About Me

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Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Big Words....


I left a snarky comment on another blog on Monday.

It was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek and witty. In my eyes it was, but the author of the post has yet to respond. I may need to apologize.

Here's my issue...the dealio...my beef.

Said column was about writing rules. You all know that I'm not a rule snob, and I fall closer to inhabiting the realm-of-remediality-of-rule-knowledge. Good grief, I won't submit anything without running it past my comma-buddy.

As I read the blog post about knowing the rules to break the rules, and story being king etc., I agreed with several nods and an occasional smile. He was absolutely right. Some people get published and they are nothing but rule breakers who can tell a stinking good story.

The writer of the post has an awesome vocabulary. I don't think mine stinks by any means, but I find myself wanting to be understood rather than misunderstood, and I'm becoming more aware that huge vocabularies sometimes intimidate. Sometimes flinging multi syllabic words around is just annoying too.

We all know the unfortunate beings that love hefty words and then use them inappropriately. The poor malaprop victims who confuse the meaning of interrogate with interpret. I try to avoid this unless I'm going for a laugh.

The blog post continued with a two or three paragraph quote from a book on the subject of writing rules. I made it through, just barely, then I laughed. I understood everything he said but I felt like I'd sat through a college level lecture. I wondered if there would next be a quiz on symbolism.

So I posted a comment about loving multi syllabic sarcasm and that I laughed at his example and had the urge to tell the guy to "just say it not spray it."

What do you think? Does great writing have to break rules? Does it need to have an element of pretension? Is it author intrusion when a writer writes to "teach" or "better" his readers? Do I need to apologize?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - A Passion Most Pure











My Review:



Julie Lessman has written a novel that smacks of history but could almost occur in modern times. In it are the classic elements of love- unrequited and shared, betrayal, lust, sibling rivalry, loss, war, sorrow and elation.

Even though I guessed correctly at the way a few scenarios played out, I didn't find out if I was right until the last few pages. This is a long novel and it covers stretches of time. I found myself liking a character and then developing issues with said character and not liking him/her so much after all, only to come back around to understanding and accepting the character's issues. Which is a really good indicator that Lessman's characters are complex enough to suck you into their world.
Passion is a little steamier than a lot of Christian romances, so I wouldn't classify it as a romance. The historical crowd will likely have issues with the modern speech. However, some who won't read historical because of the more stilted style may jump on Passion and devour it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Weather or NOT


Yesterday, in Iowa, during January, we hit 50ish degrees.


Almost balmy, I tell ya.


Today I breezed out of the house without my coat because it was 50 yesterday.


Ha.

Today is a different story, try minus nine wind chill, actual temp two degrees.
We did have a fifty - something -- fifty mile an hour winds delivering flash frozen snowflakes.

You know I'm a fan of flakes. But I've decided I prefer mine when I'm hunkered down in the cozy couch with my hands wrapped around a warm mug of coffee or tea. Up close and personal pelting, also know as snowblasting, kind of takes the awe and excitement out of snowflakes.
Stay warm.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Convicted


I think I'm borderline complacent. Not quite apathetic because my complacency bothers me, but sometimes I think I wouldn't mind sitting this round out, or a few rounds, or maybe even all of the future rounds.

But, like God is prone to do, He's been delivering sermons to convict me.

The theme of late seems to be, in so many words, "do I care if people find Jesus?"

This is a tough one. Of course I care. I love my friends and family. I don't want anyone to choose death over life. I care about strangers and acquaintances, about patients and check-out girls. I've been conditioned to believe that all people have the evidence and experience they need to find Jesus, and that I don't necessarily need to provide any more. That if I get too vocal I'll just do more harm than good. That if I just live my life and answer questions that might be asked of me, this is enough.

But is that true?

I'm not a preacher, but I'm an ambassador. I'm not a theologian, but I carry truth within me. I want to leak that truth, but I don't want to hurt or judge people.

Can I tell you why Jesus means more than the world to me? If you don't want to keep reading, don't. I'm not going to preach regularly. And as far as I know I'm talking to the choir. (Those who agree with me and know Him, too.) But maybe I need to write this in case someone stumbles into this post and needs to "hear" what I have to say.

I believe in Jesus, I love Jesus, I've given my life to Him because I have seen and still see His power at work in my life. I know people quibble about His "Godness." Most will claim that He was a good man, a good teacher, a good example. Some will think that He was secretly married, or didn't actually die, or didn't come back from the grave. Lots think He sinned like any body else but the good outweighed the bad and that we should "do unto others as we would have them do unto us" and live like we are at least trying to reach for His example.

I know lots of people accept God and label all belief as toward one big God with many names. But loads of people have trouble with the narrowness of teaching that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

I love C.S. Lewis' comments. (my paraphrase, not a quote) Jesus is either Lord, a liar or a lunatic. Jesus claimed to be God which is the major reason He was crucified. He spoke "blasphemy" by claiming to be "I AM", the eternal, powerful and unspeakable God of Genesis. Lewis' point -- since Jesus made this claim, more than once, He put a hot potato in our hands. He either is who He says He is, or He is a liar. If He was a liar He can't be a moral and good teacher. And if He wasn't lying, but actually believed He was, but isn't, then He was insane. Lewis said equal to a person who claimed to be a poached egg. If Jesus is not a liar or a crazy man, then that means He is who He claimed to be.

Faced with this question and having read and considered I made my choice.
My life has several chapters where Jesus was a distant God. One I knew on the surface. But when things got rough and painful, I began to struggle with such a shallow belief. As I dug He confronted those shallow beliefs with the truth. I couldn't deny that He loved me. Nor could I deny that He was calling me, or would enable me to become a person that I'd always wanted to be.
When my life was lived to get what I thought I needed but realized it was only what I wanted, I didn't want to meet my own eyes in the mirror. Hedonism was a lonely place full of noise and artificial light because the quiet and shadows brought introspection and fear.
When I found myself at the end of Kelly's best effort, broken, bleeding and miserable, I looked up and I gave up. My life was a royal mess and I didn't want it any more so I gave it to Jesus.
Ten years later, I am astounded at the changes in my life. Don't get me wrong, God has asked me to undergo some serious soul surgery. The process and His love have changed my life.
When I look back at the direction I was heading, I shudder. My children. Where would they be? What would their lives look like? Probably a lot like the miserable one I was living. After all, kids learn by example.
I'd be divorced, that's a given.
What would I have missed? A living breathing relationship with a flesh and blood God. Seeing my children follow Him and bloom into role models and human beings as they were created to be, beautiful and in the image of God. I'd have missed hours praying and talking with a man who's heart beats with mine, a man who has truly become my soul-mate. I'd have missed the struggles that have made me capable of being alone with my thoughts and at peace with people who've hurt me. I know where I'll be in eternity, I feel it my very core.
All because I believe Jesus is who He says He is, and I've anchored my future, present and past on Him.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Matthew Raley -- On His Toes



I know you guys think my titles are weird...but no one ever comments. On His Toes -- he wrote Fallen. Ha. Ha.



Okay. Here's Matt's interview.



I totally got his book, and I love what he had to share here and at Novel Journey if you are so inclined. Suppose it's the violin connection?



Oh, wait, that can't be it. He can play his. Now I'm really envious.




Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?


Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre. I would love to be that tempestuous and rude and get away with it. I would love to have a dark past. But these things don’t go over well in the pastorate.


If you could ask any person, living or dead, a random question -- what question would you ask of whom?

In the late 1960s, my grandpa traded a lemon ranch with a large white house on a hill in Santa Barbara, CA for a mobile home park way up in the northern reaches of the state. The move resulted in my dad meeting my mom, but also made grandpa seem displaced until his death. I would ask him why he made that trade. I can’t complain, but . . . it was Santa Barbara!


If you could change something in any novel, what would you change about it and why?



I would fire Melville and give Moby Dick’s plot and characters to Ernest Hemingway. Needs tightening.


Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.



I love almost every word Raymond Chandler wrote. Here he is describing Mrs. Regan in The Big Sleep: “The calves were beautiful, the ankles long and slim and with enough melodic line for a tone poem.”



What period of history intrigues you the most?



1789-1914 in Europe and the United States. Everything we struggle with today, everything we regret, goes back to events in that period—totalitarianism, urbanization, industrialization, the decline of community, total war, secularism, on and on. A writer who captures many of these changes for me is Henry Adams.


What would you write if there were no rules or barriers? (epic novels about characters in the Bible, poetry, greeting cards, plays, movies, instruction manuals, etc.)



I would write essays. There is such a range you can cover in an essay—from the academic to the ordinary, the artistic to the political. I like the cozy proportions of essays, and the limited time investment for the reader. I also like the fact that such a small composition can be memorable.


What makes you feel alive?


Music, art, and literature. I am an aesthete way down to my bones—which I realize is perceived as pathetic, but I don’t care.


How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?


Truth. Even though I’m artistic, my default mode is analytical. When I see, hear, or experience integrity, I am always struck and sometimes overpowered. For me, truth is the gate to powerful emotions. This is a big reason why the Bible has a hold on my imagination.


Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.


My little family—my wife Bridget, and my sons Dylan and Malcolm. I couldn’t imagine not taking them.


Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.


I want to go to an old European city like Vienna, get a place for about a month in an interesting district, and just hang out. I’d people-watch in cafes, lounge in museums, and go to concert after concert.

Favorite season and why?


My favorite is autumn. The light is richer than at other times, the smells heavier. And I love trees, and the melancholy of their approaching slumber.


Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?


At the final stage of the editorial process for Fallen, a reader from outside Kregel was supposed to spot errors. She could also ask about anything that was unclear in the writing. I was so gratified that she didn’t have any questions.


What criticism has cut the deepest and why?



I am cut the deepest when someone shows me that a piece of writing is self-indulgent. What makes a writer great is his or her ability to edify. If I only please myself, then I have committed a writing sin.



I once made a comment on a blog. When my best friend read it, he wrote me that I had totally missed the point of the discussion. And he was right. He made me examine my pomposity yet again.


What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?



Make that last sermon a really good one.


What word annoys you more than any other?


Relevant. As in, “Churches need to be more relevant to the culture around them.” It expresses little anymore but the tyranny of groupthink. I think audiences are most powerfully moved by the unexpected—a quality the world badly needs to see in churches.


Superhero you most admire and why?


Batman. It’s all about the look.


Societal pet peeve…sound off.


I’ve had enough of the casual thing. It’s boring. It obliterates any sense of occasion. It looks terrible. It’s conformist. The casual thing is nothing but communism. The time has come for men to burn their freakin khakis and assert their individuality as gentlemen. [Cue crickets.]



CREATIVE CORNER:
Pick any of the following and have fun with it.
Pick a Genre - Describe a kiss….


Suspense



The breeze carried a single brown hair from her shoulder to his cheek. She pulled it back toward her and they continued staring into the dark. He sighed. Would they ever stop running? Was there any place on earth the cranberry smugglers wouldn’t find them? Why had he finally met the right girl, only to draw her into a fight with the most ruthless fruit terrorists in Western Massachusetts?


He turned. “Bertha—” He could almost feel the dead stare of the cameras scanning the bog. He felt that everywhere he looked were the red dots of camera eyes, tracking them. He no longer cared.


He took her by the shoulders and she looked into his eyes, but snagged her new melton wool jacket on the rugged fence post . . .



Thanks, Matt. It was fun. Can't wait for the next novel.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles - Dang! Apparently I Don't Get Out Much!


I had to overnight a package for my office today. I'm still suffering from the sticker shock.


Keep in mind that I rarely send packages. I'll save things up so I can hand deliver them if need be.


Several years ago Rob worked on a lake-side vacation home for a week in a neighboring state. He forgot half of his luggage. He called wondering if I could UPS it to him. I checked into it and discovered it would cost forty-five bucks. Hello! So he bought new underwear and a pair of shorts and some contact lens solution for thirty.


Anyhoo. Back to the future. So I drive the package to an official UPS drop off station to save the office the pick-up fee. The guy measures the very small package, weighs it, promises it will arrive at 8:30 a.m. in Texas and gives me a total. Eighty-eight bucks.


Oh my!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Fallen



Click on the book cover to visit the Amazon page with more reviews. And on his picture to visit Matthew Raley's website.



Book Description:

As Jim finishes a long day at work, his gaze lands on an expensive car pulling up to the coffee shop visible from his office window. His jaw dropped when the attractive young woman behind the wheel stops her car...and out steps his young, married pastor, Dave. Jim wants to give Dave the benefit of doubt, but as chairman of his church board Jim feels duty-bound to confront him. But as he begins to explore his pastor's private life, will be be able to handle the truth that he uncovers?
My Review:

What a tangled web I read. ..Wow.

Fallen grabbed me immediately and did not let go until the final silken strand. Matthew Raley has written a book that may need to become part of seminary curriculum. Maybe Fallen should be required reading for elder or deacon boards. Without heavy discussions regarding theological ideology, or overwhelming use of scripture, Raley manages to wind the reality of truth around cheap grace, religiousity, legalism, licentiousness, grace, forgiveness and accountability. And pride gets the life sucked out of it.

Two male characters from different circumstances and generations interact with affection, wariness, concern and pain. I found myself agonizing with Raley's main character ,Jim while he got more entangled with his own thoughts as well as the series of facts and perceived realities. I have been Jim, and I dare say I've been a Dave.

I know many will think this is a story about dangerous pastors, but don't miss the point that wound its way around my heart. Our lives are woven and God doesn't miss a stitch. He'll use whatever means to make sure my life is one that glorifies Him. No matter how painful or costly, God will shape the ones He loves and died for.

This story is overtly Christian. But with an honest look at religion vs. relationship and enough mind games to entice readers who don't claim Christianity but love cat and mouse games. I'd suggest it to anyone who has ever been burned in church politics, too.

Raley is a new author to watch. I'm looking forward going to get my hands on his next novel. I hope it will be soon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Squabbles and Labels


Lily and Lola have a typical sibling rivalry infested relationship. Lola is the smarter dog, she gets the tricks and loves to perform. She is obedient and she's manipulative. Lily is the snuffling attention, affection hog. Don't even try to bend over to pet Lola because you'll get a face full of Lily. Lily also has the tendency to wander and be distracted. Both have strengths and weaknesses and their qualities clash -- often.


Feral, the frolicking, fearless kitten runs roughshod over the timid Freckles. Interestingly, Freckles used to be the mean cat on the block. Why in the world would she let some little whippersnapper take over her world and the attention of her people? We'd love to see more of her, but she won't come out until he's no where to be seen.


And a few groups of sisters I happen to see often...well...shudder. I don't really want to go there with the details, but lets just say labels, issues and pecking order are set in concrete and not necessarily truth.



So how much should we allow circumstances or another person's strengths or weaknesses define us?

Here's another worthy goal in 2008. Let my yes be yes and my no be no and the person I answer to be God. I wonder how many things I'd do differently and how many changes would occur in the way I label myself.

How about you? Still wearing a label from childhood that doesn't fit and never has? What are you waiting for? I'll bet there are some people who'd love to see a little more of "you" if you'd just come out of hiding.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles - Falling Snow and Junk Yard Dogs


I have no idea why I'm inspired to write about snowflakes.



Why does the poetry bug bite?



The puppies are playing junkyard dog -- you know, the growling, snarling, fighting that siblings everywhere partake in. Except with 65 pound dogs, you don't allow it in the living room next to the cute little antique table with the Ming vase perched on top. Fortunately, the kids took care of my Ming years ago.

Ocean's Eleven blares from the living room. My Cheerios/Grape-Nuts bowl shares table space with my laptop, and I'm transfixed by the snow.

Velvet on Ice

Black velvet sky
No one does black velvet like God

Shards of ice bits
Swirling
Swooping
Floating

Each perfect
created
individual

Being what
Doing all
that it was created for

Covering filth
Blanketing brokenness

Glorifying the Creator
Floating like grace
Covering dead and dying

Painting a picture
of redemption
on living black velvet





Friday, January 18, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Keys !!!!




How many hours of my life have I invested in key hunts?




I don't actually want to know.




Tonight, after retracing my steps no less than three full times with lots of detours for "what-if" scenarios, I broke down and called the store I had visited an hour earlier.


My keys had been found in the parking lot.




How they ended up in the parking lot is a mystery. I could picture them stuck in the door (it's happened to more than one member in my household), on the back of the toilet, turned into puppy toys, even chilling in the refrigerator before I'd guess they actually fell out of my pocket and into a snowy parking lot.


Our youngest daughter got us clapper key chains for Christmas a few years ago. They went off with laughter, loud conversation and when the phone rang. Nice idea.

But not so practical.


How about a body/key buddy-snap? A surgically attached snap that connects owners to key chain.

Double duty -- cool piercing with serious time saving smarts -- win-win.


Hey, if anyone invents it can I suggest a name?
Snap! (said with attitude.)


Okay. Okay. What do you expect an hour and a half past my bedtime?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Grandmotherisms




Kim's comment from yesterday's "I Love My Job" post cracked me up.

In honor of my grandmother's recent 90th birthday, I think I'll share a few of my favorite grandmother moments.

My poor grandma has taught me how to knit and crochet at least a dozen times. Unfortunately, none of what she taught me stuck. However, I do remember her "Good Night!" whenever a kid did something naughty. Shudder. A "Good Night!" from Grandma guaranteed a very bad night indeed.

Popcorn flowed at Grandma's house. I can't look at a stainless steel mixing bowl without thinking of Carol Burnett, popcorn, and Grandma.

Grandma still likes to laugh at my expense over my honey faux pas. She handed me a container of honey and a saucer and asked me to put the honey in the saucer. This was my grandma, so I decided to take her request literally. I wondered but didn't ask while I poured the honey into the shallow dish. Apparently, she wanted me to set the container of honey into the saucer since the honey decanter dribbled.

My other grandma, Grandma V.would be thrilled that she died at 92 because she hated odd years. Of course, Grandma was really looking forward to heaven, too, so that could have been part of the motivation.


Grandma V. focused less on domestic training and more on...well, life's big issues.


I don't recall a conversation with Grandma V without her asking about my bowels. Grandma was a nurse and apparently bowel regularity was stressed in nursing school.

I also learned the value of proper lifting of heavy objects, or even better, letting my mother lift things instead. After all, Mom already had children and her uterus, if it ruptured, was expendable.


Finally, I'll never forget Grandma V's favorite horror story. The Boy Who Ate Green Apples...and DIED! I'm not sure what the moral of that story was, but I sure controlled myself around green apples after that. I kind of wish she'd used chocolate as the deadly vice. Oh well.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - I Love My Job


I made the mistake of asking my oldest daughter for a subject to blog about.


She suggested..."My Life as a Proctologist."


Fortunately, blogging about my life as a proctologist will be pure fiction or rambling, so I think I'm up (or down) for it.


As an x-ray technician, I get plenty of patient caregiver intimacy. Arm's length and I am glad of it. For a few seconds I considered going further into nursing, but then I remembered nursing requires involvement in bodily functions. In x-ray, at least in my realm of limited x-ray, I deal with breathing, some conversation, a few laughs, an occasional cough and a very rare sneeze.



I don't need to tell you that proctology doesn't exactly appeal to me, do I?

Other jobs I'm pretty sure I don't envy:

Refuse Collection (Trash Chick)
Sewage Plant Worker
Reptile Herder
Rocky Mountain Oyster Collector
Snake Milker
Any job ever appearing on Dirty Jobs including that of the host.

After running this little essay past my daughter she tells me I passed her test. I feel better.

In case you are curious, proctology is not recognized in the blogger dictionary.

Maybe all the other bloggers need to use it more often.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Driven by Drama?


Used to be that drama was saved for the page or stage.

Now its wherever you choose to look.

Why?

Back in the day, when I embraced drama, I sought the flutter of life. If I could feel something -- anything -- the sensation proved I was alive. Fully, functionally or painfully alive.
Of course, I preferred the positive drama like great news or passionate love or success. But if those failed to come through for me, weeping worked too and ofttimes drew people into my drama -- which seemed a good thing. Who wants to cry alone?

As I've matured I've become suspicious of drama and for the most part unmoved. Oh, Hollywood can squeeze a drop or two from my tear ducts. But that's not tough, I've been known to cry during commercials.

The things that now infuse me with the sensations of life are flash frozen moments of connectedness with someone. Making eye contact across the room with a loved one and knowing exactly what he or she is thinking. A touch. An inside joke. Shared thoughts over struggles and sorrows, or triumphs and joys. Wonder and awe over the immensity and minutia of creation.

Does society's drama addiction stem from lack of connectedness? An "always on the phone but no one's listening" kind of a thing.
Do the majority of our relationships lack the sensation of life, having become parallel -- headed in the same direction but not intersecting?

Feeling a little dead inside and the writers strike is getting really old? Reality television or the parade of dysfunctional starlets starting to make you feel queasy?

Look up, look left and then right. Is there someone on your path you need to connect with?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Muffled Monday Musings



I hab a code.

Everything I say is being filtered through gunk. Keep that in mind in case this post rambles or runs like an out of control nose during hay fever season.
My first musing -- I love my family. We had 38 various assorted cousins/grands/aunts/uncles and other such folk over for a 90th birthday celebration yesterday.
Not mine, thank you very much!
My Grandma turns 90 tomorrow. You'd never know it to look at her.
I am so glad Rob tore out the kitchen wall because everyone congregated in the bigger, albeit a little dustier, kitchen.
Talk about a buzz of activity. It was a great get together. I love it when you reconnect with people you don't see very often. I always kick myself for letting it go so long between visits.
Second item on the musing charts.... I find it odd that I run across the word colon as often as I do. I suppose it's an obvious since I do work in the medical profession, but then in my writing life, there she blows...
Thirdly, Feral Will got a taste of the trauma he inflicts on poor Freckles. A pack of six children went on a "kitty" hunt yesterday during the birthday party. I suggested that they look in my bedroom for Feral. But rumor has it that the "moose head" on the wall bothered them. Hey. If I have to have a deer head on my wall, I should at least be able to traumatize children with it.
Speaking of children...my aunts gifted me with an odd little book when I was a wee lass. A book "written" in only single letters, numbers and punctuation. As I was driving to work one of the pages popped into my head. One child was pointing out a snake to another child. An argument over snake vs non-snake erupted. Finally, the pro-snake character threw out the proof.
C D B-D I's.
So if I think that's amusing and can figure it out, why do I have so much trouble with vanity license plates?
Have a good Monday?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles - What Shall I Write?




I feel like a slacker-blogger.


A year ago it wouldn't have been a big deal to post only three times in a week, but somewhere, somehow I've picked up the need/compulsion/responsibility to blog at least 5 times. I missed the mark last week, and the week before.


Maybe it's X-ta who sends me e-mails wondering when I'm going to post again. Maybe it's because I'm used to blogging about books and doing tours with information that doesn't have a lot to do with me, so doesn't require great thought on my part.


Whatever the motivation is, I guess I need to reveal to the world that I'm kind of addicted to the process.


It's kind of odd...putting my thoughts into a simple box during moments of solitary introspection, and then realizing, after the fact, that people read my stuff and remember it.


My blog address is in my e-mail signature, so a lot of my readers are random and not necessarily those I talk with every day. An editor commented favorably on my blog-style after she purchased one of my articles. My aunt found out about my French press addiction and bought me my very own for Christmas last year. A friend from work surprised me with a Christmas present that included two kinds of tape and a notebook for my purse because of posts she read on my blog. My daughter passed along something I wrote to a friend of hers who mentioned how much he enjoyed one of my Pat posts and that he often clicked over to see what was on the Dregs. Some come to read interviews and book reviews, others see the blue and red and pass because they actually prefer reading what I write.


This feedback is both humbling and exciting. I hope I've made my posts of value. I hope you know how much I appreciate that you invest your time reading my thoughts.


Now, I'm going to go finish cleaning and take my shower. It's noon, for goodness sake, and I have a party at my house tomorrow.


Have an excellent weekend, friends.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles - A What Dog?




Lola is our watch dog. Amazing that a deep doberman-woof can come out of the wriggly, gangly puppy body.
Lily, well, she'll beat you up in an attempt to get a full body hug.


But today Lily revealed her inner "Thor."

Did the UPS man come to the door? No. That wasn't it.

An unfamiliar relative barged in and startled her?

No.

Not the mail carrier, or a strange dog, or a loud noise. Nope.

The sun.

Yes. I said the sun.

I always thought a sun dog was a quirk in a celestial body. How strange that I would have a quirk within my family.

So, Lola is our watch dog. Lily is our slobbering sun dog. That works. It also explains why Lily wakes and whines with the sunrise.
Yes, Janet, I do think they are cute...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Oh My!



I filled my new bookshelves. I mean I filled them. I don't have a clue how many books I have, but the space for new books is limited at best.

It leaves me pondering where I used to keep them all.

The really scary thing is this picture was taken after I unloaded large bags at my local and church libraries.


The books pictured on my shelves are the ones I want to read, have started to read or have finished and will go back to revisit.

Ha. To think that I thought my hubby was going overboard. Nope. He just knows me pretty well.

I suppose there are worse collections to have. This way I can at least pretend to be intelligent. If I pose neer the theology and study helps section anyway.


Lily peeks from the steps. Kind of creepy if you ask me.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Click, Click, Click, Pause


I think I've gone on record with my love of changing things up. Apparently God has been listening and is going to test my theory.

For starters, my husband is making big decisions about his business. Big decisions that are a little or a lot scary depending on my mood swing of the moment.

Secondly, I need to put my money where my mouth is. It's easy to talk about writing, and think about writing, and do it in the places where it has become comfortable. But I've been challenged to stretch a little. Or a lot. Depending on what my mood swing of the moment is dictating.

Am I up for the test? Am I up for the stretch? I don't know. I'm writing from the comfort of my home with loads of distraction and people needing my attention.Which is pretty much standard.

I do know that I like myself a whole lot better once I let God hack off the rough edges. Maybe my dry spiritual 2007 with all the challenges was preparing me for something bigger.

Even though the thought nauseates me, I do trust God to steer the roller coaster and keep me strapped in.

So, big, deep breathe in, exhale, eyes squinched, here I go.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Best of 2007 Part 2

I've compiled my list of favorites from the 111 books I read and reviewed in 2007. I just posted my list of favorites at Amazon. If you want to see my "Listmania List" just click.

I added a few more comments to my already posted reviews.

If you don't want to click, I'm going to give you my list in black and white.

Best Fantasy

2nd place - The Restorer
1st place - A Hideous Beauty

Best Chick-Lit

2nd place - All the Tea in China
1st place - Hazardous Duty

Best Women's Fiction

Doesn't She Look Natural?

General Fiction

Tie - In High Places
Tie - The Heir

Historical

They Betrayed

Suspense

3rd place - The Void
2nd place tie - Crimson Eve and Black Ice
1st place - Deadfall

Mystery

Deception

Parenting

Laugh Out-Loud - Guide to Pirate Parenting
Practical and Hopeful - Parenting by the Book

Outstanding Fiction

2nd place - Demon: A Memoir
1st place - A Bigger Life

If you've not read these, check into them. If you don't have book budget for 2008 yet by all means check with your public library.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Tops from 2007 - Part One

Top ten favorite 2007 moments....drum roll if you will.


February Anniversary party wherein we celebrated 25 years of marriage three months past our anniversary.

The sweetest thing was this video so fabulously created by our son with the help of the girls.




Second 2007 favorites would have to be the furry creature influx. Three baby animals, two of which are someone else's responsibility....good times.

Thirdly, the visit with Minnesota Maniacs...a bobsledding team that does not eat enough... was a great way to end up the year. This is an inside joke but trust me when I say it involved loads of food and even more laughter.

Hmmm which family moments should I focus on? The Iowa State Fair held much fun and adventure as did the trip to LifeLight over Labor Day. I'll tie them for fourth.

Fifth? God's gift of words and thoughts when I felt overwhelmed when preparing for a speaker gig. He came through for me, big time. I was blessed. I hope the ladies were as well. This should be number one. Because not only did He come through for me with this. He comes through for me more often than I realize. He is beyond good to me. Snowflake revelations, blessings, blood, His Spirit, His heart and His mind. Wow. This entire post should be the top ten reasons I am grateful to God.

Snuggle times are interspersed within my top ten great moments. From wonderful back rubs to the sweet Mother's Day pedicure to just cuddling with those near and dear. I'll count them as number six.

Seventh. The Minnesota lake trip with Rob. Up one day, one night of rest, and back home again. Great conversation, a book shared, and time away from responsibility.

Eighth. This Christmas season was full of laughter, fun and sweetness, even sweeter than the fudge.

Meaningful gifts. From the Gopher II from Santa, to the fluffy pampering slippers, the amazing bookshelves, the roll of tape and the writers notebook for my purse. I can't even begin to share all of the gifts and details on why they meant so much. Definitely number nine.

Ten...the people who take valuable time to read my random thoughts and who keep coming back for more.

Thanks.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year



I tried a little experiment over the New Year's break.




Whew!



I didn't touch a computer for FIVE days.


For many of you this feat wouldn't be huge.


But over the past two years computer access has become more and more important to me.


Beyond the Dregs I manage another blog, Novel Reviews, and post one day a week at Novel Journey. (I know. I can't believe they'd let me touch either blog. I think there was some sort of mix-up in the paperwork. Don't tell any one, K?)


Then, of course, is the endless correspondence with all of my fabulous visitors and writing comrades.


And would a day be complete without a little mindless drivel?


I think not.


Speaking of mindless drivel...well, maybe not yet. Let me ponder it further before sharing.