Fibro fog, pain, writing sandwiched in between. Quotes. Sermon notes. Encouragement.
A Texas Sunrise|
A friend, William Taylor, took this picture. He visits Surfside Beach with his dogs almost every morning, watching the sun rise while the dogs prance about at the water's edge.
This is only about ten miles from where I lived in Lake Jackson, Texas. Sadly, I only visited this beach about four times in the six years I lived nearby.
Each day is a challenge. A challenge to get by without thinking about the fibromyalgia pains. A challenge to stay awake when chronic fatigure wants to take over. And a challenge to navigate through fibro fog.
I haven't been writing as much as in the past. For years, I wrote at least 500 words a day. Now, I'm lucky if I write 500 words in month. Sigh.
For more information about what my day (or life) is all about with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pains, IBS, depression and everything else thrown in, check this out:
|Yesterday, I poked around in some of the groups and forums - elsewhere - where I've been a rather inactive member. I read some posts from my school mates at Classmates.com.
I discovered that one high school classmate recently sold a picture, a photograph, of her dog. She captured him jumping for a Frisbee, and when she really looked at that picture, she knew it was good. She enlarged the photo, then sent it off to a company that makes calendars. This woman was not a photographer, but she knew a good picture when she saw it. She also knew this particular calendar company, because she had purchased calendars from them for five years. She knew the kinds of pictures they used, because she looked at them on her wall everyday. The company paid her $50 and she was pleased.
In another forum, a woman bragged about having had two items published in Reader's Digest. She doesn't claim to be a writer. She doesn't want to be a writer. But she had two cute stories that she knew fit the pattern of those in Reader's Digest. Why? Because she had been a subscriber for ten years, and before that her parents had subscribed. She received $50 and $100 for her stories.
Not long ago, I was feeling a bit useless, so I finished something I had been working on and sent it to a magazine that had published something of mine before. The first time my story was published in this magazine, it was a non-paying market. Frankly, I just wanted something of mine in a beautiful magazine for my portfolio. When I submitted again, I didn't know that they had become a paying market. (My mistake. I should have kept up with that. They now pay $75 for a story.)
The editor sent back an email the same day. Her response? "THANKS! I wondered where you were! This falls under the theme of our November issue, and payment will be after publication. Do you still want three copies so you can send one to your mother? I really need to read more of your work to see if anything else fits."
The point is that it is much easier - even for those who are not photographers or writers - to be published in markets that they know. You always hear, "Write what you know." It's just as important to write where you know. That's the reason that writer's guidelines often include the message that the writer needs to read the magazine to discover their voice, and why they often include the price for one magazine in those writer's guidelines. Knowing the publication is important.
I think this is why my own experience with editors and rejections has been different. Here, and at other writer's sites, folks are always saying that writers must be tough to handle rejections. It's why some defend giving rather ugly or mean reviews of the works of others here.
I have never had a mean or ugly rejection. Rather, I've had editors almost apologize for not being able to use my work and even suggest other markets that might be interested.
I think that's because if I have been a subscriber of a magazine for 2 or 5 or 10 years, I make sure they know that. They don't want to lose me as a subscriber.
Don't get me wrong. If you only subscribe to the biggest and best women's magazine, it won't be easy to get a featured article there, no matter how long you've been reading - or even writing. What you can do, though, is get fillers published. At one online writer's group there was a woman we called the "Filler Queen." In a bad month, she made $75 in filler income. In a good month, her earnings might be $500 or more. No, her works were not among the featured writings. And sometimes, those fillers didn't even mention that they were "submitted by XXXX." But it is highly possible that she will get that break into a feature article before the rest of us because her name has become familiar to the publication because of the fillers she has provided.
For some, the ultimate goal of writing is to publish that novel that will soar to the best seller's lists. But maybe, just maybe, we need to crawl before we walk. There's nothing wrong with writing short pieces and being paid for them.
And don't forget...that being familiar with magazines doesn't mean you have to subscribe to them all. Most libraries have a magazine section where you can view hundreds of magazines. What a great way to spend an afternoon. Especially a rainy one.
|A card for you:
2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
|The news yesterday (and Yahoo's front page today) reminded us that if stay-at-home moms were paid for all the jobs they do, they'd make $138,095. That's an increase of 3% over last year.
They list that these jobs that moms do: housekeeper, cook, day care center teacher, laundry machine operator, van driver, facilities manager, janitor, computer operator, chief executive officer and psychologist.
I think they've missed some things. What about gardener? And...activities director, appointment secretary, lifeguard, teacher (all moms are teachers, not just those who home school). In the summer, aren't they the trip planners and tour guides? And navigator if the dad is driving? Sure we have those navigational devices now, but they're not always accurate.
She's also a great knee kisser and all around hugger, right? (Not to mention nose blower. ) Of course, she's like a home health aide when everyone else in the house is down sick.
The news item also said that those moms who work outside the home should be paid a full $85,939 in addition to her job's wages, for the work she does at home.
Now, I'm certainly not saying that men don't do a share of work in the home. Nope, I'm just not saying that at all. But I remember reading once that dads who work outside the home should be paid an extra $17,000 or so for the work they do at home. Big difference.
And, I'm certainly not saying that dads cannot have the role of the stay-at-home-parent. I have a cousin who did just that, back when it wasn't very popular. (He's about 8 years older than I am, I think.)
But there is a difference in having a stay-at-home mom and a stay-at-home dad is this, at least in the instances I've seen. When the work day is over and the working mom comes home, the stay-at-home-dad hangs up his apron and becomes like every other dad. The working mom becomes like every other working mom, taking over everything as soon as she hits the front door.
The study did not show what a housewife without kids would be worth, but it's not hard to see that there is definitely value. I guess that's why I get feeling down about what I can and cannot do in the house anymore. I see what needs done and just cannot do it.
When I was a regional sales director, I always recommended to my sales reps - many of whom also had full time jobs and had children at home - that they use some of the extra money they earned to hire help with cleaning. Those who did that were always happy that they did.
I was working in my first job in retail management - long, long ago - when my boss first suggested that every working woman should hire help with housekeeping, even if it was only once a month. Personally, I think that's an excellent idea and never wasted money.
I have considered having someone come in and clean our house, since I'm not very able any more and hubby's aches and pains are worse at night than during the day. (Besides, a man never sees what a woman sees! ) But you know...I'm like most other women. I'd have to clean the house before the cleaning lady got here.
Suggested Bible readings today:
Matthew 2:1-22, Acts 1:12-26, Psalms 3-4, Genesis 4-7
Warning! Health stuff coming...
Pain level: 6
That's a bit higher than yesterday.
I feel a nap coming on. Just being at the church office for a few hours on Wednesdays makes me awfully tired on Thursdays. I wonder...can I find a paying job that's only 4 hours a week? That seems to be my tolerance level.
The sky is gray and it looks like rain. I guess that could have something to do with my elevated pain level, as well as my lower mood level. Hmmm.
Pain is minimal today. Tender to the touch a bit, though. And my IBS is active.
|Don't get used to this. It's NOT going to be an every day thing.
Today was another research day, but this time was for the church. I'm still trying to find blurbs about small groups/fellowship, being a servant of God, Christian maturity, prayer, devotions, community, tithing and evangelism. So...if you have something short that fits any of those categories or can point me to some wise words, do tell.
At our small group on Sunday night (and hubby's last night) we talked about what small obstacles we face as Christians in the US as compared to Christians in other parts of the world. I think the women's group spoke a bit more about martyrs.
And in my searching today, I discovered something a pastor from India wrote. He's Pastor Paul Ciniraj. His whole mini-sermon can be seen here: http://www.sermonillustrator.org/minisermons/folder2/MY%20BANNER%20IS%20CLEAR.ht...
Here's what got me. The beginning starts with, "I'm a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have the power of the Holy Spirit. They dye has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of Jesus. I won't look back, let up, slow down or be still."
It ends with these words: "I won't give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I have a great hope of His coming back. So I preach till all know and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problems recognizing me, for my banner is clear!!!"
Wow. You know, if just a few of us had had that kind of strength, our country might not be in the shape that it's in today. We might have stood up and said, "No! You will not take the teaching of moral behavior out of our schools. You will NOT teach that every kid can just do his/her own thing and define his/her own truth. It is wrong to kill and to steal and our kids need to know that. It's wrong to treat people badly, it's wrong to have fist fights in school, and it's wrong to be disrespectful of teachers." Maybe if we had stood our ground on these kinds of things, we wouldn't be shaking our heads and saying, "Tssk, tssk, tssk. I wonder how things got this way."
Anyway, do click on the link above and read the whole mini-sermon. Then print it out - like I did - and put it on the wall where you can read it again.
I had a few emails about reading through the Bible in a year by just reading 15 minutes a day. Some said that it depends on how fast one reads. That's certainly true. I read FAST. I zip through books. If you've never read through the entire Bible, or if it's been a while since you did, maybe now is the time to start again.
Our pastor hands out "Parson Larsen's Quiet Time Notebook" that shows how he reads through the Bible. Each day, he provides two New and two Old Testament readings. He reads Monday through Thursday, making notes, then re-reads his notes and selected passages on Friday, then reviews and rests on Saturday and Sunday.
If you'd like to start today reading through the Bible, here's where he would suggest you start:
That's week one in "Parson Larsen's Quiet Time Notebook."
Now...I don't think I'll be back again tonight. Three entries in one day would be a bit much.
I keep forgetting to share. My sister (she's 6 years younger than me), got promoted with Dow Chemical again. Now she's a Corporate Vice President. Before she was just a regular vp. Whatever that means. Here's the latest about her: http://www.dow.com/corpgov/leader/dudley.htm
|Yesterday, in one of the writers newsletters I get, there was mention of this article. What an interesting way to write about restaurants or food choices in foreign countries. http://www.travelpostmonthly.com/archive/dining/misadventures_with_chinese_cuc/
Here's a quote for writers or anyone submitting creative works: "I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get me going, rather than retreat." ~ Sylvester Stallone
Fibromyalgia Education and Awareness Month
I should do a contest. In fact, I am thinking of something. Two somethings, actually. One contest for fibro sufferers, and one for everyone else.
May 6-12 – National Hug Week
May 13-19 – Reading is Fun Week
May 3 – Lumpy Rug Day
Also on May 3: National Day of Prayer, National Day of Reason
May 4 – National Candied Orange Peel Day
May 7 – National Tuba Day
May 8 – No Socks Day
May 9 – National Night Shift Workers Day and National Third Shift Workers Day
May 12 – Fibromyalgia Awareness Day
May 13 – Mother’s Day
May 15 – National Chocolate Chip Day
May 17 – Pack Rat Day
May 18 – National Bike to Work Day
Also on May 18: National Pizza Day, National Send an Electronic Greeting Day, National Visit Your Relatives Day (Strange, isn't it, that National Bike to Work Day and National Pizza fall on the same day?)
May 20 – National Neighbor Day
May 23 – World Turtle Day
May 24 – Brother’s Day
May 25-28 – Old Time Player Piano Days
May 27 - Pentecost
May 28 – Memorial Day
May 30 – My Bucket’s Got a Hole in it Day
For the sports minded, the Kentucky Derby and the Indianapolis 500 are also in May. I didn't include them, though.
|But I did warn you on the last one, right in the subject line. I said I would be back today. And here I am.
Earlier today, a friend from Texas sent some wonderful pictures of the beach at Surfside. He likes to walk the beach with his dogs early in the morning. His dogs romp in the sand and water while the sun comes up. Tom writes some wonderful poems, all about and for God, and I'm sure that's because he takes time each morning to be with God at the beach.
Anyway, along with the 20 pictures, he sent a few words of poetry, but they were not lines he wrote. He included them with the words, "author unknown" at the bottom.
As you probably know by now, that always bothers me. Author unknown? Why!?! The words were surely not penned by themselves.
So, I set out on a search for the writer and it was really a simple search. Took just a few seconds, actually. I think some don't realize how sophisitated Googling has become. One only has to type a line of poetry and - poof! - there's the information about the poet.
I found a few more lines from that same poem, but not the whole thing, which is supposedly 180 lines. It's in the last entry, but just so you don't have to go back:
"Question not, but live and labour
Till yon goal be won,
Helping every feeble neighbor,
Seeking help from none;
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own".-
~ Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-1870).
I got curious about this writer, and trail lead me to some other writers and a bunch of quotations.
I found a quote that I've used before by Anais Nin - "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."
Then I found LOTS of quotations by Anais Nin:
"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection."
"We are the sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them."
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
All of those were by the same writer. I discovered that this writer started keeping a diary at the age of 11, and that her journals ended up being published. And that those words written day in and day out were also the inspiration for her fiction novels and poems.
That's the reason why we keep blogs. Because as we're writing and thinking and pondering, other ideas emerge - ideas we can use for stories or poems.
I did it, you know. I had an entry for every day in April. Same thing for February. But not for March, since that's when hubby and I went to Texas to get my sfuff out of storage. But, yes, I had an entry for every day in April.
I'm not sure that will continue for the month of May. One day at a time.
The rest of this is about health stuff, so beware. If you dont' want to know, stop reading now. You have been warned.
Pain level: 5
When one has chronic pain, it is usually measured on a scaled of zero for none to ten for the worst pain ever. Actually, I have had pains I would define as fifteens.
Mood level: 5
That's my own measurement. I figure that there is no zero. I have to be in some kind of mood, right? But one would be pretty depressed and ten would be super-duper happy.
Tiredness level: 7
Is that a word? Tiredness? For this time of night, that's not a bad thing, being at a level 7 of tiredness.
Stomach yuckiness: 7
That's not such a good thing.
My gastro doc called me today - him personally, not a nurse or other staff - to tell me that the CAT scan showed absolutely nothing. He said that there's nothing that shows up that could be the reason for my pains. Not to mention the burping and passing gas that I do all the time?!???!
I asked if it could not just be part of my fibromyalgia. I've read that lots of fibro patients have stomach/digestive problems. He said that it could. Although I have a muscle relaxer already for skeletal muscles, he's probably going to prescribe a muscle relaxer for my digestive tract muscles.
Yippee skippy. I am certainly pleased as punch that there was nothing on the CAT scan, no abnormality, no growth. I really am.
I'm not thrilled about taking yet another medication. Although, since they cannot find anything wrong, perhaps I can stop taking the two digestive meds I take now and just take the relaxer when I need it? That could be a good thing, I guess.
Perhaps I should watch at least part of the news.
|"Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any." ~ Orson Scott Card
"Question not, but live and labour
Till yon goal be won,
Helping every feeble neighbor,
Seeking help from none;
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own".-
~ Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-1870).
(It's towards the end of a 180-line poem titled Ye Weary Wayfarer. Finis Exoptatus.)
"Some people like my advice so much that they frame it upon the wall instead of using it". - Gordon R. Dickson
|I wrote so many notes yesterday, that I'm having a bit of trouble reading reading my own handwriting. Early on in my struggles with back and neck pain, I started losing strength in my left arm and hand. And I'm left handed! My writing today looks nothing like it did just ten years ago. And sometimes I do have trouble reading it.
While I'm getting my notes organized and trying to remember what my chicken scratch says, why don't you do this. Write down five things that are important to you. You can work on that a minute while I figure out my notes.
Oh, are you finished? Got your list? Good. We'll use that in just a minute.
Part 3 - Building Character - Trust in God
The pastor reminded us that last week's sermon was about truth decay. This sermon was about trusting God, what happens when we don't, and how to be more trusting.
Now grab your list. What was the first thing you wrote down? Whatever it is, that's what you worship most. Hopefully, it was God, although lots of folks don't put God first. Many folks put God in a box and bring him out when they need Him. Sound familiar? That's a genie, not God!
Psalms 5:11 Let those rejoice who put their trust in you.
If you have placed anything or anyone at the top of your list, other than God, you have built an idol to that thing or person.
Augustine defined idolatry as worshiping what ought to be used and using what ought to be worshiped.
Mistrust = the result of missing the only reliable source of trust - God.
Discouragement will keep us down.
We get discouraged when we expect ANYTHING OR ANYONE other than God to meet our needs.
Habakuk 2:15 NIV
Of what value is an idol? For he who makes it trusts in his own cration; he makes idols that cannot speak.
Isaiah 44:20 NLT
The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He is trusting something that can give him no help at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, "Is this thing, this idol that I'm holding in my hand a lie?"
Domination will keep us down.
1 Corinthians 12:2 GN
...you were controlled by dead idols, who led you astray.
Do you exist for God, or does God exist for you?
Distrust = the difficulties in trustig God.
You don't trust somebody you don't know!
Psalms 9:10 NCV
Those who know the Lort trust him, because he will not leave those who come to him.
How do you gain trust in God? Get to know Him. Read the Owner's Manual! God didn't edit the
Owner's Manual, He wrote it!!!
Did you know that if you read the Bible just 15 minutes a day, you can read the whole Bible in a year? Or if you stopped watching TV for three hours a night and, instead, read the Bible, you could read the entire Bible through once a month????! Hmmm. And we say we don't have time???
You can't know somebody if you have misinformation.
Popular myths about God's character:
1) Heavenly Killjoy
People think that God is out to keep us from having fun. It's not true!
2) Celestial Santa
People also think that God is just there to give us what we want. That's not true either. He is not a
magical catalog of stuff. You can't just push a button and expect God to provide whatever it is like
He's a vending machine.
There are other myths about God. These are just two of the most popular.
And you know what? Dad's not happy when we misrepresent Him.
Entrust = our motivation for giving God a chance.
We can trust God to be candid. God IS truth. He cannot lie or misrepresent truth.
Hebrews 6:18 TLB
He has given us both his promise and his oath, two things we can completely count on, for it is
impossible for God to tell a lie.
We can trust God to be caring. God IS Love.
1 John 4:16, 18 NLT
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love...Such love
has no fear because perfect love expels all fear.
The best demonstartion of God's love for us is....Jesus.
Fears of non-believers:
1) no freedom
Wrong! We have freedom to choose. Just not freedom from consequences. God allows us
to make really dumb choices, but we cannot escape the consequences of those stupid acts.
Do we have freedom? Check out the TV shows any day of the week. Things don't shock us
like they used to 30 years ago. America has forgotten how to blush. We have the freedom
to do wrong and to be evil.
2) no fun
Wrong! No one has more fun that a sober Christian!
Wrong! The American Heritage Dictionary defines fanaticism as, "excessive, irrational zeal."
A Christian might have zeal, but it's rational. He knows the character of God and is excited about it!
We can trust God because He is in control. He has the Will, the Purpose, and the
Strength to carry out His Will and Purpose.
It doesn't matter what our opinion is of God.
What matters is WHO GOD REALLY IS.
What is Truth?
I love how God works. Our small groups are NOT following the pastor's sermon series right now. Or so we thought. Each small group has chosen something to study this time, rather than all studying the same thing. We're studying the book of 1 Thessalonians in my small group. So far, we've only gotten through Chapter 1. And don't you know that last night we talked about idols?
|Last week, I took a nap on Sunday afternoon and ended up missing my small group. I'm NOT going to make that mistake this week. But I am tired. Some days this stupid fibro and fatigue stuff make it hard to do more than one activity per day. I wonder if I should look for a small group on another night besides Sunday. Hmmm.
Last night at dinner, Tiff said the prayer before our meal. There was nothing new about that. She often offers the prayer. When she does, she usually recites something that she knows. Lots of adults do that, or they repeat what they've always said as a prayer before a meal.
But last night, Tiff made me proud. She offered a real and heart-felt prayer, one of her own words to Dad. I'm sure He was pleased as well.
Hey, and she even thanked Him for her step-mom - ME! How cool is that?
Tomorrow, I'll post sermon notes. Here's a bit of a teaser:
Last week our pastor spoke about truth decay. This week, his series on building character continued and talked about trusting God.
That America doesn't blush anymore.
That, if instead of watching TV for 3 hours a night (the average for average Americans), we read God's word for 3 hours a night, we could read the entire Bible through once a month!!! Just 15 minutes a day and we can read through the Bible in a year.
That folks spend $1.7 billion on the psychic hotline. Can you imagine??????
Check here tomorrow for more
...like how some folks think of God as a Heavenly Killjoy
...a Celestial Santa.
|My son's dad used to throw the words, "I promise" around way too much. Many times, it was because our son asked it of him.
"You promise, Dad?"
"Yes, I promise."
His dad was never good about putting God first, then family. His "projects" always got in the way, the ones that were going to make him his millions. I'm sure he'll go to his grave trying to make his millions. I wonder how much closer he might have gotten if he had remembered the really important things.
Anyway, those projects got in the way, and sometimes he would just forget about the promises he had made to our son. In Derek's early years, there was a pained look that his eyes took on when one of his dad's promises was not fulfilled. Later, his eyes took on a harder, colder look when his dad promised anything. Derek learned not to trust his father's word.
I've been going through a few books I have about God's promises today. Thankfully, our Heavenly Father is nothing like my son's father. God actually does keep His promises. We can take comfort in God's word, knowing that He meant it when it was written and still means it today.
Mark 11:24-25 NIV
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
Joshua 1:9 NIV
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Luke 1:50 NIV
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
Matt 6:31-34 NIV
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Luke 6:38 KJV
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
I had been a Christian for many, many years before anyone ever suggested to me that a prayer journal is something every Christian should have. I was in a group of women, most of whom had been in the church for many years. Our speaker was also a women. She asked who had prayer journals. Many of us did. Some even had places in their prayer journal for praise reports. But none of us had ever thought to tie these two things together - our prayers and our praises.
None of us believed in coincidence. And we all knew that when God answers prayers, He can answer, yes, no or wait. But no one had ever suggested to us to put a column in our prayer journals for God's answers. Well, duh.
By changing that one thing, by including God's answers to prayers, it was easy to see that sometimes something that we prayed about months (perhaps years) ago had come to pass. In God's timing. God's perfect timing.
|I have always loved reading the quotations of wise men and women. They don't have to be the most famous folks on earth, although it seems that most are famous.
Some of the wisest words can be found in the book of Proverbs. Have you ever just poured over Proverbs?
Prov 10:4 NIV
Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.
Prov 10:9 NIV
The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.
Prov 10:12 NIV
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.
Prov 11:12 NIV
A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.
There are other wise words, of course. It always amazes me when people who claim to be writers, here and on other sites, also proclaim that they have no time to read. How can one be a writer who does not read? Here's what some wise folks say about reading:
Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary. We must not permit anything to stand between us and the book that could change our lives. ~ Jim Rohn
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them. ~ Mark Twain
The things you read will fashion you by slowly conditioning your mind. ~ A.W. Tozer
What I like in a good author is not what he says but what he whispers. -Logan Pearsall Smith
About giving advice (or reviews?):
Advice is like snow -- the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper in sinks into the mind. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. ~ Mark Twain
About being an artist or being creative:
An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one. ~ Charles Horton Cooley
The very essence of the creative is its novelty, and hence we have no standard by which to judge it. ~ Carl R. Rogers
Thinking: The talking of the soul with itself. ~ Plato
Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best. ~ Henry Van Dyke
Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, in the hands of one who knows how to combine them! ~ Vathaniel Hawthorne
Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it,
picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light. ~ Joseph Pulitzer
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle
Saying these kinds of things gets me into trouble, but it's really what I believe. This is Kenzie.
Kenzie says: "I don’t think true writers ever write anything bad, not if we allow the heart and soul to be the writer of our words."
Kenzie says: "If you dream of being a writer, you already are one! The words are merely being held prisoner in your mind. Release them!"
And because I think we need reminded of this now and then:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. ~ President John Adams, Oct. 11, 1798
Some links you might like:
Newspapers and Magazines
The Vocabula Review
The Poetry Market E-Zine
|I have shared this before, but it relates to my Thursday ponderings.
I started working at a mid-sized newspaper in Texas about six weeks before Sept. 11, 2001 and immediately I wondered why I was there and if I had done that stupid thing I had done before. You know...charging ahead before God had revealed what He wanted me to do. There was so much fussing in the newsroom and God was so obviously absent from the employees and from the news, that I found it hard to go to work some mornings.
That's when I began - again - waking very early in the mornings so that I could watch the sun rise and listen to the birds as they began their morning worship. I enjoyed watching the squirrels romp. And my spirit was quieted enough to join the chaos I knew I would face each day.
I was glad that that I had the newsroom to myself each day for about two to three hours. I was able to review and plan what I needed to do without interruption, at least from other employees. But I soon realized that the longer I was there, the more the newsroom phone rang in those early morning hours. Even the receptionist noticed it.
When I first started at the newspaper, I was the editorial assistant. A big part of my job was reading all of the letters to the editor and recommending to the managing editor which ones we should print. He also read them all, but he and the publisher soon came to trust my judgement on what should be published. Yes, we disagreed sometimes, but I won more than I lost.
It was also my job, once we had decided upon letters to be published, to contact the writers to make sure we had their permission to print. Most letters had to be edited. People - like me! - tend to use far too many words than necessary, and we did have a limit to the number of words allowed in each letter or guest column. (Guest columns were allowed more words than regular letters to the editor, but still had a limit.)
Before I arrived, the managing editor did all the editing of the letters, and he often angered the writers by how he did that. After I started, I was allowed to edit some, and I usually got the task of editing anything from pastors, churches or Christians. At first, folks didn't trust me to edit their letters any more than they did the managing editor. They really wanted to do it themselves. But try as they might, they usually could not get their 750 word letters down to the required 300 words or less. Often, they would be ready to give up rather than have their words and message destroyed. Then, I would gently ask if I might try. I would work on their letters, then email a copy to them, and they would usually be pleased (and surprised) with the result.
These folks, many of them regular letter writers (have you ever noticed that? Letters to the editor are often written by the same people over and over again...), were the ones also calling me early each morning. Even with these affirmations, though, I still wondered what purpose I served and why I had thought God was all for me working at the newspaper.
One thing that our newspaper did not publish was poetry, even though we got at least three or four poems - about current events - each week. I had the task of letting people know that we just could not publish poetry. Sometimes, the poems would have been ideal for addressing a particular issue, but the editor and publisher stood firm on this rule.
Then came Sept. 11, 2001. I arrived a bit later than I should have that day. I had trouble getting out of bed, and when I did I turned on the news. I really didn't want to leave my living room, then, but knew that I had to. I sped down the highway to work and, as usual, turned on the newsroom TV's as I entered. I beckoned the people in the classified sales department through the glass that separated us, knowing that they would want to see the news being shown. Shortly after they all stood behind me watching the New York scene, the second plane hit.
Thirty minutes later, the managing editor arrived and asked that I contact every reporter and photragrapher whether or not they were scheduled to work. Even before they all gathered, he had me calling banks and government offices to see if they had done anything to change their security measures. Naturally, they wouldn't really share much about that.
Everyone in the newsroom became reporters that day, even our part time file clerk. We all gathered quotes and information from local people. As a mid-sized local paper, we didn't try to compete with larger regional or national news media. Our focus was on how this affected the local people and businesses.
As I spoke to one small town local mayor, she and I prayed together over the phone. I noticed that the newsroom noice quieted as we prayed and when I hung up the phone, the reporter behind me said, "Hey, I'm a Christian. How come no one wants to pray with me? Why is it that whether you call a banker, the post office or one of the town halls, you end up praying? Here, call this business and see if the owner prays with you." And so I did. And, yes, we prayed too.
It was then, I think, that I figured out why I was working in the newsroom at that time and place.
So why am I pondering about this today? Well...
Even though we had a hard and fast rule about never, ever publishing poetry, that changed for a while after 9/11. The poems started coming in and we started publishing them every Sunday. For weeks, we printed two full pages of poems every Sunday. Without ever telling the public that our policy had changed, the poems just started coming in droves. Without much discussion in the newsroom, we decided that our readers needed to vent and share in the only way they felt they could. And many who had never written a poem in their lives, did so after Sept. 11 and submitted them to the newspaper.
When tragedy occurs, people write poetry.
When President Kennedy died when I was in the 6th grade, I wrote a poem about it.
When the Challenger accident happened, I wrote a poem about it.
When kids were shot at Columbine, I wrote a poem about it.
(I don't have any of these.)
When Sept. 11 happened, I wrote a poem about it. "Tumbled Towers, Humbled Hearts"
When the Columbia accident happened, I wrote a poem about it. "Shuttled Home"
So why couldn't I write one about the Virginia Tech massacre? Is it because I cannot cry? "The "eyes" have it"
|And to think that it showed up in Kenzie(kin's) mail....
You remember? "And to think that it happened on Mulberry Streety?" Oh never mind.
I was not online or one WDC much today, 'cause I was making sure my computer was in tip-top shape. Or as tip-toppy as it can be. I was supposed to be doing an interactive online survey at 6 p.m. and wanted to make sure my computer was as good as it could be. I polished and tweaked and everything. Of course, way too many people logged in for the survey and instead of spending 90 minutes and getting $30, I'll get a few bucks for trying. Oh well.
Anyway, at some point I realized that I could use hubby's computer while mine was doing scan disk and defrag and whatever other hoops I made it jump.
There sure were a bunch of emails in my inbox. I pondered that a minute, then realized that it was newsletter day and I subscribe to a few. But there were also quite a few emails from one particular writer. Five to be exact.
Those emails all had the same subject too. Re: Review of item #xxxxxx. I pondered that for a minute. Wondered if this person, whose handle was not familiar to me, actually responded to a review I did 5 times or if he/she hit the button too many times. Or, maybe he/she was just using the reply button instead of typing my name in the "to" line. I just didn't know.
I kicked back and started reading. My chair - well hubby's chair, since I was using his computer - was tilted back a bit and I was settling in to get comfy and read my emails here at the friendly WDC place. But as I started reading, I leaned forward right about the time that the kitty thought she would join me on the chair. We both almost toppled over. And why, you might ask? Because of what I read in the first email.
My, my, this person must have had me confused with someone else. Yep, that must be it. 'Cause this guy had sent me a downright nastygram (as Budroe says). Well, actually, 5 nastygrams. The first was a bit nasty, and by the time he had typed the last one (5 in about 65 minutes), it was really, really bad. He called me names (*itch and *nal *itch), told me that I had no idea what good writing was and said I had no sense of humor. (Moi? Come on.)
I looked at the few lines I had sent as a review. Then I read his work again, since I really didn't remember it. It had been a few days...
You know, some folks think that I send blanket good reviews to everyone, but that's just not true. This guy would tell you that. If something touches me, I'll say that. If I think it needs work, I'll say that too. This one needed work, in my opinion. And it was titled a joke and I could not find any humor in it. Rather, I thought it was mean and mean spirited and said so. Even so, those of you who know me by now, know that I said that as kindly as I knew how.
And yet this person shot off 5 emails to me, each one worse than the last.
Sigh. I thought about responding, but really didn't want to get into a back and forth with this guy. I also didn't want anyone else subjected to the abuse I received. So I reported it as harrassment, since the dude had sent me 5 emails in 65 minutes all about the same one writing of his and one review of mine.
Y'all can report harrassment too, if you get any.
|Last night on our local news there was a short piece about the fact that some people food is now contaminated by that wheat gluton the pet food had. It seems that some farmers fed the pet food to pigs. Supposedly, the amount that people would actually get from eating the pork isn't much. But they still made the farmer stop selling his pigs for us to eat. Hmmm.
My sister called late last night to let me know that our brother was in the hospital again in Pittsburgh. It's one of his routine visits to have his fluids drained. He's an alcoholic whose kidneys and liver don't work well anymore, and when his fluids back up his belly grows and grows. It looks like he's swallowed a water melon.
I talked to him late this afternoon. Now...my brother started doing drugs and drinking booze in his early teens. But he started lying about everything before he went to kindergarten. Why is that important? Because he told me that he was also in the hospital about a month or so ago because he was bitten by a rat.
My brother is mostly homeless. He has lived in abandoned cars, under bridges, in cardboard boxes. He says right now he's living underneath a porch somewhere. I think it's the porch of the bar where he hangs out. He has no money, but he does some cleaning and runs (literally) a few errands for the owner and is paid in booze. The local restaurants also pay him to do insignificant errands, so he eats at least once a day too.
Supposedly, brother Bill lay down for the night last month and put his hand under the pillow and felt something furry. He scared the rat as much as it scared him and it bit his forehead. Bill said that he walked to the police station, where they called for an ambulance for him.
This kind of thing could happen to a homeless drunk. No doubt. But with my brother's reputation for lying, it's hard to tell if it's a true story or not. About 6 months ago, he called his daughter supposedly from the hospital after a heart attack. She informed everyone in the family, but the hospital said he had not been there in months. So, you just never know with him.
I finally got my hair cut. I've been in Cincinnati for 2 1/2 years almost and this is only the third time I've had it cut. The first two times, I went to those cheapo places and really hated the cuts I got. So my hair had gotten waaaaaaaaaay too long - for a 55 year old - and terribly unruly. I finally discovered that one of our church members worked as a hair stylist and everyone said she was wonderful. Well, she is. She also works in a pretty fancy place. My hair cut cost $30 plus tip.
I had something else to write about, but I have totally forgotten what it was. I blame that on fibro fog, of course. It has nothing at all to do with getting old. Don't even go there.
Grrr. Today my stomach/digestive system decided that it hadn't been bothering me for a while and decided to fix that. My stomach feels like there's a real war going on in there. Seriously. I can feel the stomach juices just a-sloshing around in there. Burning pain. Grrr.
|You've heard it before. I can't believe it's Monday. Where did the weekend go???
I have a mini-rant while I'm thinking about it. Not long ago, I received an email from a newbie asking how many gift points one had to pay someone for a review. That whole idea - HAVING to give gp's when someone reviews - has been bugging me for some time. I remember the first time I saw someone actually put that in writing in a "how-to" piece. I think it was how to get seen and reviewed more, and it mentioned that WDC etiquette said that one should reward those who take the time to review one's work.
Who said? I guess I'm a rebel on some level and I HATE it when someone decides I have to do something, especially when it doesn't make sense. I'm not saying that you should never send gp's to a reviewer. But I do wonder about HAVING to do so. Reward good reviews if you want, but the amount given should be up to you. But should you reward that reviewer who is sending the exact same review to everyone, just so he/she can get system rewards? I think not. A thoughtful review, a helpful review, one that points out things that don't work or that do might warrant a few gift points as a reward. But not a short cookie-cutter review. That's my opinion, anyway.
On to the sermon notes....
I find it rather..."interesting" that our pastor began a sermon series about building character right before the shooting at VA Tech. His sermon on Sunday actually adressed some of the things that seemed to be issues with the shooter.
There are lots of margin notes this week!
For instance: People today think, "They caused me to do it!" The pastor said that, and as he did, I remembered that when I was in high school and college, many said, "The devil made me do it!" Comedians even said that in their routines. But back then, we weren't talking about someone else causing us to be violent. Perhaps making us participate in a sit-in or peace march. Perhaps "making" us try some drugs. But never "making" us inflict harm on someone else. The world has certainly changed.
Other margin notes: There's a difference between having rights and having responsibilities. Between entitlements and obligations. Between choice and commitments. We focus too much on one side and not the other side (on rights instead of responsibilities, etc.).
Do we think Frank Sinatra was a theologian? That his song, "I did it my way" should be our mantra?
1 Cor 10:12 NIV So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!
If you have been responsible, God will bless your sox off! We receive blessings for just being responsible.
God is interested only in your character. That's the part that lives on into eternity. This is our temporary home. We all have an eternity coming - in one place or the other.
Read Proverbs! The definition of fool is irresponsible. Fool is mentioned over and over (as is the wise one - the responsible one).
Temptations are bad and come from Satan. Inspirations are good and come from God.
The average American spends $1300 for every $1000 he earns. The biggest problem with marriages today is finances. Til debt do us part.
If you're not hungry for God's word, it's because you're filling up on other things. The pastor used food as an example. If you're filling up on chips, when it's time for dinner you're not hungry. If you eat too much stuffing, there won't be room for turkey. We're supposed to be hungry for God's word. If we're not, it probably means we're reading other things, watching news, filling our minds and our time with things other than God things.
On to the fill-in-the-blanks...
The mentality of our culture:
I demand it. I have my rights.
I didn't do it. I'm a victim. I blame him.
I deserve it. The world owes me.
Galatians 6:5 (MSG)
Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
Motivation for responsible character
God is observing.
Hebrews 4:13 (NCV)
Nothing in all the world can be hidden from God. Everything is clear and lies open before Him, and to Him we must explain the way we have lived.
Romans 14:12 (NLT)
Yes, each of us will have to give a personal accounting to God.
People are affected by me.
1 Corinthians 10:24 (GW)
People should be concerned about others and not just about themselves.
I am rewarded for it.
Deuteronomy 28:2 (MSG)
All these blessings will come down on you and spread out beyond you because you have responded to the voice of God, your God.
Matthew 25:29 (NKJV)
For to everyone who has, more will be given.
Models for responsible living
I must save my money.
Proverbs 21:20 (TLB)
The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.
I must nourish my mind. (Remember garbage in, garbage out.)
Proverbs 23:7 (ASV)
For as he thinketh within himself, so is he.
Proverbs 15:14 (NLT)
A wise person is hungry for truth, while the fool feeds on trash.
I will admit my mistakes.
Proverbs 28:13 (TLB)
A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Our pastor suggested that we remember these verses above, about admitting our mistakes and claiming the righteousness of God. He suggested that we write the words, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus" somewhere where we can see them. After we have confessed and vowed to forsake our sin, of course.
I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
I have lots I should/could do today. House wifey stuff. Cleaning. Plus I still have things I brought back from Texas that need to have homes somewhere.
Hopefully, someone is coming to look at one or two pianos this weekend. Pray with me that the man buys at least one (two would be better!). It would really help our finances.
|I've mentioned my dry eyes and the fact that I cannot cry. And how painful it was last week that I couldn't cry when I wanted to over the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
A few years ago, I wrote about the callouses on my eyes.
You know what else? Last year when I went to the eye doc, I had just developed a skin tag on my eye lid. The doc it an eye wart and said he'd be glad to take it off for me. I was rather insulted that he said I had an eye wart. Gross. Besides, with him putting plugs in my tear ducts to help my dry eyes (no, I cannot quite figure that one out either), I didn't really have the money to do the cosmetic thing and get the eye wart off too. So, it's been there ever since.
The stupid thing even got a bit dark so that to cover it up I would have had to use a dark eye shadow color. Not my thing or my color. So, it's been there for the world to see.
This morning when I was washing my face and getting ready to put on some make-up, there was something sticking to my eye lashes. I picked it off and realized that it was that stupid eye wart. Yep. The thing just dropped off. I guess that proves that the doc's term - eye wart - was on target. Warts do fall off.
Guess that's all for now. I'll share sermon notes tomorrow. But here's a hint: isn't it amazing that our pastor started a new sermon series last week about building character - just before the VA Tech horror? This week's heading was "Whose Responsibility?" One of my margin notes was quoting the pastor, "They caused me to do it!" But that reminded me that back when I was in high school and collge, we used to say, "The devil made me do it." Even comedians said that. We were usually talking about peaceful things, though, not violent acts. The world has changed.
|Right. Well sort of. Someone must have been praying that I might be able to cry. That's really sweet of you, but would you mind being a bit more specific? Today as I rode down the street, some tears trickled of the sides of my eyes. I wasn't thinking sad thoughts, but there they were. Tears and driving don't mix well. Besides, there weren't enough to flush my eyes. Just enough to make them sore.
I don't feel much like blogging today. Why, you ask? I dunno. The answer that comes to mind is, "I don't wanna. You can't make me. I'm going out to eat worms." Did we really say that????
You know, there's one thing in my portfolio that has not had much activity. It's the only thing with a passkey and no one has ever asked for it. But I did provide the key in my blog entry one day. It appears that it's only been viewed and rated one time, and that's because I specifically asked someone to take a look at it.
Much to do. I'll share more tomorrow.
|The whole point of mentioning psycho cat yesterday was to tell how she woke me. But I forgot to mention that.
Yesterday, I didn't have to get up to pick up Derek from work since it was one of his off days. Hubby doesn't wake me on those days, but often the animals do. Before we got Opera, Piewacket would usually wake me about 15 minutes after Jim left for work because she was lonely. She's not so lonely with the kitty around, but now Opera wakes me. Yesterday, she woke me even before hubby left for work. Grrrr.
I'm not sure - since I was SLEEPING! - if she jumped from the floor to the bed and landed on me or if she was in the window behind our bed and jumped down from there and on me. One of her claws ended up inside my nose, though, and I emerged from the bedroom to greet hubby with a tissue stuffed up my nose. It was bleeding a bit.
Last week (or was it the week before?...time goes so fast) she did the same thing only her claw gouged my cheek. That's still tender to the touch.
Stupid cat. Whether she's jumping from the floor to the bed or from the window to the bed, she really could find a place to land besides on me! Or if she insists on jumping on me, she could keep the claws in. Grrr.
Anyway, that's why I started to write about Opera yesterday. And I forgot.
If you're a regular visitor, you know that I usually share my sermon notes on Mondays. Hubby thought it might be helpful to actually see what I'm talking about when I write about fill-in-the-blanks and margin notes. This image is small, so you can't actually read the words. But it does show that the printed part with places to fill in the blanks is in the middle, and my scribbles are all over the margins.
These notes go with this entry: "MONDAY! - Updated at 10:20 pm"
Yesterday, Pass it on sent me this beautiful daisy sig. I guess I had been the highest bidder in an action some time ago and I think I had dropped the ball by not telling what kind of sig I wanted. We finally got that all straightened out and this is the result.
I guess that's all for now, although some thoughts might emerge from the fog later.
|Our younger cat really is strange. I wonder if she'll ever grow up. She runs around the house like a....well, like she's nuts sometimes. My son thinks she's totally lacking a brain, 'cause she doesn't appear to be able to learn some things. I'm not sure. She has learned the things she wants to do, just not the things she shouldn't do. It's like having a terrible two around who doesn't get any older, though. A bit tiring. But she really is good at purring - LOUDLY - when she thinks she has maybe gone a bit too far. Then she crawls up into my lap and looks at me with such sweet, innocent eyes and turns on that purring motor. Boy does she know me. I can't get angry when she's like that. So. Is she stupid? Probably not.
I'm avoiding TV and news media today. It's not that I don't want to know what's going on about Virginia Tech. But, one of my fibro problems is dry eye. Last year, my eye doc put some plugs in my eye lids (although he didn't finish the job 'cause we haven't finished paying for what he did do), to try to help the situation. From what I've learned, though, it might be a lost cause. Folks with fibro can get dry eye. Folks on the medications I take can get dry eye. Folks who have worn contact lenses for 40 years can get dry eye. Add all of those factors together, and it's no wonder I have it.
And having dry eye has been down right painful these last few days. I never knew how physically painful it could be when you want - need - to cry but can't. It's like all the emotions have just bunched up inside of me and have no where or no way to escape. By avoiding watching any more news coverage, I have somewhat avoided adding to the pain.
My poor son is having trouble with his hands. It's been mostly pain, but now he's losing feeling in his right hand. His dominant hand. Turns out that at work he spends at least 3 of the 8 hours using a (retail) scan gun. I've used those myself, but never for that long in any one day. I can't imagine using one 3+ hours a day every day - for two years. He's been searching the internet and thinks it might be carpal tunnel. He's worried about the cost of treating it and if surgery might be necessary, etc. I think I eased his fears a bit on that. I think since it's a work related thing that it might be covered by worker's comp. I hope so for his sake.
I was doing some searching last night and discovered that this church has one of my writings on its web site. I half-way remember them asking if they could use it. I've had at least 5 churches ask to use my writings in the past few years. I've always said yes.
I guess that's all for today. My computer acted up most of the day. For some reason, my DSL was showing that I had a connection, but it wouldn't actually let me view any pages with Internet Explorer. I finally had to uninstall and reinstall my Netgear. Then when I re-booted, it insisted on starting in safe mode. I used scan disk and it discovered some errors. Then the whole process started over again, with not being able to connect to anything. Perhaps I wasn't supposed to be online much today.
And now I'm tired.
|When I first arrived at the church office last week and was being shown around by one of the other volunteers, I noticed all the colored paper stacked in a corner. Bright shades, lots of them.
I remembered a church in Texas where folks actually left over colored paper. Some thought it was too expensive to use. Others said they would specify on their tithes (checks) that it was for colored paper. Seriously, they fought over colored paper and some folks left with all the fussing going on.
I said something about that to our pastor and he commented that every church has their "colored paper issues." Perhaps we all do.
Something was really bugging me the other day. I realized that some Christians have this idea that if they came to know Jesus in a particular place, ministry, or church that everyone should come to know Him in the same exact time, place or way.
In the UM church, it happens when someone attends the Walk to Emmaus or Disciple Bible Study or Lay Speaker Training. Each of those are good. I've participated in each one and have found each one to be helpful in different ways. I also know that each one does help folks get closer to God. But that doesn't mean that any one of them is better than the other. Frankly, the best way to get close to God is to read His word, to pray and to listen. It always has been. But these other programs are great in helping us grow. So are many others.
Someone used the term "faith transference" when talking about this. If one has been a member of the __________ (fill in the blank) church, one may come to believe that particular church is the only one teaching truth or the only one close to God.
The same thing happens when people discover their own Spiritual gifts. However they made the discovery is what they push on others as the one and only way to that discovery.
It's all amazing to me. Perhaps that's because I was blessed with sitting with my grandmother and discussing matters of faith. Since she had only a seventh grade education (and made sure she reminded us of that), she had a very simple way of looking at life and faith. She passed on her wisdom to us, but in very simple terms.
The answer is always Jesus. The answer is the Bible, God's instruction manual for the people He created and loves. The answer is God!
If we find Him in a particular Bible study, that's great. If we discover Him and get closer to Him because of a particular ministry, that's wonderful. But it's not the Bible study or ministry that was the key. The key was always Jesus.
It's Jesus we find when we go looking. Of course, He was never very far away. We're the ones who get lost.
Yesterday, as the news droned on and on about the tragedy at Virginia Tech, I kept thinking about my grandmother and couldn't figure out why. Grandma died on March 16, 1980.
Then I realized that my grandmother, my mom and I had sat glued to the TV after President Kennedy was killed. I'm sure that's why she kept coming to mind yesterday.
And just for fun, a place to play...and make weird poems. Just fill in the blanks.