9.26.14 The Writer’s Fight With Time



So I got in an imaginary fight with time today. Like Golda Meir said, “I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.” But it’s not true. We actually have no control over time, because if I did, it would have listened to me today when I said, “Back off! Would you slow down and let me think for a minute please!?!” Alas, time is not a kind friend, and doesn’t share itself well, even when you ask politely. I decided I didn’t really like the way this selfish decision (on time’s part) affected my writing, and the fact that because I don’t have enough time, I can never seem to finish what I set out to do.  So here is a poem about me – a girl who loves a craft she has no time for, but steals away the dawning hours with, just the same.  I love you writing … I hate you time … can’t we all just get along?  Enjoy.

The Writer’s Fight With Time

There is a girl
(in her own world)
of which she from her pen creates

where phrases turn
(ideas burn)
to where her spirit levitates

she fills a page
(unwritten stage)
to which she, glad, appropriates

her witty charm
(does not bear harm)
to those with which she congregates

This girl has found
(un-silent sound)
to others, often irritates

but to this she
(quiet that be)
is sweet time she negotiates

and so this girl
(words in a whirl)
finds only lack of silence grates

where time away
(from memory’s play)
is sole the one thing that she hates

she’ll play life’s chance
(no backward glance)
emboldened as she imitates

what is a child
(her nature wild)
pretend is what initiates

her story told
(now will unfold)
imagined, she appreciates

until the hour
(the dawning dour)
she finally capitulates

because her eyes
(to no surprise)
cannot escape the dreamy fates

and so her tale
(no end, must trail)
and on the shelf still sits and waits

Literarily yours,


9.20.14 Luck



So I’m not a big believer in astrology. I know my sign of course is Virgo, but I couldn’t tell you what that means or if I’m anything like the completely ambiguous definitions that rope everyone in. Arthur Clarke once said, “I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical.” Ironic and hilarious, but really, at any given time I couldn’t tell you the position of the stars or the moon or what that has to really do with anything at all. I don’t really believe in being lucky, or unlucky, although some people swear by it I have never really seen much evidence to support their theories. All that aside, I will admit that there are some days that are cosmically destined to keep you at home. These are the days where you should never get out of bed, but if you have to, you should prepare yourself well with combat boots and perhaps a really cute helmet, (if such a thing even exists).

More to the point, days like this aren’t just bad, they’re dangerous. They’re the sort of days where you don’t feel safe driving on the road because you’re sure that the one in a billion chance meteor is going to fall right on top of your car. The funny thing is, the day didn’t start this way for me. I think I actually caught it from the contagious symptoms of my friend. Let me rewind just a smidge.

This morning at 10:30 my daughter had a birthday party to go to. Now I will be completely 100% honest with you, I am not usually on time. I am on time for work, and that is the only thing I am truly on time for. (There … I said it. The truth is out so now my dear family and friends, as I know my timing faults, there is no more need to point my lateness out to me!) So back to the story – I ended up parking right before the mother of the birthday girl. I saw my dear friend and her three girls tumble out of the car with bags and birthday goodies in tow, so I was delighted that I finally had the opportunity to be helpful. Sauntering over, she quickly told me the story of how her oldest daughter had dropped a bottle of sparkling grape juice all over their kitchen floor. You can imagine the scene, glass shattered. birthday party favors sticky, and a baby crying who needed to be changed from a recent pooplosion! Seeing the stress on her face, I instantly tried to do what I could to ease the burden of the morning. When we walked into the party venue, (a really cute salon where all the girls would get their hair and nails done ) the stylists didn’t seem as prepared for a party as you should be when nine little girls were due to arrive in the next five minutes.

Thinking that I could perhaps salvage the shattered pieces of my friend’s day, I told her that I would run out and grab us some coffee! Nothing says “cure” like caffeine. And that’s when it started to happen, the symptoms that I had caught this bit of cosmic discord where the world seems out to get you. It started with a cart nudge, where I was gently reminded that I was taking up the entire aisle. But then the little things kept building, the glances from other shoppers at my son who was too engrossed in his excitement over the next shipment of figurines to note or care about my continual calling of his name. May I just note, people without children – while I appreciate your genuine concern for my child’s apparent hearing problem,  I am a very responsible mother who has had the pediatrician check his ears.  He’s fine, he’s just mommy deaf!  And my child is taking up less room than your gigantic attitude, so please keep the eye rolls to yourself and move your cart along.

But then I think the best worst part of shopping, was the checkout lady. I was buying a wedding shower gift for a shower I was going to later that afternoon, and asked the check-out lady if she’d mind taking off the price tag.  The woman looked at me in a way that any passerby would have mistook as offense. As if I could inconvenience her with anything more ridiculous than a common question like, “Can you remove the price tag?”  She then dramatically started to scratch at the bottom of the sticky white tag that wasn’t coming up easily. After a few huffs and puffs, she blew my resolve down and I said, “Never mind, I’ll do it at home.” To which she eagerly started wrapping up the package without a second thought as to her lack of customer service. I’ll say one thing … she definitely had nerve, I just wish she hadn’t gotten on my last one!

An hour later, I was dropping off my kids at my home as the babysitter was ringing my doorbell.  Sweating like it was the middle of July, I dashed this way and that, gathering the gift together before running upstairs to put on my new dress.  This wedding shower was Audry Hepburn themed, and I’d convinced my husband to let me buy a less-than-great-deal of a dress that I adored!  To my continuing cosmic-dismay, the “should’ve stayed in bed” day downers continued!  I zipped my new dress only to have the bottom of the zipper split!  Thinking it was a fluke (more like praying it was) I tried to unzip it, rezip, unzip and rezip!  I didn’t have time to take it back and didn’t have an alternative outfit!  Somehow, I realized that it was actually a miniscule white thread that was blocking the zipper, but was still paranoid that it would come apart, so I had to root around through the dirty laundry for my only black sweater!  

In another half hour, I was pulling into the restaurant’s parking lot only eighteen minutes late!  That wasn’t the best part though, if I were a proverbial “fly on the wall,” I’d have to say that the best part would have been seeing me step out of the car and do a completely unladylike squat to pick up my abnormally heavy gift.  After getting a good grip on it, the wind decided to pick up and nearly lift me out of my Barbie-high stilettos as I tripped on the curb and got honked at by a stranger.  (FYI, it wasn’t a come-on, they thought I was someone they knew.)  Thankfully, after God had a good laugh at me, things began to turn around.  I have to believe Regina Brett when she said, “No one really has a bad life.  Not even a bad day.  Just bad moments.”  Still, I will admit that it’s quite a challenge when those moments compile upon themselves for hours at a time!  So even though I’m not into signs … here’s hoping you: find yourself on the right side of the bed, find pennies that are only head’s up, and find friends to get you laughing at all the miniature tragedies that will inevitably make the greatest stories! 

Literarily yours,


9.16.14 Be Found



“The greatest gift in life is to be remembered.” Ken Venturi

I was having an email conversation back-and-forth with a past student recently, and near the end of the string of messages, he asked me a really significant question. I ended my last email by saying I miss you, and when he responded, he asked “Do you really miss me? Or all of us together?” That simple, sweet, innocent question reminded me something very central to the nature of all of our hearts – everyone wants to be the one who’s remembered. Everyone wants to be that significant, special, and unable to be forgotten or replaced. Whether or not you admit it, I believe it is at the core of our being to want to be wanted.

What’s hard is that the world doesn’t make us feel this way. More often than not we are made to believe we are no more than a commodity – completely replaceable and able to be moved on from. Even those who love us best can do it. Someone moves away, or gets a different job and suddenly phone calls become more sparse and visits don’t seem as big of a priority as they were intentionally promised to be. It isn’t that the person isn’t special to you, it’s just that life gets in the way of what you thought you had time for. Each other.

I think that this is one of the biggest reasons why I find such comfort in my faith. Because to God, I’m not replaceable, I’m not returnable, I am just me. Me: exactly as he made me to be. Me: a daughter of his kingdom. I’m not going to lie, I sometimes have trouble thinking of myself in this grand way. It’s hard to make myself feel that important, but it’s not about what I think I’m worth, it’s about what God thinks I’m worth. I think the best it was ever described to me, was by my pastor. He talked about one day when he was at a birthday party with his three children, and his youngest got away. He talked about the frantic nature of their search, and how absolutely, heart-stoppingly afraid he was that his son was lost, and at such a large facility.  After starting his story, he then interjected with the ridiculous thought that he had three kids, only one was lost, so why should he worry about losing only one?  At least he still had two, right? This was the part of the sermon where any mother or father with decency began to open their eyes wider and wider in shock at such a ludicrous  statement. What an offensive thought, that having a child or two still at home would make you be able to accept losing another … it was crazy. But then he went on to explain his metaphor; he said that’s how God feels about us. That even though he has so many wonderful, saved children, it doesn’t take away the pain, the grief, or the search for those who are still lost.

I really believe that sometimes we tend to put all our focus on being needed, noted, and worldly-significant in the here and now, without any thought to how fleeting the gratification of now really is. I tried to give just a glimpse of this idea to my middle schoolers, when I asked them to tell me 10 facts about George Washington. After about the fourth or fifth fact, they were tapped out. They didn’t really know many details of the man besides his presidential station, his hair color, who he was married to, and the fact that he had false teeth (totally vital to know). Given the idea to do this by a pastor of ours, it helped them to realize that even one of the most famous historical figures in America was now only a shadow. He was significant surely, he mattered to the fabric of our nation’s history, but not many people aside from historians truly remember the man for who he was, only what he was. And there’s a difference.

I tell my students, as I tell you now, that most of us, regardless of how successful we are in this life, will not have more than a handful of facts remembered about us in 200 years. Many of us will be lucky to even have our name somewhere, still attached to this world. I don’t say this to depress you, on the contrary, I think it is really inspiring. How can I possibly be afraid to try anything, to be anyone, if I know that here is so fleeting. It really takes away my worry of embarrassing myself, or anxiety about trying for something big and failing. Because whether I make it, or whether I don’t, is far less significant than who I become in the process. From what I have come to believe, this life is a journey that prepares us for what’s to come … for a place that isn’t fleeting, and a type of significance that cannot be washed away with time. So I hope you allow yourself to be found by the one who’s been looking for you all along. Identify yourself in God, and know with certainty that you are wanted. You are needed. And you are worth remembering.

“My legacy doesn’t matter. It isn’t important that I be remembered. It’s important that when I stand before the Lord, he says, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ I want to finish strong.” James Dobson


Literarily yours,


9-10-14 Imperfect Timing


Writer Joshua Harris once said, “The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.” I couldn’t agree more, especially when my husband (who is in grad school and has been gone a great deal lately) came home late (after soccer practice, baths, dinner, dishes, laundry, etc.) and said, “Hey. I’m going to go jump in the shower since I’m all sandy from playing volleyball.” Now, to put this all into perspective for you, I’m all about him “letting off steam” with a sport, but again … it came down to timing – imperfect timing at that. It is almost genius how bad timing can be sometimes, and sadly for him, this was one of those times.

Let’s rewind to earlier today. I only slept for four and a half hours, because I had work to do. Then, the air conditioning broke at work and I was stuck keeping my sweet-turned-sour 8th graders occupied in a classroom that had the humidity level of the Amazon, without the refreshing rain-smell. Due to the fact that I think we’d neared our dew point in the air, my hair somewhat resembled a troll doll, as a halo of flyways encircled my head. I would have liked nothing, NOTHING more than to drop my sweaty self into a shower, but … you guessed it … no time! My son had soccer, and, sure enough – it was just in time for the rain.

For someone who had no intention of becoming a soccer mom, putting up with soccer weather is the absolute worst. There is a man named John Ruski who argued philosophically that, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” He was obviously not a soccer dad in the Midwest. Just about the time we pulled up and pulled out all of our gear, the rain started blowing sideways. No lightning, so play on! Where’s a good electrical storm when you need one?

After coming home damp and cold, after being dripping and hot earlier, you can imagine my frustration at the now clearly horrific timing of my husband’s announcement to take a shower. So yes … timing is everything, just ask the olympian who missed the gold by a fraction of a second, or the business man who missed his plane by a few minutes. I think time prides himself on making messes out of “could be in-control” situations.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all stepped in at the wrong time, listened in at the wrong time, came home at the wrong time, or shown up at the wrong time. I might even argue that time isn’t really splitting himself evenly, because I’m pretty certain I’ve waltzed into “wrong timing” situations a heaven of a lot more times that the scenarios that would’ve been “right.”

I am going to end with the funniest moment of my new year with 8th grade. It was a prime example of awful timing for this kid, (maybe also a twinge of awful choice of words) but comedically, I must admit the timing was perfect. This student, let’s call him C, reminds me of a quote from Jim Morrison that says, “I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments.” He, like Morrison, does this … well, and we need to celebrate the genius of his obliviousness. So C and A were working on a project together. They were trying to find common ground and something to talk about that could connect their minds to creating a character. I happened to be walking around the room, listening for good conversations and ideas, and, if I would have been a fraction of a second later to their corner of the room, I would have missed it. But that’s the thing … even bad timing can be perfectly placed! So I walk into C (the boy) asking A (the girl), “Well, you have crabs right?”

This is where my head whipped around like it never moved before and an, “Oh my gosh did you really just say that?” look plastered over my face! The moment after it was asked, was the precise moment A turned purple with embarrassment, C started to present the blood blush creeping up his neck from realizing the way his words sounded like an STD accusation, and I started laughing hysterically. A few bits later, and C had clarified that he just thought A had interesting pets, so he’d taken a long shot to guess. In reality, it turns out she only had a pet hedgehog. Not crabs.

It’d be great to think about all the moments that really shaped you, changed you in regards to time … and then share so that we have the opportune time to live in your moment! Tick-tock!

Literarily yours,



9-5-14 Lullaby Life


“As all of nature performed, to teach you the art of dreaming.” It’s a quote from me, actually, and the only one running through my tired mind.

Last night I didn’t get much sleep. Actually that’s kind of an understatement. I got about three and a half, maybe four hours. It was my own fault. I had to do a bunch of work that I procrastinating-ly (yes I made that word up) chose not to do. But whenever that alarm goes off after a sleepless night, I try to trick myself into knowing that I can survive the day ahead. I do this by telling myself, “You did it once! And you can do it now!” It’s only a night, not months like before! I used to be a new mother after all! And as a new mom, many of my readers know that it is a very sleep deprived, half-state-of-consciousness time of our lives.

I can’t complain, my children were always good sleepers, but even so it was interrupted sleep that was pieced together and left me feeling exhausted. But my recent non-sleeping night got me thinking, that if I could handle raising a newborn life in that state of fatigue, I can definitely handle my day!

As crazy as it sounds, I actually really liked that time of my children’s lives, and not just because they were adorable new babies (though I’m sure that that helped somewhat). Believe it or not, I liked that time because in the middle of the night, when no one else was awake, I was needed. I was needed to feed my child, to talk to them and rock them back to sleep … to help soothe them from all of the strange noises of this new world. It was a big responsibility, but it was one I took on with sleepy-smiles!

As a writer I’ve always been a bit of a story teller as well, and I used those midnight moments to regale my son and daughter with fanciful tales of pretend! In those waking hours, when even the stars were too tired to shine, I had a wonderful, grand conversations with my baby boy and girl. Sometimes I would tell them all about Santa, and the amazing adventures he had coming to deliver them treasures. Sometimes, it would be about heaven, and all of the wonder they left behind in order to pursue a great journey here. Sometimes I would make him the hero of the story, or I would make her the princess who rescued the day. No matter what I chose to chatter on about, it was our lullaby time that actually prompted me to write my first book, Lullaby World.

We didn’t always talk about fiction things, though imagination tends to be my favorite. Sometimes, I would have a drawnout discussions with my baby boy on teaching him the art of chivalry. I would walk him back-and-forth around his moon lit room and tell him about coats over puddles, rules of etiquette and holding the door for young ladies. Now, seven-years- old, I like to think that his gentlemanly behavior has everything to do with those lost hours of sleep. I also like to claim credit that my daughter’s fascination with mermaids, including the fact that even at five-years-old she still wants to grow up to be one, might have something to do with planting the seed of words like “once upon a time” and “happily ever after.”

So today, on this bleary, weary, sleep deprived day, I am thankful that I can draw upon my memories of my own personal lullaby world, and have sweet daydreams, until my next bit of sleep, comes true.


8.31.14 Decisions

“To be or not to be?”  “Should I stay or should I go?”  “Paper or plastic?”  Our culture and society is full to the brim with decisions … or should I say, “indecision.”  That is a much more accurate diagnosis.  We all suffer from it, but I’ve got to be honest, usually, I’m pretty “sure,” but sometimes, (every once in awhile) I cannot make a decision to save my life!  Today was one such day.  My husband and I went out for ice cream and instead of getting one of my usual five or so flavors I love, I stared like a complete idiot at the twenty flavors with an absolutely blank brain.  My husband had ordered a smoothie, which completely threw me off.  I mean, who orders a smoothie on ice cream night?  Lame. In any case, I was already having trouble and that made it worse.  The automated voice on the end of the drive through said, “Why don’t you just come up to the window and I’ll give you some samples.”  I felt like the complete knob I was. It reminded me of William James who said, “There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.”  He was right, because I’m pretty sure I made the drive through lady miserable in my ten minute flavor choice with a parade of cars creeping in!
Thankfully, like I said, I’m not always this bad, but I do admit that making decisions is not my favorite thing in the world.  I don’t see myself as an administrator any time soon – I’m too much of a people pleaser.  I can just imagine that my hiring conversations would sound something like, “Hi, what hours would work best for you?  Do you think you’d like to do such and such or this and that?”  From what I’ve heard of my husband’s duties as a boss, that isn’t the way things really go.  Being able to delegate is what its all about, and I’m not really good at it.  I don’t like telling people what to do, but being a mother has certainly helped move things along.  In my family we have found a few helpful ways to move around our inability to make decisions.  For example, instead of arguing over what movie to watch for an hour, we choose five and each member of my family takes one away until there is only one left!  Argument over!  (Except my husband and I, we still argue over what to watch for an hour and a half.)  In terms of meals, its pretty much, you can either eat what Mommy made nicely, or eat what Mommy made begrudgingly.  Either way, you get the point.  Unfortunately, even in trying to be diplomatic, I’ve noticed indecision may be hereditary.
My daughter, bless her little five-year-old heart, is the queen of “which choice do I make?”  We can be at the store choosing a toy and she will literally say something like, “Which one would you pick if you were me?”  Whenever she starts in on the “I’m just not sure’s,” I think of my sister.  I know she’ll be reading this, so please dear know I write it with love, but good Lord … that girl can go back and forth on a question.  Sometimes when we’re shopping, I swear she pulls out this mental pros and cons list for each item in the cart.  In this department I’m pretty quick.  To the frustration of my hubby, I see it, I like it, I buy it.  Period.  Sometimes when I’m with her shopping though, I relate to a quote I saw on The Economist that said, “Is your indecision final?”  On the other hand, the girl rarely doubts herself.  Like Oswald Chambers I think she believes, “It is better to run the risk of being considered indecisive, better to be uncertain and not promise, than to promise and not fulfill.”  
Maybe if I took a little more time to consider things, I’d have less to consider later on.  But on days like these, days where I cannot pick a flavor, or a movie … I’m glad I only can’t make up my mind once in awhile, because being uncertain is exhausting, like being on a mental merry-go-round that won’t shut off.   Tonight when I thought about what to Blog about, I couldn’t make up my mind between quite a few ideas I’ve been tossing around – so I wrote about that.  
Here’s to making decisions … quickly,