Monthly Archives: May 2013

Writer’s Blockhead

A few months ago a friend asked me to help with a writing project. About a month before that, I agreed to work on a different project for my church. When I had time to write more consistently, ideas flowed more freely, but I’m like the science law about how once things stop they’re difficult to get moving again. This is the second day I’ve sat at my computer with nothing of worth to put towards my projects. I’ve played Candy Crush Saga, I’ve pinned on Pinterest, but I haven’t had the big breakthrough I really need to make any progress. In case anyone I owe a project is worried at this point, I will get there. I promise. This happens to me sometimes. I just need to get the blood flowing in my brain so the thoughts can get through. To prime the pump, I thought I’d share with you some of the things blocking my brain that aren’t helping me get any closer to my writing project goals.

1.  The CBD Christian fiction catalog came in the mail a couple of weeks ago. Twenty of its eighty pages featured at least one novel about the Amish. Or Quakers. Or Mennonites. That’s a quarter of the catalog, friends. I know. I did the math.  No less than two complete sections of the catalog featured nothing but books about Amish. Or Quakers. Or Mennonites. Forgive me for lumping those all together. I’m sure they are not exactly the same. But can we agree there are some similarities for the purpose of this discussion?

I have visited Amish and Quaker stores and enjoyed delicious meals at a Mennonite restaurant. I still could kick myself for not buying the most beautiful china cabinet I’ve ever seen that was skillfully crafted by the hands of a talented Quaker carpenter. The people I have met from those communities are beautiful and loving and I know they live rich, fulfilling lives. I understand and share a curiosity about how these people live such simple lives in our increasingly complicated world. I’m just not sure how authors are able to crank out any stories about these people that haven’t already been told.

To be fair, I’ve never read a book from this genre so maybe there’s a lot more to be written than I could imagine. But twenty pages?

When will we jump the Amish shark, do you think? I’m thinking if you see a new series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins about Mennonites, you’ll know the shark has been jumped. Or if Joel Osteen works an Amish story into his sermon. When Toby Mac starts rapping about Quakers, stick a fork in me and slather me in Amish butter, because I am done.

I wonder if the Amish, Quaker, and Mennonite ladies have twenty pages of books about Methodist soccer moms in their fiction catalogs. Or maybe they prefer the Baptist school teacher series. Makes you wonder….

2. Sus aka CarpoolQueen is getting a baby cat today. I think “kitten” is the politically correct term for those. My kids want a cat and I wouldn’t mind so much if it weren’t for the shedding. Our first practice child was a black Labrador retriever (I’ll never get back the five minutes I spent googling whether I should capitalize Labrador and Retriever or just one or neither. Sources differed in opinion, so I chose the answer I saw most from the more respected authorities that exist online.). He was the greatest dog ever. My one complaint was every day I swept enough dog hair to make my own litter of Labrador puppies. Every single day of my life. Kelly’s favorite thing to do when we got home from work was to turn on the overhead fan in the living room and watch all the hair scatter to the corners of the room. He thought this was more efficient than my method of sweeping because then he only had to vacuum the edges and corners. Hard to argue with that logic. Actually it’s not, I just got tired of arguing and he was helping me vacuum, so…

What were talking about again? Oh, yes. Cats. And Kelly actually makes a good segue because he hates cats. He’s going to be reading this, so let me rephrase that to say what he would actually say.  He would say  he doesn’t HATE cats. He just doesn’t understand why people have them because most of them don’t actually like people. He doesn’t understand why you would love and spend good money on food and care for a pile of fur that ignores when you call and looks at you as if you should apologize for your existence on the planet. Or he might say something like that.

Reminds me of my aunt. She won’t admit that she doesn’t like something. If you ever say, “Oh, I forgot. You don’t like ________” (fill in the blanks with whatever you’re discussing that she actually doesn’t like), she’ll immediately respond, “It’s not that I don’t like _________ (fill in the blanks with whatever you’re discussing that she actually doesn’t like), it’s just that….” and then she’ll proceed to tell you all the reasons she doesn’t like whatever she’s not going to tell you she doesn’t like.

“It’s not that I don’t like flavored coffee, it’s just that even the smell of it makes me want to hurl.”

“It’s not that I didn’t like the movie, it’s just that I felt like my eyes were bleeding at the end of it and I would much rather have spent those two hours of my life passing a large, pointy kidney stone.”

So it’s not that Kelly doesn’t like cats, it’s just that he doesn’t.

So, cats. Like I was saying, Sus  (CarpoolQueen) and family are getting a cat today. When we were texting about it, I remembered a picture I took when my mom and brother were visiting. We were doing some sightseeing and stopped by a state park that we’d never visited.  You may not know this, but Hawaii has a large, feral cat population. I’m not saying that the feral cats are all large, they come in different sizes, but the population itself is large. Hence the comma. We also have many chickens that roam anywhere they feel like roaming, but until we visited the park, I’d never seen the two populations converge. I actually didn’t think they would converge, because I wouldn’t think those two species would be able to play together nicely. But check this out:


It’s hard to tell, but there are chickens walking around with the cats. Like the lion laying down with the lamb, I guess. So if chickens and cats can coexist, shouldn’t the rest of us be able to get along? I’m looking at you, children of mine!

That was a long climb to get to the short slide of a story about Sus getting a kitten.

3. Speaking of children, I wish I had a dollar for every time I said, “Please stop that” throughout the day.

4. I’m firmly convinced that when Jesus comes back He will find me doing laundry. Because just like Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal are never ever getting back together (more time spent Googling who that song was about), I will never ever catch up on laundry.

5. It seems more appropriate to end on five than four, and because I know I’m a blessed mom with three amazing children even if I did give them grief a couple of times in this blog post:


So in the words of CarpoolQueen, the new kitten owner,

“Have a nice day!”

And in my words, “Panic not, R. This is all a good sign that the skits will be coming soon!”


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Of Yard Ninjas and Other People My Landlord Hired

I had actually scheduled this time to be used to make some phone calls but the “yard ninjas” are here so I can barely hear myself think, much less hear someone on the other end of a telephone call, so I thought I’d see what you all were doing today.

I’m not sure if these guys are officially ninjas, but that’s how they look to me. They came with the yard service that was part of our rental agreement for this house. We had been told to expect them every other Monday, but the first time a white van pulled up outside my house and all these head-to-toe-covered men descended upon the lawn like locusts with all their machinery, I have to say I was a little nervous.

I’ve been trying to sneak a picture with my cell phone, but I don’t want to get caught. Since their faces are completely covered it’s hard to tell if they are watching me watch them. This was the best I could do.


That’s pretty much what he looks like from the front, too. And the yard ninjas never say anything. They just descend en masse, do their yard ninja work, and leave.

Unlike the guy who cleans the pool. He comes to the house just as it’s starting to get light and talks constantly. To whomever will talk to him. He used to come later in the day when everyone was up and about their daily business. He would stop and talk about our country’s tax structure, why all electric lines should be buried under the ground, and the real reason our current system of government isn’t working. Then he started coming before the sun was all the way up and I could hear him outside talking softly under his breath. I thought he was talking on a bluetooth appliance to someone, but he’s not on the phone. He’s just talking to himself. It’s rather unsettling. I’m afraid he’s going to kill us in our beds one day because the voices told him to.

But I didn’t stop by to talk about the people my landlord hired to take care of his stuff. I just wanted to stop in for a minute to see how everyone is doing. We are busy like I’m sure the rest of you are. Think about it. Have you ever asked someone how they were or what they were doing and had them respond, “I’m just bored. Haven’t done a thing. Have absolutely nothing to do” ? Nope. Everyone is always busy.

So what have we been doing? Well, we had a great time with our family who visited last month. We are finishing up the school year and are preparing for the next. We are also preparing for a visit from Kelly’s mom this month and a move to a house one street over from where we are living now. Because what’s summer without a good old fashioned move, right? I have a few projects I’m working on for some friends. Other than that, I guess we are bored. Not doing a thing with absolutely nothing to do.

Speaking of things to do, the yard ninjas are gone and my  To Do list is not, so I need to be. Did you get all that?

But before I go, I want to recommend a  book to you. I’m currently reading this:



This book is different. It is rearranging some things in my head and my heart. I should have known I’d be hooked when Bob Goff used the word “whimsy” six times in the Introduction! Even though it wasn’t spelled the same, I kept finding my name! And I keep running into myself on other pages, too. This book is reminding me about some of the best things about God that I’d forgotten because sometimes life is hard. This book is reminding me of the wonder and the miracles in the everydayness of every day. I’m not explaining it right. Just read it. Even if you don’t normally read books about God, I think you would enjoy meeting Bob Goff and hearing what he has to say.

Until next time, may all your lawn ninjas be friendly ones!

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