Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Liebster Award -- I Accept!

Well look at that. An award. I'm honored... Really honored.
It's taken me months to decide to accept this award and act on it. Months of self-doubting and insecurity and a bit of embarrassment before I realized it would be a shame to miss an opportunity like this. So, here I am, this is me...claiming my award.
First, I want to tell you that my friend, Kristine Riddle sent this honor my way. She blogs at Bright Tuesday, Scribbles from the Back of My Napkin. Kristine blogs faithfully with tongue-in-cheek humor, a touch of sarcasm, and more than a bit of poignancy. Her family friendly posts include dear and clever things she has to say about her husband, children, and family pets. And she blogs about nature, deep thoughts, and/or crafty stuff. She crochets, and blogs about that as well.
And with no further ado here's how the Liebster Award works -- at least I think this is how it works. You see it's a bit like the telephone game. Who knows how much damage has been done in the passing on of information, filtered through incredibly creative writers. We abhor copying and pasting, don't we? So we rewrite. And on the rewrite, we're remaking it.
Directions: Introduce the award and link to the blogger who nominated you. Answer 10 questions provided by that blogger. Choose 5 blogs -- all of which have less than 1,000 followers -- and nominate them for a Liebster Award. Provide them 10 questions to answer, and that's it! (If you're confused Google the award and you'll find several variations of rules and requirements. Pick the one you like best and go for it.)
Here are the questions put to me and my answers:
 1. What made you decide to take up blogging? In 2005 my son was being shipped to Iraq. He started a blog and helped me get started on one too. It was a wonderful way to offer him bits of home while he was so very far away.
2. What does your family think about you being a blogger? Some of my kids read my blog and appreciate the afore mentioned bits of home. My husband is a faithful reader...and he's an above average photographer. His photos serve as grist for the idea mill as well as illustrations for some posts. My parents are my biggest fans. Mom recently passed away, but Dad still checks my blog.
3. At what time of day do you do your most productive writing/blogging? Whenever I sit myself down to the computer, as long as I'm not checking Facebook and email, I'm productive. Time of day? Yeah, that varies.

4. What is your favorite form of social media and why? Facebook, is my favorite because it’s quick and easy and always there. Facebook is my least favorite for all the same reasons, emphasis on always there, i.e. always distracting me, always demanding my attention, always reminding me I have absolutely no self-control.
5. What is your most vivid childhood memory? I remember holding my baby brother, when I was 10 years old. He was the last of 7 and I was #2 in the line-up. I had just asked my mother how many more babies we were going to have. She said she hoped Robbie would be the last one. Seven is enough she said. I lay on the couch and held my 6 month old brother up in the air, facing me. I studied his face and his chubby little arms and legs. I drank him in, memorized him just like he was on that day. I was truly heartbroken that there might not be another baby. I can still call that memory up like it was yesterday.

6. What is your favorite book? To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
7. What was your favorite subject in high school? Gym. I was athletic. I was good at physical education. I couldn’t write the best essay, couldn’t punctuate, conjugate, or spell with the best of them. But I could turn a cartwheel, jump a hurdle, beat 'most any girl my age in a foot race.
8. Where would you like to go on holiday, assuming no money restraints? Hawaii or Australia…But wait, I’m a people person, and I don’t know anyone in either of those places. So I’ll choose Paris, because my sister lives there and I’ve been once. I know how to do Paris.
9. Which superpower do you wish you had and why? I would like to have the superpower to speed read and remember everything I read. Or no, not that, I would like to have a superpower that would allow me to always say the best, nicest, right thing all the time. No, this -- I’m a writer so I want a superpower that will make me write everything perfectly, kindly, creatively, and humorously when appropriate. 
10. What would you like to share about yourself that your readers might not know? I wish I had more chutzpah.  

And now, the bloggers I have chosen for the Liebster Award! For a couple of my nominees I hope this will be an inspiration to blog more often because YOU have much to offer, and the world will be a better place for hearing from you. One of my nominees has just begun blogging. I see incredible potential in what she has to offer, her honesty, her openness, her wit, her pick-yourself-up-dust-yourself-off-and-help-others attitude will not only serve her well, but untold others too.
So gals, should you accept this award and shamelessly proudly help yourself to a little self-promotion, let me be the first to congratulate you.
RuthAnn at Labyrinth Living
Ellen Campbell at Nana Knits and Jams
Missa Borah at A Gay Christian... from her intro page: Yes, you heard that right. I'm a huge, walking oxymoron. But I've learned to be okay with that. I hope after reading my blog you'll see why and learn to be okay with it too.
Lisa Vella at Getting it Write for You
Yvonne Thayer at Midpoint Musings
My 10 Questions to you:
1. Why did you start blogging?
2. In one sentence, who in the world are you?
3. Who is your most admired hero/heroine? (Superheroes count.)
4. Name four of your favorite things.
5. What are you passionate about?
6. What do you do for fun?
7. What animal best describes you and your personality? Explain.
8. What is your best childhood memory?
9. Name a chore you put off or avoid with all your might.
10. What could possibly help you change your attitude toward that chore?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I Knew Him Before He Had a Name

I began following a blog some time ago. A blog by an anonymous author. This competent and confident young man's story captivated me, his writing blessed me, and his heart and words tugged at my heart. Quite frankly, his writing edified...and intrigued me. I sensed something beneath what I was reading, something oozing between the lines. But what was it? Pain? Perhaps shame, but I couldn't be sure. So I followed him like a stalker. How else do you follow someone who doesn't want to be known? He was simply the Registered Runaway. After a lapse of a year or so -- on my part, not his -- I found him again. And now he has a name!
Once upon a time Benjamin Moberg was living a life of faith and blogging anonymously. He's still blogging, still living a life of faith, and he's living it openly.  These days Benjamin is living it out

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Back to Normal (Whatever That Is)

Who am I kidding? I'm nowhere near back to normal.

For one thing the conference I attended had a profound effect on me -- even more so than the previous two. Yet, perhaps, most likely, because of the previous two, and the cumulative effect. At all three conferences I saw faith, love, and grace lived out by above average Christians. Through their testimonies my faith became bigger, deeper, wider and more complete. Who would have thought? I attribute this to God opening the eyes of my heart.

One keynote speaker caught and summarized the essence of what the Gay Christian Network is all about in her blog.
Another attendee wrote his reflections in an article for the Huffington Post

For another thing, we started a remodeling project. A year ago we were in the throes of designing a new house. A smaller, tighter, easier to manage retirement house -- our dream home. But sad circumstances arose causing us to abandon that plan. And it's okay really, not the circumstances, but the idea of staying put in this big old drafty full-of-character-and-charm farmhouse. It's okay because we have the means to remodel, and hey, we've been renovating for like 38 years anyway. We'll continue making this our dream home. Eventually we can move our bedroom downstairs and  live on one level. You know, like when we get old. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's just finish expanding the living room. I can't wait to get to the part where we take up the floor. That'll be fun because it's the room in the center of the house and through which you must travel to get to every other room of the house.

It used to look like this...

The alcove where we put our Christmas tree has had an office area on one side and a big closet on the other.
The wall separating the alcove from the living room is gone now. I love changes, the bigger the better. This is big. And right now, this is a big mess...

These pictures are from last Saturday. Today, Tom and our friend, Steve, put up a ceiling and opened an existing doorway in the middle of that blank white wall. All we need now is to rework the wiring, build a new floor, install a new door or two, dress it up with a little paint and it'll be done. This is so exciting. Check back though. One of these days you'll find me freaking out... What have we done?

But really some things are back to normal. The laundry is caught up and I got to spend a little time with these little girls. A hot cocoa tea party with the little one, and an art extravaganza with the older one.


  All sunshine and happiness!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


What a month it's been. I don't want to hit replay in my mind because it wasn't an easy month in so many ways. Of course my mom's passing tops the list as the single most difficult yet blessed event. Blessed because I was privileged to be there, to be with her, to be with my dad and sisters at the very end. Blessed because the hospice nurse helped usher mom into heaven, an unforgettable experience which was horrible and wonderful, amazing and terrifying, joyful and incredibly sad. Blessed because I connected with a cousin I hadn't spent time with in years, and another cousin (in-law) who I got to know so much better, finding we had much in common. Blessed because when my aunt and uncle stood by mom's bedside hours before she left us...she perked up and puckered up to receive a kiss. Proof that she was still so very much with us, yet so very close to leaving us. How could you not cry? How can I keep back tears in the retelling? It was very much like a glimpse of heaven.

I've always felt extra sorry for people who lose loved ones close to the Christmas holiday, but for me it turned out to be a blessed distraction. After Mom passed, I had to do the next thing. I had to get on a plane and go home and make Christmas happen. My children and grandchildren would be arriving in shifts. There were presents to buy and wrap, meals to plan, rooms to prepare -- hurry, hurry, rush, rush, Christmas is a comin'! And there are great expectations to be met. Expectations of my own making.
Then there were Christmas services in which to participate, parties to attend, presents to open, sweet time together and reluctant goodbyes, and then a new year to usher in. Good things. Glimpses of heaven.
Soon after the new year began, I was off to an annual conference for gay Christians. My third. Attendees at the GCN conference are incredible people, really incredible. There is more talent, kindness, friendliness, grace, compassion, love and Christ-like behavior -- in one very diverse group of people -- than I've ever encountered anywhere. Glimpses of heaven abound.
Phenomenal speakers, Rachel Held Evans, Rob and Linda Robertson, and Dr. Christine Wiley, blessed with words from heaven. And the music? Heavenly as well, especially the choir numbers at Sunday morning worship. I'm grateful for all who participated, and especially grateful to Ben Shopland who chose the songs, directed the choir, and sang in both a quartet and a duet along with his dad.
Sights and sounds...more than just a glimpse of heaven.
It's not quite possible for me to imagine what it's like to be gay and Christian, but I'm glad for all of these people who are. Glad I've rubbed elbows with them, dined with them, worshiped and communed with them. Here, you see, are a bunch of Christians living out their faith in spite of and in the face of persecution...offering Christ's love, mercy, and grace in return. They love and accept those who are different from them. They love and accept me and others like me into their fellowship -- unconditionally. It can't be missed, they are disciples of God. And you'll know they are His disciples by their love.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Resolutions 2014

I hereby resolve to stop procrastinating.

Who am I kidding? Procrastinating is more than a habit with me, it's a lifestyle -- and I just want to tell you that once in a while it pays off. This morning for instance.

Of course yesterday and the day before I wanted to write a New Year's blog listing my 2014 resolutions. But it didn't happen because I was busy fiddling around with other things (insert "p" word here), all the while thinking about my New Year Resolutions.

This morning I tore into a home improvement project rather than sitting down to write my goals for the year. On a break I read an article by Donald Miller entitled, "Don't Share Your Resolutions." Ha. Perfect.

Thanks to my putting off I didn't make the huge mistake of sharing my goals (resolutions) publicly and thereby losing my motivation to achieve. You see, according to a lecture Mr. Miller heard, goals are great, but...

"When you share a goal publicly,
your brain enjoys the sharing in the same way it enjoys the achievement itself,
 and you’ve lost some of your motivation."
Are you familiar with Donald Miller? I like his writing, but I LOVE the titles he finds for his books! He is the author of Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and more. Those are the only ones I've read, and each was better than the last. He has a website and blog for writers and wanna be writers called Storyline, which I highly recommend if you like to write or if you have a life story begging to be told.
Really though, I do want to conquer my practice of procrastinating. I'll go make myself a list of resolutions that will help me put that troublesome habit aside. But I won't share the list for fear I'll ruin my chance of success.
Now back to peeling the old wallpaper off the living room walls. I began that this morning to delay sitting down and writing. Then I sat down to write this to put off that (the wretched peeling project). You see it really is a vicious cycle this business of procrastinating. In my defense, I usually finish what I start. Eventually.
I'm so glad God runs our days and nights in a steady and predictable manner. The sun comes up and goes down on schedule. I wonder if God sees to that himself, or does he assign the task out? There's a job you wouldn't want a procrastinator in charge of. Never mind. I won't likely be asked to do it when I get to heaven -- that is, if we're given jobs in heaven. Still, I'd like to gain victory over procrastination in this lifetime. Maybe even in 2014.  
Sunrise on Christmas morning. Right on schedule.