Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Please Be Patient With This Space

I'm on deadline and Freaking The Heck Out.

Half my book is due to my editors on Friday and I'm endlessly fiddling with it because what? You want to see half of my book in the half-written stage? Why don't you just ask to see my underwear? Or in a bathing suit in the middle of winter after not shaving for a month?


Monday, February 25, 2008

In this storm...

For you are who you are. No matter where I am.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The View from the Middle of the Road

Have you ever wondered what is the worst affliction in our society today? Is it the evils of terrorists? The stories in the news of infanticide? Famines and war? There is something I feel is much more pervasive in our lives. It has stained us as we look at the world through its lens.

Indifference and mediocrity.

When you watch the news at night, and see the horrors of the war in Afghanistan, or news of fathers and mothers killing their children, what do you do? You hear it, but it doesn’t really affect you. It is only a factoid from TV; just something that happens in this world. How many years now have certain places taken up residence in the vocabulary of newscasters: Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia. What have we as individuals actually done? Is there really anything that we can do?
Yes, of course. I don’t think that we can single-handedly stop violence, or the hunger in the world, but we can drop our feelings of indifference, and sense of mediocrity. We can tune in to this world, see that we are all connected and all the same. Since I have become a mother, this has never seemed clearer. I am not disparaging those of you who are not mothers, but ask any mother you know. You simply cannot look at the world without your child in it.

I made the “mistake” one day of watching one of those World Vision shows. Where the producers seem to have chosen the worst case scenarios and made families look as pitiful as possible. When I realized suddenly, that it was simply a picture of a mother holding her baby son, the same size as my (at the time) 3 month old. Except this boy was 18 months old and dying of hunger.
Looking in her eyes, I saw that she knew he son would die and she knew she could not stop it. I looked immediately into the eyes of my own son and desperately tried to imagine what must be going through her mind. She had carried this child within in her for 9 months, feeling his kicks and hiccups. She had laboured for hours giving birth with no drugs. She had held her wet, screaming child to her breast and perhaps nursed him. She saw his first smile and felt his fingers curl around hers. And now she would watch him die slowly. Creep away from her as his frail little body gave out on him.
I could no longer feel indifference. I felt this mother's pain and knew that we were the same. We had the same hopes and dreams for our sons, and hers would not be realized. I could not continue about my petty business for the day until I, too, had mourned for the loss of her son.

What is the cure?
We have lost our compassion in this global community we live in. We watch TV, as though it is only a picture, when, we should be considering each image as a reflection of life. It is one thing to see the effect of war and famine in our world. It is another to smell the acidic smoke from burning buildings or feel the touch of flies on your face from infested water. We need to regain compassion that we have lost. Reach out to the suffering and not assume that others will. Give until we know the pain that they feel. Go out on limbs to rescue the lost. Not fear to let our voice and our single voice alone be heard.

They came for the Communists, and I
didn't object - For I wasn't a Communist;
They came for the Socialists, and I
didn't object - For I wasn't a Socialist;
They came for the labor leaders, and I
didn't object - For I wasn't a labor leader;
They came for the Jews, and I
didn't object - For I wasn't a Jew;
Then they came for me - And there
was no one left to object.

Martin Niemoller, German Protestant
Pastor, 1892-1984

Monday, February 11, 2008


Ok God. I get it. I need to shut up. Gotitthanksbye.

Over the weekend I had Minor Meltdown #876.

Bills! Book deadline! Work! Sick baby! Husband/job thing! Indecisiveness!

I couldn't even pinpoint what I was frustrated about. I'd get half-way through a line of criticism and realize I didn't know what I was talking about, or I'd changed my mind. I was trying to make logic out of a yarn of insanity, spit and crazeeee glue.

After Major Man beat a hasty retreat (who wouldn't?) and I calmed down (read: started to feel stupid), I turned to my bible for a little reading. And I picked up a devotional. Then I read a bit in an eNewsletter I get for Christian women. Then I read another devotional-type book.

And I swear on a stack of youknowhats that every single verse I came across said: "Think before you speak. Shut up a lot more." (sic)

Got it. Shutting up more.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

There were 4 in the bed and the little one said...

... I have a fever.

Four of us were in the bed last night. It's a good thing it's a King sized bed. After putting the baby and 6yo to bed, I went to have a bath. I came out and the baby's door was open. Hubby had gone in to get her and determined she was too hot, so he left the door open.

Yes, she was too hot. She had a fever.

Cheeks red, nose runny, whole body dry and hot. Yup. Fever. I don't usually take temperatures, I just go with the "radiating heat" method. Is she radiating? Yep.

So I got some water and laid down with her. It took a while, but she went to sleep in the crook of my arm. Then she wanted to lay on top of me, then on her belly on the bed, then in my arm... you get the idea. Eventually she slept. Then hubby came to bed. A little later my son came in... there wasn't much room but he brought his own pillow and blanket and slept at the foot of the bed.

It wasn't a situation that was conducive to mommies and daddies getting much sleep.

At around four it was hubby's turn to rock the baby back to sleep... that lasted a few minutes until she puked on him. Then I took over. Finally she was out. I think she might have slept in until 8 or so. My son was up early saying "it's time to get up now".

Uh, no, it's not...

But he's such a good kid, he just went and played video games in bed while I got a little more sleep.

And since it was Saturday morning... it was my sleep-in day! Major Man got up and took care of the kids and I slept as hard as I could. When I woke up, the baby was already down for her nap. Woot!

Why am I telling you this?

Because I had a plan for today. I was going to forgo the sleep-in and instead sit in my room and write. I had a thing to go to at 1:30 and about 10,000 words to write.

But live intervenes. It always does. And it's important, I think, to do your best to roll with the punches. To know which balls to drop, which to set down, which to keep in the air and which to hold tightly.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Forgiveness is such a complicated thing when we try to analyze it. We pick it apart like an old wool sweater so we can see just how it's put together. Then we try to make it fit our body, wrapping it around ourselves and trying to re-knit it together.

But it never works that way. It is uncomfortable, lumpy and there are holes that the winds of doubt blow through, chilling you to the bone.

I'm not talking about forgiveness of others - I am talking about forgiveness of self.

In some ways it is easier to forgive others than yourself. You can push something aside and with enough will it seems you can forgive it. But with yourself, it's as though you wear glasses tinged with guilt and you see each action as a reflection on your guilt.

So what is forgiveness? It's not something that you can put on, like that old sweater. It's not something you can feel or hold in your hand.

After spending quite a bit of time praying today, I figured a few things out... or rather, God helped me to figure them out.

1. Forgiveness must be received - it's not just given.

2. It is received in your heart and it must be received - God expects you to receive it.

3. God does not want us wandering around this world without receiving forgiveness. "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28)

None of this absolves you from having to face the consequences of any actions here on earth. But it does help to focus you on the eternal rather than the earthly. In many ways it increases the weight of personal responsibility because you know you cannot, should not and will not avoid that personal earthly consequence, but that it does not change your value in the eyes of God.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Resources to be a Busy Writing Mother

Someone remarked recently that she didn't know how I did all the things I do. Let me let you in on a few secrets:
  1. I don't know either.
  2. I can't stand to be "not busy".
  3. I have a wonderful support system to pick up the slack.

I think that #3 is the most important one. I have a husband who will watch the kids if I'm at a political meeting or out at a Pampered Chef show or needing some writing time alone. I have a mother who can be counted on to provide childcare (even if she has to rearrange her day) if I really need it.

Whenever someone asks me how I do what I do or what helps me do it, I am usually stuck for answers. So here's my attempt:

Support Groups: I love my online groups. My top three are The Writing Mother, PWAC and Freelance Success.

Time Savers: Grocery delivery service, Chapters Wish List (so I don't overspend!), Blackberry so I know what I have in my inbox before I get home.

Associations: PWAC, WGA, CAFE. (My favorite resources for professional development.)

Great books: Shirley Jump's How To Publish Your Articles, Terry Whalin's Book Proposals That $ell.