Friday, May 17, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

On Losing One’s Footing and Creativity

            Recently, we attended a one-hundredth birthday party. This woman was about five when the US entered World War I. Think of that—she’s survived two world wars. Somehow, in a small community, she really stands out.
            A farmer’s wife, she’s known hard work and has survived a whole lot more, including two children’s deaths. But she’s bright, full of faith, alert, and articulate.
            When we exclaimed over her pretty peach suit and lovely corsage, she smiled, “I feel like a Christmas tree.” Her creative assertion inspires us.

             I’d say this lady, surrounded by a big, loving family, portrays mindfulness to the hilt. Our past propels us into channels and habits, unless we consciously redefine our lives. To awaken to our unique, God-ordained self, we must be aware of our surroundings, our intuitions, thoughts, emotions, and actions.
            In other words, we become mindful. Where am I at this present moment? What colors do we see? What sounds entrance us, what new ideas float into our consciousness? How will this moment recreate us for what lies ahead? The present lays the foundation for new plans, new adventures, new ways of being.Apart from mindfulness, our lives pass by default—not to decide is to decide. 

                                  “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare 
                                                                      is to lose oneself.”
                                                                                            Soren Kierkegaard

            That limbo-like sensation of losing our footing throws us off, but if the alternative means losing who we are, isn’t the choice, as they say, a “no-brainer?”
            So, along the way, our birthday girl made consciously decided how she would respond to life's twists and turns. In a sense, she created the “Christmas tree” before us today.
            In her long lifetime, how many times did she dare? She graciously receives guests in our church narthex and calls herself a Christmas tree—yet she most likely lost her footing momentarily a few (dozen) times throughout the years. Her sense of humor testifies she found it again.
            Her sparkling eyes and perky voice motivate me to go out and take a risk we thought  impossible. Here’s to losing our footing more often!

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Blooming is risky business-just ask any flower." Anonymous 

When the temperature crawled to two degrees, I happened upon a blossoming Kalanchoe brought in the night before October’s first hard frost. The plant bloomed faithfully all summer. My best hope was for her to survive the winter inside the house and reinvent herself next season. 
But a golden yellow blossom caught my eye—in March, she’s blooming away like nobody's business. I couldn't find the source of the risky business quote, but whoever said it shared succinct wisdom. Putting ourselves out there is risky business at any age, but re-inventing ourselves in a second or third stab at using our gifts can be daunting.
Blooming takes energy—common knowledge among gardeners. That’s why we nip off flowers when we transplant, to allow the roots more chance to thrive. And roots are the foundation of everything good that comes from growing things.
My Grandma’s rosebush, delicate pink, thrived well into old age, though I doubt she took much time to nurture it. But I heard lately that burying fat in whatever form—bacon grease, throw-aways from a cut of beef—near a rose helps it flourish. Maybe the leavings of Grandma’s frying pan reached that bush. But I digress.
Late blooming—seemingly out of season—can be so meaningful. Those Kalanchoe flowers, hidden away in a neglected corner, brought me hope for spring. Some of us tucked away our deepest passion years ago—we thought we didn’t have what it took to carry through with our dreams, thought no one would read what we wrote, or listened to naysayers who shortchanged our art.
That’s not everyone’s story, but it is mine, and I’m finding that everything in my background has led me to this moment. Now I know what I felt deep-down all along. We’re born to tell our stories, no matter what anyone says, and everyone deserves a hearing.
Recently I read another fitting quotation: “This Is Your Time.” Four simple, straightforward words, but they stood out to me. For late bloomers, they’re zapped with empowerment. We may have thought our blossoming time was past, but we were wrong.
Something inside my wintering kalanchoe plant must have whispered, as March blizzards beat against a nearby window, “It’s still your time, old girl.” And so she bloomed, which is my intention for my writing, too.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Everyone should have an Uncle Peter

Christmas Blog Hop - December 10, 2012

          Greetings, one and all. My mind hangs out in the 40's a lot because of what I'm writing, so it went there again today.

           Christmas must have taken a back seat in 1941 with Pearl Harbor so fresh, and so many families missing loved ones. Two of my mom’s three brothers joined the infantry to fight in Europe.
            I doubt they had been exposed to George MacDonald’s Uncle Peter, but this enigmatic character captured my imagination the first time I read his story to our children (The Christmas Stories of George MacDonald/David C. Cook, 1981). The author brings to life a man not everyone would find delightful. Born on Christmas Day, Uncle Peter set out to make every Christmas special, regardless of his financial capacity.
            Like Uncle Billy in It’s A Wonderful Life, someone could easily take advantage of him. But Uncle Peter lived above the fray. He paid particular attention to children, especially the disadvantaged who roamed the streets.
            Generous to a fault, this bachelor surprised his kin with trips to toy and candy stores, going overboard in his gift giving. He also made sure no house on his street with little children was forgotten, employing his nephew in delivering munificent Yuletide packages.
            Maybe you recall such a family member who took time to dress in a Santa suit just for the joy of it, or created look-alike cousin outfits. Mom’s brother became Santa for us one Christmas, and on a summer weekend, he brought a box kite for us to fly. With every visit, he made it clear we mattered to him.
            George McDonald thought the world of Uncle Peter, but Peter didn’t necessarily think much of himself. One Christmas day, he wandered about dispensing three-penny pieces to needy London children, feeling of little good to anyone.
            A particularly ragged child caught his eye. He gave her a double portion and discovered her name—Little Christmas. She stole his heart, so he gave her a shilling. Still, he felt he must do more, especially upon discovering her “aunt” sent her out to make money each day but whipped her for meager earnings. Uncle Peter took her in and provided for her from then on.
            The story continues . . . I hope you’re intrigued. Uncle Peter’s connection with Christmas meant everything—it changed his life.
            He even wished to die on Christmas Day. MacDonald leaves that detail to our imaginations, but provides us with one powerful concept: “ . . . Christmas Day makes all the days of the year as sacred as itself.”
            Taking an hour out of our busy schedules to let Uncle Peter ignite the best in us might not be a bad idea. Then I’ll bake a batch of my husband’s favorite treat—Mexican wedding cookies. They put a light in our grandchildren’s eyes, too—isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

            Such an easy recipe--Mix 1 c of each: butter, flour, powdered sugar, chopped pecans
            Add 1teaspoon vanilla and refrigerate for an hour or so. Roll into balls or shape crescents. Bake on ungreased sheet for 15 mins/350 degrees. Remove to newspaper for 5 mins. Roll in powdered sugar--enjoy.  


Be sure to visit these blogs for more inspiration and some Christmas cheer:

Linda Maran – 11th
Karen Wingate-14th –
Patty Wysong -- 18th
Davalynn Spencer – 19th
Tamara Kraft – 20th       

Monday, November 12, 2012

From July to November

A lot of summer and fall lies between now and my first post. With an icy northwest wind, we stoked up our corn stove for the first time last night, but good news has warmed my heart the past couple of days.

On December 10, 2012, OakTara Publishing is releasing an anthology of courtship stories called I Choose You, and my short story (A Star Spangled Courtship) will be included. Pretty excited here.

The anthology will be sold in paperback at store, store (you may link to it from your own FB account), and other distributors, including, barnesand, and It will also be available in ebook. 

A happy Monday to one and all. 

And stay warm!! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23, 2012
Landmark day . . . my daughter helped me join the ranks of bloggerdom. But for someone who loves to play with words, they escape me right now. I imagine I'll do better tomorrow.

The book cover you see here motivated me to take this drastic step. All credit for that goes to Roseanna White, of Whitefire Publishing. The tracks remind me of the old "dead roads" on our Iowa farm as I grew up.

But in this writing life, no dead roads exist . . . only new paths to travel, unique routes to explore, and I'm thankful to be on the journey. I appreciate Jane, Machelle, and all my other writing friends who have cheered me on to this point.

Happy trails -