Category Archives: Blogging

Update and Quote-Share

Joe Ceremony 1(One of my favorite cartoons ever).

2013-Winner-Square-Button

 

This is my update on NaNoWriMo: I did write 50,000 words! I started the month of November on schedule with the around 1700 words per day necessary to keep the pace. Then issues with my parents and a mild bout of depressions slowed me way up. To pick up the pace, I had to write a LOT….and did. It is really rough, but it is there.

It WAS worthwhile. I learned so much about my parents’ marriage and history. In my ethnic group, respect for older people is present, but not as it should be. My parents, whose bodies and minds are changing how they operate, think qualitatively differently than a middle-aged whipper snapper who wants to move too fast without understanding the depth of meaning behind their ways. Even if changes MUST be made. Being a basically insecure, very feeling, analyzer and second-guesser, it has been painful and frustrating navigating with my parents their process of reviewing their lives and grappling with the limitations that snuck up on them too fast. It has also been and is a great honor. So writing about how their lives (plural) become their life (singular, together) has opened an opportunity sometimes missed in my culture – to sit at their knees and learn from the wisdom of the aged. And to be reminded, with GLEE, that they are the same “swell kids” they once were. I learned so much from them that I have had all of my life to learn, but never put together quite this way before.

And it took me out of the problems and issues and challenging logic, into the souls of two people who have been blessed to live life with trust, success, and harmony overall, throughout their lives. A couple who, as very poor newlyweds, would make decisions like forgoing stouter fare and opting for oatmeal or pancakes for a while so they could afford to go out to a movie, yet would find something in the cupboard for happy siblings and spouses who would stop by with their own paltry offerings, and eat until it was gone – laughing and enjoying the company. Who had some of the funniest marital fights I have ever heard! Who forgive each other everything, always. Whose eyes dance with warmth and love whenever the other is reflected there.

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It is 50,000 words of facts and thoughts and ramblings. There is work to do to organize it and even out the styles of writing (personal vs factual narrative), and make it complete. I will do it, and soon, so it will be a legacy available for them to share as they wish in their lifetime.

Now for the request. I received a chain letter in my personal e-mail suggesting that each person send one positive and encouraging Bible verse to the e-mail address of #1 person, then move #2 up, then send on. I am really curious what verses people would choose, and in a rare state where I actually want to hear people quote Bible verses. I mean, this is almost weird. I’m not going to bombard anyone with a chain letter, but I did send a query to see if they want to get it. Weird again.

Truly, I have called you my blogger church. Still true, really. I wonder if you will do me the honor of sharing one particularly encouraging, positive verse or quote, scriptural or not, just for the joy of sharing a bit of your spiritual legacy and wisdom with me?

I would be so honored to sit for a moment at your knee and learn as I did with my parents.

Thanks, dear friends.

Blessings,

Diane

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NaNoWriMo – A Variegated Life

OK, I don’t want to admit my current word count toward 50,000 – a procrastinator’s embarrassment. I will say I wrote 6,900 reasonably clear words today, and plan to do almost as much tomorrow.

This is how it started when I didn’t know how to start, but did. Yes, this spelling is still there, because the paper effigy of my inner editor is literally locked in a pretend jail in the possession of the local NaNoWriMo group leader, and rough-draft rules supreme. Below is my inspirational image of Diane the writer – caffeinated, colorful, mighty and free (much less up-tight than the editor image!).

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A Variegated Life

It’s time to write a book. I have been pondering it all day. No sense of direction is my common position but isn’t going to be any more.

I’m thinking through all the images of things to describe my parents and movie images float through my mind. Like a woman’s or child’s fingers trailing across tall grass. Pans of mountains magesties. Clouds moving across the sun. All languid or majestic but peaceful images. Renderings like paintings of cultural ideas tht drive my thinking. So simple to ingest and regurgitate.

But I want more. A freeing and liberation of my sould through the words. Unleashing what a crappy word ffor what I am trying to say. No analogies. Opening a cage door. Jumping from a cliff. My life is ot a cliché. My mind and its workings are not a cliché! My parents lives are not a cliché.

They are 91 and 92, still living at home. Their love has endured and changed over more than six and a half decades. They are who they are now because of and in spite of each other. They hold hands and love, even as cell by cell they are losing each other. Mom looks at that reality…it is more evident to her, and she has more words that flow that direction… to explain what she feels. She feels much, and urgently. Passionate toward love and also flashes of anger, wounded easily, forgiving quickly. She wants peace. She wants harmony and family. She wants rest and simplicity. She says she is ready for the end of her days, but she fights on. She fights. Easily tired, but ready to enjoy the humor, card games, caresses, jelly making, dining out, funny costumes, discussions, beauty and experience that are the essence of her well lived life. Photographs that must be taken with film, and developed with double prints. Peace with loved ones, every single one, that is one of her many beautiful legacies.

I love her dearly. She raises my ire. I am so much like her, and refuse to be. And want to be.

Dad. He shares. When she divides leftovers or even first time fare between them…takes her portion and passes it to him, he takes half and passes it back. She tells him to take it all, but he never really hears her and defaults to his foundational core. He shares. Shares words, ideas, articles, food, experiences, affection, memories, life. Rich words spill from his mouth like coins from a slot machine. But with much greater regularity. It is amusing, because it is so Art. Even he laughs at times. One time many years ago he said to me that he can see a listener’s eyes glaze over, but just can’t stop himself! For those who can listen and take in so much slowly and deliberately spoken word, there is a wonderland. A wonderland of facts, abundance of experiences well remembered and well spoken, yearnings of his heart. Words the average person has never heard or imagined. A wonderland of insights into a complex and loving man, and the world he observes and embraces with eyes and arms open wide.

I introduce you to my parents, and my attempt at their love story.

Eight days to go…miles of words to go. Later!

Blessings,

Diane

I Believe

The cold wind nipped at my face and hands. The air was thin and my breathing deep. Beneath my feet was rock; around the rock, vulnerable, ancient tundra. As far as I could see were range after range of mountains – bare of trees. I was above the timberline,  at 14,000+ feet elevation, near the highest point of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA. DSCN1442I have been many BEAUTIFUL places,  and I inhale the beauty of trees and water and mountains like my life’s breath.  But even without trees, and somehow beyond the sheer visual input around me, this was the most beautiful place I have ever been! In the thin air, where my daughters become altitude-sick, and my husband’s heart slows him down, I was energized!  It was a different, higher perspective than I had ever known! Magnificent! I RAN up the summit and scaled the rock. Raised my hands to the perfect blue sky, and said “God….can I hear you NOW?!”  2012-12-17-ImageofGod

I have been asking, “HOW do you believe?!” After you HAVE believed, but learned that what you believed could not be trusted, could no longer be believed. You have said, “just believe.”

I have been talking and writing about this with you and Graeme Schultz since December. Graeme has spent untold hours and many thousands of words ever so kindly sharing his faith and talking through understandings of Christ, faith, God, Adam and Eve, suffering, the nature and effect of faith, crucifixion…always back to Christ and the cross.  He didn’t blow away my doubts, or even chip away, or refute, or prove them false. They began to melt away, ever so slowly, as I was able to trust the patient, quiet thoughts of a friend in dialogue that conveyed, “Rest in Christ. Trust Him. Let Him fill your screen. He’s that good. Expand your view. The cross is that powerful! This is how it works for me. This is what has changed for me. This is how I see things now.”

I read or recalled scripture, info on the origins of the Bible, intention and prayer, time and the universe, and most of an interesting book, “God’s Lunatics” by Michael Largo. Added to years of believing and living out….I don’t know what it was , searching, and loss. I didn’t push…stayed open, but not to others who push. My conclusions? There are arguments and counter-arguments about EVERYTHING! No two Christians (or any other group), even with strict doctrines or analytical criteria, have identical beliefs. imagesCAM2Y74B

We ALL pick and choose what we can and will believe, for myriad personal reasons. Which verses we elevateimagesCAMOA0XL to law, and which we reduce to analogy. Which sources we trust. How much we really BELIEVE we can hear from God Himself. We will never PROVE it absolutely, whatever IT is. Misunderstanding even when different words state the same idea, or illumination when the change of phrase makes them suddenly “believable.”  Yes, I could believe the wrong thing. Yes, I could be disappointed again. Yes, I could miss it. But then again, I am already missing too much by living in profound mistrust. Starting with my basic God-fact, the magnificence of creation through my senses and theories via science, I have asked and answered enough practical and scriptural questions, laid ENOUGH doubts to rest. And I WANT to believe. It just had to be something I CAN believe. Someone I CAN trust. Beyond expectations and rules. More about the Person and the reality beyond my senses and understanding. And the beginnings of thoughts about how powerful BELIEF or FAITH really may be.  A different, higher perspective than I’ve known. Magnificent!

There was no jump from a cliff. No burning bush, or voice from heaven. Still no blinding light, or overwhelming sense of love. No deep knowing. No tears. No choir, or brush of angel’s wings. No moment of desperation. No flood of warmth.

I wrote this to Graeme a couple of days ago:

“G, you need to know this: I found myself responding to Joe Pote’s post (Redeemed!) with conviction about who Christ is, and what He did on the cross. From the stance of a believer. Surprised myself!  I find myself riding my waves or feeling fear and anxiety, and say to myself, rather as I’ve heard you say…”wait, this can’t be right…this was fixed 2000 years ago…the reality is the hybrid creation Jesus/Diane that I’ve become.” I started by testing out how that feels, whether I could visualize and believe it…and I guess I do.  I’m considering that the earth manifestation in blood, and painful nerve endings, flesh, suffering, torture – perhaps even of crucifixion, may….I don’t know… no words, sorry. Something just outside my ability to get to it! But I’m open to even the cosmic meaning and consequence in that…which is what you grasp so clearly without the recoil I feel so strongly.

I find myself WANTING to believe more than I fear to believe, as I carefully and quietly (almost sneaky as to not trigger myself!) set aside my beefs and disagreements, hoping that as I rest, I will understand better, but through loving union not a spirit of intellectual debate. And I am perceiving, sometimes almost feeling, the love. My past experiences with religion are becoming irrelevant to my beliefs – fading in my mind like images from a scary movie.  I find myself more interested in talking with God than talking about Him. And when Christianity does come up (as it has with atheist Emily, and my nephew and niece), I find myself responding carefully – saying “maybe it is like this…” as I describe some (safer) aspect of our conversations or your book.  I have previously been incapable of sustaining faith but, as you have said, it doesn’t require years of restoration but rather turning my gaze back to Jesus who will never have left me, even if I am being freaked or inconsistent myself. And the renewing of my mind will continue. And I’m feeling traces of the security and freedom you describe.”

So quiet I can hear. A different view than I’ve known. Worth believing. Magnificent!

life-and-the-universe

By commenting on this post you are giving permission to me to quote your comment in subsequent writing, blog or article. Please indicate in your comment that you want any quotation to be referenced to you; otherwise, I will include no reference.

A few Diane-style references:

Powers of 10 – Original 1977

Powers of 10 – Redo, just the universe

Hardwired to Christ by Graeme Schultz

God’s Lunatics by Michael Largo

The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggert  (Don’t do an auto-trash on this because it sounds new age. A lot of good stuff on prayer, and the power of our thoughts and words. As in BELIEVE, bless, heal, pray, do good. Points TO God, or away, depending on YOUR paradigm. I suggest take what you want and leave the rest.)

Wikipedia on Bible and History

More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell

A Crusty Old Cactus

Dust powdered my feet as I stood at the top of Piestewa Peak Summit Trail, overlooking the city. My eyes raced across the panoramic view, taking in the generalities, but missing the specifics. That was because my mind also raced across the panoramic view of my life, taking in the overview of successes and mistakes, joys and losses. I glanced to the side and all the scanning stopped, inward and outward.IMG_0859

I stood beside a 20 foot Saguaro cactus. It looked as though, over its lifetime, it had been so bumped, kicked, assaulted by human or nature, that it could hardly stand. Its base was shriveled and darkened, covered with scars. Farther up, less so.  Two thirds of the way up, it was green, robust, round, and thoroughly armored with the spines that are normal for the species. And at the top – a FLOWER! It was blooming!

This, I thought, is me! I liked the looks of that crusty old cactus!  And my life, however imperfect.

I am no longer a victim.  I NO LONGER FEEL LIKE A VICTIM!

I’m breathing, sleeping, jumping off cliffs, taking one day at a time, and laying my heart wide open before God.

After being frozen for months, for years, I am profoundly, utterly grateful for a number of things:

A friend who talks with me about God, Christ and faith without judging me, and without control or arrogance. A number of bloggers who very, very quietly, in words of peace, encourage me to faith like theirs…no hype, no insistence on words or doctrine, maybe no doctrine at all….more like a whispered, “this is what freedom smells like…follow the scent, breathe deeper, and also live in the One Who gives us breath.” The clamor and control of abuse has left me deaf to louder voices.

A way of seeing God and Christ that is gradually melting my sad heart and moving me forward to a place some rest and some faith. Progress.

Your prayers.

Friends I have lost touch with many moves (and moons) ago, but who have had a sweet effect on my life by their sincerity and support, and by the example of how they live their lives.  They are the Christians I went on walks with, shared kids with, shared my heart with – and who responded by being steady, sincerely loving God, knowing me very well and still loving me, seeing and hearing the parts of my situation I shared with them, admitting it wasn’t OK…and leaving it there…as displayed confidence that I would make the best choices possible. Hello, Cathy T.!  Michelle J., Rosa P., Terri H. and Karen J.? I love you, and I will be getting back in touch to tell you so!

Medical intervention for perhaps bipolar issues (perhaps not) – that has turned the volume in my mind and heart down from rock concert screams to loud conversation. Medical intervention for adrenal depletion and nutritional deficits. Therapy.

Love. Beauty. Peaceful moments. Generous thoughts and words.

Those beautiful, beautiful people in my family who love, trust, communicate, accept each other (and me!). Safety from those who don’t. And a husband who is a diamond in a world made of stones.

Hugs, kisses, touch, laughter, funny faces, odd habits, mispronounced words, photographs.

If this is manic, bring it on! If this is faith, more and deeper! If this is normal….sigh… it’s about time.  The problems are not all solved, the wounds are not all healed, the questions are not all answered. But life is looking better the longer I grow.  Maybe I am looking better the longer I grow!

Like a crusty old cactus.

Flowers

Blessings to you,

Diane

Through the Wave

life-under-a-wave

credit: LortGob

Have you ever played in the ocean? I’m an inlander, but I’ve visited the ocean many times, and ingested my share of salt water. I know how it feels to have the wave seize me, toss me, and then use me (too often, my face – go ahead and laugh) to dredge the ocean bottom, while I breathlessly wonder which direction is up. This is a fair analogy of what it has felt like to lose faith. And to try to cope without trust.

blirk.net wallpapers resource - ocean-wallpaper-1

blirk.net wallpapers

Some of that was my doing – several years ago I chose to go to the dark side – anger, resentment, self-pity – not entirely realizing what I was choosing – and found it hard to come back. The last couple of months have been very hard.  Depression, stalemate in decisions, too much stress invested in my parents’ life, and also my own, for that matter. It has been a crisis of faith, of whatever nature my faith was. A wipe of the hard drive. Loading some new paradigms. Like finding which direction is up, breaking through to the surface, filling my lungs with fresh air, and looking around to see that the wave might not have been so big after all.

In the next several posts, I will share some of my dialogue with my Australian friends, Graeme Schultz (MyBroom, Hardwired to Christ) and his wife, Angela.  For the last couple of months, everything I try to write comes back to this discussion and what I am awkwardly juggling in my mind and heart.  

Faith. For me. For those who are still abused. For those who no longer believe. For everyone.

That God is good, and loves me. That He can be trusted. In spite of what the Bible says, and in spite of what life experience has shown. That my understanding of God, of Christ, formed and reshaped through years of Church, Bible study and abuse can and must be laid aside. This dialogue, mine internally, and also between friends half way across the planet, and maybe with God, if He is talking, is an opportunity to openly challenge my angry circular thinking, and form a new perspective – appealing, hopeful – ringing true at a place beyond words or reason, often bringing tears. So far, I have too much to UN-BELIEVE and learn to leave unanswered to be able to full-out, no holds barred, BELIEVE. I would be pretending,  or lying, if I said I did. Thankfully my friends are resting in Christ’s work on the cross as a present reality that defines their lives, and are not insulted by my challenges, doubt, frustration, anger…or the way in which I express them. Graeme just takes it in and writes about his faith. Direct and unaffected.

And he has just published a book (e-book and print versions), after requests from the readers of his 2012 blog: MyBroom – My Year – Asking 365 Questions ‘Bout Renewing of Our Minds at http://mybroom.wordpress.com/. The book bears the same name as his new blog, Hardwired to Christ – http://hardwiredtochrist.wordpress.com/.

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You can acquire the electronic version, at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/320346. Or, go to either blog (listed above) to learn how to purchase a soft-cover print copy.

I’ve ordered the printed version, which is probably somewhere over the ocean right now (Hawaii, I hear!). Renewing my mind is like starting over with a different language, and it takes time. For me, at least.

So, if you want to see a part of what has been keeping my mind/spirit busier than my mouth/keyboard, check out the links above. If what you read speaks to you as it  has to me, order the book!

It’s nice to be talking with you again!

Diane

Liebster Award

liebster-blog-award

I learned a new word: chuffed. From Hope Blooms in Darkness, who nominated me for The Liebster Award.

What is the Liebster Award?

“The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The Meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.”

The author of Hope Blooms in Darkness is a young woman of faith who has dealt with much of the “darkness” and speaks reality and hope, which flows freely through her words. She’s fun. And serious. And wise. And she uses cool words I haven’t heard before (could it be that she is 23 and I am 56?).. “Hope,” thank you for the nomination! I’m blessed to be included as a blog that you value! Big time! Blessed again to have the honor of getting to know a you a little better through this award, and also those who are willing to answer the questions posed. And yet again, to pass on encouraging or challenging blogs so others might find some of the encouragement and challenge I have found there.  I love the positive creativity of blogging and reading blogs – I’m learning so much, and so encouraged by “meeting” people I would never have the joy of knowing otherwise.

This seems like a gentle and fun way to get started writing again after integrating/coping so hard for a time that I have had nothing to say.

 So, I choose to follow some rules governing this blog award.  I know a couple of you don’t do awards in general, but I would still like to direct others to your blog as very worth reading, so I listed  you anyway.  And I still hope you will answer the questions to “award” me with the joy of knowing you better!

Here are the rules:

First,  accept the award, post the picture of the Liebster Award on the top of post, say who nominated you for the award and list their blog site.

Rule number 1 is to list 11 random facts about me.

Rule number 2 is to nominate 11 other bloggers for the Liebster Award and list their blogsites.

Rule number 3 is to notify the bloggers of their award.

Rule number 4 is to ask the award winners 11 questions to answer when they accept their Liebster Award.

Rule number 5 is to answer the questions left for me by the blogger.

RULE #1: ELEVEN FACTS ABOUT ME

1. I have lived in 8 states (U.S.) and 15 cities/towns.

2. I love fabric/thread art – and made/make portrait quilts.

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3. I love the smell of pine trees (as you can see, I do SMELL pine trees – Ponderosa Pines smell like butterscotch!).

4. I once scouted forest fires with my dad in a small plane over Wyoming.

5. Have ALWAYS wanted clear connection to God.

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Hey, God…can I hear you now???

6. I need silence and time alone to be calm and content.

7. “Primary Sludge Analyst” at the Las Vegas waste water treatment facility is only one of my unusual un-glamorous employment gigs. My current, and most un-glamorous of all, is un-employed.

8. I once considered moving to Silverton, CO, to be a miner. After I realized I didn’t want to be a neurosurgeon or interior designer.

9. My daughters used to con me into reading Reader’s Digest humor at bedtime, because we would have laugh attacks and I would let them stay up too late.

10. I gave my daughters sky diving/hot air balloon tickets for their college graduations (up, up, and away….). FYI – they chose the skydiving. Insane mom? Maybe, but they loved it!

11. Learned to cross-country ski when I was 8 months pregnant.

RULE #2: Blogs I’m nominating…. (eleven among many wonderful blogs I follow!) I’m not sure of follower numbers, but….oh well. They’re just darn good blogs!

http://inspired2ignite.com/

http://hardwiredtochrist.wordpress.com/

http://toughmindedoptimism.wordpress.com/

http://awindowofwisdom.wordpress.com/

http://unshakablehope.wordpress.com/

http://connectingdotstogod.com/

http://thesnowballeffect.com/

http://85degrees.wordpress.com/

http://amras888.wordpress.com/

http://talithakumblog.wordpress.com/

http://lorilara.com/

RULE #5: Here are my answers to the questions set for me….

1. What is the most memorable event in your life?

Can’t narrow it down to one. Snuggling my daughters rates up there. Have you ever noticed that sweet spot behind a baby’s ear is so soft you can’t even feel it with your fingertip (or your nose)?

2. Why did you join WordPress?

Heard it was a good way to promote a book. Started blogging without really knowing what blogging is, nervous about not knowing “blogging etiquette” and running spell/grammar check 10 times before posting.  What I FOUND are some of the wisest, kindest, most articulate people I have ever known. Like opening a window on a spring day. And I’m finding that blogging is more interesting than writing a book. Hmmm. Better work on that!

3.   What is your main Goal in Life?

To find my main Goal in Life.

4.   Where would you want to travel the most in the world and why?

Anywhere pretty and new with good people I know/love. For the joy of it, and to meet good people I don’t know/love (yet).

5.    What is one of the worst experiences you’ve ever undergone and how did you learn from it?

Having loved, been married to, and divorced, a very intelligent, manipulative, messed up, abusive “Christian” man as a legalistically trained Christian wife who in fear claimed no retirement, so restarted and re-educated to make up lost $$ but instead encountered workplace abuse, repeatedly, home-front lack of influence, and a feeling of helplessness and isolation from God. One long event. Learning still in progress.

6. If you had 3 wishes that you could get answered instantly what would you wish for and why?

For everyone to be at peace with God (not confused, not dogma, theory, scripture, speculation – REAL, REST, SECURITY, TRUTH).

For all people to have the ability to distinguish truth from lie.

A deep abiding sense of belonging, wherever I am.

Why? Because it would make life and earth so much nicer, brighter, happier.

7.    Do you believe in God?

YES.

8.    What leisure do you enjoy most?

Anything in a comfortable, scenic, natural, setting.

9.    If you could teach me one life lesson, what would it be?

Be wary of those who tell you it is selfish to take care of yourself, guard your heart, or pursue your priorities. Then do those things with kindness, honesty, and determination.

10.  Name one thing you do every day that without it your day would feel incomplete.

Think of those I love.

11.   What one thing you would change about/in the world if you had the power to do it.

Infuse all people with wisdom and respect (is that 2 things?) – within, without, between, among, around.

RULE #4: I tried to come up with creative new questions, but the ones I just answered are good.  I would love for all my readers also to answer whatever questions you wish (comments or your blogs) .  I would love to get to know you better.

Blessings!!

Diane

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