A Veritable Smorgasbord

Here are the goofy things I’ve brain juggled today. Consider it a veritable 513152_origsmorgasbord. Here’s Templeton’s song from Wilbur to whet your appetite.

My dad used to call young guys, Butch. Not all of them. It was sort of balinghis compliment to a teenager who seemed like a tough looking fella. I suppose it was his verbal pat on the back to another alpha-type. I don’t know if he called my brother that when he was young, but I do know when Dad hired teenage guys to help lay pipe or bale hay, he usually nicknames at least one of them Butch. I only know this because I also went along on those work days. I drove the tractor when laying pipe, and I really don’t remember what in the heck I was doing when we were baling. I couldn’t have thrown the bales, and I doubt I drove the tractor. Maybe I just tagged along to watch the high school boy’s muscles flex… although I really don’t remember having crushes on any of the boys he hired. They all just looked greasy and dirty to me.

Speaking of greasy and dirty, I just finished reading Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell. Geeze. I had no idea THAT was coming. Such pathetic… everything… I couldn’t even pull myself away—it reginald_marsh_tobacco_road_d5534149hwas like watching the proverbial train wreck. I’m not judging it because there are plenty of people out there doing so and have been for many a year. I am saying, he painted a fine picture of depravity using some unique tools from his writing tool box. It’s written like the author was simple-minded (one of the tools he used.) As a writer, I kept wanting to rewrite redundant sentences. Then at the end of the book, Caldwell’s true writing voice shows up to give the reader the denouement. In the end, I have to say, I kind of weirdly liked the book, but I also really hated it. Yet it had some kind of peculiar effect on me. It’s like eating raw oysters (which I adore.) While you’re eating them, they are so darned good in such a funky stinky kind of way, and as long as you don’t stop to think about how slimy they are, or that they were alive a moment earlier, you can enjoy them. But reading that book was almost like a shameful thing. Like admitting you read the most craptastic, bodice-ripping romance novels, or vampire porn, or, GASP… that you don’t read books at all!!! Here’s another earwig for you. Tobacco Road.

IMG_1874Where else did my mind roam today? To my baby kittens who are growing so fast. Their names are Smudge (The tan one) and O’Mally (The yellow one). Both boys. Very rough and tumble and just darn fun to watch play. Smudge may turn into Pudge soon, as he’s so fat he makes a thump when he does a somersault over his brother and lands hard on the ground. O’Mally tends to cry right before he goes to sleep, just like a toddler fighting a nap. I love them to death, but what in the hell was I thinking! Two brawling male cats in the house! This can NOT turn out well. I’ll keep you posted.

Flames of Rosewood – Book Review



Yesterday I talked about water. Today, I’m washed in friendship!

Charissa Stastny reviewed my book, Flames of Rosewood on her blog. Go check it out and make sure to follow her blog. She always has great insight on new books. Comment on her post and you may win a free print copy of my book, Flames of Rosewood!

Whisper Into the Stream

There are things from books, movies, or conversations where something really strikes me and sticks with me. For instance, when I read The Grapes of Wrath, there was a conversation between Ma and Uncle John where John is talking about how bothered he is by his many sins. Ma tells him not to tell his sins to others. Don’t burden them, she urges. Instead, her suggestion was to go down to the river, stick his head under the water, and whisper his sins into the stream. I loved this notion of sending his sins away on the ripples of water in silence.

Like chaff in the breeze, pollen in the air, or leaves falling from the trees… so random where the sins would land. 

Water. It washes us, we drink it, we cook with it, we play in it, and when we put something in it, like a small amount of flavoring or other liquid, it becomes diluted. By definition, diluting is making something weaker. Washing our hands or bodies dilutes dirt—weakens its hold on our skin. So maybe whispering your sins in the stream would dilute the sins.

This led me to think about baptism. I suppose the concept of washing away original sin matches up with diluting, weakening, and washing. I went to a baptism a few years back where the priest actually used the term “exorcism” during the baptism. This shocked me as I’d never heard that said in a baptism before, but I suppose I can see how the rite of Baptism is washing away the stain of original sin.

All this thought about water, also reminded me of reading about a man who wrote messages of redemption, stuffed them in empty 5th of whiskey bottles and pitched them out into the sea. He’d been a drinker, then God saved him from the demon whiskey. His pledge was to use the once sin-filled vessels to preach the message of Christ. He sent salvation to bob away on the waves…

Like chaff in the breeze, pollen in the air, or leaves falling from the trees… so random where the redemption would land. 

Like a sin whispered in the stream, diluted, washed, cleansed. Water carries everything I guess. If you’re a believer, you can’t have eternal life without it. Temporal life would end quickly without water, too. Random? Maybe. Or maybe not. Again, this depends on if you are a believer. One way or the other, this idea of water taking us from sin to salvation is one to think on. Hopefully, my random ramblings will get you thinking about something or another. Just tossing it out there to see where it floats.


Kittens, Kansas City, and Insights

Today my brain is frayed thinking about three different things.

  1. The two kittens I’ve adopted. So, they’re still having a little trouble drinking milk from a bowl, but I think by the end of the week they’ll be little pros. As you can see by the picture, one is cream-colored with taupe gray on his tail and tipping his ears. The other is a little yellow fellow. My husband called him Yeller because he meows a lot and loudly. What we actually name them is still in the air for now. Their mother seems to kind of want them, but kind of not. (I remember days like that.) She was raising them in the rafters of our gazebo and one had fallen out. I tried to put them back with her today and they were crawling over the edge before I even got off the ladder. I have tried to bring the mother in the house, and she has, in turn, left many claw marks on my arms during the process. She’s a little wild. I feel bad about bringing the kittens in, but we tend to see cats come and go all the time on the farm. (And when I say, come and go, by “go” I mean, take a dirt nap.) We live right by a gravel road and people are generally going around 40 when they pass our house. Maybe faster. In the night, animals often meet their demise to either a passing pickup or a hungry predator. But these two little boys are just too cute to leave to fate in the dangerous outside world. Mama Cat can come in, but those little boys aren’t going back out. I lost my favorite cat last week and I don’t intend to lose these two. Case closed.
  2. We’re planning a little family weekend for August. Kansas City, Missouri is four hours from where we live and around four hours from St. Louis where my daughter lives. I thought we’d compromise and get together midway and it’s looking like it might work for us to do that soon. We’re in the planning stages, but as always, I know we’ll want to listen to some Blues, eat some barbeque, and enjoy the pool at whatever hotel we pick. I’ve heard people say they like to stay in Overland Park, but I don’t know why. Any suggestions are welcome. I’ve been to the Power & Light District and there is a free concert there one of the nights. We’ll probably take that in. And I know we’ll drop by Arthur Bryant’s. Any suggestions on a great place to stay or a really cool place to eat, or a gotta-do activity or attraction, would be appreciated.
  3. The inspiring church service I went to on Sunday. We have a new Pastor at our church. A young guy. Being the church secretary, I work with him and find him to be accommodating, intelligent, and a good leader. But it’s during service on Sunday when I see who he is as a minister, and not just as my boss. He comes alive talking about God. You can see it. You can feel it. And most importantly, you leave mulling over ideas and filled with a bit of surety of what this whole Christianity thing is all about. I’ve found over the years that understanding scripture, or Bible stories, or what God is doing in my life, kind of comes in bursts. Epiphanies. Moments of Clarity… which, by the way, has ended up being a dandy name for this blog and subsequent book! Bits of understanding cross over us like a ray of sunshine poking through a cloudy sky… then it disappears. Deep insights and feelings are hard to grasp and harder to hold tight. It’s why, he reminded us, we need to go to church every Sunday. Just like school. You can’t just learn math one day and be good for life. You have to practice. Make it part of your process and routine. I’m just guessing here, of course. I run so darn fast from any math problem it’s like my hair is on fire. But I assume if one does a job with math, it becomes far easier the more often you do it. Everything’s that way, isn’t it? Parenting, writing, running, singing, life… the more often you do it, the easier it gets, the better you understand it, the better doing it you become. Yes. I think I’ll keep going to church on Sunday. I could use all the epiphanies I can get.