Writer’s Desk: Creation Station

Ever feel like Eeyore looks on that mug? A while back, I was bursting with ideas for a new novel. But in the midst of nailing down thoughts and plots and opening lines, it was giving me a ton of trouble.☺

From enthusiasm to confusion to resignation, came rhyming words that matched my feelings. This is what emerged.

So, grab your choice of “libation” and enjoy a glimpse into my writing life! 

  • Libation                                         Monster mug of Earl Grey tea
  • Ideation                                Heavy plotting, brain-busting thoughts
  • Celebration                                                    Yesss! Got it!

Large cute mug shaped like Eeyore, Mainly blue, pink, and black

  • Destination                          Hmm, exactly where do I go from here?
  • Elation                                      Aha! There’s where I go from here
  • Creation                         Mad-crazy typing, wondrous ideas—ah, purrrfect

brown striped kitten on laptop keyboard pawing at the screen, green, blue and white background, table & windows

  • Evolution                                       Well—maybe not so perfect
  • Agitation                                                     Downright awful
  • Frustration                                    Did this really come from me
  • Hesitation                         Well, surely I can make something out of it
  • Procrastination                              But, maybe not right now
  • Perpetration                           Hatch a plot to get rid of the evidence

humorous pic of young man in mustache and beard with magnifying glass, dressed in brown plaid hayt and jacket

  • Assassination                               Just dispatch the whole thing
  • Conflagration                                Delete, delete, delete, poof!
  • Desolation                                        Oh no, now I’ve done it
  • Deforestation                                      Pulling my hair out

awful hair day for adorable strawberry blonde blue-eyed toddler, pastels and print in background

  • Resignation                                      I really did just do that?
  • Aberration                                            Yup, you really did
  • Prostration                                     On my face in fervent prayer
  • Re-creation                                 It just might rise from the ashes
  • Vacation                                             But not until I get back!

young woman sitting on a rocky tor, gazing at mountain vista with vivid blue sky and white clouds

“Laughter is a sunbeam of the soul.” ― Thomas Mann

Sometimes in life we need a break to simply laugh . . . with others and at ourselves.

God created us with the capacity to do just that. So laugh, then turn around and DO the thing!

Even frustration can become something to share, and it was fun to have this little piece end up published in a writers’ magazine.

“And He said to me, ’“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV).

Anybody relate to this poetic saga?

I’d love for you to leave a comment.☺

Love,

Sally

Sally’s Amazon Author Page  http://amzn.to/1MzgXNb

 

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What’s in Your Closet?

BOO~!

 

Most decent, self-respecting closets only harbor clothes and shoes and occasionally a few imaginary monsters that come out at night and scare the dickens out of little kids.

Not my closet!

 

 

 

Sometimes you just have to tell it like it is.

 

So, here goes!

 

 

Along with the clothes and shoes, I keep a coloring book in there!

And a big box of crayons.

(And Play Doh. Yes, for me. I like that messy fun stuff too.) Of course, I tell everyone that I have crayons and Play-Doh for when little ones come to visit.

Which is partially true.

And things were going well for my once-in-a-while secret, relaxing fun until  . . .

Eleanor came to visit . . .

and I decided to share

and the cameras came out.

So we’re all down on the floor, an adorable, almost-two-year-old great grandniece, my fun-loving daughter-in-law, Sarah, and me.

And there goes my secret.

But that’s not the end of the story!

 

 

Several weeks later, “You’ve got mail,” my better-half says, and hands me a package.

Two seconds later, I’m holding this! Coloring Book Secret Garden

My Bugs Bunny days have been challenged! Seems my wonderful younger brother, and sister-in-law heard all about my love of coloring and decided I needed an adult coloring book!

It’s gorgeous. A magical and fantastically cool gift! I may be 102 and coloring outside the lines by the time I finish it and probably won’t find all the “half-hidden creepy crawlies” lurking inside, but I’m already loving it—

How about you? Any little secret quirky things from childhood you still love to do?

“The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.”
Plato

“Children always challenge me to live in the present.
I marvel at their ability to be fully present to me.
Their uninhibited expression of affection and their
willingness to receive it pull me directly into the moment
and invite me to celebrate life where it is found.
Whereas in the past coming home meant time to study,
to write letters, and to prepare for classes,
it now first of all means time to play.”
Henri Nouwen

“Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them;
but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it,
He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me,
and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.'” Mark 10:13-14

Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child
will by no means enter it.” Luke 18:17
Love,

Sally

I have to tack on a P.S. here!

I wrote this blog post several days ago, planning to post it late tonight, Sunday. And this morning’s sermon just happened to be titled, “Play-Doh”! Each of us who attended received a block of the fun stuff to work with during a profound talk that did a lot of focusing on softening our hearts.

I came home and took this photo of my package of Play-Doh, along with the front of today’s church bulletin, and the little red blob of soft Play-Doh that spent an hour in my hand.

Kudos to Molly Peterson, our vibrant young Director of Student Ministries, who did a fantastic job of delivering the sermon since our pastors were away!

Into the Deep

“When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’”

Sunrise

Has God called you to move away from your safe harbor, from the security and comfort of the known? Are you hanging back, fearful of what might lie ahead? Is your trust in safety, or in God?

 

So many times I’ve moved away from my safe harbor–and dog paddled like crazy, nearly drowning until I finally learned to trust in God.

But it didn’t feel crazy when I said “Yes” to my high school sweetheart when I was seventeen or when I said “I do” a year later or when I said “Hello, Baby Girl” a year later than that. Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing, but in between then and now, I’ve passed judgment on myself many times with “You must have been out of your mind!” But honestly, I don’t believe I was wise enough to have hung back or to have been fearful of the future  back then. Not to say I’m any different now. Do we really ever change much? I wonder.

“But Simon answered and said to Him, ’Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’”

Simon was hesitant, but he went with what faith he had in what he knew of the man, Jesus. Our Lord is so patient, loves us with all our faults, and walks with us even when we don’t know He’s there.

My mother insisted that if I married at that age, I must have more than high school, and business college had an important impact on my future. After our July wedding, I sneezed my way through our honeymoon at Niagara Falls with allergies that wouldn’t quit.

And a year later, along came baby number one, but not without the side effects of high blood pressure, labor with complications, and an emergency C-section. All that made a man and a woman out of a boy and a girl, strengthened my faith, and scared the stuffing out of my husband. The net was full. Yet it didn’t break.

Those were the rough beginnings of “on my own.”

As God holds his hand out for you to grasp, he promises not to leave or forsake you, but to always be with you as you launch out into the deeper, unknown waters. They are well known to God. God asks us to trust him, not the waters.

Leaving harbor at sunset

In the hills of Bethlehem in Judea, a young man was called by God to leave the safe haven of shepherding and walk into the unknowns of kingship.

Generations later in Nazareth of Galilee, a young woman was called by God to leave the safe haven of her girlhood and walk into the unknowns of motherhood.

Because King David, and Mary, mother of Jesus, were willing to walk into uncharted waters when God called them, the Son of God came into the world to bring us forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Through them God gave us priceless gifts.

What will you do when God calls you out of your secure environment to do something for him? What will God do with your obedience if you trust him?

Choice? You have one to make. You are called, not commanded. Will you trust and go? Or will you remain in your safe harbor?

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid . . . ” What have you to fear with your hand in God’s?

From the Book of Luke, here’s the whole story of what happened that day on the shores of Lake Gennesaret.

“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’
But Simon answered and said to Him, ’Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’
For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.’ So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him” (Luke 5:1-11 NKJV).

No, our stories may never be anywhere near as wondrous and dramatic as this true story, but they are God’s gift to us as we journey through this life. Treasure yours.

I’d love for you to share part of your story in the Comments.

Father, in the name of Jesus please grant us the patience, flexibility, and perseverance to accept all the changes you place before us with graciousness and with courage. Amen

Love,

~Sally~

Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.
~ Mark Twain

 

Popcorn Memories

I’m honored to have author, speaker, singer, Ann Cooper McCauley, posting on the blog today! I know you’ll love her warmth and humor as much as I do. Enjoy Ann’s . . .

POPCORN MEMORIES

One night, a few years ago now, my body as always longed for rest, but the alarm jolted me awake at midnight’s blue, when the kids would be fast asleep. What?!? Then I remembered. I slipped from beneath flannel sheets and electric blanket into the still cold of our ancient house, looking back with longing at my soft pillow. The century-old stairs creaked as I scaled them in cloak of darkness, a tight fist about a one-dollar bill. I tiptoed through the upstairs maze, my feet dodging dressers, cast-aside shoes, and prickly, little carpet tacks at every portal. As I shivered, I smiled to myself; my mission would soon be accomplished. A baby tooth awaited me in a snack-sized Ziploc tucked under my second-born’s pillow.

Carefully, carefully, I inched toward Jarred’s bunk. Five feet… Four feet… Three feet away from his wee, slumbering snore… Faint moonlight softened his little face into a deceiving sweetness. Two feet… I reached out… And the world plunged from its axis! My legs went sprawling in mid-air; the breath I’d been holding burst into a wild, squeal of terror. The room shifted, rocked, rolled, and I landed in a bruising heap among more than a thousand glass marbles.

Looking up at the ceiling, I knew with icy certainty— my favorite red-haired mischief-maker had booby-trapped the tooth fairy! Every scene from The Ransom of Red Chief went flying through my head, as I turned red with fury.

That night carried the real potential to send me over the proverbial edge, though I forgave my repentant son, toothless grin and all. The next day, black-and-blue and sleep deprived, I needed a vacation, but there was no money for such a luxury. I calculated the cost of a sitter for the day and decided I was worth it, but none were available. Randy will watch the kids this evening, and I can escape. But events conspired against me, and of course, he had to work late.

I was stuck. Stuck! Stuck! Stuck! And in the midst of my stomping about with no glamorous place to hide from this exasperating day, memories began skipping through my brain like popcorn. Pop! Pop! Pop!

POP! The time my creative toddlers destroyed their room. No, I really mean destroyed. As in every toy out, every stitch of clothing strewn. Have you ever stood at the door to that room? Well, I knew they couldn’t clean up their mess alone – but I simply took one look, turned and walked away, shaking my head like a lunatic and babbling, “Just – clean it up.” When I returned, they had cleaned it all right. Around the baseboards in perfect rows marched a baseball, a shoe, a Big Bird bank, a sock, a soldier, another shoe, baby lotion, a Fisher-Price tape player, another sock, and on, and on, all the way around the room. I sipped my iced tea and studied the two-man clean-up crew, now chasing their squealing younger sister.

POP! The morning my son, Joshua, decided to take down the chain link fence. I had never analyzed how a chain link fence is put together, much less taken down, but my son visualized a fort built from that section of fencing. Not only did he dismantle the section screw by screw, he also took the garden shears and cut an ingenious doorway through the middle of it. Would you think dull garden shears could cut through chain? I stared at the gaping hole, thinking, My head is actually going to explode this time.

I had two choices: I could have an aneurysm, or not. Making the obvious choice, I looked at my son and said – teeth clenched – voice low, “Put. It. Back.” By sunset that evening, the section was back in place, the center bound together with wire like a great incision.

I learned from each catastrophe. When did each shenanigan my children pulled, transition in my mind to an endearing memory? Finally, I sat wilting on the back stoop, watching my kids romping in the yard, and with memories came bubbles of laughter.

I sipped my iced tea and reflected on my life with children. Hadn’t God been good to me, after my first child was stillborn? Hadn’t He whispered to me that I would have children? Me. The mom of six blessings. My heart softened. Despite my annoyance, He refreshed me. From that night forward, the tooth fairy never again retrieved teeth from under children’s pillows—making the exchange instead at the downstairs’ bookcase.

But I learned that survival is about clinging to God’s merciful gift of humor, gracing me with the perspective to laugh at, and occasionally even with, my children’s hoodlum ways. Sometimes a restorative vacation is just a step backwards into a few blessed minutes of hysterical laughter.

So, pop back in time, and tell me your funny. When did humor help you survive?

Previously published on anncoopermccauley.com shared with permission.

Thank you, Ann for sharing your post with us!  Be sure and visit Ann’s blog and enjoy her delightful sense of humor as she shares her many stories. Here’s a little about Ann.

Ann McCauley married her sweetheart thirty-eight years ago. The McCauley’s have seven children, four internationally adopted. Ann’s first stories were published by Baker/Revell in the book, Loved by Choice—True Stories That Celebrate Adoption. She led a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a national organization for grieving parents, and a grief counseling support group, Wellsprings. Ann, a songwriter for many years, has led praise and worship, shared her original music with churches, and performed in fundraising for Holt International Adoption Agency. Mrs. McCauley has shared her adoption and homeschooling experiences with churches, rotary clubs, women’s seminars, and homeschool support groups. She’s been a speaker and singer throughout Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Ann’s motivational speaker service, The Power Behind the Story, can be found on her website. She is now taking bookings for engagements. Having written three historical novels, Ann hopes one will be picked up by a publisher soon. Her agent is Diana L. Flegal of Hartline Literary Agency.
Website and Blogs: anncoopermccauley.com

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV).

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7 NKJV).

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 NKJV).

Has humor helped you survive? We’d love to have you leave a comment!