Monday, June 30, 2008

The clock is ticking...

The time is near. Soon we'll be bidding farewell to Mississippi and traveling on to Ron's next base. Anchorage, Alaska, here we come! Although packing up our belongings and moving from the house that's been our home for the past three years is wrenching, and leaving our loved ones in Michigan, Kentucky, and Florida is tough on the heartstrings, we're nevertheless anticipating our new home and the adventures that await us with high hopes and great expectations.

We're driving cross-country, then traveling the Alcan Highway into Canada for a couple of days, and back into the U.S. when we cross the Alaskan/Canadian line. I can't imagine the scenery that awaits us as we travel westward, then turn north toward our 49th state. We lived there before moving to Mississippi and it is truly one of God's greatest masterpieces.

This time, rather than living in the middle of the state near Fairbanks, we'll be on the coastline. Over 60% of the state's population lives in Anchorage and many of the same restaurants and stores that exist in the lower 48 can be found there as well. Although I'll miss seeing the northern lights as often as I did the first time I lived in Alaska, I'm sure the lower part of the state has enough beauty to delight me constantly.

I also look forward to continuing to write for the Lord, to greater inspiration and a renewed sense of responsibility toward fulfilling the purpose of my life. God has moved me (literally) in directions I never dreamed of when I was younger. I've seen more places, had more adventures, and been blessed in ways too numerous to list. I can't understand His generosity, but I will do my level best to live up to His expectations.

Until the next time...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mission Impossible? Never!

Who am I? What am I doing here? Do I have an assignment in life, a mission to perform? These and other questions are ones that, sooner or later, all human beings begin to ponder. I'm no exception.

My sister, Shelley, and I had an interesting email exchange today on that very topic. One of the characteristics I've always admired about my younger sister (younger by a mere thirteen months, mind you) is her drive. Shel has an enduring sense of direction; she sets a goal and attains it by literally writing down a list of things that must be done in order to reach that goal--and then doing them, one by one by one. It doesn't matter if it's as mundane as writing a shopping list or as complex as creating her own web site. It gets done because she gets it done. Despite a grueling painting schedule in her own art studio and gallery exhibitions of her work all around the country, multiple family fun-stuff occasions, her husband's heavy international business travel, a magazine-worthy herb and flower garden maintained strictly by the two of them, a huge house and no household help (other than her husband), three grown children (two in college, one married and forging her own career), and being in the late stages of developing an art residency along the rocky coast of Maine, she's also accepted a teaching position with Central Michigan University to teach art. I'd feel like Stretch Armstrong; she feels like the Energizer Bunny.

What does all this have to do with questioning who we are and what we're doing here? Everything. The point is, despite all the roles she plays in her life, Shelley knows who she is. Rather than being confused by the vigorous obligations of her busy life and getting lost in the drama and hub-bub of being so active in each one of them, she is instead invigorated by the pull and tug of the things she loves to do. She draws strength from what others might find exhausting; she grows and learns and stretches and succeeds because she dares to try.

Yes, she gets tired and there are times when she probably wonders if she'll get it all done. But she's made provisions for those times--she plans. She writes it down, reads it, does it, and then crosses it off her list. It sounds so simple and in theory, it is. The trick, of course, is in actually doing those four things and that's something Shel picked up on early in life. There's no way she could succeed as spectacularly as she has (and continues to do) if she didn't organize and then act on it. In order to do that, she has to know who she is and what she--with all her strengths and weaknesses, both her assets and her hang-ups--is capable of doing.

Successful writing is a similar proposition. We writers can dream and doodle and talk and participate in forums and form writing groups and read books and call ourselves writers all we want, but if we don't write, we aren't successful. If we don't know who we are, we can't do what we're supposed to do. And if we don't do what we're supposed to do, we're not fulfilling our mission or completing our assignment.

Bottom line: Knowing who we are + doing what we do best = fulfilling our dreams.

Until the next time...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The new and improved DeeTales!

This is the inaugural post of my newly-designed, highly-improved, class-act blog. Many thanks go to George and Ashley Weis of Tekeme Studios for all their help in creating a blog design that so accurately reflects my wishes and the "feel" I wanted for my blog. I asked for a "writerly and Christian" design and they hit it spot-on. Not only were they incredibly friendly and easy to work with, but their professionalism and creativity were first rate. I highly recommend them and their studio to anyone looking for anything remotely associated with a web site, blog, copywriting, or any other professional needs along that line.

Thanks a million, George and Ashley! I will definitely be a repeat customer and look forward to working with you in the future when I need my web site and business cards designed.

Until the next time...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lazy days of summer

It's been a while since I've posted, but it's been time well-spent. Our week with 15-month-old Cannon is now behind us--aside from all our wonderful memories and tons of photos we need to have developed. Darice and Ron returned him to his mom this past Saturday and swapped him for his two older brothers. Dustin and Hunter will be staying for a full two weeks.

Already, we've had a blast. The boys have been swimming in their pool, played on the playground behind our house, ridden their bikes, had a movie and popcorn night, and had a little friend from down the street come to our house to visit. They played with our kitties, Maestro, and Mac the Bunny. Darice cleaned out the under-the-stairs closet so they can use it for their playroom/fort/toy stashaway. Frankly, they have it made. They're sleeping on a queen-sized inflatable mattress; they have lots of room and it's cushy and cozy. They've been very good about going to bed when we tell them to... and they're just as good about getting up in the morning. Early. Very, very early. But we wouldn't trade this time with them for any amount of sleeping-in time.

No, these are special days, days that will pass as quickly as water through a hose. At this moment in time, they think coming to visit Grandma and Aunt Darice and Uncle Ron is just the neatest thing imaginable. There will come a time, I know, when they will have little time for any of us. Sports, girls, friends, school, other activities, and just plain growing up will usurp the precious time we spend with them now. I will not forget a moment of it; I will keep these long, hot, lazy days of a Mississippi summer spent in the company of my grandsons in my mind and my heart for all time.

Until the next time...

Laughing with the Lord #4

Welcome to #4 of Laughing with the Lord! Wondering what makes God smile has long been a burning question for me. I know He smiles and laug...