Category Archives: Writings

Writings

The problem with wanting to be a writer?  It takes lots and lots of time spent writing.  That’s why I’m not around here as much…that and the pretty crazy season we’re moving into at work.

Several people have asked me what writing projects I’m working on right now, so here’s a list for those who are interested.

Wisebread.com–Wisebread is a personal finance blog aimed mainly at young people who are in the workforce for the first time, though in reality the audience seems much broader than that.  I write weekly or bi-weekly, and I stay at it though it’s not my favorite topic because it’s good for me to write regularly and to get feedback from an audience, because I get some money from the ads on the site, and because I love the team of writers I get to work with.

The blog–I’d love to do some personal essays on here, though right now it’s probably going to remain a lot like it has been–newsy, fun, and a lot about me.  I like blogging and it helps me keep in touch with people I care about but don’t get to see very often.  It’s good practice for me as a writer, too.

Storytelling and Spiritual Growth–I’ve been thinking on this topic for a while and am finally pulling my thoughts together into an essay.  Honestly, it could be a lot longer than that, but writing it out concisely helps me solidify what I’m thinking.  I’m not quite sure of the market for this piece yet (though it’s more a matter of, “Which market?” not, “Is there a market?”).  I’m writing this because the topic is something I’m interested in that I also think is importan.  It’s in the “one and a half draft” stage, so it might be some time before it’s ready to publish.

Fiction exploring grief–Grief is something that I’ve latched on to over the last year or so as important, both in general and in the direction of my life (I’m exploring what it would take to work with grieving people).  This story will explore the necessity of grief in the story of a woman who loses her soldier-husband in Iraq and tries to love again several years later.  It’s also in the “one and a half draft” stage.  I wasn’t sure, for a while, how long it would be, but now I believe it will be a novel.

Personal essay/memoir on engagement–When I was engaged, I thought a lot about what that meant and what was going on in that time and recorded some of it.  I also wanted to find some literature on what happens when you’re engaged beyond the wedding planning, but I didn’t find anything that looked like what I was looking for.  I’d like to turn my musings on my engagement into a book for engaged couples so they can think about and use that time as more than a crash course in event planning.  This is in about the stage as the two pieces above.

If you’re wondering about my “one and a half draft” stage, it means that I’ve done a good deal of free writing on the topic and I’m now putting those ideas into a structure and format for the first time.  So I’m revising what I have but it’s not coherent enough to be deemed a draft.  So many of my bigger pieces are in this stage because free writing is easy for me, so it goes quickly and is something I did before I recommitted myself to my writing.  Organizing and piecing together the ideas I write about in different areas is much, much harder, and I’m doing a lot of that now.

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I’ve come to expect

more than I would have

known to want.

I’ve drank

from this firehose of love

until it felt like lunch or

a Coke in the shade on a sunny day.

I’ve eaten and danced and

sang with my hands in the air

until I forgot the days of

not enough,

left feet,

laryngitis.

I woke up this morning

and the spring was gone.

Or hard to find, hidden

under the mossy rocks and

behind fallen trees.

I had come to expect more

than I would have known to want.

*Update: Formatting will NOT work on this. I think it’s a WordPress problem, as I can’t even view the code right now.

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I hope for her

This makes me so sad.

 

Some excerpts:

If people know that I’ve converted to Christianity, they might take the law into their own hands. If they are not broadminded, they might take a stone and throw it at me.”

Maria – not her real name – is a young Malaysian woman who has lived a secret and sometimes fearful life since she converted from Islam to Christianity.

“I feel that I am all alone in this struggle,” she says, “and I am frightened because I am alone against the odds.”

The article also talks about how she and her boyfriend want to get married, but can’t because they are not Muslims. Her church has made her sign something saying that they did not cause her conversion (in case they are found out). And she can’t get close to people because she can’t risk being found out as a Christian. It’s been this way for 10 years.

 

For some reason, it’s easy for me to imagine her fear. I’m sure I can’t capture all of it, but it’s easy for me to understand her. It hurts me that I know people who would condemn her, who would say that, if she really trusted God, she would talk about her faith and not be afraid. I don’t know if that’s right or not, but I could not condemn her.

 

I don’t know her life. I don’t know what she faces and what she fears. I don’t know what it’s like to look around and wonder what these people would do if they really knew me, and to know that that’s a serious threat and not a claim of the false self.

 

What I do know? Is that I will pray for her, and for her friend Lina Joy.

 

 

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Perspective

Dave and I found out today that the seemingly pesky, annoying problem with our car will cost us the rest of our combined tax return to fix.  We spent the first half on the car last week, so that isn’t exactly exciting news.  At least, I suppose, we have the tax return.

And we still have each other.  I happened on this in my internet-ing today as I was on the phone with Dave about the car, and it made me cry (you know, in case the car problems weren’t…two reasons to weep on sale today, come on down!).   This story stays on my heart; pray for this woman and her family, even though I don’t know them and I’m not sure they would want to be prayed for.

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Snapshot

With this, and because of some of the encouragement I’ve received in comments and out of them, I’m back. I wasn’t “gone” long, but it was important for me.

—————————-

Beloved,

When the sky falls in, I hope you are with me. To hold me and love me, certainly,
but also so I don’t carry the burden of watching the earth die alone.

I don’t think I could do it.

I would rather die myself than watch everything I loved struggle, shrivel, and say goodbye, leaving what they loved and leaving me all alone.

So hold on, dear heart. Hold on to me, with me.

Watch with me,

Your Love

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Open hands

Since this post, God has been teaching me how to hold the things I love. Though I think the saying is silly, I’ve prescribed to the “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” philosophy most of my life. When I get something good, I want to hold on to it. I want to clutch it, to bring it in to myself and never let it go.

That hasn’t been good for me. It hasn’t helped me grow. It has meant that change is hard, because I struggle to let go of what I have when I’m being offered other things. It has meant that it is hard for me to live in the present, because I worry about what I don’t have anymore but also about what might be taken away and about what good things that I want that may not come to me. It makes me anxious because I concern myself with how I can get what I want and hold on to what I have. It makes me fear because I struggle to see my life without the things I have.

The clutching protected me somehow, or at least it felt like it did. It felt like it kept me from having to be disappointed, crushed, devastated, though I’m not sure it did any of those things. Instead, it may even have made them worse, made it harder for me to let go when things didn’t turn out the way I thought they would or the way I wanted them to. But I have felt like I was protecting myself, like the only way to hold on to things was to hold them tightly and refuse to let them go.

But now? Now “open hands” are the words of the day. Dave is up for a job that could be really, really good for us. There are drawbacks (it doesn’t allow us to move from Southern California in the forseeable future), but they don’t outweigh the benefits. We want this job. We want this job more than we’ve wanted anything together (except for the wedding day to just GET HERE, already!). And yet, we can’t do a whole lot about it. We can’t make the decision, and we have no idea who he’s up against for it. We want to clutch it, but we can’t. We have to let hold it with open hands. We have to let it go if that’s what’s right.

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The Pursuit of Cooking

One of the things I muse on occasionally, usually because I’ve stepped into something that is bigger on the inside that it looks to be on the outside, is what it means to be a woman.   The thing that has come up recently is that women want to care well for those they love.

Lest the men in my readership feel left out, let me explain.  I believe that most women have an instinct to nurture.  We want to help those around us grow, and we want to do that well.   We want to help them mature physically, mentally, spiritually, relationally, and all those other “ly’s” that I forgot.  We want to invest ourselves in them so that they become the people God created them to be and the people we know they can be.  It’s not that men don’t want this, but that men go about that differently.  I can’t nail it down further than that, so if you’re going to feel offended, feel free.  Leave me a comment and we can try to work it out together.

When I think about this characteristic of women, I tend to think about it in a psychological or spiritual sense.  I want to help the people I love be all they can be on the inside.  In actuality, that’s not all true, because I also want to help them be all they can be on the outside.

This came up for me because cooking came up from me.  Long story short, I’ve had a couple of comments made about the fact that I like to cook casseroles.  The comments were made innocently on the part of the commenters, but they hurt me.  I began to feel insecure about my cooking and entered my marriage afraid my husband would not like my cooking and would choose to eat elsewhere as much as possible.  As it turns out, this hasn’t been true.  He likes what I cook, thinks it’s healthy, and encourages me to cook.  It wasn’t until he kept encouraging me, though, that I realized what a big deal this is for me.

As a woman, I want to be able to cook food that my family likes and that nourishes them so they have the healthy bodies they need to pursue God’s intentions for them.  That’s one way I can help, and one way I can nurture them.  Realizing this has been something of an epiphany for me, as cooking was never important to me before.  Now, it seems like a discipline and a challenge.  How can I find the time to cook well, consistently, and in such a way that we don’t spend too much on food?  It’s becoming fun again, and it seems to nourish me, as well (the pursuit of cooking and the food!)

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