Questions: God’s not surprised


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter Q

 

q

When I get to heaven, I have a lot of questions for God.

AngelAndStairwayToHeaven

Some questions are a little humorous:

What were you thinking when you made the platypus?

platypus

Why is everything that tastes so good so bad for me?

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What was Jesus like as a little boy?

What do dogs dream about?

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When babies laugh in their sleep, are you tickling them? If not, what’s so funny to a newborn baby?

Did animals talk in the Garden of Eden?

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What kind of mood were you in when you created giraffes?

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Some questions are more serious:

Why did you make men and women so different?

a6b9Why did you let such a wonderful person die so young?

Dustin

This is my friend, Dustin. I watched him grow up. Taught him in church. He was the third Wise Man in the Christmas program when he was little along with my twin sons. He was killed two weeks ago when somehow his truck got stuck on the railroad tracks during an icy blizzard and was run over by the train. He was the sweetest, most generous, kind-hearted person. So young. Only 19.

Why did you let such a giving, generous couple die such a horrible death at the hands of a thief?

Click to read their story

Click to read their story

Why must so many children starve or be abused?

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Why didn’t you stop abortion?

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How has it made you feel to see animal cruelty?

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Most of the serious questions, as you can see, are in the “why” category. And while I do know the theological answers for them, I’m still uncomfortable with the outcomes.

This world is not my home. I long for a better place.

For this world is not our home; we are-1

I take comfort in the fact that God is not surprised by my questions. He made me and expects me to ask them. He doesn’t want his children to check their brains at the door to follow Him. I believe in this age of reason, it’s more important than ever to explore questions and seek God’s Word in finding the answers. In this way, we can help other seekers find answers.

Not all questions are negative. Here’s a question in the Bible that I’m particularly fond of:

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

What questions do you have for God? Share them with me so I can ask them, too!

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 Tweet this: Did animals talk in the Garden of Eden?

 

 

 

 

 



Taking care of Mama Ellen

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I’m ashamed to admit it, but my gift is not in nursing.

In fact, my husband says that if he ever gets a bad disease, he’s definitely not counting on me to help him through it. And he’s right not to. I’m a lousy nurse.

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I have a suspicion as to why I lack the ability to nurse others. I won’t go into those here because to discuss them would require divulging secrets about other people, and I’m not into that.

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And it’s not that I’m not empathetic. I am, perhaps too empathetic. I can’t stand to see people suffer. In fact, when those ASPCA commercials come on TV, I have to turn the channel or I’ll cry and be depressed the rest of the day. I simply can’t handle knowing an animal is suffering. I also have to redirect my thinking on world hunger and disease on a daily basis. It causes me great despair that I don’t have enough resources to cure all that causes pain and suffering in this world. Seriously. You have no idea how much that bothers me.

ASPCA

So, what is the main barrier to my being a good nurse?

Squeamishness.

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When my kids got hurt growing up, if they were bleeding, I sent them to their father. It wasn’t the sight of blood that got to me. It was that I truly felt their pain. My stomach would drop to my knees.

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Then there’s the squeamishness of having to touch or smell icky things.

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And that’s where my lack of wanting to nurse Mama (my mother-in-law who lives with us) comes in.

It’s not that I don’t love her. It’s not that she’s not deserving. She is a delightful person and the most appreciative woman I’ve ever known, which makes me feel even worse about my lack of desire to be her nurse.

It’s this:  handling her false teeth grosses me out.

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It’s not that I don’t feel sympathy or compassion for her life of lost memories (she has Alzheimer’s and Dementia). It’s that bathroom accidents truly make me sick.

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It’s not that I feel I’m too good to handle such things. It’s that I have a tactile defensiveness to anything squishy or dirty.

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I thank God every day for gloves!

Mr. Himself is out of town for almost two weeks. The bulk of the care he’s always done (thank God) is falling to me now.

To overcome my horrid selfishness, I’m choosing to praise God as I brush her false teeth and change her into clean clothes. This is an opportunity for me to grow. I don’t like this squeamish side of me that runs from opportunities of service such as this.

artificial_teeth_on_glass_with_waterBut he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. Matthew 23:11

If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. Mark 9:35a

Do you have a weakness to overcome? Something that bugs you about your personality? If so, leave me a comment so I know I’m not alone!

twitter-bird-1-300x300Tweet this: I see what you did there and I’m grossed out!

Tweet this: What makes you squeamish?

You know you’re a writer when you know where all the outlets are at the hospital cafeteria…

And at the mall, and the bookstore, and the library, and anywhere else your path may lead.

Parkview-Hospital

Where I’m writing today

Because I work several jobs, I take my laptop with me everywhere I go. Sometimes, it’s a waste of energy because I may never find a bit of time to write. But most times, if I’m diligent, I can locate an outlet (because my battery needs replacing and it’s expensive) and pound out a few hundred words. I have to do this because I don’t have the luxury of hours of writing time.

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There are only two outlets in this huge cafeteria, and I’m using one of them.

You’ll know you’re a writer when you’re obsessed with telling your story and you have an irritable itch to get it down on paper regardless of your schedule.

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Brain food

Today I’m writing from the hospital cafeteria after a pastoral visit. The hospital is an hour away and I am taking advantage of some time away from home distractions to pen a few hundred words.

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My hospital office in the cafeteria

I know where outlets are on almost every floor of this mammoth building. If they kick me out of the cafeteria, I know where I can go (should I stay that long) to find another writing nook.

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Lots and lots of nooks, but not a lot of outlets!

I’m not alone in writing this way. Agatha Christie started out writing on her breaks when she worked as a nurse — on a typewriter of all things. If she can do it, so can I.

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There’s a waterfall in the corner that has great seating–but no outlets

Are you a writer? Are you as obsessed as I am with getting the words down? Weigh in!

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 Tweet this: You know you’re a writer if you can find the juice!

One of my favorite historical fiction authors, Susan F. Craft, releases new book: Laurel

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I’m so excited about Susan F. Craft’s new book, Laurel. I love Susan’s writing so much I read this compelling story in one sitting! I couldn’t put it down.

The book is about a young couple whose daughter is kidnapped by slave runners in the backwoods of South Carolina. The couple hunts for their daughter in the wilderness and finally track her to the shores of the Atlantic at Charleston. While in Charleston, the mother, Lilyan, is recognized as a former patriot who murdered a British officer  (I won’t say why, you’ll have to read the book to find out.)  She’s thrown into jail and confined with prostitutes, thieves and murderers. Her husband, Nicholas, fights to set her free, and continue the search for their missing daughter.

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Susan’s writing is so good I was never distracted by writing craft while reading her book. (This happens to me sometimes as a writer.)  Instead, I lost myself in the story. It’s easy to do because Susan writes vivid description and deep internal emotion and motivation brilliantly.

Susan’s extensive research and travel to the locations of her novels comes through in her writing. I truly felt I was there with Lilyan and Nicholas searching for their daughter.

On her website, http://www.susanfcraft.com, she has over twenty years of research on a wide range of topics.  She says: “I knew I’d never be able to write enough novels to use all my “historical treasures,” so I decided to share and put them on my website.”

SusanCraftSusan F. Craft best

You can follow Susan here:

www.susanfcraft.com

http://historicalfictionalightintime.blogspot.com

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com

http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com

http://www.hhhistory.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susan.craft.108

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/susanfc/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/susanfcraft @susanfcraft

Be sure to check out Susan’s other book: The Chamomile.

The Chamomile

I bought Susan’s book, Laurel, on my own. This review is my unsolicited opinion. If you want to know what makes for good historical fiction writing, read a Susan F. Craft novel!

I give Laurel five big fat stars!

BirdbooksTweet this: Laurel by @SusanFCraft — five big fat stars!

 

Tickled pink!


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter P!

p

God is so cool.

The other day I was sitting in my office in my HUGE office chair. I’d bought it because it was sturdier than chairs I’d bought in the past and was hoping it would last longer.

And while I did admire its sturdiness, it was just too big. I couldn’t turn it around in the little crawl space behind my desk.

My office area is tiny. “Lord,” I casually whispered. “I need a smaller chair.”

A few days later, Mr. Himself found this PINK CHAIR WITH DIAMONDS on sale at a furniture store marked waaaaay down!

pinkchair

Squee!!

Apparently, there isn’t a great demand for pink, blinged-out office chairs!

Now, Mr. Himself knew nothing of my prayer. And when I’d prayed for a smaller chair, I didn’t have anything this dramatic in mind.

But God is the God of delight. He loves giving us the desires of  our hearts. I had no idea I wanted a pink office chair with diamonds. (Okay, so they’re not real diamonds. But still–they sparkle!)

pinkchair2

So sparkly!

Pink is one of my favorite colors. Without meaning to on purpose, I tend to choose pink accessories:

pinkphone

My pink iPhone case

My pink kindle sleeve

My pink kindle sleeve

pinkcup

“My” pink “Frozen” (the movie) cup. Okay, it’s actually the granddaughter’s but I use it so the cat won’t drink out of it.

pinkshoes

My pink walking shoes.

My pink planner

My pink planner

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Would you look at that? My book is pink, too!

My love of pink is obvious. But pink’s only my second favorite color.

My first favorite color is purple–and it also starts with P!

I have a purple coat, leather jacket, kindle cover, purses, earrings, shirts and blouses. I usually write with a purple ink pen. I even shop at a purple store!

But today, I’m tickled pink about a chair I had no idea I’d be so happy to have. I’m thankful to a God Who hears all our prayers and exceeds our expectations! (P is also for Prayer!)

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Tweet this: I’m tickled pink about the goodness of God!



 

 

L, M, N, are probably not going to get me noticed in search engines. O Well.

LMN

When my computer crashed, I missed the weeks of L, M, N in our A to Z blog hop. Horrors! And now it’s already time for the letter O!

So here goes.

L

L is for lazy. I had a very lazy Christmas holiday. I slept tons. I mean, I never knew it was humanly possible to sleep as much as I did and still be alive and breathing. If there’s such a thing as Christmas Coma, I invented it. I was utterly and completely exhausted. For this reason, I’m sure God had a plan for my computer crashing and burning. And I’m grateful. My life is a steamroller of expectations and responsibilities. It’s something I’m working on changing.

M

M is for movies. I was going to watch a bunch of them over the holiday, but L for Lazy interfered with that.

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N is for noshing:

noshI did far too much of that this holiday and while I don’t really know how much weight I gained, I know that I did gain a few pounds simply because of the way my clothes feel. (The scale is broken. And I hear you laughing. No, I didn’t break it. “Not me” broke it. “Not me” also starts with the letter N.) Now my stomach feels all rumbly and icky and while I promised to detox from sugar after the holidays were over, I’ve yet to make the complete and final leap. (See letter L.)

Finally we come to this week, which is brought to you by the letter O.

O Well

O is for “O Well.”

I’ve been using this phrase a lot lately. Living three weeks without a computer taught me a few things about submitting my day to the Lord and going with the flow.

Admittedly, I have had more opportunities to learn how to go with the flow as the mother of twins with autism and the caregiver of a mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s. (Did I forget to mention the son with bipolar and the husband with ADD?)  Going with the flow should have been something I mastered long, long ago.

StayCalm

But there’s still that rebel inside of me that wants what I want when I want, how I want. There’s that ornery little imp that kicks and screams and throws a fit if things don’t go her way.

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What, me? Rebellious? Nah.

Instead of throwing up her arms and saying, “O well, that must mean God wants me to _________.” She stomps her foot and says, “Fine. Then I’m going to play 55,000+ games of Words with Friends and pin 783,278+ pins on Pinterest via my phone.”

O Well would lead me down the path the Lord has lit for me to walk. As in, “O well, my soul is O so very well, and God has a better plan.”

But that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?

Why is it so difficult for me to submit to the O Wells in my life?

I believe that anything that is a strength, is also a weakness when it’s used incorrectly. God has given me a stubborn streak that serves me well when writing books, finishing college courses as a full-time online student pursuing a degree. I have the tenacity of a bull dog when it comes to the goals I believe I’m to pursue.

Tenacity is good,rebellion is not

But that same ability to hang on to a dream raises its head as rebellion when I’m asked to diverge from my plans.

God can’t bless disobedience. Why can’t I get that through my “N is for noggin?”

God has my best interest in mind. If I keep that at the forefront, I’ll be able to say, “O well, this is the way God wants me to go today, and it is good.”

Psalm 37 (KJV) has a lot to say about God’s best interest for us:

Psalm 37:3-7; 23-25

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass…

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread…”

O WELL O WOW!

If I obey, my steps are ordered of the Lord. How much more relaxing it would be if I’d simply walk peacefully in those steps instead of stomping through them.

What frustrates you the most when things don’t go your way? Am I alone in this submission thing? Weigh in!

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Tweet this: Beware: Your strength is also your weakness

 

 

 


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

 Find more info about the A to Z meme here.



I’m baaaaack!

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This is what a dead hard drive looks like. Which is pretty similar to what a live one looks like. But trust me. This one is dead. Gone. Kaput.

My hard drive crashed and burned the last week in December and I’ve been without my computer until today. Talk about withdrawal! Those of you who blog and write, know what I mean.

Thankfully, I backed up all my works in progress via Carbonite. Now I wait a few more days while it works to restore all my files.

We interrupt this message for an unscheduled announcement:

Note: I wrote the above last week–when I thought I was back in business with my computer. Turns out that now my computer cord is fried. I ordered one, not realizing it was coming from China. It should be here, oh, in February.

So, here I sit, daring not to move so that my computer stays plugged in. If I manage to sit extremely still, if the cat doesn’t jump on me, if I don’t scratch my nose–it stays plugged to power. (Something inside the port isn’t working right and I’m sincerely hoping it’s the cord not something inside the computer.)

Carry on….

Carbonite1

I’ve had crashes before without Carbonite and lost all my files, so the sacrifice of waiting a few days to retrieve my files is worth it. I have lost complete manuscripts of several books before, both on Mac and PC. If you’re a writer, beware: it’s not a matter of IF your hard drive will fail, but WHEN. Nothing lasts forever. BACK UP YOUR WORK! Or at the very least, work in the cloud.

carbonite2

Right now I’m facing the headache of trying to find all my codes to restore software. I can’t find any of my office software serial numbers. I’ve moved my office several times since getting my software and I can’t find that itty bitty piece of paper. <insert heavy sigh and banging head on wall> I’ll probably end up buying the software again. In the meantime, I can’t edit any documents!

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R.I.P. Hard drive. You were dearly loved.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and writing during this forced hiatus and am looking forward to sharing them all with you. Now to get my mind organized again! Just getting back on the computer shows me how overwhelmed I feel mentally, which I didn’t realize was happening.

Computer jail.

Computer jail.

For now, when I’m not typing this post and trying to catch up on emails (ugh), my computer sits in jail aka in an upside down laundry basket so the kittens won’t hack my Facebook page. They’re sneaky like that.

Have you ever had a major crash? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments below!

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Tweet this: Always back up–or at least work in the cloud!