Wednesday, July 30, 2008

13 Questions

  1. Which handmade books should I take to the conference?
  2. Did I take my medicine tonight?
  3. Why won't my insurance pay for the test I need?
  4. Why is Dean's Chocolate Moose Tracks ice cream so good?
  5. Why do so many people come across my blog by googling sad search terms?
  6. Is my blog sad?
  7. How should I dress for the conference tomorrow?
  8. What questions should I ask for my book discussion group?
  9. Why do people say things they don't mean?
  10. Is next week's meeting going to be rescheduled?
  11. Will a magic house fairy come & clean my home while I'm gone?
  12. Will a magic work fairy come & do all my paperwork while I'm gone?
  13. Am I forgetting anything?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Conference Time

I'm attending a conference later in the week, so posting will be light for a few days. I forgot how much work it is to prepare for a conference. It's a whole different experience than the everyday routine. I'm hoping it will be inspirational and informational. I'm also treating it like a vacation, which I desperately need. I'm splurging on the hotel. Maybe I've even splurge on room service. I'll report more about it when I get back.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ain't That Just Life Sometimes?

It's Friday. I've had a long day, a long week, and I have a headache. So what do I do under these circumstances when I need to blog? I raid the Youtube files for something entertaining. Have fun.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Things To Do

I know this is a relatively boring TT, but I'm multi-tasking here. I've got a busy week coming up, so today's TT is thirteen things I need to do this week.
  1. Get ready for a conference
  2. Clean the house
  3. Make a book
  4. Go to the doctor
  5. Answer about a dozen emails
  6. Keep a play date with a friend
  7. BFS meeting for church
  8. Write an article for church newsletter
  9. My nails
  10. Laundry
  11. Call the student loan people (I keep forgetting this one)
  12. Finish reading a book for a book discussion
  13. Blog (OK, so I can cross this one off my list)

Monday, July 21, 2008


There was a magician at the mall this weekend. He wasn't really doing magic tricks. He was just standing in the middle of the mall making balloon animals for kids. I was drawn in by his skill with the balloons and with the children. He kept track of every request, be it a blue teddy bear, a pink & purple butterfly, or a yellow flower. And all requests were filled in the order they were received. He never lost his patience and he never made a mistake. You could see how happy he was to see each child's face light up as he handed over his finished product.
An allergy prevented me from taking part in the joy of balloon animals as a kid. So watching this was an opportunity to vicariously live out a part of my childhood. And it made me happy.
I think that was the magic part.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I orginally posted this a little over a year ago. It's worthy of a repost today.

Take, take til there’s nothing. Nothing to turn to. Nothing when you get through. Break, scatter pieces of all I’ve been. Bowing to all I’ve been running to.
Where are You? Where are You?
Did You leave me unbreakable? Leave me frozen? I never felt so cold, I though You were silent. And I thought You left me for the wreckage and the waste on an empty beach of faith. Was it true?
'Cause I, I got a question. I got a question. Where are You?
Scream, deeper I want to scream. I want You to hear me. I want You to find me. I want to believe. But all I pray is wrong and all I claim is gone.
I, I got a question. I got a question. Where are You? Yeah, Yeah, I, I got a question. I got a question. Where are You?
Where are You?
Where are You?
Where are You?

Silence, Jars of Clay

Monday, July 14, 2008

Find Cheap Gas!

I didn't think I was going to post today because I am well aware that yesterday's post was about 3 days worth of blogging in one go.
However, I ran across this link at a fellow blogger's site. I checked it out & while not all cities have current information, many of them did. And within each city, gas prices fluctuate 6-10 cents per gallon. That's not even taking into consideration the fact that many people travel through several communities each day. So it might be worth it to look up cities near you and see if gas is cheaper a block or two away from where you usually travel.
The site is Gas Buddy.
Happy travels.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Stabilizing the Narrative

I had a fascinating conversation this weekend, about 45% of which I actually understood. Who knows what would have happened if I understood the whole thing. We talked about ontology, psychology, postmodernism, art, and physics. It all started when I mentioned how the therapist part of me and the writer part of me have been been coming together and I've discovered that A) they want to work together more, and B) they want to be supported by others in those efforts to do so.
In the world of counseling, we call this validation. Well, my conversation partner began explaining what he knows of cognitive science and ontology (he's brilliant). He talked about how most of us refer to the self in terms of internal, private experiences and roles that don't change much. Then he said some stuff I didn't really understand. Then he said something I sort of understood about science often trying to account for change when what we really ought to be doing is accounting for stability. He explained stability as a relative concept and said some more stuff I didn't much understand about postmodernism and how it messes with our own ability to be change agents in our lives because of something about relative reality.
Then he said the reason we talk to people or tell stories at all is we are all trying to stabilize our own narratives. That I understood. In my head and in my core. The meaning of stabilizing one's own narrative is so much deeper and more complex than simply seeking validation. Thinking of your life as a narrative, when the plot line takes a twist, the story becomes destabilized. Who we are is in large part reflected back by the people around us. If our roles, interests, or our very lives are altered, what do the people around us reflect back? Can a parent who has lost a child still be friends with the other parents from the block? It depends on if both sets of parents can absorb that change in the narrative. If you decide to move, change jobs, or change relationships, will you be successful? A big part of the answer to that is finding ways to support your narrative.
Who we are even changes as a result from little things like losing weight or changing hobbies. And the people around us can feel destabilized by those changes rather than being able to absorb them. (What do you mean you don't want chocolate? You haven't written in how long?).
As the self changes, it looks for some force around it that has very little relative change. Big changes for the main character of your life (who is also the author: you) mean big changes for your story. I don't know as much about fiction as I'd like, but I do know that the story falls apart when there's a wild plot twist that isn't absorbed by the dialog, characterization, setting, or pacing of the narrative. The tricky part so far seems to be that to get the narrative to stabilize and balance the change for the main character change may need to occur relative to the other components of the story, all of which are elements in their own stories and the stories of others as well.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Gone Fishing

Well, maybe not fishing. I'm not so fond of fishing. But I am taking a vacation from blogging this week. In the meantime, stop by some of my friends' sites and see what they're up to. I'll see all y'all next week.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Home of the Brave

What come to mind when you think of the Fourth of July? Among the many answers I get from my weekly creative writing group, freedom and independence are always popular responses. We have gotten so used to exploring these common themes around the Fourth of July that the writing exercises lose freshness; they begin to all sound similar and familiar.
This year was different for me. I spent a lot of time this week with someone I consider to be very brave, which got me thinking about that quality that our national anthem proclaims we're all supposed to have. I've done a lot of thinking on the subject and I have more questions than answers at this point.
What makes a person brave? Is it something we're born with, or is it developed through circumstances? Can a person who isn't brave learn to be brave? Being brave is likely to lead to bigger challenges where more bravery is required. How do you measure bravery? If being brave is going to lead to bigger risks, how do you overcome that fear? People who are brave often have their thoughts focused on something bigger than the fear, which supplies the energy to the bravery. What do you do when the fear is bigger than the bravery?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Works For Me

This is another TT inspired by one I saw a week or two ago on another blog. Here are thirteen things that work for me. That is, they make my life easier or more fun, or just better in some way.

  1. Netflix. It makes more sense for me to pay for the movies that I want rather than an excessive number of cable channels I don’t want.
  2. Happy Fun Day. After a recent post on the dreaded Monday syndrome a certain reader who shall remain nameless suggested that I plan something fun for Wednesdays. Wednesdays have since been named Happy Fun Day.
  3. Peapod. Even if shopping was a little easier for me, I think I’d still use Peapod because I really like saving the time and energy it takes to shop.
  4. Magazines. I recently re-subscribed to a couple of publications after letting them lapse. I’m so happy I did. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why I was having trouble in the “what to read” department. I needed my magazines.
  5. My ipod. To borrow from tobyMac, I just love my “portable sounds.”
  6. Google Reader. In an effort to simplify my online life, I signed up for this service which lets me catch up with all my favorite blogs in one spot.
  7. Exercise. I feel better in general and better about myself when I exercise. So why don’t I do this more often?
  8. Life Journal. With all the different kinds of writing I do I really get a lot of mileage out of my computer journal. Sometimes thoughts flow better when I’m typing.
  9. Shelfari. I love keeping track of the books I read and meeting new people who share my interest in books.
  10. Variety. For a long time I tried to find the perfect way to use my quiet time. I’d work with one idea for a while and then get bored with it. I finally realized that it’s not the activities that are the problem. I just need to switch things up a little once in a while.
  11. My friend Dianne just wrote about a new favorite tool on her blog. The Pocket Mod is a free online template system for day planners. I’m already wondering about some of the possibilities this has for book art.
  12. CS Lewis. I’m feeling a Lewis mood come on, despite the utter failure of my efforts to see the latest Narnia movie. Check out this quote of his I recently discovered. “Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith, but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ.”
  13. Fireworks. Fireworks just work for me. I am hoping I get to see some this year.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Just When You Thought It Was Safe

I warned y'all it was going to be another intense week and I wasn't going to have a lot of time or mental focus for writing. You cannot say I did not warn you. With that in mind, one must ask what could possibly be better than the previous video of VeggieTales and Harry Potter combined when one is fast approaching meltdown status? To be truthful, I did not think a better harmony of friendly absurdity and amusement exsisted.
I was wrong.