Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Used Info

Putting Lizzy's college health form in the mail today. She's got all her shots, papers signed, litter trained -oops. Never mind.
I think she's good to go and so here I sit with all this knowledge about applying to colleges, taking the SAT or ACT, college visits, orientations, transcripts, and extra-long sheets. Just file it away with the rest of the junk I've learned and don't need now.
Getting kids through the jungle of driver's permits and licenses. Potty training. Junior High meet and greets. Prom formalities. Graduation requirements. Elementary field day.
I am a wealth of technical junk I no longer need.
When I shared all this with my friend Sherry the other day she laughed and said. "I hear a blog coming on!" It's great to have friends around who can hear me thinking, because as the words were coming out my mouth, I was thinking of blogging them.
Isn't it awesome that the world is filled with possible friends? We've lived in Tennessee, Florida, Illinois, and Georgia and in each place found wonderful people.
It's kind of like a treasure hunt because they don't usually jump out at you. We're currently getting involved in a new church and it's so exciting to look at these folks and wonder which ones will end up being friends?
Although now that I think about it, many of the people I've met recently and enjoyed talking to have kids around the same ages as mine.
Could all that 'useless' information I'm carrying around be where we're connecting?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Slipping Away

After our first, very short, summer in Illinois, I realized I needed a plan. Summer always flies by for me, but up north? It was over before I'd eaten my fill of watermelon, watched lightening bugs, or gone to the lake.
So when it started getting warm I sat down with a pen and paper (necessary to any plan). Summer in northern Illinois is ten weeks long. And not because of the kids school schedule - summer really is only about ten weeks long. I know, sends a shudder down your spine, doesn't it?
Back to my plan. On my piece of paper I wrote out all the things I'd regret not having done if I got to the end of the summer and they were undone.
Eating outside alot
Read a couple warm days away, with a sweating glass of ice tea
Sit out in the yard late into the night several times
Go to the lake (this one got scratched later when I realized Illinois lakes don't get warm-ever. I don't do cold water. And for all my northern friends - No, it's not brisk and refreshing.
This exercise lead to me making this kind of list a lot. Holidays, parties, vacations - What would I really regret later if I didn't do them? Then make sure to do them. I started asking the kids that question and it helped us plan our lives, day by day.
Living intentionally. Living on purpose. Realizing that time moves and this is the one shot we get.
June 29, 2009 happens once and it's today.
Time for a list.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Raising Adults? Or Children?

One of my kids, I told him his path was leading to jail - he was in fifth grade at the time. Another of my kids sat with me through certain Oprahs - at my insistence. Another took a hard-earned fall from grace in front of peers and authority figures - again parental hard-headness was at fault. We sat and listened while one called a friend's parent and told the parent the sleep-over was cancelled because of lying. This child had been warned the lying would stop or the consequences would escalate. Telling a respected adult you are a liar, is escalation that works. Looked another of my kids in the eye and said, "If you get caught cheating, your daddy and I are on the high school's side 100%."
Now all of this is not mine and my husband's fault. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of OUR parents. You see, our parents raised adults and contrary to what the world told us, Mike and I followed their example.
Now that the last of the three is 18, our darlings are all adults and while they'll make mistakes and wrong choices, I believe they've been given every tool to work out their lives and be happy and productive.
Removing obstacles from our kids lives is not a good thing.
Funny how I know this about my children, but I forget it when God won't fix MY problems. Could it be he's more concerned about raising adults than children?

Check out Michael Hyatt's (CEO of Thomas Nelson blog (link is below) for a great lesson on dealing with obstacles.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Jealous Plan

So much of life is about waiting. Seems there are times when I find myself waiting on several things that all will change my next step, so the question becomes what do I do while I wait? I'm usually pretty good at living in the moment and accepting the waiting as part of the present. And it really is just that when I think I about it. To live in the moment means living in waiting. Expectation. Anticipation. Uncertainity. Hope. Doubt.
I trust God and I believe he has a plan. I just don't trust my handling of his plan.
You see, I have a plan also. A plan that keeps jumping up when I think I've got it safely stored out of sight and out of mind. My plan likes to be cared for, examined, stroked and focused on. My plan wants my undivided attention and it's jealous. Jealous of me allowing God to have a plan. Jealous of me working on anything not in the plan's best interest. My plan says, "Sit and think about me today. Don't spend time on other possibilities or abilities. Don't worry about other people and their plans. Their plans are stupid and not nearly as important as me."
Hmmm, could my plan be an idol for me? Something I, at times, put above God?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Night in the Roadmaster's Lodge

Mike, my husband, is one lucky man. On our way back from the beach in late August (when ALL the kids are safely deposited in college) we're stopping for the night at the Roadmaster's Lodge in Folkston, Georgia.
A Roadmaster is a position on the railroad. The Roadmaster is in charge of all the railroad in a very large territory. Mike was an Assistant Roadmaster early in our marriage. It's a 24/7 job. Many, many years ago some Roadmasters were given little homes near the tracks. Yep - you guessed it - we're staying in one of those little houses! You can check it out at http://www.roadmasterslodge.com/ It's tiny, but the back porch faces the busy railroad tracks. And it's within walking distance of the platform in Folkston, which is famous among railfans for watching trains.
A friend who is reading my manuscript - Next Stop, Chancey - told me today she's enjoying learning about railfans, of which the LA times says there are 175,000 in the US. The husband of my main character is a railfan (wonder where that idea came from.) I enjoyed writing about something that is so much a part of our family, but rather odd to most people.
Isn't it great how we become experts at the things our loves ones enjoy? Our lives acquire depth when we reach out and embrace those odd interests of our friends and family. Whether it's a tv show, a news story, a hobby, a sport, a movie genre, a car, style of music or even someone's faith - there's so much to learn about. And there's probably an expert within shouting distance. However, we do have to take an interest and listen.
Who knows? You might even get a book out of it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Trapeze Artist

I know it's only Monday night, but since we have to leave early in the morning and I don't trust hotel internet, here's the post for Tuesday. And you can log in comments with only your name and you can leave the URL blank for those that are still having trouble. Maybe that will work.)

We're in Carrollton, Ga for our third, and final, college orientation. First orientation, five years ago, we took notes and asked questions. This time we find ourselves merely nodding and moseying from session to session. We still wonder how our youngest will fare and try to imagine this beautiful campus as her new home, but we are definitely more relaxed.
Heard an analogy today that is good for this time we're in with our recent graduate. The presenter put a picture of a trapeze artist on the screen. The high-flying performer was letting go of one swinging handle and jumping to the next.
The presenter said the one handle represented childhood and the next one represented adulthood. Our children she pointed out are in the middle. "Notice," she said, "your child has to completely let go of the childhood bar in order to reach and swing on the adulthood handle. And that is our goal."
For our children to keep even a small hold on childhood means they can't fully take advantage of being an adult. They'll be stuck, just hanging in the middle.
What I love about this analogy is no one is denying the scary part - that open, bottomless middle. It's there and to ignore it doesn't help our kids. And yet how exhilarating to see them grab that adult handle and start their lives as young adults.
Scary. Exciting.
And we only get a seat in the audience.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Daddy Logic

(I've decided Saturday and Sunday don't count, so I'll blog everyday M-F.)

Yesterday was Father's Day so inbetween grilling steaks and making twice-baked potatoes for Mike, I called my Daddy up in Kingston. He has many great points, but the fact that he treated being a parent logically is one my of my favorite things about being Linney Dew's child.
When I was 16, he and I were having a disagreement - something about the car but the details escape me. In his frustration he raised his voice at me.
When I immediately matched his noise level, he responded, "Don't you yell at me."
I fired back, "You yelled first."
He stopped, paused and in a low, civil tone said, "You're right. I apologize."
Great - what do you do with that when every bit of your 16-year-old righteousness is raring to go? He left me no choice. I lowered my voice and said, "Okay. I'm sorry, too."
We still disagreed, but now we could talk.
That's just one of the miracles I got to grow up with. Being treated with respect and logic my entire life has made me who I am. And for those of you that weren't treated that way, my heart aches for you, but remember it's never to late to bestow that blessing on those around you.
Respect and logic. Thank you, Daddy. You are the best!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Yeah Lisa

A friend from high school helped me figure out about the comments. So I think anyone can comment now.
Thanks Lisa!

Knee-buckling Gratitude

Early morning sunshine through the trees
Kids - mine especially
left-over chicken wings
Jesus life story written in Mark's action packed way
Hydrangeas in vases given by a friend
Southern Living Magazine
Smell of exhaust
Light reflected on water
There's a line from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Milay, which since jr. high has met my need for words on days like today. "O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!" When my very soul so expands that to hold all this beauty in proves more than I can do, that one line is my mantra. My prayer of all-consuming praise for being alive and being me. And I know God is grinning like crazy when we take a minute or two and actually see, really see our world. Wow - he must really like us!
"O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!"
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Baby Steps

I love the movie "What about Bob?" with Bill Murray. Remember the book in the movie - Baby Steps? Well, not a bad thing to remember. If you just keep moving, even if only with baby steps, you eventually get somewhere.
Yesterday I took another step. An agent asked to see my full manuscript. Wow. When I finish writing this I'll check it over (one more time) and send it out. But last night I kept thinking about all the "baby" steps I've taken.
Finish a book. Well, I've done that four times now. However, I believe this one is the one. The others were probably just practice (I know, ouch.)
Join and submit to a real critique group. (ouch, ouch, ouch to the thirty-third power)
Attend writers conferences
Talk to agents,
Research agents
Send query letters to agents (one page asking the agent to look at your work. pretty please)
Get an agent to ask to see 3 chapters (gotten this far with several agents)
Get an agent to ask to see a full manuscript.
I have a writing from Rainer Maria Rilke from 1903 hanging on my bulletin board about not searching for answers. It ends like this, "Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."
Baby steps.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Blue Like Jazz" or You Bug Me

My friend, Cindy, and I went to a book discussion group last night. The book was "Blue Like Jazz - Non-religious thoughts on spirituality." I knew Robert and Ryan read it a couple years ago when it came out, so I borrowed Robert's copy. (It was cool to see what he'd underlined.)
Donald Miller, the author, works through his thought provoking concerns about Christianity and church. Some points are embarrassing, some laugh out loud funny, some reminded me of my own search for what I believe and how to express it.
One thing he talks about is needing to be in community to grow (not in A community, but in community.) He expresses his thought that we need to be around people that bug us to make us grow.
That rings true, but I seem to work to make sure I'm not around people that bug me. And if you bug me and I can't get away from you, then I try to figure out how to fix you so you are not so buggy (at least to me - it's probably good you bug those other folks 'cause they got problems.)
Joyce Meyers calls them "sand paper people". Those people that rub off our rough spots.
Hmmm, so those folks that bug me might be rubbing up against something I need to work on?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tuesdays with Kay

So it's not really tuesday. When our kids were home we seemed to often gain one or two teenagers for meals. Our talk and laughter was splashed with stuff I've picked up through the years. Katie decided we should have a show and since these fun dinners seemed to happen often on Tuesdays, the title of the show would be Tuesdays with Kay.

I'm not sure about this blogging thing but I'm thinking it can be fun. So here's the deal - I'm going to blog something everyday.

Here are some of the topics liable to come up:
- my attempt to be published
- our youngest leaving for college in August
- God
- teenagers
- parenting
- stuff
- friends
- family
So - there we go. See you tomorrow.