Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I hope you stay sick, Mom

So, we go on our annual Spring Break trip to Cannon Beach for three days and stay at our usual Sandcastle Condos where we celebrate my sweet brown eyed youngest son’s sixth birthday. During our first two days, we swam in the pool, soaked in the Jacuzzi, ran on the beach, looked for sea anemones, flew Frisbees, boomerangs, kites, rode bicycles along the ocean waves, ate at Mo’s, watched old movies, savored crab and melted butter. Had amazing weather during the first two days.

Then the third day it rains, and I get sick (okay, so I timed it well). But, it was the stomach kind of sick. And, it was not fun. My just turned 6 year old also got sick but not as badly. I felt so miserable Friday and just wanted to erase the day and sleep it off, but then I could not sleep which made it even worse.

I had been sick with a different kind of illness a week before, and had canceled everything for two days, and so I thought I was immune to getting sick again so soon – though we did expose ourselves to my sister’s family before we left for the spring break beach trip, and they had all been sick. Yes, stomach flu.

I felt a little bit better upon returning from Cannon Beach, and continued resting on Sunday, hoping to start the week off freshly. And not sick. I was definitely still weak.

On Sunday night, while tucking my kindergartener into bed, I tell him that I hope I am totally over being sick as I just did not like feeling so badly.

His response?

“I hope you stay sick, Mom.”

I look at him with a question on my face as he chuckles a little.

“Why don’t you want me to feel better, Augustin?” I ask.

“When you’re sick, you stay home with me. And you don’t go to meetings.”
Man, I love the way children are so honest.

On Monday, he had his wish in a way. I had a fairly normal day, though not going 100 percent, definitely getting work done, but later in the day, I felt a bit weak. Perhaps I did too much.

Then I snapped off from my neck my small gold cross that my mom gave me when I was 16 years old and a new believer. It was in my bedroom which was still a disaster from returning from the beach, and truth be told, is far from organized even without having to unpack. I just had to find that gold cross.

I had the entire family helping me and I offered a prayer – and a reward. Five dollars. Then 10.

We cleaned under the bed – not a pretty picture—and we took everything off of dressers and cleared off the nightstands. Nothing.

When interest waned, I upped the ante to $ 15. That helped get the kids back to the room. My husband the engineer was trying to recreate the scene.
“Which direction were you facing when your necklace snapped?” he wondered again. I had first told him the wrong direction, and when I rethought about it, I showed him a different way I might have been looking while changing clothes.

“Okay, then the cross could have flown in the air that way,” he suggested looking toward the closet, while one of my 11 year twins dashes in the direction in which he is pointing.

“I found it, I found it,” Wesley exclaims as he runs toward me with the tiny gold cross.

It was on the carpet right next to four boxes of delayed decisions and laundry baskets piled up and pictures to be filed. I was extremely grateful to have my cross found, and I quickly gave my son the reward money.
Honestly, that cross is so small and my room so needing organizing that I really was beginning to wonder if we could find it, but I knew it had to be in the room.

Earlier, I had canceled going to a writing meeting I was looking forward to attending at church. I was feeling a bit of a relapse – and I lost my cross which I just had to find before going anywhere -- so, my youngest got his way: I stayed home.

But only partially because of me being sick.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Western Seminary's Heart Talk Writing seminar was Great

I was able to help at Saturday's Heart Talk Writing seminar and it was such a neat day of connecting and inspiration. My highlight was meeting author Robin Jones Gunn, the keynote speaker - her stories - we have so much in common . . . and I also was able to have a few moments to share with Bev Hislop, the Women's Ministry director at Western. . . it will be fun to see how God continues shaping the journey...my heart is to connect writers. . .

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Power of Narrative- Christian Scholars Conference info

As I mentioned at last night's Rolling Hills Writers Connection meeting, here is additional info about the upcoming Power of Narrative-Christian Scholars writers' conference in Tennessee that I plan on attending-the first part of this is simply cut and pasted from http://csc.lipscomb.edu/ -

Christian Scholars’ Conference 2009
The Power of Narrative
June 25-27, 2009

Lipscomb University is pleased to host the 29th annual Christian Scholars’ Conference, June 25-27, 2009, under the theme, “The Power of Narrative.” Plenary speakers Billy Collins (US Poet Laureate, 2001-2003), Marilynne Robinson (Pulitzer Prize Winner, 2005), Hubert G. Locke, and Barbara Brown Taylor will stimulate dialogue on the intersection of faith, academics, and narrative's captivating quality. Paper and Panel sessions highlight the conference, bringing together fellow academics for collaboration and dialogue. We invite you to participate!

I love Marilynne' Robinson's novels Gilead and Home as well as Billy Collins' poetry and I recently began reading Barbara Brown Taylor's book, Leaving Church. All very literary work which reflect their Christian values, but not in a cliche-type of way.

As a writer, I want to be challenged and stretched and going to conferences with excellent writers and speakers is so inspiring.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rolling Hills Writers' Connection Monday March 9 at 6:30 pm

The next Rolling Hills Writers Connection is Monday March 9 at 6:30 pm at Rolling Hills Community Church in the future bookstore. The every-other month meeting is for encouragement, inspiration, connection and ideas. Bring a short piece to read if desired.

I look forward to seeing you there.


Monday, March 2, 2009

A hard act to follow...Reflecting on Saturday's Oregon Christian Writers Conference

Being a part of the Oregon Christian Writers Conference Saturday in Salem was wonderful. I felt honored to be there as one of the workshop leaders, but trust me, it was hard to follow The Shack author, William Paul Young, who was the keynote speaker of the day and also led the workshop just before mine.

I had the chance to meet Wm Paul Young between sessions and noted his segment on identity really hit home. Identity is a theme in his book and life as it is in mine and I am guessing many other people’s lives.

I asked him to sign my daughter Rachel’s book (Rachel had it with her in Germany where she was in Bible School and she shipped it home along with other books to lighten her load to go to Austria, where she is in her second term of Bible school). William Paul Young has the philosophy of not just signing books but personalizing every single one of them. He wants to send the message to people that they matter. To him. And to God. That powerful message is found in his book, The Shack.

The story behind The Shack is powerful in and of itself. How he came to write it. How he came to publish it. How it has gotten into the hands of 3 million people worldwide. How he did not set out to become a New York Times Best-selling novelist. How God’s hand is entirely in William Paul Young’s story and the success of his book.

And that is the part that I took home. So many times we strive and we worry and we plan and we do all these things to make ourselves successful, and then we add a little prayer asking God to bless us. Bless our ideas, bless all we are doing, thinking to ourselves, it is God’s will. But, William Paul Young’s message was one that said he finally came to a point in his life when God was the only identity he had. When he emptied himself and his own desires and gave them completely to Christ.

Then, God gave him this story, The Shack, which was originally written for his six

And God used it – and is still using it - in the lives of millions of people.
William Paul Young shared the letters he has been receiving from people who have been affected by the book. People whose lives have been turned around. People who have returned to Christ after reading his book. People who have found God for the first time. People who have returned to the church and a relationship with Christ after having felt burned by the church. People who have discovered mercy and grace and peace and love for the very first time. Or again.

Yes, it was a writers’ conference I was a part of Saturday. But, it was more than that. It was a time of inspiration and renewal in personal lives. It was a time of connection. It was a time of refreshment.

I enjoyed seeing so many people from my church. I enjoyed seeing old writer friends and meeting new ones. I went away with inspiration to write more deeply and transparently and from the heart.

And, to pray. And to trust God for all things related to the pen. And to life.

[Note: photo courtesy of Julie McDonald Zander]


Hidden Lake


Cousins bicycling at Champeog Park

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