Friday, June 22, 2018

between the pages ...

The voice behind the band
Flyleaf ~ I didn't realize we
had seen her in concert
at Ft Hood TX
Lacey Sturm grabbed my attention with just this sentence on the back cover of her book ...
Have you ever asked yourself, "What's the point?"
Have I ever!

She shares her journal pages, to-do lists, thoughts, poems, recipes and song lyric ideas in a comfortable and easy read that often made me feel guilty as if I had snuck her diary out of her room to snoop in the pages.

In the process, you see her questions about faith, life, and hope.  Many of her questions and journal entries hit close to home for all the times I asked myself (or wrote on my calendar or in my own journals) "what is the point?"  "really."

By the time you reach the end of the book, you realize that there really is "a point."

Love.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wednesday's words

This rotating celebration of words and the magic they make was begun to encourage creative writing. Each week a selection of prompts are posted, which can be words, phrases, music or an image. What is created with those prompts is up to the writer and imagination: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or whatever they make the writer think of. Some creative minds put their creations in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog. If you enjoy reading their words, please comment to encourage. This month Lee will be providing the prompts. [All of the prompt words are in bold italics.]  Stellar, Resourceful, Frivolous, Revelation, Catastrophe, Perspective, Potential, Embodiment, Euphoria, Jeopardize, Unite, Groundswell.
      She had always been a stellar student before her parents were divorced.  After that, the resulting family turmoil and instability caused her grades to drop drastically for a few years.  As resourceful as her mother had been to provide for her, she still found herself wishing for some of the less frivolous necessities for school that her classmates enjoyed.  Things like a statistical calculator.

     When she became an adult, it had been an unpleasant revelation to learn of the infidelities of both her parents during much of her childhood.  The last one that had brought a catastrophic end to their marriage had put things into perspective for all of them.  She had once thought that her parents were the embodiment of love and a happy marriage.  That illusion vanished just as quickly as the sense of security she once had at home.

     The euphoria she used to feel within the walls of her bedroom, with a new book to read, snuggled with her cat and dog on her bed was gone forever.  The excitement for new towns to explore with every Volksmarch in Germany.  Suddenly her sense of security was jeopardized by rules that changed every day.  Every so often, her brother and step-sister would unite together with her like the Three Musketeers.

     But at night, the sobs would rise up in an overwhelming groundswell of loss for the childhood she once imagined she had.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

missed the memo...

     This rotating celebration of words and the magic they make was begun to encourage creative writing. Each week a selection of prompts are posted, which can be words, phrases, music or an image.     What is created with those prompts is up to the writer and imagination: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or whatever they make the writer think of. Some creative minds put their creations in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog.      If you enjoy reading their words, please comment to encourage. This month Lee will be providing the prompts.       [I missed the memo at the end of May, and so am playing catch up with the words for the 6th and 13th.  All of the prompt words are in bold italics. Comedy, Shadows, Loss, Rainbow, Emotional, Heart, Contradictions, Sensitive, Legendary, Engage, Forever,  Never-endingAttitude, Uphill, Insight, Lessons, Upheaval, Canopy, Patience, Engage, Humility, Strategy, Fortitude, Forbearance
      "If it seems at times as if I respond to events in my life as I would a comedy movie, the truth is that there were far too many days spent in the shadows of loss and regret."

     There was no one else on the train as far as she could see, yet talking out loud to herself still made her feel a bit self-conscious.  But there were things she needed to get out of her head, and sometimes the only way to get her thoughts organized was to speak them out loud.

     "Having the hope of someday seeing my precious pets again at the other end of the rainbow just seems to keep me as an emotional hostage, continually ripping my heart out with longing and grief.  I feel like a walking contradiction of faith.  Sometimes there is joy in the hope and faith that it will happen, yet other days there is so much doubt and unbelief because of the cruel realities of this cold world.  I wish I wasn't so sensitive to what other people, and pets, are feeling.  That is what makes this legendary gift from the ancestors more of a burden than a blessing.  I wish I could just engage in a conversation, or have friendships, that weren't forever exhausting me with the struggle to keep all of the never-ending emotions in check."

     She glanced over her shoulder at the sound of the door between the cars opening and watched as a tall man in a suit took a seat on the opposite side of the train.  He looked at her briefly and nodded before turning his attention to the scenery passing outside the window.  Whispering now, she continued the conversation with herself.

     "Great.  Someone who will probably have an attitude and I'll be in a foul mood for the rest of the trip."

     The train began an uphill climb and she felt herself being pushed back into her seat slightly.

     "If I may provide some insight..."

     The man's voice was in her ear so unexpectedly that she let out a short scream and jumped out of her seat to glare at him.  Except that he was still sitting several rows behind her on the opposite side of the train.  Embarrassed now, she quickly sat down again with her back to the man.

     "Perhaps some lessons in how to control someone's emotional upheaval?"

     This time she didn't scream or jump but instead closed her eyes and listened.

     "It is a simple method of providing a canopy of protection around yourself.  Imagine it as a bubble, if you will.  It may take a little patience in getting it just right because every entity is different.  But it will allow you to engage in society again and not feel forced to exclude yourself from the world."

     She sighed deeply.  He knew.  He knew what it was like.  He understood.

     "This gift you have requires the humility to understand that everyone is struggling in their own way.  Everyone is broken somehow, even if it just cracks under the surface.  What I can teach you is a strategy for your own protection.  It takes fortitude to face the world even for those who aren't gifted.  The forbearance to keep from running and jumping off the edge at times."

     "You can teach all this to me?" she whispered.

     "Yes, in fact, you've just passed your first lesson."

     "I did?"

     "Yes.  The willingness to ask for help." 

Friday, June 8, 2018

between the pages ...

I love peanut brittle.  Brickle.  Brittle.  Whatever.  Sugar + peanuts = yummy in my tummy.
However, arthritis in my jaw doesn't like hard candy anymore, and it can be painful to eat crunchy stuff.
Not that I let it stop me very often.
I got a sample of Softer Than Brittle, and it was AMAZING!!! Oh my gosh I could eat this all day
(and wish the sample was bigger because I had to share it with the hubs and he likes it too!)
It is available on Amazon (click the name above) and comes in almond, pecan, cashew, AND peanut.  With only seven ingredients (I counted just five since I'm not sure that "natural flavor" is an actual ingredient), it is gluten- and dairy-free, and vegan, so depending on who you ask, could actually be considered the perfect food!
Must buy more!

I ordered an advanced copy of this book to review because I was intrigued....  
I mean, really, wouldn't you be?
Especially when the back cover blurb starts by saying "Let's face it.  Church isn't working."
Chris Sonksen hit me right between the eyes with many of his words.  Before I knew it, I was reaching for a pen to underline the "me" between the lines.
But that isn't to say that I agree with all of his words.  I don't believe that the church today is the church that God, or Jesus, intended it to be some 2,000+ years ago.
Church then seemed to be more about community, fellowship and spreading the hope of Christ Risen.
Church today takes the words of the Bible, twists and turns them into something that better suits the congregation and pastor.  It seems to be more "take what you like and leave the rest."  Oh and don't forget to drop that check in the offering plate on your way out the door.
I enjoyed the read, and he did have some valid points about life and how we do things to self-sabotage our own happiness and satisfaction.  I'm sure I will re-read it from time to time, and perhaps see even more between the lines.  Will I quit church in the literal sense?  No, but I will change how I think, speak, and do some things because of points he has made.  Do I think his book or advice will make my life better?  Not exactly, but it will make a difference.