Lissa Marie Niederer

Thoughts about faith, family, books, and how I'm trying to make them all fit together!


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A Sneak Peek For You, Friends

The way I figure it, if I share the first chapter of Close To Me with you, then I am committed and responsible to finish this book in a timely manner. So, here you go. I hope you enjoy meeting Charlie, because I am just in love with her. And I hereby promise to vigorously attempt finishing a draft of her story by the new year. Cheers, friends! 🙂

Chapter 1                                              cropped-heart-page.jpg

 2010

A very pregnant Charlie Malone flopped back onto her left side in bed, yanking and contorting her body pillow until it twined supportively under her swollen abdomen and between her legs. The sheets, slightly dampened from the summer heat and from the rain, were bunched around her husband’s feet, and he stirred as she kicked them down further. It was a struggle to settle her weight into a comfortable position in their full-sized bed, and since it had been raining for days on top of days, Charlie felt like every part of her over-sized body stuck together upon contact. She was hot and distracted and she wanted her baby.

“Sleeping with you is like sleeping with a trout these days,” Gavin muttered from a state of semi-consciousness. He reached out and squeezed her shoulder.

Even in the dark, Charlie could see that her husband was smiling. What a good sport. “Beached whale is more like it,” she joked back.

She thought about the life inside of her – a daughter they had been told at their twenty week ultrasound – and what she would look like and be like. She and Gavin prayed for the baby almost every day, that their daughter would be healthy, and that she would come soon. Charlie was a week late now. Every little twinge, every tiny ache, she questioned. Is it time? Will I get to hold my daughter today? She was fully expectant that sleep would be hard to come by once little Emily was born, but it had to be better than this insomnia. At least she would have her baby.

Charlie listened to Gavin already snoring lightly beside her, watched the green numbers on the bedside table tick by the minutes. The baby, like a wave, rolled beneath the tight skin of her belly. Eventually, just before two a.m., the sounds of the rain pattering against the windows of their third-story apartment ceased. “Gavin?” she whispered. “Psssst, are you sleeping?”

“Hmm? Why would I do that?” he mumbled.

“Gavin!”

He jolted upright in bed and tousled his face as if to dislodge the exhaustion from his body. “Sorry, what? Is it the baby?”

“No, no, I’m sorry. I just can’t sleep. Will you take me for a drive?”

Gavin leaned onto one elbow and peered at the clock over the ever-expanding mass that was his wife. “It’s two o’clock, Charlie. We could go in the morning…”  He slumped over and laid his head in what was left of her lap.

“Ya know,” Charlie began, running her fingers persuasively through her husband’s sandy hair, “Once the baby comes, we’re not going to have a lot of opportunity for spontaneous midnight joyrides.”

An acquiescent groan from somewhere deep inside her husband let her know that she had won, and ten minutes later her darling sleep-deprived husband was carefully maneuvering her down the rain-slicked back staircase of their building.  She wore a soft pink maternity night gown and a pair of Crocs, the last shoe on the planet that would fit her puffy feet.

“I’m going to get you out of this apartment one of these days,” Gavin said, clutching her elbow.

Her fifth grade teacher’s salary and his non-existent grad student income didn’t make for much of a financial cushion, but Charlie didn’t mind as much as Gavin did. “I don’t care about that,” she said, as he lowered her into the passenger’s seat. “You know you’re my home.” Charlie knew this waiting couldn’t be much easier on him than it was on her, but there was no one she would rather have on this adventure with her. “I love you.”

“I love you, too, Wife.” He gave her a kiss and closed the passenger’s side door.

The August pavement was still a shiny black from the evening’s storm as Gavin guided their little sedan away from town, towards the more rural towns outside Bangor. Fog gathered in pockets where the road dipped and cracked, evidence of the hard winter behind them, and great oaks and pines cut the moonlight where it fell in strange patches between the frost heaves. Every few yards, a frog attempted the transversal from one ditch to the other, and Gavin dutifully slowed to let them pass.

“Look out!” Charlie screeched suddenly as one such tiny amphibian narrowly escaped death-by-tire on the street in front of them.

Gavin stomped on the breaks in the middle of the deserted road and took a minute to release the over-intake of air that he’d inhaled at Charlie’s outburst. Once he’d caught his breath, he reached over and put a hand on her pregnant belly. “Wife?”

“Yes, Husband?” They’d been married almost a year and a half now, but she still found the silly nicknames that they’d started using on their honeymoon endearing. She could also tell by the look on his face that she’d startled him quite sufficiently. Oops.

“I understand that your maternal instincts have kicked in and that the little froggie-woggies are very cute and all, but I’m slightly more concerned with keeping us on the road at this point. ‘K?”

Charlie stuck out her bottom lip as far as she could muster and shifted her weight in the seat. “Sorry. We can turn around and go back whenever you want to.”

“Do you think you might be able to fall asleep now?”

“Maybe.”

“Okay.” He did a three-point turn and headed toward a town that was just beginning to glow with the first faint signs of morning. When they were safely back at their apartment, Gavin kissed her again. “Do you want to pray before we go back to sleep?”

Charlie nodded. He took her hand.

“Heavenly Father, You said it was not good for man to be alone, and I am so grateful that You saw fit to bless me with this amazing little family. Please wrap your loving arms around my Charlotte tonight. Give her rest. Draw up in her wells of energy and strength, with which she can bring our baby safely into this world. And please Lord, if it’s not too much to ask, make it soon!”

Charlie chuckled and squeezed Gavin’s hand.

“In Jesus’ name, we pray…”

“Amen,” Charlie finished.

“Amen.” He brushed a red tendril of hair from his wife’s eyes, a familiar gesture that still made Charlie’s heart flutter. “Now you get some rest, hear? That beautiful little boy or girl could decide he or she is ready any minute.”

He?!” Charlie exclaimed.

“Sure, the ultrasound technician said those things aren’t 100%, remember?”

“Oh, it’s a girl.”

“You’re so sure, huh?”

“Yup. If it’s a boy, I’ll let you name him anything you want. Wolverine, Sherman, Michael Jordan, whatever you want.”

“I like Andrew.”

“That’s fine. It’s a girl,” Charlie murmured, feeling herself sinking towards sleep.

“Well, if you are right, I hope she looks just like you.”

“Now you’re just sucking up.” She closed her eyes.

“Am not.” He kissed her. “Rest now, beautiful.”

Charlie slept soundly for the next couple hours, dreaming of summer rains and the smell of the damp earth, of her husband’s loving arms and the child that would soon come to nestle between them in their little bed.  Sometime after dawn, she felt Gavin leave, sensed the cool absence beside her on the other side of the mattress. The shower ran for a minute before the sound of the water and the growing warmth of the sun filtering through the gauze curtains lulled her back to sleep.

***

When Charlie opened her eyes again, the room was bright and hot, the sun having matured from its earlier feeble rays to a full-fledged summer scorcher.  For a minute she laid there attempting to orient herself to the day. She’d started her maternity leave at the camp where she worked summer vacations from  teaching almost two weeks ago, on account of Dr. Pare’s concerns about her blood pressure, and since decreasing her responsibilities to minor household chores and sorting baby clothes, she’d had the hardest time keeping track of what day of the week it was. The house was quiet; had Gavin gone to work already? No, last night was Friday, and today they were going to Gavin’s parents’ anniversary dinner.

Lynne and Gregory had been married for twenty-five years, Charlie mused, using one arm to support her massive belly while she shifted and heaved to a sitting position. She hoped she and Gavin would be like that one day – madly in love, a little feisty, eagerly anticipating the arrival of their first grandbaby. Where was Gavin anyway?

“Gavin?” she hollered into the empty apartment. She swung her puffy feet around to the floor and made her way to the kitchen, rubbing her back which had begun to ache.

On the island was a cup of coffee and a note.

 

Hey Wife,

Gone for bagels. Start with this, and I’ll toast you and Babykins an everything with extra cream cheese when I get back. Thanks for the spontaneous midnight joyride. Love you.

Hubs

 

Charlie looked at the clock. How long had she been asleep? When did Gavin leave this note? A tiny pit of worry rose up in Charlie’s throat as she pressed a palm against the side of the coffee mug. It was cold.

The phone rang, and Charlie snatched it from the receiver before it could ring twice. “Gavin?”

“No sweetie, it’s Lynne. I was just calling to see if you were still coming to dinner tonight. Is everything okay?”

“I’m not sure. I just woke up and Gavin’s not here but there’s this note and my coffee is cold.” She pinned the phone between her ear and shoulder and used both hands to rub the remnants of grogginess from her face. She knew she wasn’t making any sense.

“Oh. You don’t know where he went?”

“The note says he went for bagels, but I think he’s been gone for a while, and something doesn’t feel right.” That subtle ache that had started in her lower back was dull, but persistent. She massaged it while she rehashed the last few hours to her mother-in-law, ending with the most recent development of her physical discomforts.

“Do you think labor is starting?” Lynne Malone was calm, but Charlie could hear the concern creeping into her voice as they tried to figure out how long ago Gavin had left the house.

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I felt kind of crampy last night—”

Lynne had started to ask her something else, but Charlie’s attention was divided now, honing in on the sound of footsteps thumping up the back stairwell.

“Hang on a minute, Mom. I think he might be back!” Charlie set the phone on the kitchen counter and hobbled as quickly as she could through the screen door and out onto the back porch. Peering over the third floor balcony, she spotted a uniformed officer ascending the steps, and her heart caught in her throat. She held her breath as she watched him pass the first floor landing, and then the second. There were only two apartments per floor and there was a separate staircase for 3B. He was coming to their apartment.

Like a bad dream, Charlie’s fear made her want to both laugh and cry in the same instant. Another wave of achiness throbbed in her lower back, stronger this time, hot and nauseating. If she was in labor, this was not what Charlie had expected it to feel like. Wasn’t her stomach supposed to hurt? Where was Gavin? What was happening? As if in response to her plea for answers, a warm rush of clear fluid suddenly began flowing down Charlie’s legs and pooling around her feet. “What do I do?!” she cried out to the officer, who had seen what was happening and was taking the last flight of steps by twos.

“Mrs. Malone? I’m Officer Stuart with the Bangor P.D. I’m going to help you. How far apart are your contractions?”

“I don’t know! Where is Gavin? Please, where’s my husband?”

“Let’s get you back inside, Ma’am.” His voice was too kind, remorseful almost.

Charlie let him take her inside and lower her into a chair at the kitchen table. She kept her eyes trained on the officer’s face as he fussed about the kitchen looking for a towel to put under her legs. “Please,” she said again, with more force.

The man took a deep breath and shook his head. “Your husband was in an accident about two hours ago. I’m sorry. He’s not—he didn’t survive the crash.”

The man was still talking, but Charlie was hearing none of the explanation that followed. The words were garbled, soft, as if she were hearing them from underwater, and the pain of another contraction was making her head feel fuzzy and unable to focus.

“Is there someone I can call for you?”

Charlie pointed to the phone on the counter where presumably her mother-in-law was still waiting for news. Then she bent over and threw up on the floor.

The officer had stepped back outside and was pacing the length of the porch while he talked to someone else on his cell phone. Charlie heard, Victim’s wife… dispatch an ambulance… baby’s coming… Charlie wasn’t sure if he had spoken to Lynne or not; she was still having trouble focusing, though the nausea and backache had subsided. She couldn’t go to the hospital without Gavin. They had a plan. Gavin was supposed to bring the suitcase down to the car while she called ahead to let Dr. Pare know they were coming. Then Gavin would come back and help her down the stairs. None of this was in the plan. She needed to wait. Yes, water’s broke… maybe five? Six minutes?… Back pain… Right… No, he didn’t make it. I don’t know. I don’t know.

***

Lynne Malone flew into Charlie’s hospital room not half an hour after the nurse had wheeled her in there. Bleary-eyed, she sat down immediately on the side of the bed and, wrapping her arms protectively around her daughter-in-law, began to pray.

“Lord Jesus, we know there is a season for all things, and there will be a time to weep and to mourn, but right now, Lord, we need for You to grant us Your peace and Your strength. You’ve taken our Gavin to sit at Your feet—” Lynne sniffled and drew away from Charlie long enough to blow her nose. “Now, please, deliver his child to us swiftly and safely, to bring joy and comfort to Charlie and the rest of our family. Amen.”

Charlie didn’t say “Amen.” As the hours passed and strangers wafted in and out of Charlie’s room, checking various machines and body parts, Lynne—Gavin’s own mother for goodness’ sake—somehow managed to continue in prayer. Charlie didn’t say “Amen” to any of the prayers. She didn’t want to talk to God. She didn’t want to talk to anybody. Within herself, Charlie tried to focus on whatever she could to get her through the progressing stages of her labor, but her thoughts kept returning to one thing, one question. How could she reconcile the God she thought she knew with this God, a being who was either less powerful than she had been led to believe, or far, far less benevolent? She didn’t see a way. Without parents of her own, without Gavin, without a God, Charlie felt suddenly and desperately alone. Homesick, but without a way home.

Medical personnel whispered to each other in the hall just outside her room, looking at Charlie from the corners of their eyes. When the nursing staff changed over, Charlie saw one of the women put a hand over her mouth and shake her head. They were being informed of Charlie’s “special circumstances,” and all she wanted to do was go back to her home, to her bed. Maybe Gavin would be there. At least the back pains had stopped. Dr. Pare said her baby girl had been facing backward, causing the pressure in her lower back, but now she had turned and Charlie could feel the pain acutely in her swollen belly.

“Would you like to go ahead with an epidural?” someone asked her.

Charlie shook her head. The pain reminded her of her reality, that she wasn’t just dreaming a strange, terrible dream.

Deftly, another contraction—almost on top of the last—gripped her, slithered down her abdomen until she felt she couldn’t endure it any longer, and then ended as swiftly as it had arrived. She took a deep breath. She didn’t want to do this anymore. She didn’t even know if she was capable.

***

“It’s a boy!”

Someone laid a naked little bundle of child on Charlie’s chest, and with him came the sudden understanding that her life was completely and irrevocably altered. The tears she had been holding back were threatening to erupt, but the tightening in her chest that always came before she cried did not feel completely because of the loss she had just suffered. There was joy in it, too, and it was powerful.

He was beautiful. He.

Charlie felt as though she had just birthed an entire planet. The squirming, red little person that she had just brought into the world was looking at her with bottomless blue eyes, Gavin’s eyes. This baby that had been part of her for so long was, all at once, a world of his own, separate from her and complete. It seemed to Charlie that he had his own moons, his own mountains and valleys and oceans, his own atmosphere. A nurse put the baby to Charlie’s breast, covering them both with a warm blanket so that, for a minute, it seemed as if they were back folded one inside the other. Something swelled in Charlie’s heart, stopping for a moment in her throat and then tumbling out over her cheeks as the tears she had been swallowing all through her labor. She let them flow now, unable to believe how fiercely she could love such a sudden and beautiful mystery. A son. Her son.

“His name is Andrew,” Charlie told the nurses, who were weeping themselves. “Andrew Gavin Malone.”

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave me feedback on this beginning. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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What I Learned From The Quiet

Sorry for the radio silence, friends. Remember in the spring when I said I was going to take a break from writing and marketing? To have my cup refilled? Well, I did it. But it wasn’t as easy as I expected it would be. Here are a few things I will try to remember in the future.

rest

1. Rest is not an intermission in the action of our lives. It is itself an action – a purposeful decision to grant stillness supremacy over doing/moving/speaking/acting.

When I first got started in June, I thought the resting and refilling would just sort of… happen. Instead of sleeping/praying/reading/resting/enjoying nature, etc, I spent a lot of my hours “off” from writing on Facebook, or watching t.v., or playing games. I didn’t have a plan, and so distractions came in and sapped the effectiveness from my intended “down time.” It was summer, and the kids were on vacation from school, so of course we also had lots of family time and fun in the sun. We went to Disney, took a lot of day trips, and got some house projects done. But still, none of these things rejuvenated me the way I had realized, way back at the start of the summer, I really needed. By August, I was more tired, overwhelmed by “to-do”s, and uninspired to write than ever. I had not rested proactively enough.  

2. True rest, the kind that is mindful and pure, takes far less time to accomplish the same ends than longer hours of “rest” that is perfunctory or interrupted. 

So, as I was saying, by August, I was exhausted. I still feel awful for saying this, but I felt like if one more small person said, “Mom, can I…” or “Mom, did you know…” or “Mom, I need…” or “Mom, will you…” that actual cartoon-style steam might burst forth from my ears. When I forget to take breaks for myself, my normal, day-to-day responsibilities seem like insurmountable tasks. And I had let myself get to the point that the thought of having to boil a box of spaghetti made me want to cry. 

Finally, my husband (Godblesshim) told me I was going away. I was to be gone two days and one night. I could go wherever I wanted but I was NOT to come home earlier than instructed. I could take a friend, but nobody that would require I pamper, placate, or provide for them in any way, shape, or form. (I took my mother. Who better to take care of ME than the woman who raised me? Who I now consider one of my very best friends? Love ya, Mom!) 

We went to our family camp on Swan Lake, near Belfast, Maine. After a detour to see the Hope Elephants, which were amazing and inspiring in their own right, we spent the rest of the weekend relaxing in the sun, listening to the lake lapping at the rocks on the shore, reading, sleeping, talking, not talking. It was heavenly. It was peaceful. It was just what I needed.

And you know what? Two days was plenty. There were no pinging Facebook messages or noisy radio advertisements or children or chores or anything else that required my immediate attention. And so, by the end of Day 2, I was refreshed and ready for action. I missed Hans and my babies and even had the urge to do a few dishes or something. 

The understanding that two days of real rest healed months worth of neglecting myself led me to my new mission: Carve a place in my life for REGULAR, short doses of uninterrupted peace and quiet. An hour here or there should, I hope, be enough to prevent the buildup of stress that I allowed to happen this summer. 

Here are a few of my favorite pics from my “momcation.”

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School’s back in session now, and I’m feeling both comforted and motivated by the return to our regular routine. A few different stories have been pressing on my heartstrings of late, so it seems it is time to get back to the work of creating! With plenty of breaks for rest and quiet of course… 🙂

What about you? How were your summers? Have you read or written anything share-worthy? Are you sapped of all energies or are you rested? Please, share your comments here! I’d love to hear from you.

 


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You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup

empty cup

Thanks, first of all, to those of you who helped the official launch for The Sky We Walk Upon to be such a memorable occasion. The whole day was a real affirmation to me that I am in the right place, doing the right thing. If you weren’t there and would like to see pictures, you can see them on my Facebook page. Feel free to stop in and say hello!

I had planned on sitting down the first day after launch weekend and hammering out page after page of Book #2. It has a title, an outline, and about the first 50 pages, so I felt confident about being able to sit down and really make some progress towards the next step of my long-term goal of becoming a traditionally published Christian author. I was so excited about my new cast of characters, about the things I am planning to show them. (And I still am. Just wait. You’re gonna love it!)

So. Toddler nap time came around late Monday morning (this is my usual time to write), and the house was quiet, the coffee cup steaming dreamily beside me. I sat poised at the computer, eagerly anticipating a flow of creativity to bring my dear new heroine, Charlie, to the next place in her journey–one that began with such promise and gusto!

Nothing. Nada. The words just weren’t coming. I backed off, finished my coffee, and tried again.

Still nothing.

Looking to my coffee cup, at the last creamy dredges curved along the bottom, it occurred to me that I was feeling rather empty myself.

I want to tell stories that both entertain and encourage people to have faith in the hope that Christ offers to each of us. But I can’t share that message with others if I am not actively seeking to nurture my own faith on a daily basis. I have always loved God, but I am still learning about His word and what it means in this life. And I have been so busy trying to fit in all this publishing stuff on top of my regular responsibilities, that I haven’t been taking the time I need to allow God to fill my own spiritual cup. I’ve been pouring and pouring from my reserves without boiling water for a refill.

sleeping-outsideHow many people in different situations and walks of life experience this kind of a personal drought? A lot, I think. Consider a parent, giving and giving all the time without taking care of their own needs. After some undetermined number of pancakes flipped, diapers changed, arguments settled, etc. the well from which joy and patience flow will run dry. But a few hours for that parent to recharge and do something for themselves will return them to their children a much happier person, much more prepared to do the job efficiently and with gladness. To serve others, we must keep our batteries charged. It is the reason we are programmed to sleep at night, to allow strength to return to our minds and bodies. Even God rested on the seventh day, right?

So, whoever you are, whatever you do, I urge you this morning to consider the following: Resting is not selfish. It is not unproductive. It is admirable to want to give, to serve, to share. But I encourage you to find something you can do for yourself, to refill your cup.

For me, I feel like I need to take some time to answer the call to discipleship in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” I can’t fill up my own cup, but God can. So I’m going to take a couple of weeks off from writing, marketing, networking, blogging, doing doing doing, and let Him. I’m sorry if you are a new follower, as you won’t see a new post from me for a time. But I’ll be back soon. Ready to pour! 🙂


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My First Book, For Your Amusement

As some of you may know, we are having the launch party for my first book, The Sky We Walk Upon this Saturday. But if we are getting technical here, it’s not really my first book. THIS was my first book. Enjoy. 🙂

ImageThe Lost Rabbit, by Lissa White

ImageOne day thar was a little girl. She hade a pet rabbit. it was a white one. the rabbits name was tommy. the girls name was Susan. Susan loved her rabbit very much. thay hade a faverit three thay allways play in.

(Susan is sporting a fantastic shirt that bears the declaration: I love my rabbit. She is a very devout pet owner.)

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One day win Susan saw that the cade door was opened she looked evry were for him. but he was nower to be seen.

(!ono!! cries Susan, tears falling from her empty eyes. Susan also appears to be missing hands, feet, and a neck, but that’s okay. As long as she can find Tommy.)

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She saide to her mother do you know ware my rabbit is? but she said no.

(The question mark should be backwards, but I don’t know how to do that on the computer. And then…wait, wait, this is the best… “BOWHOW” cries Susan!)

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the next day win she got out of bed she hered a nouse under her bed. is that you

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it was!! tommy hade ben under the bed all nihgt.

(“I love you!! I love you!! I love you!!” says Susan, whose rabbit has not only been discovered under the bed, but has also grown to half Susan’s size over the course of his short bunny life.)

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and win she looked under the bed to see if he made any masis….. she saw that tommy had babbys. and all her freinds got a rabbit. Susan and tommy were glad to be alone.

THE END

(FYI: masis = messes. Tommy–a male, as suggested by the use of the masculine pronouns “he” and “him”–has babbys. Babbys=babies. Apparently, I had not yet had “the talk” that would have enlightened me to the fact that my story was a feat of nature, a conundrum in the world of reproduction. But, they all lived happily ever after, I guess.)

Incidentally, one of the main characters in The Sky We Walk Upon is also named Tommy. You may like to take a peek at that one sometime, though there aren’t any rabbits.

Both books will be on hand at the open house/launch Saturday, May 31st 2014 from 2-4 p.m. Riverback Dance Club, 335 Water Street, Augusta, ME 04330. Come celebrate.

 


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The Hours I Spend

ImageHow do you find time to write? Lately, people have been asking me that a lot. And the answer is really simple: I don’t.

At 6:00 in the morning, it is time to rouse the masses. There are breakfasts to be made, snacks to be packed, assignment notebooks to be checked, teeth to brush, coffee to be brewed (For Heaven’s sake, don’t forget the coffee!), Spiderman blankets to be smoothed over bunk beds, buses to catch. In the short calm that settles when husbandandsons are out the door for the day, there are e-mails to be answered, book launch inquiries to send, and dentist appointments to be scheduled. Throughout the day, there are chores to be done, masterpieces to be pressed out of Play-Doh, boo boos to be kissed, lunch to be made and then cleaned up after, stories to be read, potty training to practice, and a grandmother who sometimes needs to be chauffeured to various local destinations. All of which I am happy to have the chance to do, but it takes time.

By 3:30, the boys are off the bus. I gather my hugs and kisses, my tales of the day’s escapades in first and third grade, my requests for food. And then more food. I play. I answer math questions. I prep supper.

I love when my husband gets home. We’re besties. But this also means that it is time to round everyone up to the table. I have help, but I am the ringmaster, which can be tiring in itself. Next comes cleanup–dishes and tiny bodies both. Bedtime stories! Prayer. If these things are not happening, it means it is my night to get out for my fitness classes, another thing for which it is not easy to find time.

The point is, if you “try to find time” for something you want to do, it won’t be there. The day to day necessities of being a person (mother or not, employed outside the home or not, married or not!) will take up every minute of your day if you allow it to happen.

I do not find time to write. I make it.

I do not find time to pray, or study, or exercise. I make it.

It means putting other things on hold sometimes, considering my priorities. No, Lissa, now is not a good time to catch up on Hart of Dixie (or whatever other current obsession I am indulging in). You haven’t written your 1,000 words today.

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Now I’m not pretending to know what things in your life should take priority over another. That’s for you to decide. And I am certainly not trying to imply that making time is easy for me. It is not. It is so difficult that sometimes I wonder why I even try. But then somebody tells me they’ve finished reading my book, and that it made them feel something, and when will there be something else for them to read?

That is why I make time. To create. To share something that is real and intimate. To connect.


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The Lobster Award?

My seven year old was sitting nearby the computer when I opened my e-mail yesterday morning and discovered my blog has been nominated for an award. “A Liebster Award?” I mused out loud. “A lobster award?” my son mimicked. Might as well have been, because I had no idea what a Liebster Award was.

As it turns out, a Liebster Award is a chain-letter-type recognition that is meant to welcome promising new online writers to the blogging scene. Well, now, that is just pretty nice! So, Sarah Foster, of Faith is Found, Faith is Alive, thanks for thinking of me! 

 

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Step 1 – Nominate 5-11 Blogs You Like To Read

  1. La’Chaim
  2. Crazy, Messy, Beautiful
  3. Joy In This Journey
  4. The Mommy Talks
  5. Apparently I can only think of 4.

 

Step 2 – 3 Random Facts About Me

  • I was born in upstate New York and lived in a college dorm as a baby, where my dad was the resident director. Been a Mainer since I was about 4 I think.
  • I LOVE, LOVE yard sales.
  • I am afraid of ostriches.

Step 3 – Answer 11 Questions From My Nominator

  1.  Why do you enjoy blogging? Blogging gets me practicing the art of writing on a regular basis and allows me to connect with a community of people with similar interests. It has also allowed me to share the process of writing, publishing, and selling my first novel, The Sky We Walk Upon
  2. What brings you happiness? God, my husband, my three sweet kiddos, sunrises, chocolate, coffee, mountaintops, summer rainstorms, puzzles, belly laughs, weddings, playing volleyball, finally being brave when I feel anything but, apple picking, Christmas morning, fireplaces, butterflies, finding the right words at the right moment.
  3. What is one thing that helps you get through a difficult period in your life? Prayer.
  4. What is one goal that you would like to work towards, right now? Completing my second novel.
  5. What is one thing that is stopping you from moving toward your goal? Ummm, potty training my toddler? LOL!
  6. How can you move past that one thing and just go for it? What a great question, Sarah. Anybody have any suggestions?
  7. If you had copious amounts of money, what would you do with it? Support deserving charities and build our dream home, complete with a family friend, hypoallergenic canine. 
  8. If you had no money, no food, no housing, who would you reach out to? God. And then my mother… 
  9. Could you be the “one” someone reaches out to? are you willing to be? Sure. We don’t have a lot, but we like to share. 🙂
  10. And because this is a blog focused on Jesus and my faith, I have to ask, Have you accepted Jesus into your hearts? Yes. 
  11. What is the one greatest thing in your life? See #10. And the greatest thing I have on this earth? My husband. He is the most amazing partner and friend I could ever imagine. 

 

Step 4 – 11 New Questions For My Nominees!

  1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  2. Did you become it? Do you still want to be it?
  3. Is white chocolate actually chocolate?
  4. If you could host a dinner part with any 5 people, living or dead, who would you invite?
  5. What was the last thing that you hand wrote?
  6. What one chore would you love to never have to do again?
  7. What is your favorite book?
  8. If you know the Bible, what is your favorite verse? If not, what is your favorite quote?
  9. Who would play you in the movie of your life?
  10. What thing in your life are you the most grateful for?
  11. In one sentence, what is your blog about?


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Do It Today

On my way to drop my husband off at work this morning, I saw a runner headed up the steep-ish hill of Capitol SImagetreet, and he was moving along at a pretty good clip. I was impressed… and a little jealous. Since becoming a person who is in decent physical condition (meaning I am now at a “healthy” BMI and enjoy clean eating and being active), I have always wished I could run. But I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when I was in third grade, and enough damage has been done to my knees that running, as fun as it is for me, results in debilitating joint pain the next day. Low impact exercise is the way to go for this kid. But I digress. 

My thoughts as I watched the man run up the hill were something along the lines of Running looks like so much fun. Maybe I should try it again one of these days. And then something happened.

I dropped my husband off at his place of employment at the top of Capitol Street, and as I was on my way back down the hill, the runner was just nearing the top. As he crossed the intersection of Capitol and one of the side streets, an older woman, not having seen the speedy pedestrian, rolled through her stop sign and began to turn right onto Capitol Street, only narrowly missing the man. If he had not literally leaped over the corner of this woman’s hood, she would have hit him. My heart stopped.

Every once in a while, a ripple from someone else’s wave reaches us, reminding us of our temporariness on this earth. The near miss to which I was witness this morning was certainly not the first time that I have been made acutely aware of my unknown number of remaining days. My own dear dad is a leukemia survivor! One would think that such an enormously scary life event would cause the truth of our fleeting presence to stay forefront in my mind. But, honestly, it is easy to forget. It is easy to wake up in the morning and wait, wait for the next thing, the next phase of life, the next bracket of twenty-four hours to come and give me a chance to accomplish the things I am setting aside today

But I’m not promised a tomorrow. Are you?

Now, short of a miracle (of which I am surely a believer!) or an extremely expensive knee surgery, I am not going to take up running. It would not be physically possible for me. But that’s not really what got me thinking.

What got me thinking was the fact that that man, unbeknownst to him, might have kissed his family goodbye for the last time this morning when he left for his run. He obviously isn’t procrastinating in the health and fitness department, but what other dreams/projects/hopes/ideas in his life might be shelved right now, under the assumption that a more convenient moment will come along? What things am I waiting for? What is left undone? Unsaid?Image

Want to become a runner? Climb a mountain? Give up smoking? Do it today. Want to write a book? Learn how to paint? Start talking to God? Do it today. Have someone you want to reconnect with? Apologize to? Thank? Tell them you love them? Do it today. 

None of us are promised a tomorrow. We know that. Let’s take a lesson from the runner on Capitol Street, and remember.