Friday, July 30, 2010


Daughter: "Mommy, can we watch Little Bear? It's really good. It teaches us to be nice and to love and be kind to each other." Pause. "Well, it teaches me that, but it doesn't teach brother that much."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Childhood in My Hand

Not more than an hour after I posted my last entry, my daughter's wiggly tooth came out.
I cannot explain what it feels like to hold a tiny piece of her childhood in my hand.

Wiggly Teeth

Saturday night, after a busy day and a birthday party, my almost-six-year-old daughter came running into the bathroom where I was brushing my teeth. Clothed in her butterfly pull-over towel, glasses off, hair wet, she's still so little, so sweet and innocent. Daddy followed close behind, camera in hand. Tears in her eyes and a smile on her face—a trace of fright swirled in with the excitement about growing up just a little bit more—she announced that one of her teeth was "wiggly."
Those precious baby teeth that I lovingly counted, the arrival of each one anxiously awaited, are now falling out. "Grown up teeth" are on the way. Adding to my list another of those many things you don’t think about being temporal until they’re on their way out the door.
Another milestone reached. The others have passed in a blur.
Where does the time go? Savor every moment.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ultimate Exchange

As my children were eating bunny fruit snacks today, my daughter described the bunnies. Each one was running or jumping, feet outstretched. I thought of the Velveteen Rabbit, and how he wanted back feet with which to run and jump and play. He desperately wanted to be real.
Granted, the Velveteen Rabbit wasn't weighing the odds (a rabbit can live nine years, but most live less than one year in the wild). Still, the profundity struck a chord with me: He was willing to trade immortality of a less stellar sort for the chance to really experience life in all its ephemeral beauty. The ultimate exchange.
Do you struggle with balancing length and preservation of days with the joy of living life to its fullest potential? I want to really live. I want my life to be real. How about you?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Westerns and Fighter Jets

Also known as The Man Who Walked Out on Top Gun
Someone mentioned Clint Eastwood on twitter today. And that made me think of my granddaddy, because he loved a good Western. John Wayne was his all-time favorite, but Eastwood and Jimmy Stewart reruns got a decent share of the airtime on his bedroom television.
I remember in 1986 he came home one evening and informed us that he'd been to the movies. That got our attention. "I saw in the newspaper there was a new movie called Top Gun, so I went to see it."
I'd heard all about Top Gun at school. The other girls regularly swooned over pictures of Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. So I was surprised at this bit of news from the one man left on earth who remained completely and unapologetically unaffected by societal trends. I listened intently as he continued.
"I thought for sure it was going to be a good Western. I even got some popcorn. I went in and sat down, and I'll be d*mned it if wasn't a movie about planes." Then he mumbled about how long it had been since a good Western was last released. "Who gives a d*mn about fighter jets?"
I chuckle every time I think of that. Granny laughed and teased him over it, yet I also remember how keenly his disappointment struck me. Heaven knows, after nearly twenty years, I still miss that man.

Friday, July 16, 2010

When Do You Write?

A fellow blogger and writer, Roxanne Sherwood, posted a fantastic entry about writing when you're away from the computer.
I "write" in the shower, while cleaning the kitchen, and while doing laundry. My favorite place to mentally write is in the grocery store. Be forewarned, this can sometimes trigger strange looks from fellow shoppers. When that happens, I realize (too late, of course) that I'm muttering a dialogue sequence under my breath. But you absolutely must read dialogue aloud to make sure it sounds natural and has the correct rhythm. So looking like a crazy lady is the price you pay for writing while shopping, I suppose.
The point is that you should write, even when you're not at your desk, fingers on the keyboard.
If you'd like a great list of ideas for when you can ponder your current work in progress, Roxanne provides it in her blog post, A Time to Ponder. Check it out, and you might realize you have more writing time available than you first realized.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Battle of Your Life

As a Christian, the greatest battle you will ever fight is one that will endure throughout your entire lifetime: the battle over your thought life. Through the course of years, I have become increasingly aware of this life-and-death war, and the myriad ways it impacts my life and the life of every believer.
I’d like to share a little nugget of truth with you, one that comes straight from Scripture. It was given to me several years ago by a dear friend and brother in Christ who also happens to be a life coach and counselor.
I will post passages in the New American Standard translation, because that’s my personal favorite. Regardless, the original Greek doesn’t change, no matter which English translation you use. And the Greek word we’re going to look at today is noema.
Strong’s Gk #3540: noema – thought, purpose; from Strong’s Gk #3539, noeo – to perceive, think 
Noema only shows up a few times in Scripture—five times in 2 Corinthians, and once in Philippians. Most frequently, this word is translated “mind,” as in these passages (emphasis/bolding mine):
But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:14 (NASB)
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NASB)
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
2 Cor 11:3 (NASB)
Okay, so we see from these three passages that Paul, the person who wrote Corinthians, is deeply concerned with the minds of both believers and non-believers—and specifically with the mind’s susceptibility to being hardened, blinded, and deceived.
In Scripture study there is an important principle, called the “Law of First Mention.” This law basically states that the first place a concept/word is introduced becomes the foundation upon which every other place the concept/word mentioned must be built. 
Noema appears two other times in 2 Corinthians, the first of which happens to be the very first time the word appears in all of Scripture. So if this next verse is the first time noema appears, and if the first time is the foundation for all other times the word is used, why did I wait so long to show this passage to you? Because you needed to see how deeply this word noema is entwined with the thoughts and the mind.
But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
2 Cor. 10:3-5 (NASB)
That word “schemes” is noema. Do you see the connection? Paul is concerned with the mind and the thoughts for a reason: because your mind is where Satan attacks you—relentlessly. He will attack wherever you are weakest, lie and manipulate to convince you of anything other than the truth of who you are in Christ.
Do you doubt it? How about the last time you wrestled with thoughts of inadequacy in your role as a parent or spouse? Or entertained anger and bitterness toward a co-worker, spouse, or in-law? When was the last time you looked in the mirror and heard that old familiar thought that some feature of yourself is ugly, fat, sagging, or otherwise imperfect? How often have you believed that lie that you can’t overcome an alcohol, drug, cigarette, food, or pornography addiction?
Try some of these lies on for size: It’s just too hard. You’ll never beat it. You’re a terrible mother. You’re not a leader. You suck as a husband. You’re too fat. You’re a failure. Your husband no longer wants you. You’ll never get that promotion. You’re not good enough. Go ahead and eat it. What difference does one more hit make? Or one more lie? She’ll never find out. He’s not as smart as you are. Your parents don’t understand you. Your friends don’t really care about you. She just wants to make your life miserable. Just do it. You’ll never change. This is just who you are, and you’ll never change it. You can’t. It’s impossible.
Do any of those feel familiar? Those are just a sampling from Satan’s arsenal of lies and thoughts. And it’s like a downward spiral. One thought leads to another, then another. You soon feel defeated…or energized to just say “screw it.”
What to do? How do you stop this vicious cycle? Welcome to 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NASB):
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
That word “thought” is the same Greek word noema. Do you take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ? Do you arrest every dark or angry thought, every lie that Satan casts your way? Or do you believe it, listen to it, meditate on it?
Scripture says that we are to renew our minds (Romans 12:2) How do we do this? By washing it daily with the Word of God. Interestingly, in this passage, mind is actually nous (Strong’s Gk #3563): mind, understanding or reason. It’s also translated composure or comprehension. You renew your understanding and your ability to reason every time you delve into God’s Word.
And what happens when you renew your mind? You are better equipped to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. If you dwell on discouraging thoughts, more will come. But if every time Satan and his minions fire one of those flaming missiles (Ephesians 6) your way, you take that thought captive and counter it with God’s truth, you’ll soon find that the mind really is the battlefield.
Here’s the last place in Scripture where you will find the word noema. Be encouraged:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Peach Throw Pillows

I read on facebook today of a young friend’s college plans. The discussion of on-campus housing and roommate assignments took me back to my own college years.
I attended Peace, a private women’s college, on an academic scholarship. Let’s just say I had some rather discouraging dormitory and roommate experiences. Girls can be quite catty, sometimes downright malicious. It didn't help that I was there on scholarship and most of the others were there on daddy's money. By the end of my first semester, I was ready to escape. So when I transferred the following year to Appalachian State, it took a leap of faith to again put my roommate assignment in the hands of campus housing. Not that I had a choice in the matter—after all, I didn't know any other girls there.
I braced myself for the possibilities. To be sure, I would end up with either a Satanist or a snob, so I reasoned that I would simply spend as little time as possible in my dorm room.
Boy, was I in for a surprise. Campus housing assigned me to Joannis, a short, strawberry-blonde spitfire who hurled peach throw pillows with lightning speed. She’s been my best friend for 17 years now and, without a doubt, will maintain that status for the rest of our lives. What I saw as one small detail, God saw as a way to bless me for a lifetime with a friend who truly is closer than a sister.
You never know when God is in the details.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ganache - Chocolate of the gods

It's true. The stuff is heavenly. Indulgent. Some might say sinful. Plus, it's one of the most addictive foods known to man...or at least, to my man.
I love to pour ganache over a cake iced with cream cheese icing. It cools as it slides down the sides, lending an elegent touch. It's delicious on strawberries and raspberries, too. And although I haven't tried it yet, I'm sure it would be divine on cheesecake. If you let it cool, then whip it with a hand mixer, it makes a decadent cake filling.
My husband's favorite way of eating it is by the spoonful, straight out of the fridge. With that in mind, I sometimes roll it into truffles and coat them in cocoa. They don't ship well, as my literary agent recently discovered, but they sure taste good.
The recipe I developed requires top-secret security clearance, but you can great recipes for ganache online.