I am not obliged

Don’t you hate having to do something? I do. Going out because it’s required, even to a nice restaurant where I can order what I want and not have to clean it up, pay for it or do more than listen to someone talk about a topic I have a vague interest in, torturous.

At my age, I get tons of solicitations to attend a Free Dinner! All those nice people want is an hour of my time to hear about Valuable Information concerning money or retirement or how to get more benefits from the government. Every single one of those colorful, splashy, yummy looking steak pictures go right in the trash.

Not doing it.

Mostly because they all say a few magic words: You Must Do This!

In a pig’s eye.

Rather stay home, wearing house shoes, comfy sweater and flannel pants, drinking hot tea and eating cheese and crackers.

The old obligation thing. Talking about money, getting money, benefits, how to enjoy retirement, all good topics. But being obligated to listen? No worth the effort.

If my best friend called me and suggested dinner (or more likely lunch) out and we started talking about any of those topics, I’d love it. My friend’s company matters.

Everyone who knows me, has been to my house, knows I am not a great housekeeper. And my cooking? No one has ever died of eating what I prepare. My husband loves my beef stroganoff while kids and grandkids brag about a couple of my favorites to make. I enjoy having friends come, eat together, tell crazy stories.


If I had to have people come and do those same things because of social obligations, the dread of the whole massive undertaking weighs a thousand tons. I feel a slight queasiness coming on just thinking about it.

So what the difference? The actual work load is the same, sometimes less with an obligation. I will work hard for weeks, months, doing something for love that I will not spend more than a few minutes for if it’s an obligation.

The difference is me.

When I love the action or the person, I will do everything I can, enjoying the moment, anticipating the event, replaying the best of it in my mind, ready to do it all again.

Could it be the love of the action itself or the person involved (besides me) spurs the warm, the delight, the pleasure.

The pleasure of being with or delighting in that other over-rides the onus of labor, creating more love, more fascination, contentment than I can achieve alone.

I act not because I must but because I love.

Hmm. Thinking about that.


This prayer thing

For a few weeks, been thinking. Wow, I know, that remark is shocking in so many ways. And in the edit phrase of writing, it may vanish into the ego driven trash can.

Apparently, that first paragraph made the cut. Hmmm.

Thinking about prayer. A big topic right now, for lots of people. There is the What-in-the-world-is-going-on prayer, the Oh-God-make-it-stop and the all time favorite Bless-us-O-Lord.

And they are legit, to the point, honest prayers. So, no dissing here. If we’re honest, we all pray that way a good bit of the time.

What about the other prayers? The one’s we really don’t want to say out loud but that sneak out of us. The question prayer, despair prayer, mad, passionate glory prayer and the prayer offered in real agony, hoping against hope that somehow God will hear and respond.

What is this crazy thing our hearts do? Out loud or in the head, this desire to communicate with the Creator of the universe, He who made us from the dust of the ground and breathed His life into us. Different from everything else created, formed by His hands, He intentionally filled our lungs with His breath. And we give it back to Him when we pray.

But what actually is it, this prayer thing?

A quick scan (Wikipedia) on prayer reveals where there’s people, there’s prayer. We’ve been doing it and writing about it for at least 5000 years. And most likely arguing about it just as long.

The core thing of prayer seems to be an action taken to communicate some need or desire to something more powerful than the prayer. Some people don’t like it, don’t understand it and don’t want anyone to do it. But we persist.

The Lord God Almighty says for us to seek His face, Call on His name and trust Him. That is prayer.

Much to unpack, more to mull over, and maybe just maybe, try more than a moment a day? Not a mental game but a physical interaction. Aloud or under your breath, alone or with a trusted friend. Group act and private conversation.

What could or would God do with us if we do this one thing?


Whoa! It’s been how long?

And here I thought it a short hiatus. Silly, silly. The intent was a break from blogging would give me time to regroup, reconsider and then get back into the pattern. But life, and a few other influences (you know who you are) moved life around.

One thing that didn’t move was the desire to explain, entertain or provide a different perspective on what goes on in other people. And with that intact, I should be able to blather on about almost anything.

Especially words and what happens to people using words. Y’all know how words shift in meaning and usage, telegraphing or sometimes hinting at shifts in culture and mindsets. As the resident amateur in this arena, I spend a good amount of time poking among dictionaries, encyclopedias and various hiding places for the meaning of words. When I was younger, the idea of word study did not occur to me. It was that fun thing I did to satisfy the itch to Know Stuff.

Heavy sigh.

Or pondering murmur.

For the most part, I intend to use this blog to sniff around words, sussing out their history, use and what happened to various ideas/words along the way.

Suss. See that one?

Haven’t had a chance to investigate that one yet. But I will. Most likely tomorrow. Or The next day.  Got a couple of things on my plate for the next day or so.

But I’ll be back. With meanings and musings.

Neglected blogs

Have you heard about these poor things? Created, fed for a time then left to fend for themselves in the spooky forest of On Line Contacts. Almost makes me weep.


These seemingly innocent creature start out cuddly, warm things, curling in your brain with fun ideas of Writing Down What Matters. Like all living things, their eyes are big and wet, tongues slurping all over your mind, delighting with promises of entertainment and mental exercise Without Leaving the Comfort of Your Own Environment, until…

They grow in to this voracious eater of time and mental effort.

Every day or week or month (easy to lose track of time when it marches up and down in your mind just at that moment of almost sleep) the Blog zings an arrow of Not Done across your mind.

Messages like, readers are waiting. You said you’d do one this week. Why are you doing laundry, writing something else, looking at your phone?

You said.

You promised.

Feed Me!

Sheesh. Write a blog, they said.

It’ll be fun, they said.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. They, whoever They are, isn’t doing it. They are Expecting it.

At least with pets or kids, the reward is more tangible. Hugs, kisses, I love you looks. Blogs got none of that. They just eat, eat, eat.

Kinda like newspaper columns, when those appeared in newspapers. Many is the columnist who lived by 800 words, or whatever the editor set as the standard count. Television scriptwriters sometimes talk about the Story, that ever looming deadline of getting a script ready for production as a beast that only eats and is never satisfied, because next week, next month, next season, if you still have a job, the story must be done. Again.

So, Blog, I know you’re there. Waiting. Hovering. Hungry.

But you have competition now.

The Novel.

May the most persistent win.

No teeheehee. More like, Egad, they keep multiplying.

Not Getting Stuff Done

When stuff piles up around me and to-do lists grow longer rather than shorter, motivation slides away, seeping through floor boards, leaving only a scent of accomplishment without the satisfaction.

What does accomplishment smell like? To me, sorta pinewoody with a hint of honeysuckle. I know. Inside me, senses and emotions tangle together.

Such is today. Got one book whining for editing, two knitting projects moping on needles, handful of books taunting me about withheld information, a second book hung on plot elements and all I want to do is peruse Pinterest. Window shopping electronically, like smelling fake food some people use as a decorative item. Eeuuuwww.

Crazy part is, I know the only out is pick a project and work at it. This particular mood strikes when the piles surround me like a thick forest of demands, scratching at me, poking, nagging, using every guilt tool in the box.

So, Patient Reader, you perform the valuable, and unenviable function of providing mild relief to the tyrant in my head. If I do one thing in a positive direction, I will have done One Thing!

And somehow it works. In the last few lines as I wrote this not so deathless prose, I’ve done away with wads of fluffy adjectives, rewrote passive verbs out of existence and disposed of four clichés. Honestly, you should see the raw writing fall from my fingers. Or maybe you shouldn’t.

As I was saying…

The whole list thing got completely away from me. This is what happens when you sit in front a keyboard and let your fingers meander around.

But not today.

Or at least I hope not. I meant to get into the satisfying bit about lists. But somehow, between a couple of incoming phone calls, more than one cup of coffee and a really interesting snippet of info on Pinterest, followed by the nagging aroma of something chocolate baking in the kitchen, need I say more?

But today I plow onward into Crossing Items off the List. ‘Cause that’s what’s make the thing addictive. When I get something accomplished, crossing it off of the list means I did that one thing at least.

May not be world peace but clearing a space on the floor beside my desk makes me peaceful. Knowing my socks don’t stick to the kitchen floor, lovely. Laundry folded and put away says I can finally sit in my chair, drink my tea and luxuriate in the stillness. And holding that finished manuscript in my hand, terrifyingly exciting.

Posting a blog entry ahead of time and hitting save, then publish.

I did it.

Anything and everything I meant to do. It is done. For the moment.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. Genesis 2:1

That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Lists, lists, lists

Y’all make lists? At this exact moment, my desk is littered with at least a dozen of them. Let me make a list so you…no, wait. I’m trying to cut back. It’s hard, strains against ingrained behavior, but I Am Going to Cut Back.

Recently attended a workshop where this very topic came up. On a list, actually. Ehem. You get my point, I hope. If you didn’t, I’ll most likely blog at that as well. But back to the list thing.

Turns out, list making is a common trait for first born children. I wasn’t the first born but I was the first born girl (two older brothers) which makes me a semi-first born. Actually, I think the whole listing thing comes from forgetting stuff, realizing I forgot stuff that Really Must Be Done. Makes the whole day go south at that point. So to circumvent myself, I make lists.

Stuff to do today, books I want to read, topics I must research for the current book, books semi-plotted, short stories ready to be edited, how far and how deep I must research to make a particular character come to life, what happened in 1996 as a setting for current book, ad nauseam.

When the list of lists gets out of hand, like now, I give up, pour a cup of tea and do some fun research. And wild as it seems, the world does not end. In fact, it settles into a lovely moment of amazement. Which makes me consider burning all the lists around me. But then the fire department gets involved, the word arson gets tossed around, yada yada yada.

LSH (long suffering husband) provides me with plenty of notepads, nods a lot when I rummage for the list I made last week, and putters in the garage. He keeps his lists in his head, where I can’t find them. Or lose them.

That obsession he gets, even as he shakes his head at the others, like looking up the origins of phrases or words (going south, mess hall, friend) and writing blogs.

So, back to the original question, y’all make lists?

Me too.


Do I value the physical more than the spiritual? Or maybe the other way around? And if I do, why? Should I?

What is it that assumes one matters more than the other? If you read my last post, betcha have an idea of where this is going. Or not, ‘cause it is kinda vague.

Reading and re-reading Genesis 1 led me farther down this path. Started examining it when I read Heaven by Randy Alcorn. The ideas he posed in his book struck a note with me, so I followed the sound.

Could it be we are as spiritual and we are physical, as physical as we are spiritual? To parts of a whole that must be looked at as a whole. It does seem most of our culture ignores the one for the other.

Are both sides simply sides, viewing themselves as the whole?


And just because something is spiritual doesn’t mean it’s good. The original sense of the word good was benefit, advantage, gift, virtue, property. In biblical Hebrew, it meant connected, functional, fulfilling, satisfying. The word evil meant wicked, diseased, vicious, ill. In biblical Hebrew it meant apart, separate, dysfunctional, devouring.

Lots of food for thought.

The physical can be twisted or broken, the spiritual as well.

As I write, still thinking. Considering.

Humans are both spiritual and physical. Both can be twisted, misused. Both can be glorious, in order. God knew that before we came to be.

More thinking. Pondering.

On Purpose

Been thinking about the words ‘on purpose’. Doing a bible study on Genesis 1 and there is a lot of ‘on purpose’ going on there. The physicality of the earth, our bodies and the way all the details of life maneuver together.

God could have stayed completely in the spiritual realm, not bothering with anything physical. Yet, He moved in the physical. On purpose. He meant to do it, knowing all the ramifications of His actions. He purposed to create a physical universe, purposed planets, and then purposed inhabitants that could choose to interact with Him.

On purpose.

A big thought there. Not really sure this particular brain can do more with it. But I want to. Really want to.

Inside my brain, or maybe it’s not the brain, but inside the real me, lights grow and mingle while impressions ebb into nearly solid images as textures and vibrations emit aromas both warm and crisp, soothing and tart.

Senses ease then sharpen to soft awareness.

On purpose.

He meant to do it and I have a choice to examine this. Or not.

The invitation still stands, the RSVP on my tongue.

Real Books, Surreal reaction

Finally got finished published copies of both my books in my hands. Whew.

MotherLove and Kiss’N’Kill

It’s the craziest thing to hold a solid object made of your own thoughts and imagination. Or to see a movie set, with props, actors, production people, camera and light techs all interacting to display the story a writer created out of mental wisps.

Wildest belly flopping emotion.

Quickly followed by the stupefying realization it must all be done again. Quickly, because the audience/public/readers want more.

The ideas pour out. The skills get better and smoother. And it’s fun to disappear into the wonder of creation. But I can’t help but think, when that mushroom cloud swelled across New Mexico skies, did the scientists quiver, just a bit?

Not that my stuff is atomic bomb magnitude to anyone else but me. Still, tummy turning.

Even writing this blog post today makes shivers that were never there before. And yes, I tried to rewrite that last sentence six times to get rid of ‘that’. Sometimes, ‘that’ is necessary.

So, once again the name is out there, books are presented before other eyes and I am at work producing more. The Writers Prayer Journal (in a set of three 30 day entries) is half way through the writing process so it should be ready by November this year.

More sweaty palms to come.