Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One Chapter Left

I'm one chapter away from finishing the first draft of yet another book. I'm just waiting on an email from my source on all things Wildlife Biology, and I can crunch it out. The scene, the whole book really, is on my back burner while I wait.

That leaves my front burner empty. I'm not used to having an empty front burner.

All the talking that I have done over the last few weeks about my previous book has the sequel to it trying to move up to the front burner, but I know I can't really move it up yet. I've just turned up the heat and I stir it a little more often.

I guess this is how people have clean houses. I vaguely remember what a clean house is like. It was nice. Maybe I should put that on my front burner, getting my house in order. There is plenty to do, finding the shoes I know I have for Jordan, hauling the stuff up to the attic, picking up the fabric scraps on the floor in my craft/formal living room. I could empty the dishwasher BEFORE the sink is overflowing and BEFORE we run out of forks. I could file the paid bills and shuffle the stack of papers that I never really know what to do with. I could put away the laundry that is in baskets on the couch, I could make my bed, or even wash the sheets. I could kill spiders. I could bathe the dog, trim his nails, take him for a walk. I could make a meal and freeze it... if there was room in my freezer.

I could do so many things, and I will, but right now my burner is glowing in front of me and what do I do? I put my ear buds in, turn on the Coldplay and Joshua Radin I just bought, and write. I write because no matter what I think, no matter what I do, words spill out of me and I have to write them.

Some people have to cook, some people have to talk, some people have to run, I have to write.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Okay, I know, I'm posting like crazy, silly me.

I just had to write this because it was just so special. I don't care if no one reads it, I just want to remember it.

I work with kids. Some kids love me, some kids like me, some kids barely know me, and some kids... I wouldn't say they don't like me but they are shy so they kind of keep to themselves and it's hard to get through to them.

These shy ones, I have learned, are like gold in the hillside, and if I can just get through the shell, oh what a treasure I find.

One of these shy ones was there when I went in the room today. I was just stopping in, and he looked up as I opened the door. I smiled at him, winked, and stuck out my tongue.

For ONE INSTANT there was this gleam of laughter in his eye, a twitch at the corner of his mouth, and BAM I saw the gold. He closed back off right away, but I got a peek and I'm so jazzed that he let it out even that long.

Hot dog, I love that kid. I can't wait to make him smile again.

Three days later

and I'm still frustrated that I was misunderstood and didn't have the chance to fully state my position in Sunday School. This is dis-jointed and rambling but sometimes I just have to let it out before I explode.


I think that most people labor under a false assumption that life is supposed to be easy. It's not. It's supposed to be hard, it's supposed to make us learn and grow.

And what I would have added if given the chance:

It is through the process of constant attrition that we find true joy and not the shallow temporary happiness-es that so many think are joy.

Joy is not in money, fame, ease, comfort, or HDTV. It isn't in checking off the list of the ways you are perfect.

Joy is in the journey, in hard work, in the peace you have deep down even when you are going through trials. Joy is your testimony, is love, is the touch of a child. Joy is abiding and sure, it can be masked for a time by emotional upset, but it isn't gone, it is always there if you reach through the mists and hold on.

Joy isn't what we find at the end of the road, it's the companion that held our hand the whole way through. It is as doggedly determined as a Marine and as gentle as a butterfly kiss.

Yes, "Men are that they might have joy." That's the whole point of life, not to earn the joy in the end but to be joyful, to find out that we ARE joy.

We ARE light.

And if you AREN'T joy yet, if when you look at your core and you don't find a pillar of light connected straight to heaven, well then you don't know yourself very well, and I hope your next trial helps you find out.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Moth

P1020366.jpg picture by teljchall
Do you see it? Do you see the moth that is flying with all his might against my curtain? He is trying with all his might to get out there to the light.

As I sit here at my computer in a reflective state of mind I realise how much smarter that moth is than me.

You see, he is not beating his head against a flashy computer screen. If it was the only light in the room perhaps he would be drawn to it, but no. He sees the greater light, and struggles to attain it.

How often do we focus on alternate forms of light? How often do we see reflected light and think we are on the right path? When we have become accustomed to the dark, do we shrink against the light that busts upon us, shielding our eyes, blocking it out.

Or do we run to the greatest light, hungry for it's warmth. Do we seek out true light to guide us? Do we even remember how it feels on our face?

Remember, remember the Light of the World. Bring Him into your day, every day. Let Him warm you, let Him guide you, let Him fill you with His light.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Beauty from the wreckage

When hurricane Katrina blasted her way into the Gulf Coast she left behind her a depressing display of wreckage and devastation. There are still vacant lots and skeletal remains where grand buildings used to stand.

My friends met and fell in love in Biloxi over ten years ago, and are stationed there now with their family. When we visit them our conversations in the car are sprinkled with "used to be" and "was." The city is working hard on it's recovery though, and each visit we find it more beautiful and the beauty is a testament to the efforts of the locals.

As I drive down Highway 90 to get to the base where they work and live I very much enjoy one particular effort, and I would like to share my reflections on it with you.

The highway has a tree lined median, where grand oaks towered, deeply rooted in the Mississippi sand. All of them lost limbs and leaves during Katrina, stripped bare and stung by the wind driven rain. Many of the trees never recovered, and they died slowly.

Then someone had an idea. Instead of tearing the trees up the government contracted with an artist to make them into sculptures, so the trees could continue to beautify the land where they had stood throughout memory.

So the work commenced. The artist sawed and hacked, carved grooves and took out whole chucks of the once proud trees. I am sure they protested, I am sure the wood whined at him as he worked, but he lovingly continued shaping them until this is what was left:

IMG00046-20100812-1612.jpg picture by teljchall

We live in trying times. Each of us is surrounded by people who have been buffeted and stung by the winds and rains of life. They clung to their roots while the floods washed around them, and sometimes they have been through so much that they have lost all hope of being what they once were.

Some would say there is no hope for them, that they are unsightly and should be removed from our view so that their devastation doesn't devastate us more. However, I think we should be like that Mississippi visionary, and like that artist. We should see the value in a soul. We should see the potential when there is little left of what once was.

The greatest artist that ever lived was Jesus Christ, for he made things of miraculous beauty out of the most damaged and destitute of souls. I'm no Monet, but he's made something beautiful out of me. He sent artists with rough tools to shape me, they've knocked off whole chunks off me and whittled and gouged. It's been a painful process.

Now as I stand here and the wind blows around me, flowing like music through beautiful lines I never knew I had, I understand. I understand that Jesus always sees the beauty in me, at all stages of my life, and that if I trust him I can see it too.

If we trust him we can see, and reveal the beauty in all of us. Sometimes all God needs is an artist.


Monday, August 02, 2010

Personal Growth

A teen I know posted something on her facebook last night, and it was one of those rare times where the response just hits you and you feel you must say it. It seemed to hit home with her, so I thought I'd post it here as part of my ever growing collections of spiritual thoughts.

She asked, "Why is it that being who you are was good enough at first, then continuously being who you are just isn't good enough in the end?"

I responded, "It depends on your definition of who you are. You see, every acorn in an oak tree inside. It's all there and a wise observer will see it by its potential and not its current state. Now if an acorn chooses it can stay an acorn and either rot away or become squirrel food. That's the acorn's choice, and that will be its story. The wise observer however will be a bit sad that the acorn didn't send out a root, and put in the effort to become the tree it always had the potential to be.
Growth is part of life, and she who does not constantly try to grow is in danger of being overcome by the rot of the world or the dangers that would destroy her potential."

(Thank goodness it was well received.)