Friday, February 29, 2008

Strength and Dignity

                                                                                                                                                                                     Photo Courtesy of Deanna Hershiser
This Monday, at the writers class I attend, our presenter was writer/seller, Dorcas Smucker. My history with Dorcas is quite short, sort of. A few years ago, I read an article of hers in the Sunday paper. I read the paper daily, (well, I read the headlines daily) and it's rare if I read more than one article a day (although I can't say I've ever counted). I don't remember the subject of the story I read, but I do remember I knew right away that I enjoyed her writing. The tone of her writing seemed to reflect that of woman whom I could easily admire. Perhaps it was her candid view of family life, combined with her humility that seemed to capture my attention. Another of her stories that I read was so touching and real, that the honesty of her words caused me to weep.
I don't recall if I'd seen a picture of Dorcas in the paper, but I saw her in person two years ago at a Northwest Writers event at the Eugene Public Library. She was selling books next to one of my favorite authors, Jane Kirkpatrick. I was waiting in line to buy a book from Jane Kirkpatrick and noticed that Dorcas Smucker was right next to her. I was having a dilemma, as there were two “celebrities” standing right next to each other. I admired both of these women, but would I speak to both? Isn't there a “ONE LITERARY CELEBRITY PER DAY” chat rule at book events? I was hoping Jane Kirkpatrick remembered me, yet this chit chat with Jane could interfere with the opportune time to meet Dorcas Smucker. As I had Jane sign the book Emma was purchasing for me, I just played it cool by saying, “Hello” to Dorcas, without introducing myself.
So on Monday, I did introduce myself to Dorcas, as did the rest of the crowd waiting for her to speak. I now think that they didn't really understand her celebrity. I tried to curb my enthusiasm, and didn't mention to her that I enjoyed her writings or that I had begun reading her blog. I didn't even ask her any questions when she asked if we had any for her. Later in the evening, I did ask her if she watched the Jane Austin series on PBS. She kindly replied that she didn't watch television. I tried to dig myself out of my own question by stating something about the videos probably being available at the library. Clearly, I need to brush up on such facts about an author before I make such suggestions.
Here's the one statement that I jotted down from her talk, well, at least I think it was something close to this...
“Society has it's standard of success...just disregard that.”
Dorcas Smucker

Thursday, February 28, 2008

38 Minutes of Lead

Do you remember those days when you ran twice as fast as you do now? Or should one say, now they're twice as slow?

I took up running, again, January 2007 for many reasons. One being that the big 4-0 was approaching and I needed to prove something to myself. I did it because I was having terrible angst about my two sisters with very difficult health issues. I did it because I thought it was a positive way to "medicate" myself to help fight depression. I did it because I felt like I needed to get strong. I did it to thank God for the healthy enough body that's been given to me.
Running the Eugene Half Marathon was a glorious event. The memories made while running, training and laughing with my "niece" Elsa are priceless. Being in the event was like being the Rose Festival Princess that I never was (ask Elsa about the waving). I also won't forget my infamous saying to the Study Center crowd, "Thanks peeps!"
Last August, I made it through the rigors of the Hood to Coast Relay. My teammates won't forget all the kin I spoke of as we travelled through the hills of Portland. It's amazing how the mind forgets such things as twenty-four hours of numbness.
So now, I'm training for the next Eugene Half Marathon. Last year, most of the time, I trained by myself, or should I say, me and my IPod. This year, I have someone real I'm running with. I think she's related to Jamie Sommers. She runs with her dog, and the last time we ran, I asked if she was needing to buy a leash for me because I was so slow. I've had to learn how to run and talk, and sometimes ask her to talk, because I would hyperventilate if I tried.
I'm also set to run the Cascade Lakes Relay in August. Another crazy long relay. I don't really know what my running goals are of yet. I wouldn't mind finding a charity I could support while running. But I would have to do some research before committing to one specifically. I've already had ethical dilemmas with some of the charities which are beneficiaries of some races. I suppose I'll eventually blog about that. I just don't want to put my running shoes in my mouth...yet.
So for now, I'll just try to keep the leash off of me. 

Monday, February 25, 2008

38 Seconds of Love

It must have started with the "Parent/Child" swims. Emma's love for swimming that is. She's always enjoyed the water, taking lessons or swimming at Triangle Lake, so about three summers ago, she joined a local athletic club's swim team. I dropped her off at the first practice knowing there was going to be some athletic training involved, and she hadn't necessarily had that kind of experience, yet. It wasn't soon after that first practice that she said, "Mom, we just go back and forth." This spring, she's going into her third year of being a member of the Eugene City Swim Club. That's a lot of back and forth!
We spent part of this weekend at the Oregon A's Championships in Corvallis. Emma swam on two relay teams, one swimming Friday, the other on Sunday. She was still recovering from the cold that has occupied our house these past couple of weeks, but she had committed to swimming her events. 
If you've never attended a swim meet, it is difficult to describe what actually takes place, or even how it works. It is a complicated machine of swimmers, coaches, parents, volunteers, officials, and those brave enough to come and watch-the spectators.
We've gone to meets long enough to have a feel for which meets and pools we like and dislike.  I seem to be most concerned about whether or not they have good concessions. 
Waiting is a main event at a swim meet. I cannot say I have mastered all the things one could do while waiting at a swim meet, but I have done one or more of the following: cleaned the car, read, sunbathed, slept, talked on the phone, played cards, and watched movie. The list goes on an on...
It's not only spending most of the weekends that is a time consuming commitment.  There are the drop off/pick-ups at practices, the negotiations of which days Emma will practice, and determining which meets would be the most beneficial for the entire family to attend. But the commitment is worth it. I'm sure the memories she's made with her teammates will last a lifetime. I have watched her grow into a strong athlete and encouraging team member.  Most importantly, she has become a young woman who is respectful of those who have dedicated their time and energy to developing such attributes, her coaches.
 So, for the fam, and Gram to travel to Corvallis, and to wait five hours-plus, is well worth the 38 second swim.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Productivity




This blogging thing is interesting. I have discovered that if I can write about a stick, I can write about anything. I am certain that my life is not boring, but by writing this blog am I trying to convince others that it is not?
 Some time ago, I had a conversation with a friend about blogging, and she wasn't so sure she wanted to read others "journals". I still haven't read many other blogs, but since I have begun my own I have had a bit of a fascination with what others might "show and tell". I'm already asking myself if my blog is good enough or has cool enough pictures, quotes or crafts. But if you know me, you would realize that I'm a titch quirky, and  you may never know what's on this blog.
As I have not produced anything remarkable lately, my family certainly has. The banging that kept me awake the other night was due to my husband working on "something" for the garden. Well, we are a family that enjoys composting (yes, these people like making dirt), so Paul made a tumbler for the dirt. 
Evander not only volunteered his time this morning for "Goodwill Good Turn Day", but also produced his pinewood derby car.  He calls it, "Eat My Smoke...Literally".
These photos do not show the obstacle courses that are throughout the house. These courses are a result of "Typhoid Pindell" which sidelined all our worker people, all week long.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Love Casserole

At Christmas, my husband bought me a MacBook, specifying that I could now write the book I had talked about writing for years. Since then, I have mulled over ideas, asked more questions of others, and thus began the writing process. Well,  Love Casserole is the title of the book that I am really writing. I've thrown the title around for a while amongst my group of friends. We'd be in conversation, and I would often interject, "That would be a part of the book I haven't written yet, you know Love Casserole".  It seems as though I have "interviewed" many of my friends these past few years. I would ask them about their experience at the church they attend, and the interactions they may have with others in their congregation, teachers, etc.,  perhaps I was digging for answers for the "Utopian" church.
 Right now, this book will be sort of a combination of my Christian journey and ideas I have about living in Christian "community". I want my experience to be known, in that, I believe that "beliefs" are formed in part by our experience, and that "authorial intent" is influenced by our experiences and beliefs. Hence, the reader will have some information about how I came up with the thoughts/ideas of what I thinks works in community.
So why the book? I see a need to encourage each other to live our lives in pursuit of God's righteousness. We live in a world that is more interested in survival of the fittest, rather than the idea of "Loving Thy Neighbor as Thyself" that Christ taught. Perhaps the idea of the book emerged out of the frustrations I have with my own church "body". Perhaps this book writing is to remind me of how great a community it is in which I live.
video

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Show and Tell

In the third grade, I brought a stick for show and tell. It wasn't any ordinary stick. It was a stick from my Aunt Nancy's farm in Creswell. We lived in Portland in an apartment building where we didn't have any sticks. OK, we had sticks. But this stick was from far, far away. 
I took some pictures of sticks in my yard to prove that I could blog about just any ol' thing. 
These trellises were made by my sweet, obliging husband from one of the cherry trees in my yard. 
I have yet to plant anything to trellis there, as that seems to be "low on my list", but since I have shown and teld them, I should grow   something on them. 
By the way, my third grade teacher always had to tell me my sharing time was up.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Graciousness

Did you ever notice that feeling you when you arrive at someplace new? Is it the weather? The anticipation of meeting friends? The smells of the people, the town? Is it the feel of the air on your skin? What do you look for-the familiar or the new?

I had a short list of possible to do's while in Indiana, but the list kept shortening as I enjoyed the comfort of my friends' home, and shivered at the idea of heading out into the eleven degree weather(what a treat going out to get the paper in my jammies and robe!).
It was not what we saw and did that impressed me, but the comfort and solace of the company that surprised me. 
It wasn't just the fluffy robe, big cups of coffee, super sticky buns, hearty beef stroganoff, and the comfiest duvet I've ever slept under that made me want to stay, but the graciousness that exuded from my friend.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Time to Write

I made it out of the house! My running partner was busy this morning, so I dropped Emma off at karate and drove onto one of my favorite places in Eugene, the Fifth Street Public Market. This was the time I was to work on my book, but the program I use wouldn't work, some sort of warning kept popping up. I feared my machine would melt down in front of me, and "Love Casserole" would be up in toxic smoke(where's Technoman when I need him?)
Since I just travelled to "Indy", I went to New Twist and bought one of a few things I actually collect. It's a frosted drinking glass with a state, city or country printed oh so vintage-like. I bought the last "Indiana" glass. The young clerk lady ever so carefully wrapped and boxed it for me, so I could give it to Paul to give it to me for one of my Valentine's gifts. 
By the way, I love Marche's food, but most of the time, 99.9% I go to the upstairs cafe and buy a coffee and a cookie. The cookie is a peanut butter, chocolate chip with roasted hazelnuts. Just yumm. 
I'm not sure if I can do the cookie routine while trying to type, as I spent half the time licking my fingers. Yes, I know, they do offer napkins, but what fun is that? They taste like paper.
Usually it's not just any cup of coffee. My good friend introduced me to a warm bowl of latte love. I prefer the cafe au lait with the fluffy, foamy designs, served in a white bowl that warms your hands, and gives you something to hang onto while deep into conversation with a friend.
Drinking one of these is a must when visiting Eugene. 
As much as I love this combo, I almost always forget that even the decaf coffee they use makes me hyper, anxious and talk faster than I already do. I guess my family and friends get to experience the downside to this vice.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A sickening day (from Evander)

It is difficult to type sideways. So, I find myself in an upright position to type my own first post. My husband, Paul, began this for me May of 2006. I must have been too busy to start.
So here I am, with a challenge and a cold. The challenge comes from a class I'm enrolled in,  entitled, Stories for Hire. The instructor suggested starting a blog, and having three people read it.  I haven't written anything of note since college. Not counting letters, and e-mails to friends. My endeavor is to write a book, which I will describe later when I'm not lying sideways. 
Seeing I may have caught this cold from sweet Emma, here's the quote off the wrapper from the chocolate she gave me, "Discover how much your heart can hold".