Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mission Complete

I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful 2 Timothy 4:7 (NLT)

Lance Corporal Cameron Babcock, USMC, was buried today. He was almost 20.

I didn't know Cameron but I sing next to his mom Ann. We sit and freeze together during rehearsal. She's become a dear friend to me. She was the first person in church to ask what my "story" was and to take the time to really listen. She's also one year younger than me.

It would take more than one hand to count the number of friends I've known who've lost children. SIDS, two drunk drivers, heart defect, car accident, suicide, cystic fibrosis, and an accidental shooting.

The death of children is where my theology falls apart. To believe that this child's life is over--is complete--is something I can't wrap my mind around. It's become harder since I have children of my own.

As we watched the video of Cameron's life and his time serving in Iraq I was struck by how young all those men were, boys really. Young enough to be my sons. The young Marines in dress blues who came to honor Cameron and share their stories and their grief... So much responsibility, so much life for such young men.

Yet something even more powerful came home to me during Cameron's funeral. The power of story. I came to know Cameron through his funeral, through the stories people told, through the video his dad Jeff put together. And it made me realize the power and the burden we as writers have to share people's stories, to continue their lives onto others through words.

Cameron's story isn't over today. And neither is anyone else's if we're faithful to share it, to allow that story to continue to touch lives.

Mission completed, Solider. Well done, good and faithful servant.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Some Weekend Reading Fun

My friend Julie Lessman is over at SORMAG giving an interview about her book and reveals a very interesting tidbit. Stop by and check it out.

I'll be posting my review of A Passion Most Pure here soon and Julie has agreed to come on my blog. So stay tuned for all that fun.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A More Literary Tag

I meant to post this yesterday, but I went to the eye doctor and got my eyes dilated and I couldn't look at the computer screen for hours.

Jeanne tagged me with this cool meme about books. These are always so hard because it's like picking your favorite child. But I'm going to give it a stab. Like Jeanne I'll have to eliminate the Bible for most answers because that's just a given.

1. One book that changed your life.
Wow, so many. I think nearly every important moment in my life has been influenced by or at least marked by a book. If I take nonfiction off the list, it still leaves a long one, so I'm going with my earliest memory of how profoundly story could effect me. I think I was still in grade school and read a collection of O. Henry's short stories. From "The Gift of the Magi" to the "Ransom of Little Red Chief" the breadth and depth of Henry touched me in a powerful way and made me want to do the same.

2. One book that you have read more than once.
What book haven't I? Books are like friends and I like to visit my favorite ones often. Though lately I've had so many new books I want to read that I haven't been able to reread old ones in awhile.

But probably the books I've reread the most are the Little House on the Prairie books. I've probably read each book at least a dozen times. When I was a kid, my mom would forbid me to check them out at the library, instead making me get something new. I would, but I'd always sneak Laura Ingalls in the bottom of the stack somewhere.

3. One book you would want on a desert island.
War and Peace comes immediately to mind, given its size. And then it's followed by the Seinfeld joke about the original title War, What is it Good For?

4. Two books that made you laugh.
A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel and Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress

5. One book that made you cry.
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

6. One book you wish you'd written.
The Time Traveler's Wife

7. One book you wish had never been written.
There's some stupid books out there, but I can't work up enough loathing for them. Mein Kampf is about the only thing that comes to mind, and really, even if it hadn't been written, the ideas and the idiocy it spawned still would exist.

I did make an attempt to read Naked Lunch once and got through maybe a page and a half. I didn't really get the point of why someone would want to write that book. I know, pushing bounds and experimental fiction and all that. Still. Makes me want to puke just thinking about it.

8. Two books you are currently reading.
Amy Grant's book, Mosaic and A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman.

The Amy Grant book is interesting because you get to hear the story behind the music. She was about the only thing I was allowed to listen to growing up, so reading the lyrics brings back memories.

Julie Lessman is a crit partner and friend, and I am just thrilled to be reading her first published baby! And it's so well done. Not to mention I get mentioned in the acknowledgments (my first time!). I'll be posting a review here when I'm done and hopefully get her to come on for an interview.

9. One book you've been meaning to read.
Just one? I have a whole bookshelf plus a list on my computer. Next on my nightstand is For Parents Only, and I'll probably dip into another suspense novel. I'm kinda on a kick with those right now. But I do want to read Richard Russo's Risk Pool and Tom Perrotta's latest sometime soon.

10. Five people that I tag:
Mich, Diana, Malia, Sabrina, Jenny, and Chris if he has time.

Thanks, Jeanne. This was a fun meme, even if it did make me think.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This is a two-parter for me. No pictures though (unless you want one of me on the phone!). We got new insurance, and we all needed eye and dental appointments. So I spent yesterday finding new doctors and setting up appointments. Amazingly enough, I got two appointments for myself today, so I'm off doing that and running errands.

This has been on my list for over a month and I'm sooooo happy to get it crossed off. Plus my eyes have been hurting so I'll be curious to see if the eye doctor says I need a prescription adjustment.

Happy Tackling, y'all!

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Lifebook

Mich and I made Lifebooks this weekend. Head over to her blog to see her explanation of them. They were her idea, but I really like it. In fact, before I even finished mine I had already thought of ways to make an expanded version.

Normally I get myself kind of hamstrung by projects like these because I want to plan them out and have them be perfect. Not this time. I grabbed what fabric and ribbon scraps I had laying around. Sissy and I were going to use them to bling out our old jeans. I knew I had more stuff in the garage but this was going to have to do. And I grabbed whatever journal I could find at CVS. Wal-Mart, Staples, Office Depot are all too far away for this kind of spontaneous thing. I almost grabbed a sketch pad and used it.

So, because this one had ribbons on the spiral that I liked, I just covered the cover. If I could have found my batting I could have padded it.

The cool initial in the center is from a laser cut sticker Kimmie had.

I made a title page with scrapbooking paper and stick on letters and stuff. I didn't plan anything or measure, just let myself play and see what came out.

Then I had to figure out what categories I wanted and how to divide up the pages. I left my book over at Mich's or I'd tell you what they were. But I think I had Goals; Dreams, Ideas, Plans; Art (this is books I want to read, books I have read, music to listen to, movies to see); Talks with God; Doodles (next time I am adding a sketch pad section; Random Thoughts; Memories. Okay, I'm missing two but you get the idea. I just wanted a place were I could be me without a whole lot of organization. Each section can be a different size too.

So for each of these sections I also made a pocket and a tab like Mich.

The darker paper is the pocket. And there's another pocket on the other side of the page. This also makes the page sturdy enough to sandwich the tab in between there.

Anyhow, I need to finish mine and I can't wait to use it. It's a fun project. Even the girls got into it and made themselves ones out of half-size binders and puppy material.

So, what do you think? Anyone out there interested in making one?

Continuing with the protection theme...

I give you Dog Vader.

Sissy took this picture. Clearly, we have too much time on our hands.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wordless Wednesday?

Or maybe not so wordless Wednesday?

These are magnetic words on my refrigerator. I was playing around with them and thought it looked kind of neat. And would be rather ironic for Wordless Wednesday. Yeah, me and my warped sense of humor.

And if anyone wants to take a stab at finding the hidden meaning or analyzing my psyche, be my guest.

Friday, January 04, 2008

At Least I'm Safe from the Trash Man and the Snow Plow

Our family is good proof that God has a sense of humor. You have to be a character to be a member of it, pets included. Case in point, our black Lab, Charlie.

Labs are not known for being great watch dogs. They're more likely to lick you to death or beat you to a pulp with their nonstop tail than to attack you. But for whatever reason, Charlie has taken it upon himself to be a watch dog for two things: our trash and our snow.

Now, he has no problem with the mail carrier. I don't know if it's like this in other places, but here, we don't have real mail trucks. We have carriers who drive their own personal vehicles, from the passenger side no less, with little flags attached signifying they are delivering the mail.

When our mail lady has packages for us, she pulls into the driveway and honks. Her lap is so full of mail that it would be hard for her to get out of the car. So we come out to see what she has. We being Charlie and me. He has to look in her car to see if she has anything for him. She pets him but that's it. Still, he keeps hoping someday a package will be for him. So he likes the mail carrier.

The trash man is another thing all together. The best I can figure is he thinks the trash guy is taking our stuff. Which he is. But it's stuff we want him to take. Or rather, I want him to take. Charlie would probably like to examine all of it thoroughly before it goes to the street. Regardless, from the moment the truck comes around the corner until it disappears down the street, Charlie's at the front window barking and growling and carrying on, letting us know that someone is taking our stuff. Of course I pet him and tell him he's a good dog for letting us know that.

His battle with the snow plow is a little more adversarial. After our last big snow, the kids and dog went outside to play. The plow was coming up the street for the first time.

Charlie heard the rumbling, which probably sounds quite a bit like the trash truck. He stopped and started barking at it. It kept coming at him, despite his protests, which grew louder. The final insult, though, was when it threw a great wave of snow on him--which he hates--that sent him scurrying back to the house.

War was declared but from now on, Charlie would be safely behind the living room window.

But at least I know if someone is trying to steal my trash or my snow.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Brand New Bag

Sissy got a bunch of craft projects for Christmas, which is fun for both of us. Look what we made.

Here's the front.

Here's the back.

I was excited about this project because I was looking for a bag to hold my various notebooks, pens, iPod, etc. Especially since my car doesn't lock, and I can't leave anything important in it.

The bag on the right came with Sissy's kit. I bought the green bag at Wal-Mart for $2 and decorated it with items from Sissy's kit. Fun, huh?

Stay tuned
I don't do New Year's Resolutions really. I figure if something needs to be resolved, do it now, don't wait until the new year. Anyhow... I've been working on some organization systems and stuff using the Simpleology plan I mentioned before. I'm almost finished with the course and I'm pretty happy with it. I'll be sharing what I've learned next week.

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

So we'll see what comes of all of that. Yeah, I know, you can't wait. :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

I caught this this morning. The sun peaked out just for a minute while it was snowing.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Happy New Year everyone!

My New Year's tradition is to take the tree down while I'm watching the Rose Parade. When I was in high school and lived in California, I actually went to the Rose Parade. Of course since we had to get there the night before to reserve our spots on the street, and all the New Year's Eve revelry kept us up, we pretty much ended sleeping through the parade!

So my tackle for the day will be to take the tree down. Guess I don't need to post pictures since I posted earlier what my tree looked like. You can imagine what it will look like gone. :) I love having the tree up, but I'm glad to take it down, too, and reclaim some of my living room space.