Category Archives: photography art and creativity

Seasons

TrueTone colors give way

to technicolor and neon

that fades past time bleached

into sepia tones

and finally black and white
with occasional wan water color tint

A lilac sunset the only reminder

of the pencil green shading to come

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Reflections on NaNoWriMo

This November I participated in the National Novel Writing Month challenge. It is a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel between the 1st and the 30th of November. I have been wanting to do this for some time, and this year we weren’t moving or renovation or any of the big things that had kept me from it in the past. On October 30 I made myself a profile, named my novel and committed myself to write about a vague idea that had been floating in my mind for a few months. I had no idea how it was going to play out, or that it would end in my writing almost 8000 words on the last day of the challenge.I just said, “Sure. Let’s give it a go. How hard can it be?”

On this side of things, I am left with three general observations.

  1. I need to challenge myself more often. This was a difficult task, but I am telling my children every day that the hard things are the way we learn and the way we glorify the Lord. Homeschooling the children has been one of those hard things in which I am pushing myself, but just as an athlete is always pushing to better their time or go further, I need to do that in the things that I am comfortable about doing well.
  2. I can choose not to feel guilty about doing something I enjoy. Part way through the challenge, my Mackerdoodle (who is 8) asked why it felt like I was spending a lot more time sitting at my laptop. I thought about how that made me feel, and how it was making her feel and we talked about it. I told her that I was still being faithful to the family. I was still doing laundry and vacuuming and cooking meals. I was still tucking the kids into bed most nights and homeschooling every morning. I continued to read aloud and to bake bread and make desserts. I had no reason to feel guilty for also choosing to write 50,000 words in one month, so I chose not to feel guilty for it.
  3. I really love writing. I love the sensation of stringing words together  to make sentences that carry specific meaning. I loved developing the characters and building the events and researching a specific time and place. I really love to write, and I had forgotten how much.

So I am editing the novel I wrote, and I am committing to finish Kissing Frogs (for the two of you who care) and I will be blogging more. If the only thing NaNoWriMo did was remind me how much I love to write, it was well worth a month of my time.


Writing By Subtraction

In my ongoing goal to set aside some time each week for developing my writing, I took last Wednesday evening to experiment with something about which I have just learned. My high school English teacher often told us that words are like light, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. Poetry is, ideally, words condensed to their most potent form and being a wordy, wordy, gal, I have thus been a very poor poet. I discovered NewsPaper Blackout poetry on Pinterest (of course) and when my well loved copy of the Chronicles of Narnia (bound in a single volume) literally fell apart on my mackerdoodle’s head, I thought maybe I would give it a go.

The first few attempts were pretty bad. It is difficult to look at words individually instead of the context in which they are found on the page. So I don’t really know what this one is supposed to mean, but it sounds poetical . . . sort of.

around one heart a jagged path turned the beating into excitement

around one heart a jagged path turned the beating into excitement

This one is strange, and a little creepy, but better from a technical perspective.

when you disappeared the stranger popped its head out We're not safe We're afraid

when you disappeared the stranger popped its head out We’re not safe We’re afraid

I think this one was my best, but it made me so very sad that I just couldn’t let it be the last one I did:

there was a girl a boy and a girl like us the girl the boy I can't remember Trying to remember

there was a girl a boy and a girl like us the girl the boy I can’t remember Trying to remember

So this was the last of my effort, and it is far better than the first attempt:

the wind sank into silence and tickled a dream a lovely lovely dream and a sensation of music under the open sky

the wind sank into silence and tickled a dream a lovely lovely dream and a sensation of music under the open sky

It was an interesting challenge, and I think I will go back to it periodically as a reminder of the power of condensed words. If you give it a shot, I would love to see what you come up with, and hear how you felt about it.

 


On Busy Hands and the Pleasure of God

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast!
And when I run I feel his pleasure.”
― Eric Liddell

I never saw it coming, but at some point after the Cheesedoodle was born, I realized that I enjoyed being my home maker. I never had enjoyed being at home before kids. I am an extrovert and I found housework to be tedious and lonely, so I found reasons not to be at home; but two children in 22 months was enough of an anchor to stop me from drifting away and I found joy in it. Sure, the business of scrubbing toilets and washing dishes and folding laundry is, and will always be, a personal challenge; however, there are many aspects of being at home, and managing my home, that I enjoy and I missed those things in the last two years as I worked outside the home. I really enjoyed the work I did for our St. Louis church, but I missed cooking real meals from scratch, and having the time to bake desserts or experiment with new recipes. I missed crochet and some of the paper crafting that I had begun to learn. I missed hospitality. Mostly I missed being the one who set the tone of our home in almost every way.

In the six weeks since our move, I have found myself once more enjoying the task of home maker. I have begun again to bake bread, and when a new friend cleared out some of her yarn, my fingers remembered with joy the comforting rhythm of single and double and treble crochet stitches. I have found myself taking heed of the admonition in Titus 2:5 to be busy in my home and I have not struggled to find ways in which to do so. The addition of educating the oldest two children has certainly contributed to busyness of my hands.

On Monday I sat down to write a silly skit for a friend. It was very stupid – in fact some of the worst writing I’ve done since high school – and I felt a grief that my writing had become rusty from lack of use, and simultaneously a settling in my spirit as I wrote as if I had been gone too long from a well loved place and was once again where I belonged.

It made me think of the quote from Eric Liddell with which I opened this post. Eric Liddell spent most of his life ministering in obscurity, and is, in fact, more famous for a race he did not run that for any that he did; yet, just as he trained and studied for his ministry in China, he also trained and prepared his body to race, because he believed (correctly) that he could be fast for the glory of God. I know that The Lord has called me primarily to serve my family, and to serve alongside my husband in the local church. I am pleased with this calling and thank The Lord for it. But I can also write, and when I write I feel His pleasure. I cannot abandon the greater calling for the lesser gifting, however I also know that I cannot ignore a good and perfect gift given from the Father.

So I will remain constant in my efforts to be busy at home, and to manage my household; but I will also make time to write for the pleasure and glory of God.


The Click, Clack, Moo Success

Saturday’s performance of Click, Clack, Moo:  Cow’s That Type was a huge success.  It wasn’t Broadway, but we played to a packed house and rave “reviews” and my daughter spent the rest of Saturday afternoon running around my living room saying, “Cows that type?  Hens on strike?  How am I supposed to run a farm with no milk and no eggs?”  Farmer Brown was her favorite character.

Several of the parents remarked to me and the director that they wished there were more kid oriented productions like this periodically on campus.  The third time I heard it, my soul jumped up on a chair and began to shout, “I can do that!  That is exactly my gifting and skills!  Let me at it!  I can MAKE THAT HAPPEN!”  But my brain slapped it down off that chair before it could get access to my mouth and feet.  My brain was tired.

Four rehearsals and a ten minute performance isn’t exactly high octane commitment level, but between Jonathan’s schedule, our one vehicle and the age of our kids, just accomplishing that became the most challenging venture of my last six months!  Something that I would have worked into my spare time four years ago became a driving force of my entire schedule last week.  As I pondered the thought of an ongoing endeavor I began to think, “Okay, maybe not right now, but next year,” and my brain answered, “When you have an infant,  and are potty training a strong willed toddler?”  The more I thought, the more I realized that these seminary years are pretty much booked up as “full time mama” in triplicate.

It won’t always be so.  I won’t always have small, very dependent children.  I won’t always have a husband working full time and doing full time seminary.  It won’t always look like this.  But for the next 3 1/2 years of seminary it will and I wouldn’t trade it for a run on Broadway and a Tony nomination.


Odds Are Not In My Favor.

This month is NaBloPoMo – or national blog posting month.  All you have to do is post every day.  I’m going to give it a shot.  Considering my stunning lack of activity over the last months, I would say my chances of succeeding are slim, but it’s good to have goals.

See you tomorrow.  I hope.


Moview Review: Fireproof

The last time I went into a movie theatre and watched a movie, I was overdue with the mackerdoodle.  We watched The Bourne Ultimatum and I went into labor early the next morning.

More than 14 months later, with a weaned mackerdoodle, and another one on the way, I figured I had only an eight or so month window of opportunity to do these things again, before another period of babywearing and breast feeding.  So Terri and I went to see Fireproof.

Fireproof is by the same people that made Facing the Giants, by which I was pleasantly surprised.  The success of Facing the Giants permitted them to actually pay an actual actor (Kirk Cameron) to appear in the film, and I was just a little concerned that in the face of success, they would compromise some of the things I had enjoyed about Facing the Giants. I was happy to be wrong.

The basic premise of the story is simple: Caleb and Katherine used to be in love.  Now they are married and can barely stand to be in the same room as each other.  They are on the fast track for divorce when Caleb’s father challenges him to a “Love Dare” – a 40 day project of re-learning to love his wife.

A lot of the things I enjoyed about this movie are the same things I enjoyed about Facing the Giants.  The characters were genuine and realistic.  In fact, during the first fight scene, they were a little too close to home for me.  Caleb is a captain in the local fire department, and some of the firemen are familiar from the team and coach staff in Facing the GIants.  They have some very funny moments with those men, and with the women at the hospital who work with Katherine.  Again, I found myself thinking “I know people like this.”

Too often in movies featuring a marriage on the rocks, one partner is all evil and the other partner is the suffering servant.  Here, both partners are at fault, and neither wants to admit it.  It was a refreshing, and far more realistic, scenario. The solutions, likewise, in films are often unrealistic, but both parties in Fireproof have to undergo some pretty hard work to put things back together.  (I don’t really think that’s a spoiler, if you’ve seen the poster.)

Now, on the cheesy side: there is a conversion experience that was very awkward.  I think because the deep emotions and strong spiritual nature of a conversion, they are virtually impossible to portray on film.  It is an important plot point, and I don’t really know how they could have changed it, so it certainly didn’t change my overall impression of the film.  It did get me thinking, as an aspiring (or maybe fantasizing, at my age) writer how I would have done it differently.

All in all, I recommend it highly.  I would recommend it to anyone who is married, engaged to be married, or praying to be married someday.  There are a lot of good, solid, biblical truths about love and relationships well planted within the entertaining and engaging story.