Monday, February 23, 2015

Mustard Seed Sparkles!

A mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds. That's all the faith God says we need to do great things (Luke 17:6). But sometimes it's really hard to see how much an itsy-bitsy mustard seed can achieve.

What if that seed of faith was a bead of light in a dark room? It doesn't matter how dark the room is- you'll still be able to see it glow. That tiny light still manages to push back the darkness, and the darker the room gets, the stronger the light. From this perspective, that's a powerful little seed!

Spring will soon be coming. If we took that seed and planted it, it would grow into a huge plant. All it needs is good soil, water, and the warmth of the sun- or should I say Son? The seed can't become what it needs to be if we stick it in a drawer. Just like putting a lamp in a closet- it's hard to see the light when you cover it up or tuck it away.

God meant for us to take that seed and show it to the world. Let it shine. Plant it. Use what God gave us to make it grow. Then share the harvest.

If you have a mustard seed of faith (like me), don't compare your tiny seed to those that have bigger seeds, like cucumber seeds, or even avocado pits. We need to grow at our own pace to have healthy roots that dig deep and hold fast.

We need to hold up our seeds and let them shine- don't be afraid to show others your tiny seeds- Let God see the sparkles!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Writer Fighter

I am the fighting champion of the universe- in my own head.

If you ever wondered what it's like to be a writer, do let me explain in the most clear, concise ways possible.

We are lunatics. Pure, unadulterated nutballs.

Who else could spend a day by herself writing, then leave the room and want to be alone? 
Who else would avoid drama of any kind, because she just had a huge mega-argument with all of her characters?
Who else can create a myriad of characters and no plot? Or a ton of plots, but no characters?
Who else would have five hundred projects ready to write, then she gets writer's block?

Me, that's who. And anyone else who puts a pen to page or fingers to keyboard.

Yes, I have spent the day writing. My day starts out with a story or an article, and I either have to find a plot or research some information to get the work going. By the time I'm done reading, researching, messaging and emailing people, I want nothing to do with anyone once I leave my writing space. Basically, I need to unclutter my head before it explodes.

You want drama? Try talking to fifteen characters all wanting to be in the limelight. Several of them complain that what you wrote isn't true to their personality. Or they just plain hate the way you wrote them. Not to mention the in-fighting when the antagonist and protagonist get together, pointing fingers at the Comedy Relief or the Best Friend, for getting them into this story in the first place. 
By the time you finish the story (or in my case, the paragraph), any other drama will not be tolerated. Heads will roll if my children even speak to me about what one sibling did to another- both will be grounded for life at the drop of a hat. Luckily for me my kids know this, and don't talk to me for at least an hour after I've been writing.

I have yet to meet a writer who can create both plot and characters fluidly. Writers have trouble with one or the other, period. For me it's plot. I have a ton of characters (hence the arguments in the above paragraph), but nowhere to put them. Others have issues with plenty of places to go, but no one to invite to the party. You can't put us writers in a group either- we'll be so busy telling the tales of the difficulties in our writing journeys that no one will be doing any actual writing!

Writer's block comes when everything is so jammed up in your head that nothing moves- much like a traffic jam. You have to find the right pebble in the landslide to get things moving again, and that can take forever. The best part is this usually happens when you have a deadline. Ideas will flow like a raging river when there's no deadline, but give a writer a deadline and her brain becomes like a constipated elephant. 

I'm a writer. I'm a fighter. I'm a character referee and plodding plotter. I'm also a nutball. And that's okay. 

And the second I'm finished this post, I'm going to need a nap, because my characters are yelling at me for telling on them. Yikes!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Many Hats

I wear a lot of hats.

Not literally of course- my hairdo would be a hairdon't- I'm speaking figuratively. I have more hats and Dolly Parton has wigs.

The mom hat alone has many tiny hats within it. The cook, taxi, maid, referee and coach hats are all included under this single chapeau. But I do wear others.

My writer's hat has a band about it, sporting all of my notes, outlines, and drafts. It's a heavy hat sometimes, but also really cool because the band can hold a lot- many a tree has been sacrificed so I could jot down whatever comes to mind. This hat also has several pen and pencil holders for convenience.

My crafter's hat is sparkly, soft, and can turn into a bowl to hold all of my origami beads, quilting thread, or pins for tacking straps to tote bags. The rainbow and unicorn fabric helps me to get inspirated (not inspired- inspirated means a really fun idea, not the high-falootin' ideas the word 'inspired' sounds like it gives) to do fun and funky creations. Just looking at this hat makes me grin like a Cheshire cat.

The housekeeping hat should be part of the mom hat, but I refuse to tack it on. This hat is best stored in a closet somewhere, and is made of a drab, itchy wool that I can't stand and hate wearing. I tried burning it, but apparently it's flameproof- or my husband keeps replacing it with a new one. The band holds the cleaning spray bottle, rags, and vacuum attachments. Ugh.

The wife hat is a fun hat. It has purple sequins on it and plays music so I can dance with my husband any time I want. A rose is tucked into the brim for impromptu tango sessions, and smells of chocolate to keep me smiling. This hat also comes with glasses that always puts my husband in the best light, and helps me to see all the good within him. I think both of us like this hat a lot.

The organizational guru hat has many pockets for organizing things, as well as a pad and pen holder for scheduling. This is probably the hardest of the hats to wear, because there just isn't enough time in the day to schedule wearing all of the other hats and this one! But this hat got me through becoming a hoarder (though I admit it got lost for a time in all of the clutter), so I won't toss it in a closet or set it on fire. 
This hat isn't one of my favorite hats, but it helps me get everything organized so we can keep appointments and walk around the house without tripping over things.

I wear a lot of hats. This post would be a lot longer had I listed all of them. Finding a way to balance all of these hats is the hardest thing to do sometimes- and other times nearly impossible. So I hunker down, slap a hat on, and get the job done to the best of my ability- because God bestowed me with a hat I can never take off- it's shiny and white and reminds me that I am His- and no matter what I do, He is always there for me- no matter which other hat I'm wearing!

Monday, February 2, 2015

ER- Eventually Respond?

Hospitals make no sense.

My husband has been sick this week. We thought it was the flu, so I made him soup and herbal teas and let him rest as much as he needed. But the other night he was looking flushed. His heart rate was skyrocketing, erratic and he had a fever. Time to go to the ER.

We got into the van and...

Nothing. The battery was dead. Apparently the brake light switch was shorted out and drained the battery dry. We weren't going anywhere.

After a few calls, one of the deacons just happened to be at church at the time, right around the corner from our house. He had room for one person, so he took my husband to the ER, then came back for me. Thank You Jesus for cell phones!

I found my husband in a very crowded ER. I hate the ER. It's supposed to stand for Emergency Room, but we all know there's nothing "emergency" about it. Back in the olden days before the government got involved, you could go to an ER and get taken in right away. Now you sign in and they make you wait. Then register. Then wait. Then take your vitals. Then wait again.

We got there just before 9pm. It was now almost midnight. I went to the registration desk. I interrupted a very enthusiastic conversation about a popular magazine's article. 
"Excuse me, " I politely interrupted, "Can I ask a silly question?"
The woman sighed and gave a reluctant smile. "Sure."
I smiled to reassure her I wasn't going to"go postal" (or in this case "go ER") on her and asked "Why does it take so long to get service in the ER? It kinda defeats the purpose of 'emergency', don't you think?"
She leaned forward in her seat, folding her hands and taking the 'I'm-about-to-lay-some-knowledge-on-you-so-pay-attention' pose. "Most of the patients here aren't emergencies- that's why we take vitals beforehand. Anyone in need of immediate attention gets priority and is sent back sooner."
I nodded. "So, if someone comes in that's in dire need..."
"....will go ahead of everyone else." she finished for me.
"And how many doctors are on staff at the moment?" I asked, looking about the crowded ER.
"One right now." she replied. "We had two until ten, but after ten, only one doctor for the night shift."
I was astounded. "One? Why are you so understaffed?"
She chuckled. "We're not. Every ER is like this."
I held out my hands in exasperation. "Okay, wait a sec- let me get this straight. This is an Emergency Room."
She smiled. "Yes."
"With one doctor."
She smiled wider. "Yes."
"And a million patients."
She nodded. "That's right."
"So my husband and I will be here for a very long time."
She smiled again. "Probably."
I grinned and gestured back and forth between her and me. "Do you not see the irony in this?"
She chuckled again. "I do, but that's the way it is."
"Thank you. I'll go back to my seat now and hope we'll be called sometime before the Second Coming."
She just laughed and went back to her conversation.
I sat next to my husband and told him not to die before we got called in.

Lucky for us, we were called within an hour or two. After x-rays and blood work, we were told he had a viral infection. He was prescribed aspirin for the racing heart and told to do exactly what I've been doing this whole time. Six hours of waiting (and probably a nice sized ER bill) to be told to do what we've been doing. I'm in the wrong business.

Now we had to get home. It was almost 3:30 and his cousin he works with would be getting up for work soon. He said to call if we needed a ride home, so we did- he lost and hour of sleep but gained our eternal gratitude- it would've been a long walk home.

I think we need to re-educate the medical community. Emergency should be emergency, not "wait until you collapse before we see you" nor should it mean a six-hour wait. One woman said her husband was brought in by ambulance at 1:30 and she was still there when we arrived! He was taken in just an hour or so before because they discovered he had appendicitis. So they were in the ER even longer than we were. Apparently even being brought in by an ambulance doesn't mean it's a true emergency either. Sheesh!

I think ER's should be renamed- it should be called what people yell when they get there- AARRGH!

And they wonder why people don't like hospitals!