Wisconsinites Crazy from Weather

Water: Sometimes Ya Love It, Sometimes Ya Hate it!

Water: Sometimes Ya Love It, Sometimes Ya Hate it!

It’s true: we Wisconsinites are at serious risk of going crazy due to our weather. I’m surprised we don’t crack from temperature changes, or crack up from weather mood swings.

For instance, picture last night, April 13th, my husband and I are frantically shopvaccing rainwater out of a hole in the basement drain system—haul five gallon buckets to the window—climb out the window—dump the water in the middle of the lawn to avoid it draining back into our apparently faulty drain tile system—and back again. And again, and again—till 3 a.m.

So, the Rain of the Century that left us with an inch of water in our basement a year ago seems to have been repeated rather quickly. Only this time we were able to keep ahead of it and avoided huge carpet pieces laid out on the driveway to dry.

Then—this morning, April 14th, we wake up to snow on the ground. Aside from during ski season, that was the happiest I’ve ever been to see snow. No rain—no flood in the basement.

It’s a Wisconsinites birthright to complain about the weather—it’s obligatory. Even if I wasn’t born in Wisconsin, I’ve certainly been grafted in after 36 years. Anyway, it’s in my Minnesota genes. I remember back when we had “real winters” in Minnesota and some 100˚ temps in summer in the early 1970s. So I can complain about the weather like a pro.

How does this fit with the theme of my blog, “…because you can’t pour from an empty pitcher”? Because I got my complaints about the weather out of my system, for today. My pitcher nearly ranneth over!

Thanks for listening. :-)

 

 

 

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UW Writer’s Institute Conference Aftermath

April 4-6, 2014 Madison, Wisconsin

April 4-6, 2014
Madison, Wisconsin

Attending my first writer’s conference was mind-blowing. We conferees soaked up all things writing for three days till near saturation. Hours, and hours, and hours of  writers and writing. Networking, making new writer friends, meeting accomplished authors, learning, and more learning. Getting inspired.

So the cosmos-splitting boom heard over South Central Wisconsin last weekend was the sound of hundreds of writers’ brains exploding. (The collective groan heard late Saturday night was when the Wisconsin Badgers lost their Final Four basketball game by one point!) But that brain blowup feels so good. Challenged. Encouraged. Armed to write better.

For me, writing a novel has been like learning to play the Celtic harp—if I’d known how difficult it is, I might never have started. But then I’d have missed out on great joy. (Hmm, there’s a metaphor in there somewhere, something to do with children.)

 

UW Writer’s Institute Conference

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We Are God’s Artwork, His Artists

A friend gave me the book, A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman.

The term art is painted with broad strokes. Freeman’s scripture-based premise is that we are God’s image-bearers, his artwork, and as such, it’s our task, our privilege, our terror, to find and live the individual artistry God has placed in each of us for His glory and the benefit of others. Everyone—even Dorothy, “the meek and small,” as she describes herself to Oz, The Great and Terrible—is God’s artist.

I’ve just started the book, but here’s a sentence that stopped me in my thought-tracks:

We’re desperately afraid of desire, terrified that if we consider for too long what we most deeply want, we will be confused about which desires come from us, which ones come from God, and how to tell the difference.

Bull’s-eye!

Daring to dream is God-given. And not following those dreams might be a waste of one’s purpose at best and disobedient at worst!

This same friend once said, “Are we going to be accountable for our unopened gifts?” Hmm.

I’ve known that God made me me for a reason: allowed me to develop certain interests, skills, and passions. Freeman gives us a gentle nudge, or kick in the pants, in the direction of doing something about it.

All right then—ready, set, GROW.

Categories: Christianity, Psychology, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Scotland, Scotland, Scotland

If a picture says 1,000 words, then this is a 3,000-word essay on Scotland.

Enjoy.

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle

A field of cairns in the Highlands.

A field of cairns in the Highlands. My wee rock is in there somewhere.

Carbost, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Loch Harport at Carbost, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Categories: Photography, Travel | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Writing is Like Knitting

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My friend Sue keeping warm in the hat I knit for her.

Writing is like knitting. Here’s how—for me.

  • I’ve learned a lot by studying online. There are lots of videos, tutorials, tips, blogs—you name it—online.
  • It’s very technical. A new language of terms.
  • It involves words. Untangling the directions for a knitting pattern can be a challenge.
  • It takes practice, practice, practice (much like skiing!).
  • I make mistakes. Oh, do I make mistakes. Correcting them is both a pain and an art. The trick is to first find the mistake and then figure out how to correct it.
  • I get to give it to friends. I enjoy the process of creating, but giving away a gift is the best.
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Writing is Like Skiing

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The process of writing is a lot like skiing—for me.

  • It takes practice, practice, practice—for years.
  • I need lessons and critiques from experts.
  • I make lots of mistakes and feel clumsy half the time.
  • Sometimes it hurts—my body and my ego at risk.
  • It’s frustrating.
  • It’s extremely technical.
  • It’s hard to remember everything I’m supposed to be paying attention to.
  • It’s the most fun—ever.
  • There are times when it’s absolutely, crazily, achingly sublime: when it all comes together, and I feel like I’m flying, that I can’t do anything wrong.
  • I’ll never regret doing either.
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UW Writers’ Institute Conference

Notice to you writers out there: the UW Writers’ Institute is coming up in Madison, Wisconsin.

This writers’ conference has an excellent reputation in the writing community, so I’ve heard. I’ll let you know if it’s so—I’ll be there!

I hear and read over and over, “Writers, attend writers’ conferences. Attend writers’ conferences.” OK, I will, and I can’t wait. See you there?

April 4-6, 2014 Madison, Wisconsin

April 4-6, 2014
Madison, Wisconsin

Categories: Writing | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Writing Contest Update

operation-iconThis week I got the judge’s critique of my entry in the Christian Writers Guild contest Operation First Novel. Though I didn’t place in the contest, the critique was extremely helpful. It was worth all the angst of waiting and hoping.

If you haven’t had a professional critique your writing, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s putting your creative neck on the chopping block, but hey, that’s how we learn.

The critique confirmed a couple weak spots I knew were there. And it affirmed a couple strengths I hoped were there: two 10s out of possible 10! Woohoo! I admit it, I enjoyed reading the words “tremendous” and “excellent” in those two categories.

Onward. One more contest. The American Christian Fiction Writers also has a contest for unpublished novelists: Genesis.  You have till March 15, 2014 to get your entry in too.

So, congratulations to these five talented authors, the finalists for Operation First Novel 2013. One of them will take home all the marbles and be published by Worthy Publishing.

●  Assault on Saint Agnes by Joseph Courtemanche, Saint Paul, Minnesota
● The Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance, Colorado Springs, Colorado
● The Orb of Oriston by Donna Myers, Nampa, Idaho
● Stolen Dreams by Sharon Sheppard, St. Cloud, Minnesota
●  A Ticket Bought at a Hazard by Debra Jeter, Clarksville, Tennessee

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Love Divine at Christmastime

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Love Divine, all love excelling,
  Joy of heav’n, to earth come down;
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling,
  All Thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, Thou art all compassion;
  Pure, unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation,
  Enter every trembling heart.

Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/358#ixzz2nwEgORRJ

HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A BLESSED NEW YEAR

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A Child-Like Heart

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17

A little child is—jDSCF1003oyful, guileless, trusting, dependent, eager, forgiving, curious, fascinated, playful, fearless, innocent, loving.

Are those the qualities required to receive the kingdom of God?

But what if joy, innocence, and all the rest, are wrenched from the toddler by thoughtless, self-centered parents?

Some of my psychotherapy clients are wary of relationships, don’t feel much self-worth, and are afraid God won’t pay them any more attention than their parents did.

So what does Jesus mean when He says to receive His kingdom “like a little child?” We adults can’t just set aside the weight of life: can’t cut out the thoughts and feelings burned in our brains that make love and trust a challenge.

Picture a child reaching up to Mommy or Daddy.

We were all born with that innate need to be picked up and held. Then picture some big, I mean really big, hands reaching down to pick you up—fulfilling your need.

I’m no biblical scholar, but it seems to me Jesus is saying simply, “Reach up to me. Come.”

O come, little children, O come one and all,
To Bethlehem haste, to the manger so small,
God’s son for a gift has been sent you this night
To be your redeemer, your joy and delight.

from the Christmas carol, “O Come, Little Children”

Categories: Christianity, Psychology | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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