"Keep scribbling! Something will happen." Frank McCourt

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Spiritual Journey: Love


I sat alone eating at the back-to-school staff breakfast. I was alone because the few friends I have left in the district hadn't arrived, yet. Plus, most of my "school" friends have retired and left me behind. I also may have sat alone because I’m a big ole grump in the mornings and shouldn't talk until about 10 a.m.
A couple of young teachers appeared before me and one said, “Oh, Miss Teresa (she’s always called me that) is eating alone. Can I sit with you?” They sat across from me and we had a great conversation about her first classroom assignment in the district, decorating her room and then (both) reminiscing about their high school days. The one that calls me Miss Teresa turned to the other teacher and said, “Did you know that I was one of her office helpers?” (This was when I worked as the high school principal’s secretary.) The other teacher said, “I wasn’t but I went to the office to bug her a lot.”
My icy heart melted.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV)
I could tell that they had “feelings” for me, and me too, for them. I've encouraged them both, more than once, to teach in our district. I must admit that when I come in contact with any student, they forever leave an imprint on my heart. But these girls were more. One young lady was a part of my son’s graduating class and the other my daughter’s graduating class. The imprint was bigger.
Over the years, I’ve had various students who remember me taking care of them and saying that I was this or that--always good stuff.
Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NIV)
As I grow older, I’m changing. I have no patience for nonsense any longer. I am grumpier past my regular morning grump hours. I struggle with loving others as God needs me to do. Frankly speaking, it's not always easy to love other humans, but people need love, even if they seem unlovable. And not only this, our actions toward each other should show love.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)
There is good reason for God's commandment to love others. We are his eyes, ears, arms in all things.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV) 
Blessings,
-T

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Who the Heck Are You?



Gee, it’s nice to post on IWSG day, again. I miss blogging on a regular basis.
The Insecure Writers Support Group is brought to you by a host of hard working people and created by Alex J. Cavanaugh who is also hardworking. There is a list of IWSG participants here. The IWSG has a website here and you may look them up on Facebook.
This is the question of the month should you want to use it:
Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?
For me, fleshing out characters is an ongoing struggle. More than likely, I have in my mind the story, the setting, maybe a theme, but my characters arrive packaged flat, without faces and lacking personality. I might know if they are male or female, but they do not function in my story as characters.
Now, let me tell you about my loveseat. (WAY to change the subject, T.) I bought this loveseat once from overstock.com. It came delivered to my doorstep, in one box, many pieces, but it was easy to assemble. When it was time for the cushions to be put on the loveseat, I needed to assemble them, too. The instructions read that I must insert the enclosed flattened foam inside each cover. Those same instructions said that once they were released from their packaging, the cushion forms would inflate on their own. Hours later, they were still flat and uncomfortable to sit on. This was not the loveseat that I wanted! So, I made a decision to contact the company the next day to have the loveseat returned. I went to bed.
The next morning, I’m sure you have guessed by now, the cushions had magically come to life, all fluffed and puffed out as cushions go and could now function as intended!
For someone who is character development challenged, I wish it were that easy for me: 1) Take  flat characters out of package. 2) Insert in story. 3) Go to bed. 4) Wake up to magically well rounded, nicely formed characters who will function as needed.
It doesn't happen like that for me. I usually start with a questionnaire kind of thing, asking each, “Who the heck are you?” It's when I say to a character, “Who the heck have you become?” that I know I am on the right track.
To answer the IWSG question, I rarely insert me into my characters. I’m way too boring. But I have wondered, can you write fiction without characters? Hmm.
T.

Monday, August 07, 2017

When you are not who you think you are!

Yes, I own this book!
I like a good fairytale. So when a quiz, on the internet, lured me in, a quiz that could determine which Disney character  I am most like, I had to take it. I admit that I was certain the quiz would label me a Cinderella since I know her story better than anyone, in fairytale land. I mean, I pretended to be her every chance I got, in my childhood, not to mention that I find my life in ashes more times than I care to count. 

Let's start with 10 ways my life does not parallel Cinderella’s life:

1. My mother did not die when I was a youth. Therefore...

2. My father did not remarry or give me a wicked stepmother and two equally wicked stepsisters.

3. I did not have blond hair as a child/a teen/young adult (Disney version of hair).

4. My childhood home did not have a fireplace with ashes. 

5. I’ve yet to meet my fairy godmother, although I’m fair-ly certain she is out there somewhere. It’s just something a girl knows.

6. I’ve never successfully grown pumpkins so there would be none to turn into a carriage. 

7. I’ve never owned or tried on a glass slipper, let alone worn two.

8. Not once has any rat, mouse or bird ever spoken to me in my native language or helped me in any way attend a ball. Maybe because…

9. I’ve never attended a ball, in a castle, or danced with a prince--ever in my life.

10. I’ve never had a prince pursue me. However, I did marry a King, once-upon-a-time. We did not live happily ever after. True story.

Here are the similarities between Cinderella and me:

1. We're both females.

The Disney quiz revealed that I am not a Cinderella, but an Anna! “Who the heck is Anna?” I said out loud at the time. So I looked her up, and she’s a not so shabby character in the movie Frozen. And yes, I have watched Frozen, but I guess Anna didn’t stick in my brain as Cinderella did. 

The quiz results on being an Anna:  

“You’re fun, friendly, and slightly klutzy. You’re always up for an adventure and family comes first for you.”

Well they got the klutzy part correct. 

-T

Note 1: I've added a Millie tab. Note 2: Keep an eye out for a Ruralhood post on Saturday. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

When things happen


A pic of Millie, the Mal-Shi...
 just because.
For a while, I will mostly be posting at the neglected Ruralhood blog. I started The Ruralhood to tell my thoughts and stories of rural living as a young person. I share memories there so that they won’t (or might not) be lost.
Like everyone else, when bad things happen, we struggle. Our current struggle comes from the loss of a family member and missing him. My dad passed away in a hurry, March 13, 2017 (more about that later, at The Ruralhood). He was buried on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, which made me smile as if he ordered up the date. We're Irish-ish. Dad's family (of origin)  had mostly red hair--and temper. Therefore, road rage comes easy for me. We are sad about his absence, but what can a person do when something like this happens? It's either stop living or move forward. He ALWAYS moved forward. None of this, I'll sit down and let life's happenings crush me. He was forward thinking.
Random thoughts because...that is who I am:
  • A cousin told me at my dad’s viewing that he had read some of my posts at The Ruralhood. Who doesn't like when people read what you write (and tell you so)? Flattering, and yet, I felt exposed? So funny.
  • My mom has been reading my dad’s blog posts since his death. It’s been a way to connect. She feels so lost without him. I reread his blog, too, but while he was hospitalized. Mom hears Dad's voice through his writing. Keep that in your mind while you write. Our voice shows up in our writing. So.very.cool.
  • In the three years, since Millie bullied her way in came home with me, she has been a bit standoffish to other people, except for my daughter who "may" hold and "may" pet her. When my other family members visit, I can tell Millie wants to join in especially with the grandkids, but she doesn't. Not long after my dad’s passing, my family was at my house. Millie walked to my mom, put her front feet up on my mom’s lap and wiggled her butt like she does when she wants help up. Millie requests. I tend to serve. Not only did she sit there, Millie let Mom pet her and for a long time. Millie is a therapy dog in her heart. Who knew? 
At The Ruralhood, I'm talking about sewing in the 1970s part 2, if you want to read it. The final post on it is next week, I promise.



Saturday, May 06, 2017

Millie and Selfies and The Ruralhood





I need to spend some time at The Ruralhood, reminiscing. If I'm not here, then I'll be...there for a while.