s it for this time folks. Hey to keep this fun, if you have a blog entry you are particularly proud of, post it in the comments for all of us to enjoy. Let’s keep the reposting craze going!

Q is for…Quota

20 Apr

Every day I set certain goals for myself. Things to get done that if I don’t poke at them a little bit, I’m never going to accomplish the goal.

I like breaking up my life into bite-size pieces and am always amazed at how much I do actually get done when I go and put my mind solidly on it.

Right now I feel like I’m not making quota. For example: I need to score a certain number of entries daily in order to have them all done by the deadline next month. While I love being a judge on contests of this nature, I know that I’m falling behind.

Though I’ve learned recently to finally let that all go.

I landed in bed on rest like this because of stress for the most part (stress compounding my already present physical problems at any rate). I can’t control my diseases, but I can control the stress. I COULD sit here and fidget and fuss over not getting done today what I needed to do. Or I can remember that tomorrow is another day. I’m not so far behind I can’t reach my goal. I’ll just have to put a little more effort into things this week.

I’m a whole lot more relaxed since I figured this out. I wish I had years ago.

 

P is for…Prayer

19 Apr

It’s been an amazing week. It really has.

While I’ve battled pain and exhaustion on several fronts, the difference this week, more than anything, has been in my attitude. Looking back at my journal entries for the last few days, I see a distinct pattern.

I’ve started praying again.

Not that I haven’t been praying. But I’d have to admit that my time with God had become something…rote. Lazy even. Same prayers murmured each morning in the shower. A yawning through my thankfulness at the end of the day.

The difference I think has been in fellowship. You see I made a commitment with a dear friend, to meet online the first thing each morning (a sacrifice on my part, I’m NOT a morning person by any stretch of the imagination) so that we can begin our day, together, in prayer.

This is more than accountability, though that was what I first expected. There’s something more personal, more intimate in fellowship that involves a group, even if the group is a small one. After all, doesn’t the Bible even tell us to seek out fellowship when we pray. Is it because our voices are louder when paired with someone else’s? Honestly, no. I tend to think that fellowship in prayer is more to our benefit than God’s (though I’m sure He enjoys when we do.)

Either way, I feel closer to God than I have in a long time.

And in a sense I feel closer to my friend as well.

Prayer partners…who’d have thunk it, huh? I can’t wait for tomorrow morning…

O is for…Overtired

18 Apr

Oh, this is another cheating post tonight, but several days of pain in a row have taken their toll. Even with my attempting to pace myself.

It’s been a good week so far though. I’ve been getting a lot of work done even if it’s from bed. Paperwork mostly. For a moment this week I was tempted to put a filing cabinet in the bedroom to make things a little simpler.

Then I realized that some rest was in order. The home office does NOT belong in the bedroom.

Yeah.

So…on that note, I’m running off to bed and hoping you all have pleasant dreams. (Hey, maybe that’s something I could write about tomorrow for the letter “P”?)

Good night everyone!

N is for…No More

17 Apr

Today is one of those days where the pain from the fibromyalgia is so intense that I’m in tears and curled in bed trying to remember how to breathe. It’s not conducive for thinking or writing blog entries and the only thing I could think to go for N was “No More” because quite honestly I want the pain to stop and I’m tired of having this awful disease.

Which of course led to this song from the fabulous musical “Into the Woods” because Yes, this is EXACTLY how I feel. I WANT to run away. But the things we want to run from, you can never really leave behind.

Especially when those things include this kind of physical pain.

So for today…a song. This is my favorite version with Chip Zien as the Baker and Tom Aldredge as the Mysterious Man.

 

And wait…what? Disney is doing a movie adaptation of the musical Into the Woods????

M is for…Ministry

16 Apr

I’ve taken a long time today to post. It’s almost midnight and then I’ll be two days behind instead of one. But maybe it’s worth the wait to become more sure of my words.

Prayer begins my day. Ends it. Winds through. I’m so conscious of God of late, not always in a good way. Oh, I argue with Him frequently. Even been known to swear and throw things at him (figuratively throwing at any rate) because I don’t always like the answers I’m given. I don’t know if anyone fights God as hard or as frequently as I do.

The thing is, years ago I prayed for Him to use me. To guide me. To set my feet on a better path than the one I was chosen. I figured that it was my job at that point to pick up whatever was given me to do, to take it and move with it and tend it until it was time to let it go.

Ministry starts in funny ways. I started out in publishing in a backwards sort of way. I never intended to be a publisher, an editor, an agent…any of the things I was or am now. I was going to be a writer. Plain and simple. These other things…all just came along.

It’s hard when you have no idea where you’re going. It takes a whole lot more trust than I have, or ever had. You see, trust was always my biggest issue (don’t we all have one area that we’re weakest?) So to step out in faith and do…whatever…is a Big Awful Scary thing.

But four years ago God placed an idea in my head, a way to minister to writers. Build markets, he seemed to say. Let them be heard. 

The problem with a publishing house that’s a ministry that happens to be a business is that…well…we don’t always do the things that make practical sense. And sometimes you have to release the things that make financial sense in favor of doing what’s “right.”

In the last several months while I’ve been on sabbatical I’ve questioned a lot just what my ministry is. Has it changed? Am I still called to do what I am with the bookstore, with the publishing house? Am I still where God wants me to be.

Turns out I’m not. Because when I laid it all at God’s feet, the answer came back in a much more terrifying way than I’d expected. Right now I feel like I’m standing up here all by myself, trying to do it all alone. And what’s more, the place I’m standing is on the edge of a very big cliff.

And God told me, “Leap!”

Trust. Ministry comes down to that doesn’t it?

I asked God why everything was so difficult right now, why now, when my health is still precarious, why I’m where I am.

He answered with a question of his own. “Do you trust Me?”

Perhaps I needed to be weak and alone so that I would see only Him.

Whatever the case I’m pressing on, in the best way I can. Taking the plunge again, knowing that alone as I feel, I’m not completely on my own. After all there are some mighty awesome arms out there waiting to catch me.

Picture by Kandil1 and taken from the Wikimedia Commons