Thursday, November 29, 2007
So it's official.
Our word-counting robots have analyzed your November novel, and they've delivered their final, binding assessment: Winner.
You did it! You did it! You did it!
This was, without a doubt, one of the hardest years on record for NaNoWriMo participants. At some point in the literary marathon, most of your fellow writers fell by the wayside. They lost their books to work, to family, to school, and to the hundreds of other distractions and interruptions that tend to shutter creative undertakings like NaNoWriMo.
But not you. Not this year.
This November, you set out with the ridiculously ambitious goal of bringing an entire world into existence in just 30 days. When the going got tough, you got writing. Now you're one of the few souls who can look back on 2007 as the year you were brave enough to enter the world's largest writing contest, and disciplined enough to emerge a winner.
We salute your imagination and perseverance. The question we ask you now is this: If you were able to write a not-horrible novel in 30 days, what else can you do? The book you wrote this month is just the beginning.
From here on out, the sky's the limit.
We wish you well on your many upcoming adventures, and hope to see you for Script Frenzy in April, and again for NaNoWriMo next November.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Yeah, you're not going to find that here. Not yet anyway.
BUT, tonight's Beth Moore lesson was on Joy and wow, can that woman make you feel JOY!!
My day might have felt like a real bummer to me in different times. I was subbing in a first grade (and have I mentioned how much I love subbing? I know you think I'm being sarcastic, but I'm being serious. I mean, SERIOUSLY I love being in the classroom!!) Anyway, to make a long story short, I cannot get the maternity leave position until the state of Michigan officially declares me certifiable. Wait, that didn't come out right. I mean, TEACHER certified. Ahem. But she really wants to get me in and hopes that the state doesn't take too long and she even told me that the teachers have really liked having me as a sub and other warm fuzzy thoughts that I will savor for weeks. Ahem. Right, where was I? Oh, yes, so I can't sub more than four weeks in any given classroom (in a row) or they have to send a note home to all the parents saying I'm not certified in the state and no one wants to do that (including me) BUT, the principal has an emergency opening for a pregnant woman who was going on maternity leave in January but has been ordered by her doctor to bed rest and so they have asked ME to fill in for her for the next four weeks or until they find a replacement that will work all the way through her maternity leave as well.
Which is good news in a bad news sort of way. I mean, I really want full-time employment, and short of that, I really want long-term employment but this certification thing is the current hang up, but you know what? I was absolutely tickled today that she asked me. I was tickled that after subbing in the district for about a month they already like me that much. I was tickled, I tell ya. And so I accepted the position (which starts tomorrow) and I let myself feel joy. I mean, it's four weeks, before the holidays, of steady, consistent work, in the district I might hope to one day have a full-time job in. JOY, I tell ya!
Until the panic set in.
'Cause it's Special Education.
And I've never taught that or had classes in that, or read a book on that, or even sat next to a teacher who sat next to a teacher who once had a job teaching special ed. The one GREAT thing I have going for me? My second mom taught it for years.
Yeah, Verizon? Could you just direct connect me with Judy for the next four weeks? Um, thanks!
And again, the plug for Beth Moore. I kid you not, go find her Fruit of the Spirit Bible study - at your church, at your cousin's church, somewhere....and do it. Seriously. JOY COMETH!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
1. I had NOTHING to do with getting the innards out of the bird. Ew Yuck Ew Yuck.
2. I wasn't the one who tried to carve a turkey that was upside down at first. (It fit better in the slow cooker that way apparently.)
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I've written 2,000+ words this morning, bringing my word count up to 32,248. (17,752 left to go by next Friday at midnight.)
I have yet to wrap a single gift.
Almost 1000 words more, bringing me to 33, 182. Still a whole mess to go, but I'm getting closer.
I have yet to wrap a single gift.
But I did talk to my dad. And I'm thinking it's time for a nap. (I know, I've done nothing so far today, but I haven't napped yet during this holiday break and I certainly can't nap while driving to Ohio tomorrow!)
5:08pm:Nap is complete. I've wrapped about six gifts and there's no stopping me now.
As for writing? Well, nothing more since I last reported. But there's still hope.
I'm up to 34,000 words. Yipppee!! I'm getting there, slowly but surely. Still haven't really gotten the main activity going in my book, but that's okay, I think it's developing along. I won't be any where near the end of my novel at 50,000 words, I'll just be getting rolling. Maybe in January I'll have time to write again and finish it up, at least the first draft anyway.
All gifts are wrapped. At least all that I have. I'm still missing a couple, but they'll be here soon enough.
Now, to catch some zzz's. 9am departure to go get the boy.
Friday, November 23, 2007
All those years ago, I never would have said that K would be such a hands-on, willingly involved, active father. I never would have said he'd have so much fun with his two daughters or even his infant son. He's Type A all the way (and then some) and to see him so relaxed, so dare I say, carefree, so focused on fun and people and family, it was such a beautiful thing.
And while C is everything I knew her to be from the first day I met her, to still be so beautiful inside and out, to still be filled with such joy, such love, it never ceases to amaze me. They have been through a lot in the nine years they have been married and it has all brought them closer together. There's no bitterness, no pain, no anger in either of them, even though few could fault them for feeling any of it.
They have three children here, two in heaven, seven times pregnant all things considered. The three children I have the pleasure to know are beautiful, well mannered, sweet, precious children. I am sure they have their moments, all children do, but the care in parenting shows through with these kids. K and C both parent equally, they both support each other in their roles, they both work together and it shows.
I sat and talked with C for hours today. K, too, but he was also getting kids down for naps and entertaining while we had a chance to catch up. I could have sat there for days and not grown tired of talking with her.
And they brought me a gift. Not really for the holidays. Not really for any reason at all. Just because after reading my blog (particularly how I hand-peeled 145 pounds of apples) they saw this apple corer/slicer/peeler gizmo and just knew I needed to have it. And so they gave it to me today. That's the perfect kind of a gift.
And they let me hold the baby. So amazingly precious. So beautiful. So sweet. He still smells just like a baby should smell and he still coos and wriggles and just looks at you like he could look at you for days.
And I got to giggle with the girls. I got to put in pony tails and help in the potty. I got to tie shoes and zip coats and see the twinkle in their eyes.
And they sent me home with homemade pie (made by grandma - God bless this woman, she's so kind to me, lets me invade her home to see her kids and grandkids - ).
And while yes, I'd like to steal the baby, frankly, I'd like to steal all their kids, but I'd like more to know their secret to such happiness, their secret to such a beautiful relationship together and as parents. I'd like someday, for them to tell me so that I might have it, too. While J and I never fought, we never disliked each other, we also never had the spark, the chemistry that C and K do. It's the whole package that I honestly envy.
I drove home in silence, in the dark, wishing once again I had someone in the passenger seat to talk to. If I had, I realized, all I could have said tonight was "wow." Wow. C and K you two are such a blessing in my life. Your love for all those around you just shines through. I know, sometimes I struggle when we're all together, but it's just so hard for me to think of all that went wrong with J and how it really should be all four of us sitting there together laughing and reminiscing. It makes me miss all that I thought he and I had once.
But you give me such hope. Such joy. Such complete bliss. Just being around all of you does my heart such good.
Today, I give thanks to all of you, the Joyful Family. I hope you all love each other so completely and so beautifully for years and years to come. And I hope I get to be such a close part of it for years and years to come. Thank you, for a beautiful day. Thank you for being such beautiful people. And thank you, both, for being such wonderful friends.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
2. The personal relationship I have with my Heavenly Father.
3. Finally being near my family. (Trust me, visiting for a few hours instead of days - it's AMAZING!)
4. That I didn't have to stick my hands inside a bird and pull out all the gross parts today (Thanks, Jules! Love ya!)
5. All the Christmas presents I have hidden in my bedroom that are wrapped or ready to be wrapped this weekend.
6. My dog and cat. Every night they both curl up on my bed looking for love. I just adore my pets!
7. Substitute teaching. It not only pays the bills currently, it has been so much fun for me the past few months.
8. An understanding ex-husband who has worked with me to change our custody arrangement since our move and is willing to meet in the middle to see his son.
9. So far, only an inch of snowfall.
10. A car that works.
11. Finding a church home so quickly, and one that has been such a blessing.
12. Football. (What? You haven't noticed the Pats are undefeated?)
13. Friends. Near, far, old, new. I am so grateful for each and every one of them.
14. Microwaves. I know it's so materialistic and there are people with no food in this world, more or less no microwaves, but thanks, Dad and Judy, for this wonderful machine that reheats my leftovers, pops my corn and makes my boy his favorite oatmeal.
15. Books. For entertainment, for inspiration, to teach me how to write, to teach me how to teach, to help me challenge my boy, to make me laugh, to make me cry.
16. Beth Moore and her lessons on the Fruit of the Spirit - I've already learned so much and we're not even halfway done!
17. for NaNoWriMo - which is forcing me to write, even when I JUST.DON'T.WANNA.
18. For laughter. George, Bird, LM and even little Squirt - their laughter does my heart good!
19. For music - especially beautiful Christmas carols that remind me further the reason for the upcoming season.
20. For all the fun of the holidays - even just playing games with my unwilling sister in WalMart - it's fun to have fun
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I've tried to go into my startup applications list and to eliminate some of the nightmare programs that are running in the background all.the.time, but my computer would like to speak to the manager and doesn't seem to understand that I AM THE DOGGONE MANAGER. Seriously. If I weren't intimately aware of what a pain it is to rely on the library for the internet, this dear Dell laptop would have long since sailed right through the patio window.
So, if there is anyone out there who can offer advice, or who might have a word with my not-so-inspiring Inspiron and inform it that I am, indeed, as it were, the ADMINISTRATOR, and that should I so choose to click on some options it needs to LET ME DOGGONE IT, I would greatly appreciate a stern voice and a swift hand.
In the meantime, if you're awaiting email from me, it might take awhile as Yahoo has joined in the fun and refuses to let me delete, move or start a new email. It's such a remarkable pain.
Or maybe it's just trying to convince me to finish my NaNo novel already. Do you suppose it knows I use email to procrastinate? Hmmm...
En route, I decided LM and I could at least take advantage of the time and write our Christmas letter. It's lame but has a certain cuteness to it (sorta. Work with me here.) The whole time we're writing it, LM keeps adding in little jokes about learning to dance the Tango. I'd say, "Okay, so now we need your goals for 2008." Without missing a beat, he'd say slowly as if he were writing it down, "LM intends to learn to dance the Tango." Or, I'd say, "What other interests do you have besides reading, trumpet, Star Wars and the like?" and he'd say, "You mean, other than the Tango?" Maybe you had to be there, but it really was funny. It was all in his timing and how he kept working it in.
When we finished with the tango, I mean, the Christmas letter, LM resumed reading his Tom Clancy Novel, "Red Rabbit". He says, "You know, Mom, it wasn't until just this last time when I started reading again that I realized why Clancy named the novel "Red Rabbit"." (Having absolutely no idea what Clancy's intentions were or what the novel is even about, I asked for the reason. "Well, 'rabbit' is code for a defector and 'red' is a communist symbol. The novel is about a Russian defector."
Um, yeah, okay, I knew all that.
A few miles further down the road, LM asked me what the Greek god, Apollo, was a god of. "LM, I honestly have no idea. I know I should know, but I had a horrible time with mythology. For some reason, I want to say he's a god of war, but I might not even be close on that one."
"I think you might be wrong, Mom. I think he's the god of peace. I mean, think of the word 'apologetic'. That's a word about peace and compromise, not about war and I think it comes from 'Apollo'."
Um, yeah, okay, right, wrong or otherwise, you can't say the kid doesn't make a sound argument.
"Mom? What does KGB stand for?"
"Russian Secret Service."
"Yeah, I know that, but what does K. G. B. stand for?"
"Oh, um, something in Russian?"
"What does U.S.S.R. stand for?"
"United States of the Soviet Republic?" I totally guessed. I realize I'm way off. History was not my strong subject.
"Mom, do you know anything?"
"LM, it would appear I do not."
Monday, November 19, 2007
I cannot share the gospel well.
In particular, I have an unsaved friend who weighs heavily on my heart. He knows where I stand spiritually and we've always allowed for the difference. But lately I've been trying to press the situation, to get to the heart of his belief of lack thereof. But I go about it all wrong.
For example, we get into the conversation easily enough. He'll allow me a certain amount of rope and then he'll promptly let me hang myself with it. Tonight I spoke about how I hope that some day he marries. And he readily admitted that he has baggage and stated that he just isn't ready to let go of it yet.
Ah ha! I thought, an opportunity!
And so I spoke about how he doesn't have to bear that baggage, he can hand it over to someone else. And he knew, of course, exactly the WHOM to which I was referring, and said that no, he feels it's his to bear...blah, blah, blah.
And so we got talking about God and specifically to the heart of what it is that he believes or doesn't believe. In a nutshell, he said, "I think I'm a fairly compassionate individual and I would never willingly condemn someone to the hell as it's described, why would a being with infinite compassion condemn nations of people to hell then?"
I, uh, I mean, um....well, it's like this...you see, there's God....well, I mean....
Yeah. Great response, Ames.
And he talks about how it's really a power trip for this God to want everyone to worship him and that the churches are really just brain washing all of us believers...
And I talk about how God created the Garden of Eden to be perfect and for us to be in perfect fellowship with him, but because of the right to free will, (which inherently gives us a choice) we made the wrong choice. And I spoke about how having the ability to choose means there have to be choices, and God is one of the choices.
Blah, blah, gobblygook blah.
I make no sense. I have no argument. I see his point. It actually makes sense. And I have nothing with which to refute it. So I try to get on solid ground. Remember all that education about how to share the gospel. People are not good enough, we must need God's gift of salvation.
And so I ask him about heaven. Well, he doesn't really see heaven like some people do, and frankly, if it's some big party that only a few get invited to, then he'll be damned (literally) if he's going to give in to that power trip just cause the big man himself says it needs to be so.
Yeah, well. Okay. Point taken.
But he doesn't really believe in hell either. I mean, again, loving God? Condemning people for eternity? Doesn't make sense to him.
And now that he mentions it, to me either.
I know, I can hear my Christian critics saying "the devil is trying to keep you from saving this man! He's trying to turn even YOU against God."
But yet, I have such a hard time sometimes. I believe, I do, but I can't really make it make rational sense all the time. To me, the big bang theory is just a little too hokey. But what if I thought it actually made a bit of sense? Then where would my faith be?
I know I can't make this man believe. I know that. I also know that I'm ill-prepared to even try. But when the sound argument comes back at me, I just find myself sitting down and admitting defeat and saying, "You know, I just don't know."
But that doesn't get the boy any closer to God.
It doesn't get me any closer, either.
I fear that I turn more people away from faith than to it. Suggestions? Help? Ideas?
Sunday, November 18, 2007
"LM, is Detroit anywhere near a SEA?!"
"I don't know. I have no idea where Detroit is."
Well, one step forward, fourteen steps back.
This week the focus shifts from football back to geography. SP, wanna jump in here?
Friday, November 16, 2007
Um, where exactly does this boy live? (And if he lives at their house, how come I just spent $100 on groceries for the week?)
Thursday, November 15, 2007
And my thanks? That today was payday but better yet was that I won my battle with the cable company, and since I didn't have that bill to pay this month I stocked up at the grocery store. (This morning, our fridge literally held condiments, filtered water, lettuce, an egg and one can of Pepsi.)
How about you? What are you highs, lows and thanks for the day or the week?
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
And yet, I still have my moments when I panic. (What can I say, I'm a slow learner.)
I can still hear my ex mother-in-law telling me years and years ago to never let my teaching certificate expire (she had made that mistake and had kicked herself for years over it.) And for years I kept up with it. But trying to remember exactly what year your teaching certificate needs to be renewed and then remembering to do so after June 30th but before July 31st of that year (by sending it back to Illinois to the regional office you were once affiliated with) somehow slipped my mind in '05. And my Illinois teaching certificate expired two years ago. Which didn't matter until recently when my heart started to skip a beat at the idea of teaching on a more permanent basis.
Especially a week ago. When I subbed in my sister's school district - which I love - and the very pregnant teacher I subbed for asked after she watched me manage her class for the day (she was right outside the door doing assessments with the kids) if I'd be interested in her maternity leave long-term sub position. YES YES YES. But she was concerned about my certification. Because her principal is actually selecting the sub and she wants someone certified. Which I am, or I was, and I will be again, but...
And today, the substitute caller for her district spoke with me and said the principal had asked her about my certification (which means the teacher did indeed recommend me to her principal, who is now considering me for the position) and I tried to explain but this woman said, 'but you'll have it soon?' and I had to say I really didn't think 'soon' was the right word, exactly...
But it had occurred to me (which is my way of saying God worked through me to make me realize) that perhaps I should contact the state of Illinois and find out what the requirements would be to get my license renewed again because perhaps that might make it easier for the state of Michigan to then certify me. It was a shot, anyway, and so I sent off an email asking. And a reply came back today that said that all I needed to do was register it. And I was provided with an online link to register my certificate. And I clicked and typed and clicked and typed and entered in my debit card info and $25 and ten minutes later, I hold verifiable proof that I am registered and renewed in the state of Illinois.
One further in my celebratory dance, I reviewed the information I have ready to go to the state of Michigan (I'm just waiting my official transcripts) and it says, "Candidates for the Provisional certificate must pass the appropriate Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC). However, if the applicant holds a valid out-of-state certificate and meets all requirements for the Michigan Provisional certificate except for the MTTC, a 1-year Temporary Teacher Employment Authorization will automatically be issued as part of the application process."
Now, I still have to wait to see if I meet all the requirements. And I still have to put together my information to give to the school principal on Friday. And I still have to pray that out of all the candidates, she chooses me.
But if all that comes together, I could have a long-term sub position very very soon, and hopefully get my foot in the door in a very big way with the principal and teachers of a building and district I would be ever-so-happy to teach in on a permanent basis.
If it doesn't come together, I know without a doubt that God has something better in store for me. But at least right now, tonight, I can rest assured that I am so much closer to having that teaching certificate than I ever thought I could be right now.
God is soooooo good to me! (to you, too!)
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Oooooohhhhh, you mean UNISON.
This kid cracks.me.up.
(you can tell he's a reader, can't you? He actually does this quite often. He knows what the word looks like and what it means but he hasn't heard it spoken enough to know how it's pronounced. I'll try to share these little gems when they come up as they often give me quite a good natured chuckle!)
Now I know, some of you are ready to stop reading. Hang with me. Just let it fall across your heart like it did mine tonight.
Tonight, in the video, Beth Moore discussed love and with that (and my paraphrasing will not begin to do her message justice) the one obstacle that prevents us from truly loving all and being loving to everyone and that is rejection. She reminded us all of the rejection scars we still wear on our hearts, how the wound of a past rejection left a void in our life that we filled with something (or some one) that we would not have chosen if we were in our right mind. She reminded us of the lengths some of us have gone through to fill that vacancy, or perhaps the continual chain of attempts we have made to fill such vacancies (i.e. the love of my life broke up with me, so I hooked up with some other man and ended up preganant; the man left when the baby came so I started drinking...) We tend to believe that we must either recover the rejected (get whatever it was back - the man, the job, the child) or we must reject what rejected us (to get revenge).
And while she spoke on all of this, she shared passages of Scripture that remind us that Christ was rejected (and still is! "The entrance test to hell is to simply reject Christ") but that didn't seem to make the wounds I carry feel any less. To know that in some way I can relate to some small portion of Christ's sufferings does not make me feel any better about my own suffering.
But then Beth Moore reminded us of the Sovereignty of God; that not only does God have a plan for our lives (my life verse, Jer 29:11) but that he has a plan for the REJECTION in our life. He uses the rejection. Sometimes he appoints rejection so that we don't for less than the best He has in store for us. (Think back, ever get upset over a rejection but now you can say that was a good thing it happened?) She reminded us also of the Supremacy of God; that God can handle everything - including our rejection.
She made the point that if we had never known what it was like to be rejected, how could we truly embrace what it means to be chosen?
We concluded the night by reading I Cor 13:8, "Love never fails". Beth spoke to the exact thoughts arising in my head, "yes, maybe God's love never fails, but I have loved someone before and it was not enough. My love has failed."
And then she translated "fails". The Greek translation (ekpipto) means: "to drop away, to fall (away or off). And there was an incredible visual scene they played out that shows us that every time we have loved and the recipient of our love let our love drop, or rejected our love completely, our love did not fail...it did not drop away...it never hit the ground....while it may not have been caught by the one we intended,
it was caught by God.
And He is holding onto it for us, and will give it back to us in His glorious kingdom.
Not only did I realize tonight that my wounds from past rejection will forever taint my life (and not in a good way) if I do not turn them over to God; not only did I realize that God has used those rejections for my own good; not only did I realize that God has the power and the desire to take away the pain of those wounds; but that every time I thought my love failed in the past, it went to God. He caught it. My love has never been lost on anyone, it has always gone to God. And He is holding it like a treasure and will return it to me when I am in His presence.
I can say little more tonight than an AMEN and a heartfelt Thank You God.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
So I basically did little more than collapse on Friday night.
Other than try to check my email and check for sub assignments for this coming week. Only I couldn't because LM TOOK THE WIRELESS CARD. Not that he needed it, he just forgot to leave it behind when he got into Nana's car. So I can't blog. I can't check for sub jobs. I can't balance the check book. I can't email. I can't change my fantasy team lineup.
Yesterday I actually sat down and wrote about 6000 words to get caught up on Nano. Even though LM took the notebook with my notes in it. (Have I mentioned his short life span?) And I made thank you notes for George's birthday party (since I made the invites, I wanted him to have matching thank you's). And I cleaned out the calcium and lime deposits in the dishwasher that have caused it to leave GUNK on all our dishes for the past two months.
And today I earned a jewel in my heavenly crown (at least I better have!) I did not stay home and watch the biggest game of the year (Pats v. Colts for those of you living in a cave). I drove to Ohio again to pick up my dearly beloved son. And I sat and had dinner with my out-laws at Bob Evans. And I drove home listening to Larry the Cable Guy (okay not really, but it sure sounded like him) announce the Pats v. Colts game on the radio. And I was a nervous wreck the whole time (and not just because I was afraid the car would break down in Indiana and no one would help me since I was wearing a Pats jersey) but because I needed about a million points from Brady and Moss to make up for my wretched defense choice (um, 44-0 is going to leave me with negative defense points. Thanks Denver.) But I'm so thrilled that the Pats pulled off the big win and that LM had a great weekend with his grandparents.
But I'm 8000 into Nano, my boy is home safe, my Pats are 9-0 and I have internet access once again so I can keep tabs on sub openings.
Life is indeed good.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
So what on earth am I doing participating again this year? I have no idea. Do I expect to write anything worth reading? Nope. Do I expect to write anything I'd like to send off to a publisher? Nope. Do I anticipate even using my lame chapters as blog posts when I get desperate? Nope. But here I go again.
Did I mention that LM is participating too this year? So for the next 30 days there will be two of us frantically typing away, drinking gallons of lemonade, eating chips and pacing around the room. Great mom and son bonding, huh? 50,000 and counting. Here goes nothing (literally).