Favorite Things

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My favorite view of this city, even at 2 A.M.

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God.” 

Acts 18:9-11 (NLT)

9/11/2001

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?


Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,

’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.


No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!


Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key

Tell The Truth Tuesday: Weekend Thoughts

I love writing. I love getting the words out on the page and I love getting to know the writing community. I’m thrilled that school is done for the summer and I’m giddy about being able to write to my heart’s content. But, every once in a while, something else takes over.

This past weekend, it was this:

I’m not in this picture…I was actually the one up on stage, leading the songs for these 150 kiddos and 50+ volunteers.

Writing can often be/usually is all-consuming. I find myself looking for photos that relate to my WIP. Meal time becomes a contemplation of what sort of sustenance my character(s) consume. I occasionally even evaluate my wardrobe based on what I imagine my main character to be wearing. When immersed in a world of your own creating, you begin to eat, sleep, breathe, live, and occasionally even dream about that world.

Which is why last weekend was one of the best, loveliest breaths of non-writing air that I could imagine. After being swamped by work and school and health difficulties since January, I thought I was ready to dive write into my writing world. But I tend to forget that the writing cave, as comforting as cozy as it is, can be just that: a cave. I may think that I can jump from one all-by-myself hole into another, but life needs to be lived sometime.

So on Thursday I packed up my younger siblings and drove to Des Moines, where I dressed in red heels and a WWII-era handmade dress. I painted my nails and wore lipstick and had a fantastic red bow in my hair. I organized eight sessions over the course of two days for the 150 kids aged 5-12 who were in the children’s program, and I loved every minute of it. I didn’t check facebook, forgot about email, abandoned my blog, and only kept my phone with me in order to receive the hourly texts from a dear friend who became my prayer partner throughout the conference. I stood up on a stage and taught sign language and used an air slingshot and wore my incompatible-with-earrings microphone and did ridiculous faces and sang “I’ve Got Joy” in every style imaginable. I got down on my knees with the kids who were crying for their parents and sobbing over dropped lunches. I received hundreds of high-fives and gave hugs and learned names and tied the apron strings of our fabulous drama team. I spent my evenings doing dishes at the camp where the volunteers stayed, and I cut up apples and made snacks and prayed and was encouraged.

I’m going to be catching up on sleep for the next month, I think. But it’s worth it. I’m looking forward to having an entirely free weekend to disappear into the writing cave, but until then, I’m okay with being occasionally distracted. As much joy and release as there is in our fictional life, it can’t replace the experiences in the real one. You can’t always view your non-writing commitments as a nuisance or unwanted distraction. It’s called life, and it is what allows us to have something to write about.