Monday, February 21, 2011
I listened to a gentleman from North Carolina quiz the server at the hotel's breakfast. "Does everyone in this town (Denton) have horses?" "Are there a lot of rattlesnakes around here?"
Left me with the same sense of surprise as I had when a sportscaster interviewed Kevin Durant (NBA AllStar and OKC Thunder star). He asked "Was it hard adjusting to life in Oklahoma City when you grew up in an urban environment?"
No, OKC isn't a mega city. But it IS a city, maybe half a million strong? If that's not urban, what do you call it?
Preconceptions. We all have them. When the gentleman inquiring about horses and rattlesnakes said he came from North Carolina mountain country, I immediately thought "Appalachia" and all the preconceptions it implies.
When I lived in Colorado, I'd tell people I was from Maine. "Oh, it must be cold."
Go to Maine and say I lived in Colorado--their response? You got it. "It must be cold."
I grew up in New England, but after spending my entire adult life with the exception of maybe two years in Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado, I'm a westerner and love it.
What misconceptions do people have about the part of the country where you live?
Happy trails to you until we meet again. . .
Jett and Cord (I hope they survive the first leg of Amazing Race!) have more going for them than their cowboy good looks. . .
Sunday, February 13, 2011
And yet, here I am, a prolific writer of Christian romance. Don't tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor!
I didn't start out writing romance, but somewhere in the course of my second book, my first novel, I discovered I had a knack for romance. Romance insisted on inserting itself into everything I tried to write. Eight Heartsong and four novella contracts, not to mention the two books with Moody, prove that inclination.
Why? How? The answer is as simple as it is complex: In a word--God.
One of the first workshops I attended on writing a love story--presented, if I remember correctly, by Carolyn Scheidies--taught that a love triangle is essential to a Christian romance: hero, heroine--with God at the apex.
Ah. Therein lies my ability to write of love. I have experienced abounding, unstoppable, love. A love that I cannot push away by my worst actions. A love that I did not, could not earn. A love that sought me and wooed me with something far better than chocolates or flowers or diamonds.
God's love. He loved me as a child when I was abused; He stepped in and said "no more!" and ended years of abuse. (My uncle disappeared.)
He loved me as a self-righteous teenager convinced I knew the "right" way Christians should ask.
He loved me when my dreams of a career (in music) and of family (with a divorce) lay shattered in the dust.
He loved me when both children were yanked out of my home and gave me a reason to continue living.
And then He restored so much that was lost and gave me so much more.
God's love. It's real.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
While I was mulling over a topic for this week's blog, a friend reminded me, "Valentine's Day is coming up."
Instant emotional connection: my mother's birthday is? was? February 12th. Next Saturday night. The same day as Abraham Lincoln, for those old enough to remember when we celebrated Abraham Lincoln and George Washington's birthdays separately instead of as "Presidents Day."
Tears sprang to my eyes. I want to cry. I still do. Because this is the first year Mom is celebrating her birthday in heaven. This is the start of the season . . . God be thanked, only a month. . .of those awful anniversaries:
- February 12th - Mom's birthday
- February 22nd - 1st anniversary of Mom's death
- March 13th - 3rd anniversary of Jolene's death
- March 16th - would have been Jolene's 27th birthday.
Life, for the most part, goes on. So much has changed. I am a grandma twice over, a full time writer, and Oklahoma begins to feel like home.
And yet . . .
I am still that person, the one started this blog in the aftermath of the worst loss of my life. I still experience times like this, where even the mention of the date makes me want to sob. I suspect I always will. When I think of what I wish I had done differently. When I miss Mom and Jolene fiercely it's a physical pain.
How little I appreciated the gift we had. . .the years the three of us spent together, our little trio of three generations, the joys of times shared. I treated those times as they would last forever. Now I want to go back and savor every moment. But of course I can't.
On the first anniversary of Jolene's death, God put me with a group of writers. Last year, the Saturday after Mom died on Monday, I spoke to my local group. This year, I will on retreat with a group of writers when the anniversary of Mom's death rolls around. I guess God knows the people I most need to hold me up in times of grief--my writing family.
So I know, although at the moment my heart is heavy, joy will return. God has given me peace and will carry me through this time of remembering.
P.S. Today is Super Bowl Sunday. I remember getting a bunch of snacks and watching the game with Jolene when she was in middle school . . . I suspect I'll be inundated with memories over these next few weeks.