Thursday, April 29, 2010

Niggles aren't always what you think...

I called Altered Tails about the cat and kittens. They advocate TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return). Jennifer was wonderfully helpful. I already knew about the value of keeping the current colony of feral cats. If you remove them, more will come. If you take responsibility of the ones in your area, they will kill rats and roaches. Yes, they also kill birds, but that circle of life thing is really unavoidable. She told me that the kittens have to be at least two pounds (about eight weeks old). I would have to do the trapping and transporting. I would also have to help foot the bill for the surgeries. I'm okay with that. I figure it's an investment in a healthier neighborhood and means I don't have to worry about more kittens anytime soon. I also learned that they clip the left ear to show that the cat has been through the process already. So, if you see a cat with a clipped left ear, you now know it wasn't too horribly traumatic, though a feral cat I'm sure wouldn't be happy about being trapped. I was grateful that Jennifer took the time to talk to me so long, and let me talk myself through everything, to be sure I understood. Plans were made for June. After we hung up, I went out to check on the family. They weren't there. At all. They were gone. Dad and I checked the backyard and the front. No cats. Anywhere. I emailed Jennifer about the mystery. She wrote back exactly what I had been thinking: Maybe she heard us talking about her through the walls.

So, what was the purpose of stressing over what to do, interrupting Jennifer's day, not to mention the time taken out of my work day? I don't know. I may never know. That's the thing about niggles. Sometimes, like the bus trip home, the niggle is clear and understandable. But I'm finding that the vast majority of my niggles seem to have no rhyme or reason. Maybe that's the real reason I don't follow them as much as I could. Because I don't see the reason, I feel silly or putout. Perhaps niggles aren't so much about accomplishing any particular thing, though it does happen, maybe it is much more about training my thoughts and heart to listen more carefully, and to follow through, so that when something really important shows up, I'm already in the habit of listening and doing. Or maybe, there really is a purpose that isn't evident to me and may never be, but I was where I needed to be when I needed to be there, doing what I needed to be doing. Only God knows.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Following niggles...

Have you followed a niggle, today? I've pursued several, in the last 24 hours. It's amazing.

Last night, I enjoyed dinner with friends. We finished early, but my ride home hadn't arrived. I took the opportunity to work out an idea I had. I'd been trying to call my ride, but kept reaching the voice mail. An hour and fifteen minutes later, I couldn't sit still a moment longer. I knew I had to leave, now. The walk to the bus wasn't far, and I didn't have to wait long, then it dropped me right at the end of my street. This is what any adult would do without a car. I did it. I wouldn't do it on a regular basis, but I've wondered if I could, and I did.

There's something I've been wanting to do, for a very long time. Today, I started it, rather appropriate since Wednesday is FlyLady's anti-procrastination day. (Just to be contrary, I usual wait until Thursday, but this couldn't wait anymore. Or perhaps more accurately, I've already waited long enough.)

A feral cat delivered in our yard. What to do? I'm putting out food and water, but I worry about too many kittens and not enough space, and things happening to them, like being hit by cars or tortured by unpleasant people. People who like to use them for target practice or worse. What to do? I'd been told there was a group that helped with feral cats. Thank God for Google. Found 'em. Sent an email, this morning. Received an email back, this afternoon. I'll be calling, tomorrow, since they need to know the age of the kittens.

And finally, I loved The Taking of Carly Bradford by Ramona Richards. Her characters grabbed me and made me want to know them better. I also appreciated that she didn't try and put me in the "villian's" head. Gives me the creeps when writers do that. Instead, she wrote it from Carly's point of view. Ramona's message and insights touched my heart. I've added her to my must-buy list.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Carpe diem, Monday, and Reading List #7

Amazon was kind and delivered New Moon early. I saw it a week ago (thanks!) and loved it! Had to make sure it was in good condition, so I watched it, again, this afternoon. Still love it!

Loved The Guise of a Gentleman by Donna Hatch. Had some unexpected twists and turns.

Natalie River's latest is The Blackmail Baby and exactly what I'm looking for in a Harlequin Presents. She's on my buy list.

Steeplehill's Love Inspired was the publisher for Pamela Andrew's The Marriage Mission.

And I'm trying a new author from Steeplehill's Love Inspired Suspense, Ramona Richards' The Taking of Carly Bradford. So far, I'm really intrigued.

Yep, all romances, this week. Some weeks are like that.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Following those little niggles...

I was recently challenged to follow those little internal nudges, no matter what, for the next 30 days. I've endeavored to do so, for years, but this was an opportunity to renew the personal promise.

Today, I had one of those nudges that quickly felt like a 2x4 over the head. There was something I'd been thinking about for a while, and had finally decided to do, today. I thought about taking care of it myself, but then came that 2x4. It had to be done, NOW, and only one person could help me.

I'm a firm believer that God loves a package deal. He not only helped me, but it helped the other person, too. What I was doing actually could have waited, but the other person had something to accomplish that couldn't wait. God did bless me with peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment. It wasn't a big deal, but it had been weighing on me, and now it's done.

Trusting those nudges isn't a strong point with me, as I was taught well not to trust myself. This challenge, coming when it did, is tying in beautifully with everything else I'm working on. God likes these kinds of package deals, too. Life is a complicated dance, with a variety of steps and turns, and at it's prettiest when everything is working in harmony together. God is all about harmony and working together. It's been a long time, but I'm looking forward to dancing, again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reflecting...

More particularly, reflecting on yesterday's post. Recently, I wrote a note to myself that I placed next to the computer. "I want more choices, more freedom, and bigger paychecks." And I realized that I limited myself to one coping choice: eating. Being the problem solver that I am, I realized I needed what? More CHOICES! So, what are my choices? Eating is still an option. Sorry, but quitting eating cold turkey simply isn't a viable possibility. However, if I have healthier choices available, I'm more likely to pick them, or at least a better chance than if I don't have them. I also know that if I don't have some unhealthy choices available, I will binge. But ice cream occasionally, cake occasionally, cookies occasionally is fun. I will not buy into the idea that my eating must be perfect or I'm bad. Life is too short. So, eating is still on the table. Thank goodness. What else? Television is still an option. I have gone cold turkey and not really missed it. That being said, there are times when I want to escape, but my thoughts are too scattered to read. This is what DVDs are for, at least for me. So I haven't taken the choice away, I've given it different parameters. What else? Music. I love music. I don't always remember that it's an option. That will take practice. What else? Reading, of course. What else? A walk outside, even if it's only around the yard. That was easier when the dog needed to go outside to remind me. Again, remembering will take practice, but I wanted choices, and this is one. What else? Internet surfing. I don't visit a lot of sites, but this is an option, and I wanted more choices. What else? Writing. What else? Drawing. I'm horrible at drawing, but it's still an option. What else? Doing my nails. What else? Sorting through piles. I do require that I not simply re-arrange my piles of papers. I have to file or trash at least one thing, and usually take care of several things. Can't stop at just one. What else? Read a cookbook. Yes, I'm actually one of those that enjoys doing that, deciding what recipe to try next. What else? Cook! I love to cook. Yes, it's eating related, but it requires work on my part, and I actually eat less if I made it, even when I really like it. What else? Wow, lots of choices! Does this mean I'll never make the same mistake? Nope. But I'm learning. I'm giving myself a gift, the right to make different choices... more choices, more freedom, and a bigger paycheck because I won't have to buy as much food! Then again, I've frequently "bribed" myself out of buying cookies with the promise I could spend the same amount on books. It has worked numerous times. And will work again, I know. But this is about more choices, and recognizing that there are plenty of choices out there: I simply need to open my eyes to the possibilities. More practice. Practice isn't about perfect, it's about being more aware of what one is doing and why and doing it deliberately. I'm making deliberate changes because I choose to change, to become someone new because God has promised that it is possible. I believe Him.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crimes and Punishments...

I've thought about this often, but it was brought home recently. I have a tendency to punish myself with food. Yep. It isn't a reward; it's a punishment. I eat when I'm not hungry. I always thought it was because I was bored, at least that's what so many of the gurus have said. But I don't allow myself to become bored. Being bored was always a dangerous proposition. It usually meant work; really unpleasant work. So, I learned, long ago, to have more to do than I could possibly ever accomplish. I can think of times when I've eaten food I knew would make me sick. I remember as a child being forced to eat food that made me sick. I don't need abusers now, I'm quite capable of carrying out their work without any help or input from them. I know what parameters they set, and how to work within those parameters. Sounds horrendous. But doesn't seem that way to me because I grew up with it. I'm finally recognizing that this is a fight for my life. If I continue on this course; I will die. It must stop. This is not a path God intended for anyone. First, I needed to recognize when I was punishing myself. I'm learning to do that, but sometimes it's still after the fact. 20/20 hindsight. Sometimes, it's as simple as I am tired. Tired of fighting. Tired of trying. Tired of feeling like no matter what I do it doesn't make a difference. So, I punish myself for wanting to give up. I punished myself for not being able to stay at church because someone came in wearing perfume. I didn't say it made sense. It doesn't. I am able to stop, sometimes and more often now than in the past. I think part of that has been recognizing all the ways I punish myself. Eating badly. It doesn't help that there are zealots out there telling me how to eat, and I feel stupidly guilty that I can't eat whole grains. Eating healthy by the commonly accepted standard would kill me, and yet I feel guilt that I physically cannot eat as they recommend. "It's healthy." Not for me! I try to exercise every day, but I'm not a huge fan. I do it because it's good for me, and we come back to me punishing myself by doing things that aren't good for me. Sleep. That's great, as long as the nightmares stay away. It only takes one, and I'm staying awake until I can't keep my eyes open, for days. I look at my cluttered room and know I punish myself for that, and yet I've tried it clean and it makes me depressed. If it's cluttered I tell myself I don't notice my dog being gone. So what are the crimes I'm punishing myself for, really? Having a body that isn't perfect. Being sad. Not fitting in. Being different. God created me to be unique, and I'm punishing myself because I am.

It's time to change. It's time to learn to think differently. It is a Herculean task before me. I'm not a computer whose hard drive can be wiped and reprogramed. I have to start where I am, recognize and take responsibility for what I think and do, and learn new ways of thinking and behaving. I'm tired just thinking about it, but I'm changing, which means I will not stuff something into my mouth in an effort to shut up what I'm thinking. Hmmm... I do that. I eat so I don't have to feel or think. I knew I used food to stuff my feelings, but I didn't realize I use it to turn off my brain, like television when I don't want to think anymore. So, what do I do instead, now that I've taken away the old standby? Eating was easy, usually tasted pretty good, and convenient. It's a little scary taking that old habit away. Okay, it's a lot scary, but things cannot stay the same; they must change, and the only way they change is if I change it. God will not live my life for me. He gave me a brain, and expects me to use it. I'm a pretty good problem solver, and really good at not giving up. I'll give myself permission to call it quits for the day, but I know tomorrow is coming, and I'll have to keep moving. God did not put me on this earth to quit. He put me, as He created me, knowing what would happen in my life, on this earth for a purpose. He even provided the Atonement for all the times I mess up. I've often said that God doesn't need to punish because we usually do it ourselves. I simply hadn't realized how adept I had become. So maybe part of this whole needing to change is me needing to forgive myself for not being what I thought I should be, and instead turn to God and let Him make of me what He would like me to be... could it truly be that simple, and that hard?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Carpe diem, Monday, and Reading List #6

How I seized, today: Four loads of laundry (I skipped last week and decided to do bedding and a blanket, today, too). NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide were rained out, this weekend, in Texas, so I watched on FOX and then online, today. Sadly, my driver (Go Carl!) didn't finish either, due to unfortunately events, namely, a pileup that was simply a matter of too many cars in too small a space. That's racin'. Then a broken axel took him out. Them's the brakes... though there really hadn't been a brake problem. I did a bit of catch up for work. I've enjoyed some reading. Did some mending. Watched Wolverine, again. Enjoyed it with a dear friend, last month, and decided it's a keeper. Listened to Glenn Beck's program, and decided I needed to take myself more seriously. I've allowed a few things to slip in my life, and I jumped back in. Thank you, FlyLady. Tackled some piles, reducing and sorting. It's been a productive day.

eharlequin has a book review program: the community reads so many books and more books are donated to needy communities. The only requirement is that 50% of the books you review be Harlequins. Not a difficult assignment for me. This week I've read An Unexpected Father by Lisa Ruff, No Ordinary Cowboy and A Cowboy's Plan by Mary Sullivan, Surprise Dad and Dream Daddy by Daly Thompson, and Meltdown by Gail Barrett. Today, I started Donna Hatch's The Guise of a Gentleman, the second in her Rogue Hearts series. I did a quick skim of the first, The Stranger She Married, and remembered why I love her books. Yes, I've put the serious books on hold, for a little while. I always do, in order to give myself time to think about what I've read. Do I really believe what I've read? Do I agree with it? If I believe it and agree with it, will I actually make it a part of my life?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Friday #5

I really needed this today. I was going to say I don't feel well, but that isn't quite what it is; I feel out of sorts. I know it's partly hormones. It's also a myriad of other things, ie, allergies, back, and the diet hasn't been the best, but that circles back to hormones. So, what I'm thankful for, today:
~ Good friends.
~ Dogs owned by good friends. :-)
~ Good books, and the right to throw away books that I don't like.
~ Spring and all the amazing flowers and colors, even if it does trigger my allergies; that's what Claritin-D is for. It works for me. Benadryl was a huge blessing for my dog, and I use it in a pinch, but it leaves me sleepy.
~ Enough clouds to make a truly gorgeous sunrise.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The joys of being a woman... or not

I've been struggling for the past day or two with feeling on the edge of tears. I can't shut off the negative tapes, and I'm wondering why in the world God would put me here because I feel useless. I was doing so well with maintaining a positive attitude. What happened?

Thank goodness for calendars. I finally found the one I needed. *sigh* Oh. Well, that explains a lot. So, I will be "blessed" with this sense of insecurity and edginess for a while. I might as well stop fretting about it because it will go away, in a week or two or three, depending on the cycle. Maybe I'll remember to have some of my special tea. Oh, that's right! The memory goes with it, which will also return, the same time as my sense of well being.

Add to that feeling cranky, though I want to ask God for help, I remind myself that He got me into this. Wait. I volunteered for this. No, I didn't just volunteer, I voted for this! I have a body. I can't deny it. I voted for it. Thank you Jeff Kelley for that bit of wisdom that has never left me. :-) When Christ and Lucifer presented their plans, I clearly voted for Christ's. So, shut up and buck up. This too shall pass, at least until next month. Isn't that special? *pfft*

Monday, April 12, 2010

Carpe diem... it's Monday, so how did I seize the day?

Over at Lucy Monroe's blog, she asked about infidelity in romance novels and whether or not it was okay for a hero or heroine. I thought long and hard, for a good portion of the day, before I finally answered. It was long. Really long. I trimmed it. It was still long. I trimmed some more. And I trimmed more. I posted the trimmed version (it was still long) and decided to expand it here. (Thinking about my circle of friends, her books aren't for everyone, but she connects with me.)

With Tiger Woods so predominantly in the news, he was mentioned, and I realized I have been thinking about this. However, my perspective of Tiger Woods was a bit different. My folks kept saying that he should be left alone. It was private. And I disagreed. Why? Because this was about public image, the image he sold of being clean cut and straight arrow. He knowingly signed contracts with the understanding that it was about the image of his character. In NASCAR, part of a driver's contract includes a good conduct clause, and they will be penalized for violating that clause. There is no "I didn't know." They know. They have to decide what matters most. Tiger betrayed his wife, himself, the companies who hired him, and his fans. Ugly. Survivable? Yes.

Personally, I had a boyfriend who cheated on me. I suspected, but there was no proof. Why did I break up with him? He lied about how a movie would end. He didn't want to "ruin" the end, while I wanted to be prepared. I assured him that it wouldn't ruin the end for me. It would ruin the end if it didn't turn out the way I wanted. But it was more important to him to see how I reacted to the REAL ending. I sobbed and was so angry. I had an inkling, but I trusted that he'd told me the truth. He defended himself that he was technically right. If he lied about something so trivial, what else did he lie about? It took a few more months to screw my courage to the sticking place, but this was the beginning of the end. Trust was lost. Over a stupid movie. In truth, the movie simply exposed deeper problems.

Then there are the health issues involved. The diseases alone are terrifying. How could someone, who says they love you, willingly put your life at risk? Using protection is not a guarantee. My counselor likes to demonstrate the problem by sliding a pin into a "balloon" without popping it. If a pin is able to slip through, what else is able to slip through? Sadly, frequently no protection is used. It makes me wonder if there is an underlying death wish. No one, in this day and age, can say they didn't know the risks. They can say they didn't think it would happen to them, but that is willful denial. I've done that often enough myself in other circumstances to know it's no excuse.

And the lying. Perhaps part of the reason this hit me so squarely is my desire to be honest with myself. Anyone who cheats must lie, and lie often. To lie, one must sacrifice integrity and respect, for oneself and for all those with whom one interacts because the lie touches everyone, in one way or another, either by being deceived or by having to keep the secret. What a horrendous burden.

Is it possible to move on? Yes, but how painful and difficult, and so totally unnecessary. It isn't romantic; it's tragic. The dreams that are shattered; the hearts that are broken; the trust that is shredded; the lives that change, forever, and too often not for the better. The ripples are immeasurable. I've seen couples who have overcome the devastation, but other family members, sometimes the children, didn't always survive it as well.

Someone once told me that it was exciting. Yes, so is jumping from an airplane without a parachute, but the thrill is brief, and the end is not only messy but deadly.

Do I believe that there is no hope? Absolutely not. I believe in the Atonement with all my heart. It is a wondrous gift. But why not use it before traveling so far down that unhappy path? Blessedly, God doesn't believe in an expiration date. But neither does He spare us from the consequences of our choices. He will cry with us and suffer with us, and in the end bridge that chasm between us and heaven. Today, I choose to live a more Christ-centered life. He wants me to be happy, and He's shown the way, if I'll only reach out and take His hand. If I'm too weary, He'll even carry me. No burden is too heavy for Him. He will bend down, and lift me from the mud and muck. He doesn't care. He loves me. He loves each of us, but He will never force us. We each may choose to look to Him or look away. Carpe diem: I choose to look to Him.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Sabbath and Reading List #5

I briefly attended church this morning. I was feeling good enough that I thought I might be able to stay longer than 30 minutes, and then a young woman walked in wearing perfume I could smell though we were several chairs apart. My eyes watered, my nose ran, a headache started, my throat closed up, and I started to cough. I left. God had other plans, today. I finished More Than Words. Wow. Simply amazing how people see a need and find ways to fill it. At the American Revival, we were given binders with articles focusing on Faith, Hope, and Charity. I read the section on Faith, after moving all my notes from my little notebook to the binder. Taking the advice from Refuse to Choose (RtC), I wrote on the articles provided, as I had various insights. Then I read the preface to GMC Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon, to help me with my writing, followed by a chapter from 52 Ways to Raise Happy, Loving Kids. I have a lot to learn about parenting healthy children. Okay, I have none of my own and won't, so I'm reading it for me, to see if I can make some changes in my own life. There. That's me being honest with myself. I wrote in my journal where I keep my insights to my own life. Then I did the exercise outlined in RtC. That was a surprise. I decided to use my current WIP as the focus. It was quite eye opening. I'm looking forward to where this is taking me. Then I read a bit more from my homework assignment (ongoing for three or four years now) from my counselor. Finally, I read Continue in Patience by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, from the most recent conference. It was uplifting. During it all, I've been listening to my Gaelic station on Pandora. :-) The theme is Gaelic with Christian music. I like the blend. This is the day which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Faith, Hope and Charity...

I attended the American Rival, today. Wow! What an incredible experience. I was going to say that learned more about American history than I did in all my time in school. But searching my memory, I realized I learned a lot. However, I didn't know the difference between a democracy and a republic. I do now, and I prefer a republic. I didn't understand why we decided to rebel against England. I always thought of it in terms of the Boston Tea Party and taxes that were too high. I had heard of the Stamp Act and the Townshend Act, but did not understand their significance in history. I was familiar with the history of many of the founding fathers, but only the briefest of details, for the most part. Economics is mostly Greek to me, but I was able to grasp what I heard, today. I have a much better understanding of the Constitution. I've read it, for the first time in years, and admit that it's difficult to follow sometimes. As stated in previous posts, I struggle with unfamiliar words and sentence patterns, but I'm endeavoring to become bettered educated and more aware of the world I've mostly taken for granted much of my life. It was gratifying to have re-enforced my personal goal to learn to be honest with myself. I lied, a lot, throughout my life; it was a valuable survival technique. However, now I'm learning healthier techniques, and it's a wonderful relief to let go of the lies. Lies are a lot of work, and they always come unraveled, sooner or later. So, I've made a commitment to myself to learn to be honest with myself, to become better educated though reading, and to leave the sidelines and stand for what I believe in. After 9/11, as I watched the enactment of the Patriot Act, I felt an overwhelming disbelief. I have watched freedoms disappear, little by little. I agree with Benjamin Franklin: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." There is no plan foolproof enough to keep everyone safe and happy. We were never intended to be kept safe and happy. This life is about learning. Learning is difficult and often painful. My most joyous moments have been when I have faced some flaw in myself, or endured some trial, or overcome some weakness and changed, for ever, into a person that is more compassionate, more understanding, more aware and am allowed to claim that change as my own, not something someone thought I should or ought to do but something I recognized I needed to do. So, I promise to strengthen my faith, shore up my hope, and exercise more charity. This is going to be an amazing adventure.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Friday #4

Wow, four weeks. Sometimes it seems longer... one of THOSE days. :-)

I'm so grateful for work I truly enjoy. There are days when I'm frustrated, and wonder what made me think I could do this, but that's more about my frame of mind at the time than the actual work.

Books! I love books! So I'm very grateful for that article I found, years ago, on dyslexia and tricks to make reading easier. I don't have a serious case, fortunately, but it's enough to make reading frustrating and no fun at all. Turning letters around (I not only switch b's and d's, but I also flip b's and p's. Isn't that special? Grrrr). Nothing like reading along and realizing that what was said was probably the opposite of what was meant and having to re-read, again, to straighten it out. Be that as it may, I also skip lines, inadvertently. This article explained that sometimes the problem is that a dyslexic's peripheral vision is better than straight on (again, this is not the case for all, but it seems to be the case with me). They suggested that the reason you skip lines is because your peripheral vision is seeing ahead. Then it gets confusing. So, now I let myself read more with my peripheral vision. I also discovered that some writing styles are easier for me to read, like short sentences and paragraphs. It actually helps me keep track of where I am more easily. Before I learned this, it took me over a year to read Alexander Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. The first time I realized there was a difference was when I read Gerald Lund's The Work and the Glory, all seven books. I was so excited that I was able to read a 700+ page book, in a couple of days. The "classics" are a bear for me. I'm okay with that, as I've found many of the classics... not to my taste. I realize that those who look at what I read probably think me uneducated; however, I prefer to think of it as "They can have their stuffy; I'll keep my fluffy."

I'm grateful for the gorgeous flowers of spring, and especially wonderful friends to share them with, no matter where I am.

Always, I'm grateful for amazing friends. God bless them, one and all.

And I'm grateful for new opportunities, and the wisdom to recognize that I am capable of adapting things to meet my needs. Case in point, in my last TBR list, I mentioned that Barbara Sher suggested I acquire a Daybook. I looked at what was available and wasn't particularly impressed. I truly do have some lovely notebooks already. My sister suggested adding pages without lines to my binder. I can do that. I also wrote in one, updating some progress, and doodled despite the lines. Why do I allow myself to be limited? Habit. Breaking another habit: No more staying within the lines because that's what is expected. I'm the first to admit that some boundaries are desirable and necessary, but there are so many that aren't. So, time to do a little stretching and live adventurously.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Seizing the day Monday and reading list #5

How did I claim my Monday? I decided I'd finish the Twilight series. As stated in list #4, I wasn't in a hurry, until I came to the end of Eclipse. I confess: I am Team Jacob, so I had to know! I read most of Breaking Dawn on Monday, and finished it, today. It is by far my favorite of the series. I was quietly cheering because I didn't want the roommates to wonder. Lots of fist pumping and wiggling in my chair. Stephanie Meyer is a gifted storyteller.

I'm in the first chapter of Refuse to Choose, and delighted by what I'm reading. Barbara Sher suggested a notebook or Daybook, like Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks. My first thought was "Why didn't I think of that?" Then I did a quick inventory and realized I had a half dozen notebooks for varying purposes. The difference, Sher suggests that the pages have no lines. Huh? What would I do without lines? My penmanship is atrocious. Why? Then she talked about drawing in it, and pasting in notes, and writing around the notes and drawings and noted that da Vinci even mirror wrote in his notebook. But I'm not an artist. My drawings are... well, not very good, at all. So what's the point? Then I thought of the "blueprints" I did of houses, rooms, and gardens. It would be nice to have them all in one place. So my sister is taking me shopping for a Daybook. I'm excited. :-)

Next, I'm starting More Than Words Volume 6. Every year, Harlequin showcases several women who are making a difference in their community. They talk about what they are doing, and then an author creates a story that features their contribution. I've learned about a number of remarkable programs. So many amazing people trying to make the world a better place.

Follow up: Sharpe's Challenge was great! So was Sharpe's Peril. Unfortunately, that's all PBS is showing. Sigh. Now, I'll simply have to see the rest, one way or another.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Christ has risen! And He lives!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Reading List #4 and pickles...

Finished Love, Lilies and Unbroken Straw and loved it! Teri Wilson has two more books coming out, but I don't know when. I'll keep an eye open at Amazon.

Also read A Kid to the Rescue by Susan Gable, who is now on my must-buy list. The title made me leery, as I generally do not like books that require children to be the adults. This one didn't. It made me laugh and cry, sigh and cheer! Susan has another book coming out in a couple of months, and I'm looking forward to it.

Still reading Refuse to Choose. I read a page or two and then think about it for a few days. It's the type of reading, for me, that I have to stop and really think. Am I giving my pat, habitual answer? Or is this really how I feel? Fortunately, I read another book that required me to stop and think, a lot, and I'm learning to do that more often. I often surprise myself by what my answers are when I give myself time to think through rather than give a knee-jerk response.

I'm also finally finishing up Eclipse. I want it done, so I can go onto the next one, though I'm in no hurry, but with the movie coming out this summer, I figure I better get a move on.

As to the pickles, there have been a lot of dam pickles. *rolling eyes* One of these days, I'll learn to drop the first part.

Odd note: Will be watching Sharpe's Challenge, tonight at midnight, since I missed it the first time it showed on PBS. How can I resist Sean Bean?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Friday #3

Good Friday. Blessedly, my Savior did not shirk but drank the bitter cup, for me, for each one of us, to overcome our sins, our hurts, our ills. He endured immeasurable suffering to save each soul who would accept His priceless gift. Blessedly, God looks on the heart, and sees what I cannot. No matter how tattered or bruised, He sees with His perfect eyes of love and knows. Christ, the Savior, understands perfectly, to a depth I will never be able to imagine, sorrow and pain, brutality and injustice. In the darker moments of my life, when suicide seemed a viable option, I would find myself contemplating that meeting on the other side. How could I possibly look my Savior in the eye and say, "It was too hard. I couldn't take anymore." I've reached the point, now, where I am unable to say it even in prayers. I am able to say, "I'm tired. I'm not doing well. I'll try again, tomorrow." Because of my Savior, there is always hope. Thank God.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April Fool's Day...

..."the day on which we are reminded what we are on the other 364." I used to hate that quote. It made me feel small and stupid. Now, I'm older, and I hope wiser, and I get it. Then I remember a poem I memorized, many years ago.

THE FOOL'S PRAYER

by: Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887)

The royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!"

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the Monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: "O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

"No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin: but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

"'Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
'Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

"These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.

"The ill-timed truth we might have kept--
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say--
Who knows how grandly it had rung!

"Our faults no tenderness should ask.
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders -- oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

"Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!"

The room was hushed; in silence rose
The King, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
"Be merciful to me, a fool!"