How Control Creates Fear

Worry is a way to pretend that you have knowledge or control over what you don’t.” ~ Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

A few weeks ago I told you about the conversation jar my son brought home from school, and told you I’d be asking and answering some of those questions here. So, without further ado:

This week I pulled a rather “easy” question from the conversation jar: Would you rather dive off a high cliff into the ocean or do a book report in front of 500 kids?

In my current, adult, know-it-all state, I would choose the book report without thinking twice. I’m a bookworm, and always have been. But as a kid?

Continue reading “How Control Creates Fear”

A Few Weeks ‘Til Christmas—A Gift for the Weary

Weary‘Twas a few weeks before Christmas. Not a creature was stirring, except for the mother. There were clothes to be folded, parties to plan, stores to be shopped for 52 people, plus the school bus driver and kind widow next door.

Though the world was all nestled knee-deep in the snow, nightmarish to-do lists danced ’round in my head.

My pillow, cold and lonely, was waiting for my long winter’s nap, but there was, quite simply, no rest to be found.

Deprived of sleep, my brain went all wonky, my temper was shrinking, while my waistline expanded, and I’m dead certain it was torture.

Cookies to bake, but my brain’s on log sawing. Was that one cup or two? One and a half will do.

I’m waiting for St. Nick to pop from the chimney all jolly and droll. But I’m afraid he’s not coming and I’m all on my own.

I may have to rethink the ban on his shelf elf’s patrol…if only it means he’ll help fill the stockings.

I can’t keep my eyes open.

My head falls to the counter with a jerk. And I turn with a lurch, while laying fingers aside my noggin, I fall into my bed, eyes closed in an instant.

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.

May you find a smidgen of peace…
and perhaps a nice nap.

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Conquering Fear and Following Your Calling

conquer-fearSome of you probably know that I spent the 30 days of November writing 50,000 words on my next novel—that’s about 200 pages…basically an entire book. It was a challenge for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Writing with that kind of speed is NOT how I normally write. I’ve always been a little like Ernest Hemingway—reading over what I’d written and editing that before moving forward bit by bit every day.

I thought going for speed might be a good exercise. Help me learn new skills. Stretch me. You know, make me better.

And it might do that yet. But at the moment, with everything that was going on in my family, I wonder if the story I started was worth it.

Every novelist knows that there are points along the way where you hate what you’ve written. But I fear this is different.

Did I push myself into a place I wasn’t called to go? And now I’m overwhelmed in the quicksand that is my book. I’ve too many elements, perhaps not enough research.

I feel as if I didn’t give myself the space to do it right. Sure, I can go back and fix it… maybe.

fdr-quoteIf this character hadn’t been haunting me for 5 years, I might give up. But the more I think on it, the more I think my fear of the character has everything to do with why I veered off in a direction I hadn’t intended on.

Isn’t that like life?

The things we fear most are often the things we’re called to do. Tweet This

So today, I will again tackle the book. Reworking, rewriting, replotting.

I will look straight into fear and walk into it, if for no other reason than most fear runs when it encounters confidence.

I will hunt fear today and invite you to do the same. Tweet This

Did you like this blogpost? I’d love to have you and your friends come along with me. Please click one of the links below to share with others. Or click the follow tab in the bottom right corner and subscribe to Beautiful. Ugly. Me. I’d love to have you with me. Have a Blessed Week!

 

Emerging Butterfly—Beauty of Struggle

butterflyWe live near one of the most beautiful places I know, Frederick Meijer Garden. It’s a world-renown sculpture park and botanical garden.

Every March and April this organization bring in hundreds of butterfly chrysalis and moth cocoons and allow them to hatch within the confines of the tropical garden. The visitors walk inside a dreamland of fluttering color.

Awhile back, I took my daughter early specifically to watch a different display than the flying butterflies. We came to watch the butterflies emerge from their chrysalis.

It’d been a rough not the night before. Emotion overflowed my senses and my girl and I needed the retreat. Continue reading “Emerging Butterfly—Beauty of Struggle”

When You’re Standing at a Crossroad

crossroadI’m standing at a crossroad. A place where I’m trying to make choices. Responsible choices. I’ve too much going on and I want to simplify. But then I’m confronted with brokenness, and I ache to help—to do something tangible. Sound familiar?

I suspect some of you are with me in the struggle. Often I find that I only see one step ahead, but strangely others can see more clearly than I. Perhaps, just maybe, together we can work out the next step.

As I struggle through decisions—what’s best as a mom, a writer, a wife. I’m called to be purposeful; to demand a higher level for myself; to be a clarion call of beauty, goodness, and truth—I started processing through the written word. I am, after all, a writer! What came out was the poem below.

Do I Dare Disturb the Universe*

Continue reading “When You’re Standing at a Crossroad”

When There Are No Words

No Words

As I writer and editor, my life lives and breathes letters, words, sentences. Pictures, scenes, emotions, flow from my brain, to my fingers, to the page. It’s what I do.

But sometimes…sometimes the river of words runs dry. I’m left without a way to respond to circumstances.

I’ll admit I’m tapped out right now. I have no words. And it’s okay for me. I know I my writing hasn’t been my best, but it’s okay for now. I’m not actively writing a novel…just editing.

My stopped up word-river is even fine for my family for the moment. We’re okay. Really we are (and I’m not just trying to convince myself of that).

My world is surviving without my words, my connection to something bigger…until I got a phone call from a friend who’s always been there for me. Until I didn’t have words for her.

I’m not sure I even followed everything she said through her tears, but I do know this: Her daddy died, and it was hard. She was trudging in the valley of the shadow of death, and I had such paltry words to give. I couldn’t even point her to comfort.

I know that sometimes it’s okay to not say anything. Sometimes it’s better even.

But oh how I long to speak into the dark spot left in her dad’s place.

And so I bring a meal, I pray for her peace, I scour the Internet for funny stories to send, and I might even buy a card with someone else’s words or I might haul out my paints and paint her a picture.

See I may have no words, but she can still hear me…and that’s okay with me. Tweet This

Perhaps it’s here, where our words flee, that we find action. In this wordless place, we set aside our daily tasks, roll up our sleeves, and communicate in a bigger way.

Getting Hold of Stillness

StillnessMy husband’s across the country for work, and my kids were both home sick yesterday. Now I’m playing catch-up. I have a million things to do. I can’t see my kitchen counter or my table. There’s Kleenex decorating the couch and deadlines looming for all my jobs. My heart is racing and tears are hovering just under the surface.

And the dog needs to go potty. Really?!

So I open the door for our crazy Sheltie and bright sunshine pours in. The chirping of birds. Bright red, freshly planted flowers line the path to my door. And I sigh. I hear the whisper. Be Still.

A momentary thought of “The List” has my hands shaking, but Continue reading “Getting Hold of Stillness”

The Making of a Tiger

This is a short story revealing a little background on the characters of the WWII novel I’m writing. The main character here (John) is the father of the main character in the book (Kailyn). It’s set in the Himalayan mountains of Burma. Hope you enjoy it . . .

Making of Tiger

He didn’t have much use for his small knife any longer. It had been so long since he’d carved blocks of wood into jungle animals, that the monsoon rains had left rust and mold on the blade.

But tonight. Tonight his hands needed the feel of wood. The surety behind it’s hardness. The knife peeling away bits and flakes to reveal what had always lurked beneath the bark.

John rubbed a calloused thumb across the edges. His white skin stark against the ridged grain.

A scream ripped through the jungle and John jumped from the fallen log. His daughter, Kailyn, sat quiet. Amber eyes wide, staring through the fire at her Papa, shifting between the door of their thatch-roofed home and the jungle. He knew she wanted to run, but her mother’s pain contained her here. Captured in the flickering light of the fire. Continue reading “The Making of a Tiger”

There’s Something About Bravery

BraveryAwhile back, I spent the weekend with a good friend who had moved away and some other women who I didn’t know well, but I still consider friends.

We spent a lot of time telling the stories of our lives. I didn’t think about it at the time, but, as I look back, I’m struck with how brave each of these women were and are.

Several traveled with friends when they were young. One moved out when she was seventeen. One scuba dived with sharks.

If I had asked them to tell me about the bravest thing they’d ever done, they would have told those stories.

But what captured me wasn’t the exciting actions of their youth, but how they dealt with the junk life inevitably deals out: Continue reading “There’s Something About Bravery”

In Its Place–A Short Story

Old-Hardware-3I could feel the heat from the hardware store’s stove warming my feet as I sat on the couch in our second floor apartment. My toes nearly glowed with happiness. In such heat a body could nearly forget the cardboard covered holes in her shoes and the snow outside the window.

A body could nearly forget everything. I touched the corner of wool blankets next to me and brushed lint off the red box on top. Well, nearly.

Mama always said, “Lucille, honey, we’re lucky to have the store.”

She’d brush my wild curls into submission and tell me that other folks would love this here place even with the oily smell. Or some days, she’d say they’d like it even with the chipped walls or with all the men hanging around outside looking for work from any fortunate builder or handyman with a job big enough to hire extra hands.

I don’t know who she was trying to convince. Maybe herself or my older brother, George. I don’t think either of them liked their jobs in the family business.

But I certainly didn’t need telling. I loved Miles Hardware. Three stories of rising red brick between the white clapboard buildings.

Continue reading “In Its Place–A Short Story”