Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Private Island

It always happens this time of year. My heart yearns to travel—to change the scenery, to refresh my soul. I'd love to visit an island with sun bleached sand and swim through warm turquoise lagoons.

Our friend, a musician, recently was hired for a gig in such a place. He boarded a plane and soared 23 hours toward the Indian Ocean south-southwest of India to the island nation of the Maldives. After a second plane ride and a jaunt in a speed boat, he stepped out on a palm covered private island. A British man had rented the island in order to celebrate his birthday.

Although the Maldives is a Muslim nation, with the official religion being Islam—some of the islands are privately owned by rich foreigners. Thus, in the photo, we have a water bar.

Another view of the island. Boat building is something the Maldivians do well.

The Maldives holds the record for being the flattest country in the world! (The highest point is seven and a half feet!)

The islands are known for the wealth and diversity of marine life so our friend doned a mask and snorkle and ventured out among various shades of blue. Mezmerized by dazzling coral gardens and the brightly colored sea creatures, he soon found himself out a little too far! He knew it was time to turn back when he noticed a large school of fish heading straight toward him—fish about his size! One of them accidently nudged him in the rib. He swam back to shore fast!

Our friend stayed in one of these huts. Apparently some of them have glass bottom jacuzzis! One guest saw a sand shark through the floor of his tub. He decided then and there he was not going in the ocean the rest of the trip!

There is a lot more I could say about these beautiful islands. Here is a short read describing how the government monitors tourism in this Muslim country. Tourists are kept separate from the villages. It's interesting...take a look. Maldives

Next week I'm off work for spring break. I wish I could spend some time swimming through a beautiful blue lagoon, but I'll have to settle for a walk under the big blue sky.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Writing Day!

Today is Wednesday—writing day! All writers should read a lot. Today I’d like to bring the book of Isaiah to your attention.

Isaiah is considered a great writer of ancient works, using poetry, prose and personification. “The wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.” (35:1-2a)

In addition he wrote history…and prophecy. He penned detailed predictions about a coming Messiah which were fulfilled 700 years later in the life of Jesus.

The Book of Isaiah was a big news item about 60 years ago, when a boy stumbled across a cave…and found many ancient scrolls. (The “Dead Sea Scrolls”) Among them—a complete Manuscript of the Hebrew text of Isaiah. It is dated by paleographers to about 125 B.C. This old scroll was a copy…not the original. The original was probably written about 700 B.C. When this ancient scroll-copy of Isaiah is compared to the book of Isaiah we have today we find that it has been copied accurately over a period of 2000+ years. Wow!

A Glimpse Inside the Book

It was a turbulent time in Jewish history when Isaiah was writing. The Assyrian empire was expanding and had recently captured the northern kingdom! It was about 722 B.C., and now…the southern kingdom was in danger!

The Assyrian field commander sent a message to King Hezekiah:
“This is what the great king, the king of Assyria says: ‘On what are you basing this confidence of yours? You say you have strategy and military strength—but you speak only empty words.’”

Then the commander called out in the Hebrew language—so Hezekiah’s soldiers would understand…
“Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you!”
What happened next?
“Come now, make a bargain with my master…the King of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses—if you can put riders on them!”
Isaiah adds interesting details, that give us a glimpse of what life and war looked like back in 700 BC.

Read Isaiah chapters 36 and 37 to find out what happens!

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I've been thinking a lot about God lately.

I asked my friend the other day, "How do you KNOW there is a God?" She said, "I see him in creation." Her occupation is in the field of science.
I think I will ask a few more friends about this.

I believe in God because it's too hard to NOT believe. For me, it takes more faith to believe there is not a God. One area that is important to my belief is the credibility of the Biblical manuscripts that have been passed down to us. It's amazing to think that we have copies from as early as 125 A.D. of some of the New Testament Biblical scriptures. And with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we have some Old Testament Biblical manuscripts dating from about 250 B.C. to A.D. 58. Isaiah is in that group. They found a complete copy of the book of Isaiah.

This week I've been roaming around Isaiah, reading some verses. I don't usually delve into the Bible as much as I have this week. But I suppose I'm looking for God. I know he's there next to me, but I want to hear from him. Here is what I found in Isaiah.

I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mortal men,
the sons of men, who are but grass,
that you forget the Lord your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day
because of the wrath of the oppressor,
who is bent on destruction?

The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;
they will not die in their dungeon
nor will they lack bread
For I am the Lord your God,
who churns up the sea so that it's waves roar—
The Lord Almighty is his name

I have put my words in your mouth
and covered you with the shadow of my hand.

Isaiah 51:12—16

This was meaningful to me, because I worry. But God is in control. And he covers me with the shadow of his hand. He sets prisoners free. This gives me the assurance that God is fighting the evil that drags my loved one down.

Have a nice Sunday...

Thursday, March 22, 2007


"Don't feel guilty about leisure time." I read that in someone's blog the other day. So I finally went down to Home Depot and bought pumpkin seeds. I've always wanted to plant a pumpkin. I came home with tomatoe and sunflower seeds too! I enjoy planting things.

About Cody

I just got a phone call. I don't feel like talking about Pumpkins anymore.

Sometimes its hard to know what to write and what not to write in this blog, but I'll say that its hard to watch your son make mistakes. Especially when you love them so much. It seems his job is in danger again...I don't know if he'll lose it or not. It seems he has the ailment of ADD. He is not on meds...because he doesn't want to take them. I respect that. But he's really having trouble organizing his life...and other issues.

There have been times when Cody was/is heading down a dangerous road...and I really need to trust the Lord. But it is hard. Because I keep thinking...I've never seen God, how do I know he's there? And why would God protect my son. There are thousands of Christian sons who have died in war, in drug overdoses, and in accidents. I don't feel assurance that my prayers will protect my son. (because) God has an ultimate plan for this world...and its not all about me or my son. It's larger than that. can see that I'm a limping soldier in Christ. Not as strong as I'd like to be.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Writing Wednesday


I don't think I'm going to come up with a topic today.

I keep thinking about the fact that I only have a few more days to complete a project at the school I work at. It's a slide show that I promised the 4th through 6th grade special education teacher and another slide show I promised the 1st through 3rd special education teacher. I’ve been photographing students, and will make it into a special "show" with music for "Open House" which is next week.

And my mind is wandering...or wondering if Cody got his tire fixed so he can attend his court date tomorrow. My sister-in-law is trying to get a hold of me, as she bought a new puppy! Tom wants me to sign and mail some important papers. Dylan needs “The Taming of the Shrew” for school. We went to the library this afternoon and they didn’t have it. Also, his report card came in the mail. I think he needs an Algebra tutor.

I went grocery shopping after work and now the kitchen counter is piled with unwashed lettuce, tomatoes, asparagus, apples, grapes and chicken thighs.

Please excuse this very UNWRITERLY post. Maybe I should have titled it:
FINDING TIME TO WRITE. That might be a good topic for next time.

How do you find time to write?

Saturday, March 17, 2007


This beach is a few miles from my parent's home. I took a walk to pray. (My mom's wrist is doing well so far. The pain of surgery has not been bad. She even wanted me to take her to the market.) While mom was napping, I took a walk down toward the beach.

Somehow it gives me strength.

The tidepools are always interesting.

And I like how the ocean water swirls around.

I stood.

I took a few deep breaths.

The wind seemed to blow right through me.

I imagined that I was being baptized by the wind.

I prayed for strength for the difficult situations in our home.

On the way back to my car, I passed these colorful flowers.

"My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress..." Psalm 62 1-2a

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Writing Wednesday--on Thursday!

Hi Everyone!

My mother is having surgery on her wrist right now! At least she was doing something exciting when she broke it. I’ll tell you about that at the end of the post, because now we need to talk about writing.

Today I’m emphasizing a one word tip.


Put dialogue in your writing. Yes, this may seem obvious to many of you…but if you go back over your fiction pieces, you may see places where you can add more conversation. This makes your story more exciting, and engages the reader.

And don’t use the word SAID too much.
Here is an example of the WRONG way to write.

This is not a fiction work—its something Cody said to me when he was eight.

As I leaned over to kiss Cody goodnight, he told me about baseball practice.

“How did baseball practice go?” I asked.

“I think my baseball coach believes in God,” said Cody.

“Really?” I said

“Yeah! He said that God made our butts for sliding,” said Cody.

Time for a re-write. I need to drop the “saids” or at least replace them with more interesting words.

Can you still discern who is talking?

“How did baseball practice go?” I kissed Cody on the cheek.

“I think my baseball coach believes in God!”


“Yeah! He said that God made our butts for sliding!”

Now some people take this to the extreme and the reader gets lost, wondering which character is talking. So don’t over-do it. But if done right, it can drive your story and sweep the reader along with you.

Remember that all dialogue begins on the left—indented. If you’re not quite sure what I mean…grab a book and look at the dialogue. Whenever a new character speaks, it begins at the left margin (indented).

NOT LIKE THIS. “My mom broke her wrist,” I said. “How bad was it?” asked Dylan. “It needs a plate and pins,” I said.

You can get a lot of good ideas/examples of format by studying the dialogue in your favorite fiction work. And although “said” is appropriate in many instances, take the time to notice (in your favorite book) all the dandy words one can use instead!

Writing Club is now dismissed. If you want to stay after…I’ll tell you that My Mom flew to San Antonio, Texas, to compete in a Tennis tournament.

She is 76 years young. My dad went with her, and they stayed at the home of friends. My mom and her tennis partner were playing the semi-finals when a ball shot over the net just out of mom’s reach, and she turned to try to hit it, and lost her balance.

“It was like slow motion,” she explained. “I turned, lost my balance, and took a few steps backwards, then fell. I was holding my racket with my right hand, so I put out my left hand to break the fall.”

Now mom is not a frail old lady. She’s tough and she’s coordinated. She has made quite a name for herself in senior womens tennis. Well…she’ll have to lay off for awhile. The doctor has decided to put a plate and pins into her wrist. I gotta go. I want to call my dad and see how the surgery went…and I’ll be going down for a visit all day tomorrow, and maybe Sat.

The picture above is: My brother, Me, Mom and Dad--out for a doubles match!

Take care of yourselves…and have a good weekend!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Singletrack Adventure

Okay, it's time for something different! More riding, less writing!! This is one of my favorite rides.

Tom and Cody on the singletrack. This was taken in the Mammoth Lakes Area. Dylan and and I rode it too. Larry was with us on this ride also.

This is real singletrack. Sometimes the trail gets so narrow that it's only wide enough for a tire. Some of us had to go slow because the trail had sharp twists and turns between the trees.

The trail is made up of mostly pumice. That's the same stuff that pumice stone is made out of. It's like heavy sand and makes for a very dusty trail.

At one point the trail got so tight that we had to "thread" the trees. (Moto lingo for swapping your handlebars back and forth to get between trees). Cody works his way between the trees on a not so tight section.

The boys made a game out of trying to do the whole trail without putting their feet down. The slower you go, the harder it gets. And often we had to go slow...because there is a cliff on one side--but not a high one. I'll call it a rolling cliff. If you fall, you roll down.

Larry and Cody are looking tired....

Sometimes the trail opens up and you can go fast!

We enjoyed riding through God's beautiful pine forest!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A Surprise—I Can't Believe This Happened!

Yes, I know…this is WRITING DAY. But maybe this will qualify. The following surprise would not have happened, if I hadn’t been writing on my blog! Special thanks to the Gatekeeper who talked me into blogging.

Here’s the story.
I was blog surfing the other night and decided to slide into Janey Loree’s
Notes That Touch The Heart to see the pictures of her ride across the desert in a desert runner. Wow! I felt like I was in the jeep! Then I scrolled down and the previous post captured my interest. It said “Arizona 2007 Vacation”. Pictures of the beautiful desert landscape stirred my heart and brought back memories. (stay with me—the surprise is coming!)

My husband’s Aunt and Uncle owned a ranch and land in a sleepy little place called Arlington situated in the middle of the Arizona desert. My husband, during his teen years, spent the summers working around the ranch and helping to irrigate the cotton fields along with his cousin Kevin and Sam Senior. He saved enough in 3 summers to buy his first car. (I’m getting to the amazing SURPRSE—so hold on.)

Tom has taken me back to the ranch many times over the years, where I have enjoyed such adventures as picnics in the desert, viewing hieroglyphics on rocks, riding down the Gila river after a flood, going exploring in Uncle Bob’s jeep, enjoying star filled skies, and hunting scorpions under black light at night——scorpions GLOW! (Later they were placed into plastic curios like belt buckles and paper weights.)

So I left a comment for Janey—a brief description of what you read above mentioning “Arlington”. Nobody seems to know where “Arlington” is…at least in California…so I was quite surprised when Janey commented back...with exclamation points! Her great-grandfather had a ranch in Arlington. She mentioned his last name, and it was the same last name as Tom’s Uncle!!! It turns out that Uncle Bob, and Janey’s Grandfather are brothers! Wow!

I don’t know what else to say about this! It’s still sinking in! One never knows what will happen from one day to the next. Also, a very special thanks to Blog Village where I met Janey.
Those of you who have enjoyed Janey's warm and friendly comments on your blogs will know what I mean when I say that I couldn't have asked for a nicer person to be in a family with.

This makes me wonder if anyone else has ever unexpectedly met a family member through blogging, or a long lost friend, or anything surprising! It would be great to hear your stories!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Love, War and Writing

At Writer’s Critique Group, Marilyn brought a synopsis of Arleta’s novel on Manzanar.

Manzanar, located in Owens Valley, California, is where Americans of Japanese descent were taken during WWII. Arleta, a senior member of our writing group was shopping her novel for publication when she passed away. The novel fell into the hands of her former student, Marilyn, who will be taking the novel up to the Mt. Hermon Writing conference to see if there is any editor interest.

So, at Friday’s critique meeting, we went over the synopsis and discussed the novel’s marketability.

Speaking of WWII, Arleta has quite a story of her own. When Arleta was young she was engaged to a soldier who was stationed on a battleship in Hawaii. When the news of Pearl Harbor blared through the radios on the mainland, Arleta was crushed. She knew her fiancĂ© was gone. But little did she know, that his battleship was out in the Pacific on that day, and had not been hit. Then…two days later, it was hit, and her dear future husband perished. Arleta never married.

She spent her life as a college professor, a librarian and an elementary school teacher. At about the age of 50 she decided to leave her teaching job and try her hand at writing. She started small, writing articles for a Sunday School take-home papers. Eventually she wrote the Grandma’s Attic Series (of books) and they have sold millions of copies. And recently Grandma’s Attic has been published in Japan! The series is based on her memories with her grandmother.

I wonder if Marilyn will find editor interest in Arleta’s novel on Manzanar? I’ll keep you posted!

Gotta go! Tonight my friend and I are going to see the movie “Amazing Grace”.

News flash: Cody is moving home this weekend!