Monday, April 28, 2008

My Anxious Heart

My son is out of the house. It has become impossible for him to live here. And it is impossible for him to live out there.

I'm very uncomfortable. The hardest part is turning him away when he comes back. I know this sounds ruthless, but it is necessary. I'm falling apart. I'm not tough. I'm sensitive--this goes against my grain.

A friend told me about this book.

Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow.

I'm reading it now...and I'd like to share parts of it. It will do me good to type the words.

God is worthy to be the object of our faith because of His marvelous character. Amy Carmichael, missionary to India's children, said her ability to trust God began with her confidence in God's character. Here is what she believed:

--God is, first and always, a loving Father.

--God is in control, and everything He allowed into her life was ultimately for her good.

--Like a little child, she "tucked" herself into God by trusting Him--and He was able to carry her through all things.

Confidence in God's character enabled Amy to nestle into God's arms and trust Him wholly. Confidence in God's character enables us to throw ourselves with complete abandon into His care.

I'm learning I have a long way to go when it comes to trust. But I will try. And may God's arms be around my son, too.

Quick News Flash about the California fire:

The current California fire is burning some of my favorite hiking places. It's a helpless feeling. I pray that they can get the fire out soon. (Only about 25% contained.) Two families we know had to evacuate.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


My mom and I walked around Balboa Island a few weeks ago. What would it be like to live here, by the sea?

Click on picture for a closer look. Can you see my mom her tennis hat?

Show me your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths,
guide me in your truth
and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.

Psalm 25:5

It's a beautiful Saturday here in Southern California. The temperature will climb to the 90's, the sky is blue. In my neighborhood (not the one above) people are out clipping bushes, and washing cars. I'm about to go into the kitchen and make a grocery list of everything we will need for the coming week. I haven't "meal planned" in a while. But today I will do it, so that next week will be easier. I'm having a birthday on Tuesday. Do I dare say it? "52"

My son had to leave home yesterday. This is a long road...the one we're on with our son. There is very little relief. But I must trust that the the long road is leading to somewhere. God certainly would not lead us on a path to nowhere. He is leading us to SOMEWHERE. And it is for our son's well-being.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Expelled Movie Trailer

The movie trailer (preview) for Expelled is interesting.

Click the word:
Then after the website loads, click the word "enter" at the bottom of the screen
The movie trailer will begin.

I'll post again soon!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

EXPELLED (updated Wed. 4/22)

This sentence is not true. The movie EXPELLED is about the true story of a teacher who was expelled/fired because he allowed questioning or further reading...that did not support evolution. (I JUST SAW THE MOVIE AND ITS NOT ABOUT THIS TEACHER. YET the beginning of the movie focuses on people in education who have lost their jobs due to their point of view on evolution. It starts out with these stories...and actually starts a little weak I thought.

But then the film gets deeper and moves away from this to interviews with various scientists on both sides of the subject. It also covers how Hitler used Darwinistic thought to justify purifying the German race. I especially was fascinated with the interviews with DAWKINS, the atheist who wrote the book "The God Delusion."

I would recommend the movie. It will keep you informed about what's going on in the science community...and get you thinking.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Writers Conference at the Beach

The afternoon before the conference, I stopped to visit my parents. My mother and I went for a walk on Balboa Island. We enjoyed looking at the quaint beach cottages.

On the east side of the path, we enjoyed perusing the spring gardens.

To the west side of the path...a harbor with boats.

When we got home, I peeked into the garage and there was dad...working on his giraffe.

The project is growing in complexity. He put a motor on the inside of the body. And the tongue is going to move too (I think). Today he was putting on the legs. I helped him. It was harder than it looks. He has 2 joints for each leg. And we had to get the right joints with the right leg. We got left and right mixed up...and had to re-do it. My dad is very patient!

Writers Conference Report

At 8:00 a.m. there were 150 people sitting at round tables munching on fruit and muffins. Many were signing up for appointments to have work critiqued or to meet and talk with an editor. NavPress and Zondervan were represented. One agent was present along with several authors and speakers. One of our keynote speakers was Beverly Lewis who has written over eighty books for adults and children. Among them...The Brethren, The Redemption of Sarah Cain.

Another keynote speaker, Diana Glyer P.h.D., an expert on C.S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien, gave a fascinating talk about their friendship, and their writers group, the Inklings. I enjoyed attending my friend's workshop on writing devotionals. I also attended an interesting discussion with Brian Bird, a screenwriter. There were only 5 of us in the room and he gave us insights into changing a book into a screenplay.

I made an appointment to have my work critiqued, but was disappointed because the person ahead of me went overtime. That left 8 minutes for my "critique". (Appointments are only 15 minutes long.) Oh well...I've had 7 critiques on this piece in the past...and I was just glad to be there. My friend was so kind to make it possible for me to go!

For lunch we had 3 different kinds of wraps....flour tortillas stuffed with roast beef, or a southwestern bean-type, or vegetables. I ran into a friend who I haven't seen in a few years. Interestingly, she has just published a book Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter (Howard 2008).

Quite an eventful day!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm still here

I'm still here. Just having a rough week. Parenting. Extreme Parenting. Actually I don't think there is a word for it.

Praying for guidance.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Conference Opportunity

I've been on Spring break all week. (My job is in the field of education)
I wasn't able to go anywhere because of appointments.

Surprise! Today one of the gals in my critique group contacted me to remind me that there is a Writers Conference down at the beach, near where my parents live. She asked me if I would like to her guest. She is teaching a class on devotionals. It will be her first time teaching a class and she would love a little support!

I'm so excited...and I'll drop by and see my parents too!

I have to go and round up some of my writing. Conferences are a great place to get input on your work, and to make connections with others.

It's supposed to be 90 degrees here this weekend! But at the beach it will be in the 80's.

I'll be back to give you a report on the conference...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Compromise with Editor

The first Friday of every month our Writer's Critique Group meets. This is where we met 5 days ago.

About my pending article: After much thought, I decided to keep some of the publisher's edits...and suggested changes on other edits. She didn't like my title, so I gave her 4 other titles to choose from---and omitted her title suggestion. She ended up going with one of my title suggestions!

Her email back to me:

I've made the changes you suggested. I think this title will work: Off Road Riding with God (Learning to Trust) You may consider this piece on hold for use in (magazine name) sometime after Nov. 2008. A notification letter will be sent when an actual publication date is determined. Send the photos as e-mail attachments for now. I may have you send hard copies at a later date. At this time I'd just like to see what you have available.

I'm so happy that this worked out. Now I have to dig up some pictures!
(I'll let you know what magazine this is at a later date.)

Here we are. My Writer's Critique Group...with about 8 members missing. We never have full attendance...but there's always enough for a good critique! Debby, of Pieces of Me, took this picture. I am on the bottom right. Not a good hair or face day! As you can see we enjoy eating. We especially enjoyed the fresh strawberries and sweet breads!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Help! I've been edited.

Today I received a second email from the editor. She sent my piece back in an attached file--with her edits. (see previous post for beginning of this "story") Just in case the editor googles my title---and my blog comes up---I'm going to write the title with letters between the words. The manuscript is called "When / God * Rode/ a* Dirt *Bike"
The Letter says:

I've edited this piece. Mostly just tightened the writing. Please look it over and make sure I didn't change your voice or the intent of the piece with my edits.

I would be interested in looking at other photos you might have to go with this article. The one you sent is good but if you have others to consider that is fine too. All photos will be returned to you. I will need to know who to credit for them if they are used with the article.

I looked at the edits and slowly became concerned. I felt the edits were done hastily, as there were some mistakes in her edits. For example: "As we drove across the desert I look out the window." She forgot the "ed" of looked. As I scanned the other edits...I felt some of the passion had left the piece... She took out some good adjectives, and deleted some transitions. Now it sounded so abrupt. I thought...I'll go with it...I'll work with it...but I'll make suggestions back to her. I went through all the edits--improved them...or accepted them...or made suggestions.When I was done, I scrolled to the top of the page and to my surprise, I noticed she had changed my title. SIGH. She wants to call it Dirt */ bikes "/ and God.

I spoke with my husband. He is a composer. He deals with stuff like this. He said that if I was uncomfortable...don't let her publish it that way.

Now normally, I do not mind being edited. But this piece has already been edited by 7 people in my critique group. Yet still...a writer MUST be flexible or she will not get published. A writer MUST NOT have a big ego. But this feels different. Some of her edits diminished my main point.

After much thought, I'm going to do what I have never done before. I'm going to tell her (very diplomatically and nicely) I'm going to tell her that some of the edits don't feel quite right for the piece. I'll tell her that I'm still shopping the piece ...and would prefer to keep it as this point. I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M GOING TO TELL HER SHE CAN'T HAVE IT!

What will be her response? Will she back down and let me keep some things I think are essential to the piece?

I'll report back on Wednesday some time.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Letter from a Publisher

My sister-in-law sent me this picture of my doggy-niece, Miss Maggie.

Miss Maggie is anxious to hear my latest writing news.

About 6 weeks ago I sent a manuscript to a small Christian magazine. This is the third time I've sent "When /* God/* Rode/* a /* Dirt Bike" to a publisher.

A few days ago I received the email below.

I am considering this piece for publication.
Would you please sent it as a Microsoft word attachment or as part of an e-mail so I can do editing on the screen.

I don't think I've ever had a story about an experience with God on a dirt bike.

FYI - Maximum word count for our publication is 1,200 I take material with as little as 150 words. So there isn't any need to add to this piece at this point. You've done a nice job writing this. I just feel like it could use some tightening up.


Yet after emailing the article per her instructions, I haven't heard anything back yet. I think I better email soon and ask if she received it.

I must remain cautiously optimistic until she notifies me that they are purchasing it for sure.

On Friday, I attended our writer's critique group monthly meeting. I brought my article, "5 Good Things About Trouble." The gals had some good input for improve the article. I will mention here, that it is so important to have others look at your work. Especially for clarity. (What makes sense to me...may not make sense to another.)

When the critique group disagrees about what makes sense and what doesn''s best to go with your gut feeling. Yet, everyone's comments should be weighed carefully.

After I'm done polishing, "Trouble", I plan to send it to the same publisher. Maybe I will be able to establish a relationship.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Backyard and the Comedy Show

Welcome to my backyard. It's quite casual. I'm the only one in the family that likes to get out and dig, pluck and plant. So I do what I can. But actually I could use a few gardeners. I wish they had a show called "Extreme Yard Makeover". Oh I would love that.

We have a camphor tree in our front yard that is GIGANTIC. It's hanging over the neighbor's driveway (almost). Our NEW neighbors. What do they think of us? I keep trying to get my husband or sons out there to saw off a few branches, but it's not happening.

The apricot tree is getting quite large. It hasn't been pruned in about 5 years. I'm very glad the lemon and orange tree does not need pruning very often.

Tomorrow my youngest has been assigned to go out and mow the back and the front yards. His custom is to put a stocking hat over his head, and a surgeon's mask across his face.

The orange flowers are California poppies. They come up every year on their own. The purple tree is called "yesterday, today and tomorrow". There are three different shades of flowers. It is actually a bush....that grew into a tree. And of course, those are daisies in the background.

On Sunday, my husband, recorded a comedy show at Bel Air Presbyterian Church. The comedian, Robert G. Lee has been a client of ours for many years.

Interestingly, the church has quite a few members who are involved in the entertainment industry. Also, former president Ronald and Nancy Reagan were regular members.

So my husband took my youngest son with him. I'm glad they had some time together. My son took a couple of pictures.

Getting ready for the show.

My husband (on right) and technical director (on left)

While they were gone, I worked on an article called "5 Good Things About Trouble". I've sent it out to some publishers and it keeps coming back. Maybe they don't think trouble is good. But seriously, I think it needed more polishing.

However, I did get some good news today, from a publisher. I'll tell you later!