Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ritual Lies

Last January 1, I posted a New Year's resonse on my Yahoo 360 page called Lies in Fancy Dress. It was to all those who spend time lying to yourselves by making resolutions. I stopped doing that a long time ago because I realized I'd made a fool of myself two months later. So, since I am a big enough fool as it is, I stopped my ritual lying. Actually, I try to avoid telling all lies but ritual lying is the subject of the blog.

I must honestly admit that I failed to attain all the goals I set. But the difference in a resolution and a goal is where we've been set up to fail. Resolutions are are things that you must do and legally bind yourself to do. Your signature is at the bottom to signify that you swear to do what you have said. Goals are always before us and we continually strive to attain them, fully knowing that we may fail! It is the attempt that counts and the prize is reaching the goal!

We may crawl across the finish line, nails ripped and torn, knees scraped raw and burning, drenched in sweat, bleeding from the trips and falls we've taken, tears pouring from tired red eyes and dead last. But. . . we will have crossed the finish line! Our goal has been reached! Regardless of the condition of our body or the position in line, to attain the goal means we won!

In Philippians 3:14 Paul stated this goal - "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." A "mark" is a goal. Paul had set the highest goal possible. He must have been a sports fanatic because because he talked about races, and pressing forward, gaining and attaining - all words that bring to my mind sporting events. He knew what a real goal was and what was required to reach it. And he knew that while failure was always a possibility, giving up wasn't.

Don't waste time resolving to do things you will never do. Set a goal, put it in front of you where you can see it every day. And never, ever, ever, stop striving to reach that goal. No matter how many New Year's come and go, no matter how many of the failed resolutions you pass on the way, keep striving toward the mark you have set.

Read the Philippians 3. Paul has numerous goals in this chapter and you may consider using them as a pattern to creat your own goals. You can do it! I'm cheering you on!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Writing Fuel

Since the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November I've been generating more words on paper than I have in speech! My change over to multiply has also made a difference in the word process. I seem to be putting up more focused content most of the time. I don't know if that is because the NaNoWriMo or because of Mulitply. Perhaps it is a bit of both.

I've been working on Hidden in the Mist (working title) because I have a reader hounding me to get to it. In the last couple of days some things have become more focused regarding the story. And it is about time, since my word count is over 45,000 but it has taken a year to get there! For those of you who don't have a clue about HITM I apologize. It would take too long to explain here but for those reading it (Alice) this might give you some insight.

This morning as I fixed a cup of Hazelnut coffee (Mmmmm, as Lisa says) I began to think about power. We all have power in us that is untapped, possibly because it is unknown to us. I don't mean mind bending or disappearing elephants magic. I mean mountain moving power that simply requires us to speak it or think it. The abiltiy to speak into existance things that weren't but are. There lies within each of us the ability to speak into existance good things or bad things. Motivation is what directs this power: why do we want something to exist? Negative reasons will create negative outcomes. Positive reasons will create positive outcomes. Do not come here and tell me this is impossible. I won't be deterred by the blind. You see, I've proved it too many times, both the negative and the positive. I KNOW it works.

So, as I drank my coffee and pondered my story I relized that this is what Mist is all about. Two worlds and untapped, unrecognized, misused power.

We live in a world that exist within worlds. It is a world suspended between two worlds and our world is a mixture of both. We hang between the two and are faced every day with the choice of which world we would like to inhabit.

One is a place of pollution, violence, anger, frustrations, murder, deceit, avarice, extortion, and disrespect. This world glows with a light that, from a distance, is alluring, exciting our senses. It is filled with unknown wonders; sights and sounds that please the eyes and ears and gorge the body. We are drawn to it's glittering promise, deeper and deeper until we step across the boundary into the unknown, a place that suddenly reveals that it is dark and frightening. We don't know how we got there and we can't find our way out. Every attempt sends us back into the dark. Only once in a while may we escape. But it has left it's mark.

The other world is a place of beauty, peace, harmony, respect and honor, a place where love abounds and brotherhood is in the air we breath. Every need is met. We have only to ask. It isn't shinning glittering towers of commerce, superficial decoration, and empty promises. It isn't a place of gluttony of the body but of satisfied spirit and mind. It is a place that glows with a light far brighter than any man can generate because the pollution doesn't exist. And once in awhile, we find our way there. We step across the boundary, into that world that seems at first glance, plain and untouched by progress. But, if we stay long enough, we realize that here is rest and sustenance that is constant. Here is peace and safety. None go lacking. We realize that this world is real and we can stay as long as we desire. We can leave whenever we want. And some do.

We are drawn to the one by our eyes. We are drawn to the other by our hearts. Occassionally, there are those who step into the real world with only one goal, to steal the hearts and draw us back through the Mist. It is a choice for each of us. How we choose will determine our course for eternity.

Choose wisely.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Worth a Thousand Words

We set off along the path that lead down to the church. The snow crunched beneath our feet and our breath hung in the air in clouds. The night was filled with that hush that one only hears during a heavy snowfall. Around us the trees creaked beneath the weight of snow and ice in their branches. Occasionally, we heard a snapping sound followed by a crash as a limb gave way beneath its load. Everything has a breaking point, I thought.

My heavy coat gave me a sense of warmth but everywhere the air touched was chilled. My cheeks felt frozen and my lips numb. The tip of my nose tingled. I pulled my scarf up, around my face, leaving only my eyes so I didn't fall down. I'd probably be all right if I did fall. The ground was like a feather bed.

We came out of the trees just west of the church, near Harper’s pasture. The moon was above the horizon and glowed in an opening in the clouds. I could see the church on the left and the Cooper place on the right. Their tall spruce decorated in colored lights that glowed against the snow frosted branches and turned the snow beneath it into a multicolored carpet from an some exotic land. Lights glowed from every window of the Cooper home and I could see Mr. Cooper's car in back. He must have closed the drug store early tonight because of the weather. Not many would venture out on a night as cold as this. They were a large family with half dozen children. Always when I walked by I could hear laughter or the wild chattering of playing children. It was a happy place. Even the snowman, in his scarf and slouch hat, wore a grin and waved.

I slipped my gloved hand into the crook of Tom's arm as we passed the end of the rail fence around the pasture. He smiled down at me and my heart leaped from the highest peak. He could still do that to me, after all this time. I slipped on a patch of ice and he steadied me, still smiling.

As we passed the church, Deacon James was leaving and he tipped his hat to us. Mr. Irving and his boy Billy slogged across the church yard toward the warmth of the sanctuary. It was such a lovely little church. I thought how much the windows looked like precious gems set in the walls. I suspected the windows of Heaven would look much like those windows, with their glowing jewels and the light of God illuminating them. As if to confirm it, in the stillness it seemed as if the voice of an angel floated out on the air and up the road, flowing among the houses and into the mountain valleys in the distance. It was Maggie O'Hara, singing O Little Town of Bethlehem with the choir. I doubted if any angle could utter notes as beautiful as Maggie.

The blanket of snow that lay over roofs and mountainside alike reflecting the silver of the moon created a strangely comforting landscape. I looked up the road and in the distance, I could see the lights of the other village houses along the hillside. We lived on the edge of town and from here, the warm, soft glow was as peaceful and serene as ever a place could be. We walked in silence past the church and as I hugged Tom’s arm, I thought there was no place on earth I’d rather be tonight than in this snow covered place, listening to an angel’s voice sing of the new Savior of the World.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

In the Still of the Night

It is quiet in the house. There is no one at home but me. I've spent the day doing good deeds for others, getting home around 10:30 p.m.. I've bought gifts for one set of children and my grand-daughter and my spouse. I still have one son to go and a birthday gift for the other. He was born on Dec 30th, an annoyance to both of us. And I have to get my sister something special. She shopped with me tonight.

But now, the house is quiet and only the clicking of my keyboard can be heard. Rain has fallen all day and it is a small, cold drizzle at the moment. The promised snow storm has not appeared but there are a few flurries here and there. I suppose we should be thankful but I do love snow. We Southern Belles view it as a special treat designed just for us.

I've not been writing for several days now. I've been restless and unable to forment a thought. So, here I sit, in the stillness of the midnight trying to convey what I am thinking. There is something about midnight that I really love. I tend to be a night owl and this is one of my favorite times. The world has all drifted off on whatever dreams they dream. The racous glare of the day has slipped into a quiet darkness that I can wrap about my shoulders like a velvet cloak and stroll along silent streets that echo the sound of my heels. Or I can simply sit here, in my dimly lit study and write about the cushion of darkness that buffers me from the harsh reality of the daylight.

Perhaps that is what I really like about the midnight hour. All the troubles of the day, the trials and tribulations of dealing with people or just the trauma of survival are somehow lessened in the down-filled darkness where the gentle twinkle of stars and a silver orb lull one into a sense of peace.

Dreams are dreamt at night because the intrusion of reality is weakened at night and the mind can race along paths never opened in the light of day. God is closer at night. I think it is why more people die at night. It's true, you know, they do. Ask the hospitals. I don't believe they are giving up because the darkenss overwhelms them. I think their bodies struggle in the light of day to survive but with the coming of midnight, they find that, in the stillnes of the night, is a sense of peace that becomes a stronger draw than survival.

I'm going to bed soon and dream some dream that will be driven back by the rising of the sun. Another day to survive until the still of the night returns.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Top of the Hill

Ah, Wednesday. Standing at the top of the hill looking down is an awesome sight. If I look behind me there is a pile of stuff back there. Best be careful and not tip over or I'll end up back at the bottom!

But forward, well, it's a steep road down. I don't have much head for heights anymore. (Me the tree climbler and roof runner. That's another day's story.) And there is just as much stuff on the downhill side as there was on the uphill side. Thing just go faster on the downhill side. I just have to check the wheels on my skates. Yep, they are running smooth as silk. It isn't my equipment but the debris in the road that is the killer!

We had a case manager leave and they distributed her case load between the five remaining case managers. That leave me with 365 case files. In additiion to the landlord accounts. I've getting buried quickly, particularly since the girl who left has files no one wanted because they are such a mess.

However, God gave me this job a long time ago and as long as I am here I guess He still wants me to do it. So, {rolling up sleeves and pushing back hair} here goes.

Several have said a prayer for me and I do appreciate it. My husband suggested I stay home today and it sounded nice. But no sick time! So, here I am at the top of the hill. My pain level has been horrible. My back is in pretty bad shape today. It has been building for several days and last night it was at the point I considered going to the doctor. Shoulders are bad, particularly the left. My knees, oddly enough, are much better. I guess the Y helped on Monday night. They just are very stiff. I lower legs feel as if I have shin splints but LOL, I haven't done anything to cause it! I need to go back tonight but my back really is not good at all and has spread from the lower back all the way to my shoulders. What is it like? Hmmmm, someone took a rolling pin and pounded me on the back with it, all but the place in my lower back that feels like a knife is sticking in it.

Ok enough of the complaints. I hate whining over aches and pains but some days this is the only place to pour it out. And some things are better for you if you pour it out rather than keep in it.

I got my leave approved for Christmas. I have 11, count them, ELEVEN days off. I just took three vacation between Christmas and New Years. When I get off on December 21, I don't have to be back here until January 2, 2008!

I wasn't going to take it because of all the work but I finally decided it was going to be here whether or not I am here. It isn't going anywhere. So, I'll be taking that vacation time.

So, with all that said, I'll start my journey down the hill. Someone move that log out of the way! Here I go! YeeeeeeeeeHaaaaaaaawwwwwww!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Beyond Endurance

Somehow a rainy Monday is a nice way to start a week. I always like waking up on Monday to rain. I know, that's crazy but it seems to me such an awful day must have a redeeming quality if it starts with rain. There is something cozy about rain and any day with rain feels less painful.

Although, today and all weekend the rain has probably been the reason for my elevated pain levels. I have a doctor's appt this morning at my rheumatologist, not that it will do any good. I wish I could wear a heated coat.

I took four hours vacation time for this morning so I could do this appointment but probably won't need it all. I will go in to work as soon as it is over and spend the rest of the day doing work I should have done on Saturday.

I sat on the edge of my bed this morning an realized what my problem, well at least one of my problems is. I've been praying for strength for years. And you know, I have people tell me, "You are so strong. I don't know how you handle all you are handling. I couldn't do it." I realized, sitting on the edge of my rumpled bed in my p.j.s that the way you gain strength is by adding weight. Each time you reach a comfort level, you add weight. Once you can lift that weight comfrotably, you add more. Duh! Basic weight training.

The strange thing about all this realization stuff is that I went to bed praying to understand what was wrong. I was asking for answers to questions to which God never seems to respond. But when I woke up, the answer was there. You see, every time something got heavy, I'd pray for strength. The load only got heavier. I never prayed for patience, but when you are carrying a heavy load, patience is required so it is a secondary effect of the training. It takes time to build strength. Patience isn't a problem when strength is the goal.

It was at that point in my revelation that I decided now's a good time to stop praying for strength. I'm tired. I don't want to lift any more weight. I want someone else to carry the load for a while. I don't want to bear anyone's burden. I don't want to solve anyone's problem. I don't want to carry anyone. I want a place to rest and sit down while someone else gets strong, I don't even want to be strong anymore. Every weight trainer has a limit. You can work toward that limit and even strive to go beyond it but there is a point in time when the body builder reaches a maximum limit. They can do irreparable damage trying to go beyond their enduance.

So now, my body is breaking down from the weight. I can't carry any thing else. The result of too much weight is stress. The stress is probably the biggest factor in the pain I have. When I am off work for any length of time, I feel better in 24 hours. When I take a vacation from my family I feel better in 24 hours.

So, I guess I got an answer. I don't know if it is what I wanted to hear but at least I understand the cause. I just don't know how to fix any of it. Story of my life. When that happens, I've always asked for strength.

Not today.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Achey, Breaky Body

I've been busy all week and today I was supposed to work. However, when I woke at 7 a.m. to get up, I couldn't. I hurt all over. I rolled over and thought I'd go in a bit later, when I could move. I got up around 9 a.m. but still felt terrible so I just lay down on the sofa and went back to sleep. I slept until noon! Lazy bag of achy bones.

Anyway, I got up and did a load of dishes and then went out shopping for a very short time, looking for the kids Christmas presents. I bought for Sarah but found nothing else for anyone. I just don't know what to get them. I came home, and then my sister came by around 7 p.m. and we went to Sears where I preceeded to buy the skirts I needed. Bought four and got them all at about half off. Still too expensive but at least I have some things to wear to work for a bit until I can get others. Nice to see I could wear a 16 in a skirt. My top is still pushing an 18+.

Well, it is after midnight and I am going to get to bed. I still ache in places but I believe cold wet weather is my enemy. I have a heating pad in the bed to warm where I put my feet and I think this has helped me in the mornings since my feet are not hurting as much. Go figure.

Night all!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Autum Leaves

It finally arrived. The cold, biting chill of Winter arrived on my doorstep, hautily huffing and puffing its way in, just like a rude vagabond looking for a handout. The pouring rain Sunday was a tearful Autumn bidding farewell and by Sunday night, Old Man Winter had arrived in full force and began to unpack his bags. Until then, he'd only stuck his nose in brifely to find Autumn stubbornly clinging. It was a sad parting and I will miss Autumn. But I'm certain she'll return. Spring will arrive and run the old man out of town on a rail.

National Novel Writing Month ended just before Autumn caught the last train. So, all in all, it was an exciting month for me. I miss NaNoWriMo, too.

So, here we are, in the midst of a chill following the thrill. I find myself excited about moving forward on some things. I want to work on Mist and move the story forward. I also want to pull out a story I started some time ago that has morphed a bit. It's called Dark Mountains and my unnamed 2006 NaNoWriMo is the sequel that. So, a lot of stuff to work on in that department.

I also need to make some clothes. I have reached a point that I'm beginning to wear out the skirts I bought. . . well, I'm embarrassed to say how long ago, but let's just say they are no longer fit to work in. In my job I have to look fairly professional and I wear black skirts a lot. So, must either buy them or make them. I want to sew for Sarah so I can sew for me while I am at it.

Christmas is weeks away and I have to put up the tree. I suspect I won't have any Christmas time off. I asked for three days but even if they are approved, I may not take it. I will be completely out of vacation time if I do and I'm not comfortable with that. We'll just have to see.

Thus begins December. I'll be busy and ready for the approaching new year. I suspect it to be a year of changes and surprises. Keep dropping by and see what happens.

Monday, December 3, 2007

T'is The Season

It is so neat the way everyone is trying on new holiday backgrounds in their blogs. Some of us are copying each other's backgrounds. For women, it is a bit annoying for another woman to show up somewhere wearing the same dress as another. I hope copying blog backgrounds doesn't cause the same annoyance. The first time it happened to me, my nose was a but out of joint but then I realized that all these nice extras multiply provides is why I love it. And the people creating the backgrounds are willingly sharing them. How generous to give your work away! So I went an copied someone else's background.

This morning, I visited my friend, Skeeter's blog and found she was dealing with the old Christmas tree/pagan idol thing. It is an interesting argument and one that has been around for decades. I think she and her husband have worked it out.

We had a tree at Christmas all my life but I was never under any impression other than my family celebrates Christmas because it is the day we honor the birth of Jesus Christ, our savior. We can't know exactly what day he was born on so, someone used a day, widely celebrated at the time, to mark the most momentous event in history. I think that overshadowed whatever the pagan ritual was back then.

But there will always be people who feel strongly about Christmas trees. Not too long ago I found that Christmas trees are actually mentioned in the Bible. Oh, they aren't called that but when you read it you won't have any problem understanding what it is talking about. Frankly, I always check the Word for any confusion I have on any matter. I've read all the other scriptures people tout as proof that God hates Christmas trees and that to have one you are worshiping an idol. I don't particularly feel that way.

But for those of you confused by the issues, for those who think they know the all the answers, for those who haven't decided but kind of lean toward getting rid of tree, for those who haven't decided but kind of lean toward keeping or getting a tree here is what Jeremiah says. I used the New King James Version but you can take a quick trip over to and use any translation you like.

Jeremiah 10:1-5
1 Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel.
2 Thus says the LORD:
“ Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.
5 They are upright, like a palm tree,
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot go by themselves.
Do not be afraid of them,
For they cannot do evil,
Nor can they do any good.”

Jeremiah had seen the trees, too. To him it was just a silly tree, he said futile which mean pointless, with no power to do anything. Of course, maybe they didn't plug their's in...

So for those of you against trees, that's all right. Just stop quoting what you think is a prohibition. You can put up all your nativity scenes and let the world know what Jesus Christ means to you.

Of course, if you insist that your intrepretation of "Christmas tree sin" is right, you might want to consider another scripture, just to be totally right. Those little nativity scenes you put up instead of a tree... they are graven images. The Bible is pretty clear on those.

Personally, it is those stupid blowups of Frost the Snowman with the lightbulb inside that I find a sin.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Uneventful Weekend

The weekend is over and was rather uneventful. I am so glad I was able to go to church tonight. I didn't get to go this morning as I intended. I kept Sarah last night and she kept me up most of the night. Every hour she woke up crying and I had to get up and settle her down. I put her to bed with me and she rolled all over the bed when she slept! She's busy even in her sleep! So, by 9 a.m. I was exhausted and could barely sit up. I got up and thought about church but I fed Sarah and put her down on the floor to play and I went to sleep on the couch with her in front of me. She eventually came and climbed on top of me and went to sleep, too.

But I did go tonight. I was so good to be back. I was surprised when my assistant pastor read an email he got last week. When he started it I thought, I've read that then I realized, it was my blog post about Black Friday and called A House of Worship! I chuckled but kept quiet. At the end he told everyone who wrote it. It was very nice to hear someone appreciate something you wrote.

After church, my son was telling me that he and the sound guy were listening and David told the sound guy, "Someone has too much time on their hands." At the end, when they told who wrote it, David said, "Oh." I cracked up when I heard it. It was so like David to speak first and ask questions later.

I rained all day today,hard and I just knew that it was going to turn cold. It has! It was 55 this today and rather warm when we got to church at 6 p.m.. Right now, it is 36! I will hate having to go in to work in this cold!

Well, I'm signing off for now. Hope you all stay very warm and cozy and have a great week.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Glory Be!

I got my car back on Thursday with the transmission fixed. I can now go back to church! I have not been in a month and I miss it.

So, with that said, I'm off to bed.