Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A List of Rainy Thoughts

1. The rains have begun in Oregon, which sounds like a deep-voiced narration on a National Geographic film. We hope the adult female of the species manages to avoid SAD this season.

2. I love being home alone. Summer is nice, in its way, with people in and out, eating and sleeping and working at odd hours. But this time of year, now that school and community college have started, and I have predictable times alone at home, this is blissful.

2a. To my children: I love you a lot, especially when you're gone all day and I have time to recharge my batteries, and then you come home all beautiful and hungry and talkative.

2b. I'm told there's someone in this community, an adult female mom, who hates being home alone. Really. She has a big family so it doesn't happen often, but when it does, I was told, she calls up a friend to come hang out with her so she doesn't have to be alone.

3. We "did corn" last week. 450 ears in two afternoons and it was amazingly efficient, with everyone helping, and Bonnie the SIL came by and saw us and helped with the cutting for a while.

4. I have been thinking and praying a lot about writing. As in, do I quit or take it seriously? Is it a calling or not? So far I've always been all slap-dash, hurry-up, impulsive, fly by the seat of my skirt, do the least possible work, screech in right under the deadline. And I've never felt like either God or I ought to take this too seriously. I mean, why bother God about a post describing orange pop sprayed on the ceiling? But I feel like I need to either quit writing entirely or take it seriously, as in, plan ahead, write every day, send more stuff out, edit it better, do more marketing. Or in other words quit nibbling on the dinner rolls and either leave the table or dig in and eat the steak and potatoes and spinach.

4a. But how do you take writing seriously without becoming one of those pitiful dreadful earnest desperate writers who think they are sending out almost The Very Words of God and can't understand why they have so much trouble getting published?

4b. I was praying about this the other day and then opened my One Year Bible to the proper page and immediately read this in Isaiah:

2 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; . . .
4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
. . .
14 In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
it will not come near you.
15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
whoever attacks you will surrender to you. . . .
17 no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.

Well! That seemed pretty direct, if slightly out of context, and I really liked that part about whoever attacks you will surrender to you, thinking of that horrible phone caller recently. However, I was like Gideon and asked for an additional sign.

5. Someone I know thinks we all have hard lives, some of us just have more obviously hard lives than others. I disagree. I think some people have much easier lives than others.

6. Sometimes life brings its own plateful of suffering that is very personal and private, and it goes on and on, and you can't talk about it, and you think you are stuck in this forever because God has forgotten and no one else knows. And then suddenly the wind shifts and it turns out God knew all along, and others suspected, and you weren't as alone as you thought.

7. I used to not like Agatha Christie books, with that pompous Hercule Poirot and his moustache and his arrogant way of announcing that he knows exactly what happened and if you weren't so slow and unobservant you'd have caught on too.

7b. But then I picked up The Spies Among Us, a collection of three stories, and loved it, but it's a dangerous book to read on the way to John Day in the wilds of eastern Oregon to visit a young friend in jail, because when you stop for gas at Plum Fierce in Redmond, you look at the heavyset gas station attendant and wonder if he's actually spying for an international outfit hiding in the mountains that's about to overthrow civilization as we know it, and you're very careful about using the restroom for fear someone is hiding there, and they're going to whack you over the head with a rolling pin and switch your clothes with someone who looks just like you, and put that person in the car and Paul won't know the difference, and that person will deliver a secret message to another camp out by the John Day Fossil Beds.

9. I am trying not to compare myself with others or do things out of guilt, but these habits are deeply entrenched.

10. It's become a family joke how easily intimidated I am by people. I always thought my children were all like their dad, utterly oblivious and fearless, but then the other day Jenny said, "I don't want to [do certain activity] because [certain person] intimidates me too much." Yikes. No Fun, to have my words echo back like that.

11. When your children grow up, you cannot make their decisions for them. This is terrifying and sometimes it makes you wish you could go back to the days of dictating who sits where in the van and when they go to bed. But those were also the days of one screaming to another, "Mad-maker!!!" and the mad-maker screaming back, "Jealous-maker!!!" and then for good measure they would shriek, "You...you...VERB!!!" and "You ragged wolf!!!"
So, yes, I don't always like their decisions, but they are friends with each other on Facebook, and they like and link each other's statuses, and when Amy posts gorgeous shots of Jamaica sunsets, Matt and Emily never write "JEALOUS-MAKER!!!" in the comments.

12. Quote of the Day:
"In the Sewing Room on a Piece of Pink Fabric the Cat is Giving Birth."
--Jenny's title for my next book


  1. Leanna Unger9/27/2011 10:53 AM

    So many deep things to think about here, but I did have to chucklle at the title of your next book. :)

  2. I appreciate your #9. It's nice to know someone else struggles with those two issues as well. sigh. I believe it is most commonly a "woman thing" but that def does not make it good or right. I enjoy reading your writings; please don't stop, enjoy the steak and potatoes and spinach!!! :)

  3. Oh Dorcas, you are perfect at what you do...don't change. The Lord may not much care about orange pop on the ceiling, but us mere mortals can sympathize with the situation. If you have children, then something similar has happened in the past. So, we can fully understand the "kiss or kill" feelings!

  4. Just so you know it again: We love your writing. If I could ever write 1/3 as well as you I would be supremely happy. (I know. Comparison-ugh.) But you do inspire me.

    4a: simply hysterical. Also scary.

    5: Agreed

    7b and 11: More hysterics.

    Thank you for The Rainy Thoughts

    Hoping we all avoid SAD this season....

    And I kind of like slap-dash impulsive fly by the seat of your skirt. It seems to work well for you. Blessings!

  5. Dorcas Byler9/28/2011 6:04 AM

    I thought your pen was silent for quite a while. I figured you were processing deep things. Follow your heart. If God asks you to stop writing, then stop. We all would be very sad. If God asks you to press on--do it and let your critics continue to criticize you. Maybe even learn from them. Just know that many of us will be cheering you on!!

  6. Dorcas, your writing is a gift from God; and we are blessed by God through your writing! It is hilarious, deep, heart-wrenching and uniquely you!

  7. Just a thought or two to add to all the others' comments: What would you do if you stopped? What else could you enjoy doing so much? Would it even be possible to stop? I have a feeling it isn't, Dorcas.

  8. Thanks, everyone. I appreciate all your perspectives and encouragement. Dorcas B, thanks for affirming me in whatever I feel led to do. Kathy, I don't know if it's possible to stop, but if I did, I would have more time for making quilts and for ministry, both of which it constantly hurts to say No to.

  9. All the fun goes out of writing when it becomes a SERIOUS JOB. I'll keep it on the hobby list and enjoy it.

  10. Your little patches of life, stitched together with words and spread out across the internet in beautiful colors and textures and patterns...always warming others with glimpses of how God can work in our lives and how we can work in Gods plan....

    I think you ARE a quilter. Who ministers to others.

    But I know what you mean.

  11. I think that "out-of-context" Scripture was exactly for you. Don't ever quit. I love words and am amazed at the gift of expression and power of communication. There are some people who are exceptionally gifted in that and you are one of them. God didn't give us gifts to bury in the ground.

  12. I'm hoping that Stephen will be ready for you to write his story someday.

  13. I love this post. I think you have a talent for writing - God gives those on purpose. . .