Saturday, December 26, 2009

Comfort in the Rockin' Chairs

Last night as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I looked at my wall...

My mind was filled with lots of things: peace from a good Christmas day, joy in knowing that my family was safe and snug in their beds, lists of things that needed to be done, and concerns for people I love.

I had no answers for the worries I carried. I turned them over and over in my head. I quietly and vaguely tried to give those burdens to the Lord...and my heart hurt a little bit.

And then, I looked at my wall again and noticed that there was, staring at me, a photograph of some empty rockin' chairs on my parents' front porch. Somehow, even though the chairs were empty, I received comfort from the sight of them.

Solutions to those worries did not magically appear. And yet, something about those rocking chairs, something about the love that they represent gave me hope for things that don't seem to have much right now...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Just a little at a time....

Some of you may know that in slightly more than 9 weeks, I'm gonna walk in the Breast Cancer 3-Day.
It's a big walk... 60 miles in 3 days. Lots of miles each of those days.

So, to get ready, I've been trying to follow the training plan as much as possible. It doesn't always work exactly like the plan, but I try to do what I can.

Yesterday, I thought I was supposed to do a 12 mile walk. So, I took the dog for the first 4 miles and then Harv and the girls met me at Starbucks, had a cup of coffee, and took the dog back home. I, on the other hand, continued to walk -- for eight more miles (Harv joined me for the last 2 1/2 miles).

I was sore. And tired. And, it turns out, when I looked on the training schedule, it was supposed to have been a 14 mile day. I was pretty proud of walking 12 miles and a little disappointed that I didn't follow the plan. I got over it. And, tried to pump myself up for a ten mile walk today.

This morning I didn't really want to walk. I was still sore from yesterday and I didn't want to have to wake up early. My nice neighbor walked with me for the first five miles. Then I came home, showered, changed my clothes and walked to and from church (the last five miles).

All along the way, I really didn't want to be walking. I enjoyed time with my neighbor and on the way to and from church I listened to good music, but I would have really enjoyed staying at home for my first cup of coffee and riding to and from church.

However!! On the way home, (my last 2 1/2 miles) I had a revelation...

There is a training plan to get my body and my mind ready. For each mile I don't want to walk, but do anyway, I gain a little more confidence... a little more, "I can do THIS." Because I walked 12 miles yesterday and 10 more miles today, it gives me the hope that I can walk the 15 miles that's comin' up at the end of this week.

And, it occurred to me that training for the 3-Day is a lot like life. Every time we do something --- even when we don't think we have it in us --- we get more and more prepared for the things that are ahead.

So! For those of you who may be walking the 3-Day, walk on!! It's gettin' you ready in lots of ways.

And, for those of you facing what seems to be an insurmountable task, do it a little at a time and each step will prepare you for what's ahead.

GoFightWin!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Four Unexpected Boxes

Today when I opened my mailbox, I found a BIG box-- and it was addressed to me! I wasn't expecting anything; no one had warned me that it was going to arrive. So, naturally, I was curious about its contents.

As I walked back to the house, my mind came up with a few possibilites, but I was NOT expecting what I found when I opened the box.


Inside the well-wrapped and well-taped box were 4 other boxes. And those boxes held the 50 some-odd years' worth of Mama's recipes.

The tears started unexpectedly. There was something very personal and real about having the recipes my mother used and added to for years.

The emotion remains.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Remembering the Little Things

The other day, some friends on Facebook started talking about the Varsity, a greasy, fast-food establishment in Atlanta. It's been around since before my father went to Georgia Tech and it was one of our family's traditions to go there -- often after church on Sundays.

Thinking about the Varsity, made me think about what our family ordered and how it was handled... Usually, we sat in the upper "newer" area. We'd all sit down and Papa would take a napkin from the holder and remove the pen from his shirt pocket. Then he'd write down:

  • chili only dog (and write tally marks (not actual numbers) next to that depending on how many people wanted 'em.)

  • PC (usually only two tally marks -- for him and Mama)

  • FO (that was my order)

  • onion rings (one tally mark)

  • fries (one tally mark)

And, to tell you the truth, I don't have any idea what everybody else ordered. I think Mary Celeste ordered a hamburger.

And when we were young, we used to love to take about 5 straws from the straw container and put them together and pretend like they were very long cigarettes.

Anyway! When I started to remember how my father took our order, it made me think of his handwriting -- which led to me thinking about a lot of teeny weensy (an expression he also used) other things that I loved about my father, which were really just teeny weensy things. And yet, they were things that made my father, my father.

Things like:

  • the way he loved to sit on the front porch during thunderstorms

  • the special bed he made on the floorboard of the car when we went on long trips

  • the way he folded towels

  • the way he brushed his teeth (I still can hear that sound)

  • the way he said "Amen" after he heard good church music

  • the way he raked leaves and worked in the yard

  • the way he swept and mopped the front porch

  • the way he turned around to back up the car

  • the way he rubbed my legs when I had growing pains

  • the way he wrapped me up in a towel and carried me back to my bedroom after a bath

  • silly songs he sang like: "Happy birthday to you. You live in a zoo. You look like a monkey and you smell like one, too." and "Hattie was in the garden howin' 'round the 'maters. Hattie ran 'round the huckleberry bush and I hit her in the eye with a tater."

  • his silly little recitation: "Ma, make 'Lian leave Jule alone." (Lillian and Julie)

  • the tears in his eyes when he sang old songs

  • the way he answered the phone at work.... "Rrrobert Hall"

  • riding the waves with him at Jekyll

  • the way he hugged relatives and people he loved

  • seein' him talk to Uncle Wheeler on the front porch when Uncle Wheeler and Aunt Ruby would come to Atlanta

It's funny how one little memory can spark lots of others.

What a blessing to have had a father who gave me memories in which I can take comfort even now.

It's the little things that warm my heart.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Here's an idea...

I've never thought a whole lot about writing a memoir, but last weekend, I picked up a book by Natalie Goldberg that piqued my interest. It's called Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir.

Not sure what I was going to do with it, I thought that, at the very least, it could just help me get busy writing.

This morning I picked it up and read the first few pages. The first one jumped out at me beacause the title was: Read this Introduction. Interesting that she knew that I often times prefer NOT to read the introductions of books. AND! Interesting that I must not be the only one.

Her writing "hooked" me so I kept reading. I even read the next "chapter" called Note to Reader... which made me want to keep reading.

First chapter is called Go. In that chapter, the reader is given an assignment which is first to spend 10 minutes filling up ugly, ol' spiral notebook page(s) with the completion of the sentence: "I'm looking at..." Upon completing that exercise, the next assignment is to complete the sentence: "I'm thinking of..." Each time, spending 10 minutes just writing what comes to mind.

Her rules are to keep your hand moving. Be specific: Cadillac instead of car; sycamore instead of tree. If you get stuck, you should begin again with the sentence "I'm looking at..." or "I'm thinking of..."

The exercise was wonderful (even though my hand was sore)... It brought lots of possible story possibilities to mind. It intrigued me to think about all the stuff that's inside of me that I may not have touched yet with my writing.

Tomorrow's exercise is gonna be fun, too... "I remember..."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

There once was a man...

(photo: Laura Kitchens)

There once was a man who was many things.
He was a husband and a father and an architect and an officer in the church and a friend.
He laughed a lot, and he worked hard.
He was sensitive and he was firm.
He spanked me and he also hugged me.
He was quiet so I didn't always know what he was thinking.
But I always knew he loved me.
He was a good, good man.
And, words do not express how much I loved him.
And, words do not express how much I miss him.
He was a good, good man.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Outside with Her Dog

Sarah wrote a poem this weekend that I thought was well worth sharing.

Outside with my Dog
We run
Around and
Around and
Around.
She scampers
Up the old pile
Of wood
And the hill
Of ivy.
She makes it.
I squeak a
Wheezy, chewy
Ball and her
Ears
Prick up, like
She knows
That
I’ll do it one more time.
And when I do,
She zooms,
Down the broken, wooden
Stairs.
I freeze,
Brace myself
For the dog who is like
A jet-
She’ll knock you
Over,
Despite the size.
She grabs the
Ball and at last
Runs away with it.
She looks like someone
Who has just
Gotten a bite
Too big to chew-
The ball is too
Big for her mouth.
When she waits
by the gate
I cautiously
Let her out,
The cat is nearby.
She pulls, and
I let her out of
My grip.
Out from my
Peripheral
Vision, I see
Her trot to
The cat.
I quickly
Close the
latch and hurry
towards her.
I see a tiny,
Delicate grey
Paw swipe at
Her golden-red
Muzzle.
She backs up,
Her rear
High,
And waits.
I drag her,
Her resistance
Loosens
At the door.
She runs
Inside, finds
A toy,
And rushes to
Me,
While I
close the door.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

It's already May again...



I don't have anything particularly profound to say.
I just miss my parents.

(bottom two photos by Laura Kitchens)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This could be yours by the end of May!

Everyone who donates to the Breast Cancer 3-Day by May 21st (my birthday) in my name will be entered to win THIS 8GB Zune player (see box below to donate)!

Description from Amazon:
This slim 8 GB Zune device is good to go with plenty of room for your favorite music, pictures, and video. It comes complete with a built-in FM tuner and buy-from-FM capabilities, wireless sync, Zune-to-Zune wireless sharing, video playback, and more--so you get all that Zune power in one tight little package. It holds up to 2,000 songs, 25,000 pictures, or 25 hours of video.

Help me reach my goal for the Atlanta Breast Cancer 3-Day!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'm gonna walk 60 miles to fight breast cancer!


Please support me as I take an amazing journey in the fight against breast cancer! The Breast Cancer 3-Day is a 60-mile walk over the course of three days. Net proceeds benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure and National Philanthropic Trust, funding important breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatment.

I'm walking this walk for my sister. For my cousin. For family who fought the fight already -- some of whom are survivors! I'm walking this walk for friends who are currently fighting breast cancer or who have in the past. And, I'm walking this walk for my daughters and the women of the future!

The treatment for breast cancer has come a long way since my aunts fought the fight in the early '70s but it still has a ways to go!! Your donation can help speed the process along.

I appreciate any donation you'd like to make.

Thank you in advance for your support!!

You can check out my blog which follows Laura's journey...

Friday, April 17, 2009

APRIL?!?!

Back in the fall, I wrote a blog entry or two about how I noticed that my girls are getting older and that it was kind of scary.

Yesterday it occurred to me that it's April already. APRIL, mind you!!! How in the world did it get to be APRIL?! It was just yesterday that we went to the middle school orientation LAST spring! My girls weren't even IN middle school a minute ago!!!

And, so, once again, I'm feeling a little scared and sad and sentimental.

I think it's possible that I'm a bit too critical of myself, but what scares me is that time is whizzing by and I'm feeling like I haven't spent enough time with my girls. I LOVE alone-time, but what if I've had too much?

Fear often leads me to pray...

I'm praying that I (and all the other mamas of the world) will learn to cherish the moments that are FLYING by...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rest

Even hummingbirds sit still every-now-and-then.
(Photo taken through my less-than=perfectly clean kitchen window.)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Refreshment

Ahhhhhhh! Sunshine and your best friend make for a lovely day!
(Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sanctuary

My father would have loved being in this church.
(St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, NY)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Puppy Prayers

This morning I lost my cool with Raney. She was simply acting like a puppy, but I wanted her to act like an extremely obedient human. I gave her some commands which she did not follow and I found myself making that deep exasperated groan that one makes when there are no adequate words to express frustration.

I realize, now, that what she wanted me to be was a puppy friend... to play and pounce and bite and snatch things from her. She probably would've liked it if I had gotten down on all fours and raised my rump in the air and then POUNCED on her. That didn't occur to me at the time, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have done it, but I think it would've been helpful if I had realized it IN THE MOMENT.

Pet ownership is a bit of a challenge for someone who likes to be in control, someone who likes order and predictability.

Puppies, in some ways, are more challenging than children. Afterall, children don't eat tree stumps and ivy and rocks, and try to chew my hands (with teeth that can seriously puncture my skin)... Stores allow you to bring your children inside. Not so much with puppies. Children can be walked in a stroller --- thus providing me with more CONTROL.

As odd as it seemed to me at the time, I said a prayer for her --for us -- this morning...because I want to have a good relationship with her. I want to be the pack leader. I want her to respect that. But, I also want her to enjoy being with me -- and vice versa.

I'm pretty sure I'll be saying more prayers.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dreams


Have you ever had something bug you for a long time?

Something you could do something about like a branch in a tree that doesn't belong there? Or a dirty bathroom sink that just needs a moment of your time so it doesn't look like no one cares? Or dirt on your floor that would only take a minute to sweep up?

Or maybe, like me, it's something a bit more "serious" like dreams you've had or things you've wished for? Like writing a book and having it published? Or, painting a painting that you've dreamed of for a long time? Or, maybe it's the dream of getting your body back into "pre-children" condition and your legs looking like Tea Leoni's legs in "Spanglish."

I'm not sure where people find the motivation to get things done all the time. There are some people, my husband and my sister included, who can't seem to dream fast enough. There's always some new idea or goal or interest that keeps them busy and learning.

Meanwhile, I continue to dream and do nothing about it. And, I have the nerve to get upset because he won't sit still with me.

Hmmm. Sounds unreasonable, if you ask me.

But where do I find this drive that I see in others? How do I break free from this prison of dreams with no wings? When do I begin to fly without fear?

Sometimes, I think I think too much.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thinking


Thinking about a dog story.

Thinking about a story with a character with a name I literally dreamed up.

Thinking about how challenging it is to be pleasant all the time with a toddler puppy.

Thinking about how messy and dirty my house is and how I wish it was clean.

Thinking (again) about whether I am really cut out for the writing world (as in going for publication).

Thinking about how I wish I was able to hang out with my sisters and brother without having to take a plane to get there.

Thinking about my mama and how I wish I could tell her stupid things throughout the day.

Thinking about how nice it would be to sit on the porch with Papa.

Thinking...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Taking Care of Baby

video

Raney's been a part of our family for one week.

What a full week it has been.

Feed, bathroom break, exercise, sleep, ... repeat.

Every day I try to make sure she gets plenty of exercise and I think I've done a pretty good job of it. Today, however, it's raining. Not just drizzle... The kind where you really need a rain coat on. Not sure how that's going to go.

We found out that she has a skin condition (the name of which I can't remember). So, I have to make sure I bathe her at least once a week with special shampoo and add special doggie fish oil to her food every-other-day. She also may have a slight "female" infection. Culture results back early next week. If so, more medicine.

Dogs are not like cats.

But then again, cats are not like dogs either. :-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oops!

My morning began at slightly before 5:00 a.m. Not bad for a 9 week old, but still early for a 46 year old.

She was happy to see me -- which is a nice way to be greeted first thing in the morning.

I took her outside and she took care of business. Both kinds.

Brought her in and played with her for a little while. Maybe not active enough, but maybe for 5:00 a.m.

At almost 6:00 a.m. I fed her. Now, in the past few days, her need to go outside after feeding her has not been immediate. There has been plenty of time to make a cup of coffee. Maybe not to drink the coffee, but surely to MAKE it.

Now, either she rang the bell while I was frothing my milk or this time she forgot to ring.

Next thing I know she's found the perfect spot in the family room to take care of business. I tried to stop her with my less-than-authoritarian "NO!" but I think it came out more like begging in a loud voice. She was halfway finished and it's not so easy to stop that. I think she realized, too late, that I wasn't so pleased. (Mind you, I didn't fuss, but it took me back to the days of training panties with the girls... I'd always heard not to get upset with your children when they had accidents, but that was a challenge for me. Same thing today, but I tried to remain loving in spite of what I was feeling.)

I took her outside and she wanted to eat the moss on the rocks.

The past was the past to her -- even if I was still reliving it in my head.

Hmm. Seems like a good doggie lesson for humans, huh?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

She's Such a Baby

Just so you know, she's not eating my shoe; she's sleeping in it.

We're having LOTS of fun with Raney. She's cuddly and I'm pretty sure she's smiling when she sees us first thing in the morning. She's pretty calm, but has a bundle of energy, too.

I'm realizing that training can't come soon enough. While she HAS learned to ring the bell to go outside, she's not up to standards for walking on a leash. She is also easily distracted by sticks and moss and dirt. It's hard to help her use up energy when all she wants to do is eat sticks.

Today she's had a difficult time taking a nap. Partly, I believe, because she hears action around her while she's resting and it's hard not to want to be a part of that. What I've been doing is letting her fall asleep with me and then putting her in her crate... which worked fine yesterday, but not so well today.

She's in there now and I hope she'll fall asleep so I can go to the grocery store. :-O

I definitely have a baby in the house.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

She Has Arrived and Stolen Our Hearts

Yesterday at 10:00 we arrived at Raney's former owner's house to pick her up. We had an emotional ride home, but she did great. She had never been in a car, of course, and there were lots of strange sounds and sights to take in.

After a quick stop outside for a bathroom break, we let her explore the house a little bit. It was scary for a little puppy to come to a new place, but she handled it well.

She took a long nap, ate, had a bathroom break and was ready to play with and love the girls when they got home from school.

Then... another nap. :-)

She sat with us while we watched a movie and then, in true Chute fashion, we all retired sort of early.

We all camped out in the living room -- Raney in her crate and the rest of us either on the sofa or in a sleeping bag. Harv took her out twice after we went to bed and she did just what she was supposed to do. She surprised me with how little she whined in her crate. Not that she DIDN'T whine -- she just settled down pretty quickly.
Then, at about 6:00 this morning, she was ready to get up and play.

After potty break and breakfast, she still had a lot of energy so she played inside and then Harv took her outside to "help" him clean up the dog run area. That was FUN!

Right now, after being up for about 3hours, she's having a little snooze. She likes to be near people so the girls have been sitting in the kitchen near her crate so she can fall asleep.

She's a love-bug! She cuddles, and kisses and wags her tail with joy when she sees us. I'm thankful my girls are having this experience and I hope that it's as good for Raney as it is for us.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Elijah Wheeler Hall

My nephew was born this morning at 7:51 a.m. in Brooklyn, NY...
The tears don't stop.

I didn't notice this, but it was pointed out to me that Eli's initials are the same as my mother's... Nice.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Puppy kisses

Does anyone know how dogs learned to "kiss" humans?
I don't think I've ever seen a puppy "kiss" another dog.
Raney kisses me every time we go visit. :-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Puppy Prep

Okay... I know that you're probably not as "into" our family getting a puppy as we are, but for the next little while, I'm probably going to be posting about Raney: lessons learned, funny antics, adjustments for all of us.

Yesterday, as I was continuing my reading about Golden Retrievers, a fear began to creep over me. How can taking care of dogs involve so much more than having cats? Bathing, nail cutting, ear cleaning, hair brushing, teeth brushing (?!), coat trimming. Oh my goodness! What the heck have I signed up for?!

And, then it hit me... if I had read a book telling me EVERYTHING that was involved with taking care of babies (twin babies, at that!), I might not have signed up for the job.

If I can remember to take it one step at a time, I'm pretty sure I'll do okay.

First things first.

Gotta get prepared for potty training! Ahhh. One of my favorite memories of toddler-hood. :-)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Raney

At the risk of boring you, here is our new puppy in action...

video

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Meet our newest family member, Raney...

This sweet puppy's name came from Southern literature.
Seems like a story is in her future, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lessons from Nature

video

Most of the times I've seen Great Blue Herons, they've been sitting still. From what I've seen, they sit there for a loooooong time just hangin' out, with their feet in the water, looking out over the horizon. Every time I've seen them, they look content. They're not in a hurry; they don't appear anxious; they're just hangin'.

Sunday afternoon, I saw this heron. He seemed pretty much the same as all the other herons I had seen. This time, though, I decided to get out of the car and take a few pictures. When I did, I noticed a few things: he seemed thoughtful about even the slightest of movements, he was aware of me and the girls, but he wasn't afraid, and when he finally decided to move, it was very deliberate.

It occurred to me that I could learn a thing or two from that heron:

  • Think about what you're doing.
  • Be aware of what's happening around you, but don't lose focus on your goals.
  • Don't rush into things, but don't hang around forever without taking action.
  • And, don't be afraid to move -- even if it means you don't get exactly what you want right away.

Hmm. Isn't it interesting when nature can teach you a lesson in life?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

One down, three to go

I finished my first quilt last weekend...
Yea!!
Now, I only have three more goals to accomplish before the year is out.
(See January 6th post)

And sometimes...

... you just need to get something on paper instead of waiting for total perfection!
(Crazy Carrie!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Just right

Sometimes you just want a picture.

Sometimes you want that picture to be just right.

Sometimes you just want to tell a story.

Sometimes that story needs to be told "just so."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Buttons!

A "million" years ago, my grandmother began collecting buttons of all shapes and sizes. I imagine she put buttons in there that had fallen off a dress or shirt or coat. Or, perhaps, they were the extra buttons in the package... Regardless of how they got there, they were there.
My mother inherited the buttons after my grandmother died. I remember being fascinated by the huge jar of buttons and somehow it made me feel more connected to my granmother.

Nothing ever happened with those buttons. No one ever searched through that jar to replace a missing button somewhere else. It was just "The Button Jar." We liked it that way.

A few years ago, I asked my mother if I could have some of the buttons from the jar. Thankfully, she said "yes." My plan was to create an art piece that I could hang on the wall. That art piece hasn't happened yet, but I LOVE having these buttons.

There's something very comforting about owning a piece of the past. Now, it not only connects me with my grandmother. It keeps me connected to my mother. That makes me feel good.

What do you have that keeps you connected to part of your past? What part of your past gives you comfort?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Open Road

The other day I was trying to explain my jumbled-up feelings about God to a friend of mine. In the midst of that explanation, I realized that it wasn’t even the details of the event that bothered me. It occurred to me that what disturbed me very deeply was that God wasn’t being who I thought He was.

It made me begin to doubt not only God, but all things “God-related.” And yet, while I questioned, there was still a thread that connected me to the God I had believed in forever. That thread has always remained, even in the midst of my cynicism.

And, yesterday, as I continued to process the whole mess that’s been in my brain for all these years, I began to see that the fact that, many years ago God wasn’t being who I thought He was, just confirmed for me the thing I’ve come to love about him – He doesn’t fit in a box. He’s bigger than He used to be. He has bigger plans that include more people than just me.

Today our county woke up to flooded roadways and farmland. Schools are closed. Roads are closed.

For many years, I feel like I’ve had "closed roadways" in my heart. The roads that would’ve connected me more closely to the God I love have been blocked.

Yesterday, the floods began to recede and the roadways to my heart started to open up.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Goals

Before I married, I never made New Year’s Resolutions because I wasn’t confident in my ability to make them happen. Harvey actually likes them so when we got married, I joined in the “fun.”

Some of my goals have made people roar with laughter. One year, my goal was to read five (yes, FIVE) books. When my girls were babies, reading anything was a challenge; finishing a book was a distant dream. I accomplished that goal, though!

One year my goals were house oriented: paint a room, remove some wallpaper, sew some curtains, paint a painting. I’m pretty sure I accomplished those goals, too.

Many years my goals are Harvey oriented: clean the gutters, build some shelves, make a screen door, clean his office. Still working on some of those. :-)

My goals this year are few: make a quilt, paint a painting, revise & submit my picture book, and walk often. Those seem do-able.

Here’s to a year of making things happen!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Comfort in the Questions

Every Sunday morning I have a battle within me: I don't want to go to church, but I feel like I should go to church.

Last week, I gave in and went to church. Today I gave in and stayed home.

For quite some time now, I've struggled with where my faith is. It's frustrating to me because for most of my life, there weren't many questions -- just belief. In some ways, I think that's good and in others, I wonder how I could "blindly" believe things that seem "impossible."

About 15 years ago, I had an experience that caused me to begin to question God. From that point forward -- even after I'd come to the conclusion that it was possible that God had more people in mind than me -- the way I viewed the Christian faith was changed.

I'm confused. I don't feel the unwavering faith that I once did and that makes me insecure.

There are a few things that give me comfort, though. I love that God doesn't fit in a box anymore. I love that God loves all kinds of people -- even the ones I can't imagine loving. I love that God is trying to reassure me that my relationship with Him isn't based on how perfect I can be. I love that He persistently sticks with me -- regardless of my feelings of security or perfection.

And, while I will continue the fight to understand my feelings of who God is, I can rest in knowing that He knows me -- inside and out, backwards and forwards, good days and bad -- and He still loves me.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Can't do it...

A month or so ago, I wondered if I was cut out for this writing thing. I questioned my abilities and began to doubt that I have what it takes to be a children's author. I even stopped working on my personal blog -- though I did start another one for my sister's journey with cancer. To be honest, I thought I had moved out of that "stage."

Today, however, I realize that I actually WANT to write. I NEED to write.

I'm still not sure what form that writing will take. It may end up just being this blog forever and ever.

Be that as it may, I think it's in my blood. I will be writing forever....however it turns out, my words will have to be typed.

Thanks for suffering with me.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

There's a hole...

It occurred to me -- perhaps long after other people had come to the same conclusion -- that Christmas was hard for me because I miss my parents.

I had a really good sobbing kind of cry one day shortly before Christmas. Things that were bothering me sounded like little things, but after talking it through, I realized there's a hole in my Christmas season this year -- and I guess a hole in all the years to come.

While I'm aware that I haven't actually spent many recent Christmases with my parents, they've always been just a phone call away. This year, I can't even get that close.

Tomorrow would be Mama's 85th birthday. I think I'll watch the video that I posted of her 80th birthday and maybe that'll make me feel better. Of course, I'll be wearing a white shirt while I watch.

In the meantime, enjoy this painting that my dear friend, Carol, painted for my Christmas present. I love it.

Wishing you all a 2009 filled with peace and many joys!