"" Writer's Wanderings: October 2005

Monday, October 31, 2005

Hot! Hot! Hot!

We were in Bermuda last week and visited a glassblowing demonstration in St. George's. It was the first time we'd ever seen someone make a plate.

A glob of molten glass was placed on the end of the long metal blow rod, heated in a raging furnace until it was red hot and then rolled in little granules of colored glass. The process was repeated a few times and then the hot glass was rolled in very fine white granules.

It was heated in the furnace again and then with a few gentle breaths, it became a round ball at the end of the rod. Thrust into the fire again, it glowed an ugly red-hot when the assistant handed the rod to the artist. She took tongs and gently shaped the ball, making it smooth, removing irregularities. The assistant took another rod, added a dollop of molten glass to the end and stuck it to the ball of glass held by the artist. The artist clipped the ball off of her rod and the assistant returned to the blazing fire again to reheat the glass.

Little by little, the artist enlarged the opening of the ball--each time requiring her assistant to reheat the glass. Eventually, as the glass cooled and the ball became a flat plate with fluted edges, a brilliant display of color was revealed. It came from all the little colored pieces that were first rolled into the glass. The bright colors swirled out from the center of the plate and became even richer in tone and hue as they caught the rays of the sun.

I couldn't help but think of how God refines us through our "fires"--our trials and sufferings. In the hands of the Artist, we become beautiful creations, richer still when caught in the rays of the Son's love.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Needle Phobia

I am a wimp--no way to pad that to make me look better. I'm facing my flu shot today and already feel that nibbling in my stomach. It's not as bad as it used to be though. I think having kids helped some.

BK (before kids), I passed out when I saw a needle approaching. If it didn't happen prior to the prick, it happened after. My mother, who seemed intrepid, sent me down to the lab one day one my own. I was around 17 and checking into the hospital to have my appendix removed. The lab did the blood test and then scratched my ear (it had something to do with seeing the blood clot). I must have caught sight of the needle then because as I left the room and walked to the elevator, I could feel the world gray around me.

I pushed the button and the elevator doors closed. The next thing I remember was falling forward into the arms of a nurse.

Along came kids. I assigned the task of "puppy" shots to Dad. He went most of the time. At first the pediatrician thought it was because we had twins and Dad was helping. Then he caught on that it was my needle phobia. He worked with me. When Dad couldn't make it, Dr. Rohweder made sure I stayed in the chair a while before he let me leave.

It's been 34 years since those puppy shots. I've had my fill of blood tests, shots, and IVs. I can usually make it through without fainting but the flight or fight adrenalin rush still courses through my veins and turns my stomach inside out.

Wish me luck today. I'd almost...almost rather have the flu.

(P.S. I'm taking next week off from my blog...Please don't think it's from my needle phobia. Smiles!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Good Morning

Are you a morning person? I could be...if the morning started a little later. It's hard to shuffle past my husband at 6 a.m. as he stands at the sink, lathering a face flushed from a half hour workout on the treadmill. He chirps a "Good morning!" and I try to answer. It isn't pretty. I wake up with a throat that is voiceless until I have my coffee. I croak at him and move on to the kitchen.

Somewhere along the line--after having children who woke me at all hours of the night--I learned to do things without being fully awake. This isn't bad when everything goes well. But a few miscalculations can have you drinking hot water instead of coffee or wiping raw egg off the floor.

My voice returns in time to bid hubby good-bye. I go to my computer, coffee cup in hand, and turn it on. Now there are some mornings where it springs to life and is ready to go before I finish my morning draft of caffeine. Other mornings it keeps thinking, "Do I want to boot up or don't I?" I can sympathize with that.

At a writers conference this spring, someone quoted Mary Lou Redding of Upper Room (a devotional magazine) as saying, "Good morning is a statement of faith."

Good morning has to do with expectation. I've never wanted to set those expectations too high. I'd rather wait for the review. But by then it's afternoon and...well...everyone is saying "Good afternoon!"

How do they know? I know, I know...have faith.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chaos Theory

The Chaos theory was a big part of Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park--so big in fact, that I skipped through a lot of the detailed description he wrote. Now I think I could sum it up in a simple sentence: Chaos is three preschoolers going in three different directions amid a store full of delicate collectables with a grandfather chasing after them.

We had lunch with Tyler, Danielle, and Kotomi yesterday--and their moms too. Grandpa decided to take them off for a walk when they got antsy at the table. He made a wrong turn and ended up in a gift store. With squeals of delight, the three took off to explore. While I wasn't with him, I can imagine (from experience) what went on. Display carousels were spun, doilies were waved in the air, and bundles of stuffed animals were cuddled and tossed back on the shelves...or floor.

When I saw the place he had taken them, I could only shake my head in amazement.

"You had the kids here and you didn't have to pay for anything?"

That man leads a charmed life.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Yesterday I went to a writers conference in our area. It was a small conference but featured some dynamic speakers I had missed hearing at earlier conferences this year. When I entered the breakfast room, one of the speakers, author Cec Murphy, recognized my name and rushed over to me to give me a big hug and thank me for all the wonderful e-mails I had sent him.

Cec is the author of Committed But Flawed, a wonderful book on modeling our lives after characters in the Bible that weren't perfect but were committed to God. I used it for 26 weeks of study in the adult Sunday school class I teach. I had e-mailed him a couple of times to tell him how much the class enjoyed it and some of the responses to the book, and I'd invited him to come and meet the class if time permitted while he was in the Cleveland area.

I didn't think much about what I'd done. Cec is a prolific writer (about 100 books to his name) and I just figured he got that kind of feedback all the time. Maybe he does...maybe he doesn't. His response yesterday though reinforced my belief that no matter how big or small, how popular or unknown, how successful or not, everyone needs words of encouragement. His response to mine has encouraged me to continue to look for ways to make people feel appreciated.

Is there someone you could encourage today?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Midget Massacre

Last week, Kotomi, our almost two-year-old granddaughter, came to visit. One of her favorite things to do is draw. She spent hours drawing on a magnetic erase board and on paper with pencil. The most fun, however, for her and Grandpa was the sidewalk chalk on the driveway.

The two of them started out drawing flowers and trains and writing "Kotomi" and then Grandpa got a bright idea. He laid Kotomi on the driveway, arms stretched out, and drew the outline of her little body. When she stood up, he drew in the eyes and a big smile. She was thrilled--so much so that she laid down again and yelled, "Granpa, Granpa!"

About six body outlines later, Kotomi made Grandpa lie down and and she drew around him.

After the dust settled and Kotomi was on her way home, we surveyed the driveway, remembering the good time with her. We had to laugh at the image before us, though. It looked like a criminal investigation team had been in and drawn body outlines for a midget massacre that took out one giant as well.

Monday, October 10, 2005


A few weeks ago, I joined the Toastmasters club in our area. I wanted to sharpen my speaking skills especially when it comes to having to think on my feet. You know, when someone you are trying to impress with your latest book proposal asks you a question, totally off subject, and expects an answer.

The Toastmasters have what they call "Table Topics." Someone prepares a list of questions/topics and we take turns standing up to give a one to two minute talk on whatever subject comes your way. I was having great fun listening to questions that had the theme of a newlywed game show. Since there's nothing more fun than talking about your spouse's habits, I volunteered to take the next one. To my surprise, the list of game show questions was exhausted and I was given a serious subject to speak on. I faltered, grasping for ideas of what to say to a group I really didn't know well yet. I learned that a minute can be an awfully long time and I have a long way to go yet to smoothly field uncomfortable subjects among unfamiliar people.

I guess the old saying's true...be careful what you ask for...I'm learning.

Still, it's too bad the subject changed. I had such a good story about linty black fuzzies on the rug from hubby's dark socks.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Fly Lady

Did you just say "What?" I did to when I saw that listed as a topic at our Ladies' Day activities at church. The description of the workshop said the Fly Lady was going to get me organized. O...K..., I thought, if she can do that, she must be a super-hero...ine.

What I found was a super creative mind that has organized household tasks, cut corners, given encouragement, and forgiven the untidy. The FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself. The house didn't get the way it is in a day, you won't get it organized and cleaned in a day.

You start with the sink--developing a habit of getting it clean each night before you go to bed. If you wake up with a clean sink (one area of your house that shows promise) then you can feel a sense of accomplishment and it encourages you to push on.

Her website, www.FlyLady.net , is full of ideas for whipping the house into shape and keeping up with it. She divides the house into zones, and if you sign up on her site, she will e-mail you reminders and challenges for cleaning each zone. There is also a reference to another site that helps with meal planning--one of the chores I hate. I just may sign up for that one.

It was a fun seminar. The gal that presented it (not the actual Fly Lady) was sold on the idea. She said even her young children know what a five minute cleanup is and how to set a timer.

Well, time to go shine the sink...I forgot to do it last night.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Moxie Grandmother

Many thanks to those of you who have congratulated me on becoming a grandmother again. While the distance makes the longing to hold a new baby in my arms excruciatingly painful, the wonders of cyberspace and the internet help to ease the anxiety.

Within hours of Caleb's birth, we had pictures of him as he was being cleaned and dressed for his appearance in the nursery. My son took a break and went home to e-mail pictures for the hungry grandparents in Ohio and Arkansas to see. During the weeks that have followed, he has continued to update us with all the little nuances a newborn has to offer right down to that smile we all know is just gas tickling the tummy.

One of the best pictures comes from my daughter-in-law who knew that one of my greatest desires was to see my son holding his son. It's a picture I'll treasure.

I think back to when my son and his twin were born. They were the first grandchildren on both sides. We lived in Maryland at the time and our families were in Ohio. My mother had planned to come out to stay with me, but came down with pneumonia the week before they were born. My mother-in-law came in her place. Knowing my mother, I cannot imagine the angst she must have experienced. It was probably close to a week before she could get the first pictures. We had to take them, have them developed, and then send them by mail--snail mail.

I had printed "Do not bend--Precious pictures of first grandchildren" on the envelope. She told me later that the mailman had blown his horn when he delivered them so she'd know they had arrived. I'd bet she was hanging around the box everyday--waiting, pneumonia or not.

I'm glad I'm able to understand enough of this modern technology to get by. I sure would have hated to wait as long as my mother did. In a few days, I get to hold that little guy--the one who's smiling at me from my computer screen.

It's great being a moxie grandmother--or maybe I should make that foxie...
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