Can I be in your Shelfie?

Straight up, I have a lot of books. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to many of you. At Christmas, most of my presents are fresh printer-and-ink-smelling rectangles in tacky Christmas wrap, simply because I make it easy for my husband to guess what I want by constantly adding a pile of Marissa Meyer, Veronica Roth, Marie Lu, Lindsay Cummings, Kate Quinn, and Kiera Cass volumes to my Amazon Wishlist, along with the random other authors I decide to obsess over. And don’t even get me started on my Bill Johnson collection.

With technology and self-checkout robots dominating society, I’m relieved that real books with paper pages are still a thing. Gone are the days where Christmas shopping was as easy as purchasing a CD, or a DVD that you knew someone liked. Now with Spotify and Netflix, who needs stuff like that?

And now here comes Kindles and e-books, rising up from the guts of the literary world with its robot tentacles to scoop up as many of us as they can. Some people love reading on a Kindle or their phone, and I’m sure that’s where the future is headed. But it’s just not my thing.

Don’t go dying on me book-lovers. We need our libraries to live on!

In the midst of the buzzing technology that runs this world, I find my happiest place is still sitting by the window in a plush chair, with a cup of something only slightly less hot than burn-your-mouth temperature, with all the other sounds turned off, holding open a book and getting lost in a great story. And since moments of rest are sort of God’s thing, something He holds high on the list of valuable things for your life, I hope some day I can be responsible for the story that brings someone else into a place of peace.

Because, really. After all these years of raising babies, it’s about time I kick-start my writing career, wouldn’t you say? I’ve been telling stories since I was a little girl, and now that I have kids of my own I want them to go on adventures and live a life with all the magic of getting carried away into other worlds. So please pray for me, friends! Shoot one into the air right now if you can. I need all the faith-fuel I can get as I start to send proposals to literary agencies. And you can bet your buttocks I’ll keep you in the loop as much as I can!

Now tell me, what kind of story would you want to read about?

  1. Parallel universes on the brink of war with a psychologically unstable (but hilarious) female lead that has totally fallen head-over-heels for a guy who hates her guts.
  2. A chilly Christmas tale that forces an uncoordinated faithless female protagonist to face off with villains from old Christmas legends.
  3. A fairy-tale retelling with a twist that pits two sisters against each other in a dangerous competition to hunt down the greatest threats their historians have ever recorded.

Let me know! I’m sharpening my pencils to take notes…

 

 

A Glimpse of Rome Through Geeky Glasses

Dreams. Dreamy dreams. Dreaming of dreamy dreams.

We all have that one dream, the one that never goes away, even if life provides a heaping pile of lofty distractions. Occasionally something reminds us of it and we pause to go back to dreamland for a moment. We let out a long dramatic sigh and for a split second that thing we want the most is so close we can almost taste it.

Nice, isn’t it? To experience it for just a moment? If only everything were possible and we had unlimited amounts of money and each of us possessed our favourite super power.

Really, there is only one conclusion. Dreams suck. Yep. It’s official. We always take it too far by adding on new branches to our dream tree and suddenly what started as a small dream turns into a completely ridiculous impossible venture.

Go us.

I happen to be incredibly guilty of being a ‘brain-wanderer’ (yes I made that term up which is why it’s lame) which leaves me staring off at nothing for long periods of time, getting lost in non-existent worlds or situations. I can sure dream up some funky dreams. Some of them are probably attainable. But I’ll be honest, most of them aren’t.

My biggest dream though is one that doesn’t seem to want to scamper off, even when I try to ignore it, forget about it, or even beat it down. Realistically there is no reason for me to want to get rid of it, except for personal insecurities, but there are always loads of excuses to. For example, I’m a mamma now. Most of my time is already spoken for by a little stump of a creature who doesn’t even know he’s needy. I love him to death quite frankly. Which presents a problem when the opportunity comes around for me to be selfish and take some time for myself. All I want to do with my time is help him, make sure he’s full, gotten his sleep, isn’t afraid, doesn’t feel alone, has clothes to wear, has food to eat and sing adorable songs to gently put him to sleep. It sure makes it hard for me to want to take off and live out my dreams when I care for him so stinking much. He rules my world. What a little punk. It’s like he’s already got me all figured out.

I’ve always wanted to get published and write novels full time as my career. I have many dreams, some you would laugh at because they are so far fetched, but this one trumps them all. I picture myself sitting in some little hole-in-the wall apartment in Rome, Italy, finishing off an epic sci-fi novel that will leave the world with their jaws hanging open in anticipation of what happens next.

This might sound strange. I don’t exactly come off as the well-spoken type. I’m one of those people that can write something that sounds pretty, but the moment I open my mouth I sound like I’ve stuffed my vocabulary into a blender and failed English seventeen times.

No, I don’t want to live in Rome. But some day I would love to travel there and sit with an unhealthy-sized cup of coffee and write an action packed book with just enough romance that all the saps out there buy into the story too. I would wear geeky glasses and everything, just to make it all feel legit.

Pffffft. Ridiculous. Who has the money for that? Or even the time? Seems like a lot of work to make this dream come true. I’m probably better off to stuff it into my “maybe later” box and never think of it again.

If I’m being honest though, I don’t think God gives us dreams for no reason. His reasons though, are likely not always what we think. Maybe He just wants to see if we are willing to give them up to follow Him. Now whether we are willing to give up our dreams for Him, that is the biggest test. It really doesn’t matter where they come from, God or us, we aren’t called to chase after fantasies, even if it would be incredible to wind up in history-splattered Rome with my nerd-glasses and an armful of notebooks with endless ideas.

We just need to praise Him, no matter what we are doing with our lives currently. I think the praises that come directly from the surrendered most abandoned hearts in those face-in-the-mud moments are the most touching to Him. Even if the songs aren’t that greatly written, sung or played. He just wants our true feelings, our true love, scribbled down on a cola stained napkin, and expressed to Him our very best.

I think the little drummer boy had it right.

Peace out.

Poop Happens. So grab a shovel and deal with it.

There was an eerie whistle coming off the fields; its source was unknown. Only vacant emptiness hung over the green wheaties for miles. The sky was a dull grey, creeping over the landscape like it was its own life form. All seemed…ugh what is that horrendous smell?

Manure season. That’s what. What a wretched time to live out in the country.

I would have loved to sit outside today and observed God’s creation from my rickety lawn chair. But unfortunately the air is clogging my windpipes. I will die out there.

Time to come in and seal all the windows. With duct tape. And fabreeze. And then maybe I will gag myself and make a blanket fort to hide under to try and trap out this horrific smell. I wish I’d thought ahead and invited a friend to come over to suffer through this with me. At least then I could complain about it and make mildly inappropriate potty-humour jokes to pass the time.

Life’s storms, eh? Sometimes they come in the form of spray manure.

Ironically enough, I feel like this is God showing me something incredibly important. And JUST when I thought I got everything He was trying to say, this happens. And I realize all over again that He is sending me a message.

His message isn’t that He wants to choke me in a hot vat of animal waste. It’s about attitude. It’s about what your heart is doing. God is really asking me in this season, Do you trust me?

Ugh. I do. I know I do. Just let me be in control this once, please?

Sometimes it’s insulting when God asks us to trust Him. I get in these “zones” where I think about my education and capability to be able to get things done correctly and I think I can do quite an excellent job. And then God shows up. Do you trust me? And I’m one mega fist-flying hissy fit away from burning my house down for no reason.

Last year my journey to the Love Encounter conference was not flat. And by that I mean I fell into valleys and had to climb mountains to get to the end. But staying on the right course, even if it’s the un-level one, is key. If I’d gone my own way I would have gotten distracted by pretty flowers along the side of the road and after pulling off for too long I would have gotten lost in the magical forest. I never would have had to climb the mountains or scale down the rocky valleys. That might have been nice. And the Love Encounter would have looked really pretty. But it would have been dry, and lifeless. Those mountains that I conquered shaped the vision of the LOVE Weekend and changed my heart to understand the true purpose of where God was going with it. I needed those hikes. Or I wouldn’t have gotten it.

This year God has been bringing me back to those moments, reminding me what He taught me back then so He can build on it this year. Last year we climbed mountains. But this year we are building towers.

“Brave”. That is the theme for this year’s conference. I can’t wait to watch what God is going to do with this. I can’t wait to stand among the bravest of women. And when the enemy starts to spit arrows, I’d like to fire a couple back. I was nervous at first. I was afraid to set out on this new adventure again. But God asked me to trust Him. This year is going to have new battles, but for the first time since this TLE ball got rolling, I’m not afraid. Instead of ducking behind a rock, I’m going to grab my theoretical bow and cling to God’s promise. And the moment He says “Go!”, boy oh boy, I’m going to charge!

What I don’t want to do is walk into the battle unprepared. That is just plain dumb on my part. But in order to be prepared I need to have the right attitude. I need to ready my mind and my heart to stand against the attitude-manure that is going to make me and this entire conference stink if I let it get too close. Set me free God, from this manure season! I want your sweet fragrance to fill the sanctuary all weekend. I don’t want to drag in my manure-smelling attitude. That can leave with the wind. Let’s get this right.

Now I need to go call my husband and tell him that when he gets home he’s going to just have to wait out the poop-storm in his truck. If he comes and opens the front door then my entire fortress will smell like the inside of a cow’s bowels. I can’t have that.

Kropf out.

Enter the Maze

How do I explain this? Okay, sometimes I look at other people and I imagine their heads are like eggs. If you crack them open (non-violently of course) inside you will find egg whites and a yolk. This is normal. This is healthy.

I feel like when God made me He jammed a tub of cotton candy, twisty patterns, endless tunnels to other worlds, a whole village of people with strong personalities, eight vastly different pairs of shoes and a box of crayons into my egg-head. I hope I never have to get brain surgery. Because I have this sinking feeling that I’ll freak out the surgeons.

I’m not saying that there is something wrong with me, but there are definitely times when I feel like I’m doing everything I can to hide the fact that I might be a ‘crazy person’. Sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating to try and keep ‘the brain beast’ under control. Someone can be having an entire conversation with me and I will be looking right into their eyes, even nodding, but I can be in a completely different place, having no idea what they’re saying. I want to listen. I want to be a part of what the person is talking about. But my mind takes off without consent. I’ll catch the first few words, and then notice something across the room, or something they say will trigger an idea or thought, and then I’m gone. For the next couple of minutes while they talk, I’m not aware of anything except what my mind is producing.

It’s borderline embarrassing. If I’m not quick on my feet at the time I won’t be able to come up with some sort of stuttering response to whatever I think they were talking about. Usually I have to take a wild guess. And thankfully I’m usually right. But sometimes I’m not, which makes me look really stupid.

It started in high school, I think. But maybe it was before that. I had systematically trained myself to sit in a chair and check out, the moment the teacher opened his/her mouth. I would stare at them so they thought I was listening. But I would be somewhere else entirely, creating a distant landscape or engaging in some ridiculous legendary battle that I’d fabricated in my mind. I was doing it on purpose at first. But after a few years of getting into the habit, I couldn’t stop. Daydreaming became my kryptonite.

It started getting really bad when I could sit by myself for hours with no concept of what time it was. In those moments the idea of having to move was aggravating, almost unthinkable. I would watch things; machines, people, animals, trees. I would study them obsessively until I understood how they worked, or discovered every detail. A tree is not just a tree. It is branches, leaves, a trunk, bark, moss, buds, bugs, and sometimes birds. And it feels cold, sometimes moist, depending on the tree. I don’t know why I ever realized this. Trees really aren’t of any concern to me. Why do I even care? I don’t. But for some stinking reason I notice it anyway. Bah.

85% of the time I’m battling between trying to pay attention to what’s important (like someone talking to me, remembering that I have to make supper, or that I should probably do the laundry) and the overwhelming pull that is taking me in another direction – somewhere that isn’t important but consumes me. Some fantasy land I create. Plotting out the traits of a character that isn’t real. Some crisis that would cool for the character to overcome.

It’s exhausting. Several times a day I’m telling my brain to shut up. Who talks to their own brain? I don’t typically sleep well on a normal night either – usually because I just think and think and think and think…

The weird part is that I actually can focus on something, if it’s something I like. If it’s making the preparations for something that I can see the big picture of that no one else seems to get, I can do it. I can do it because I want to prove the world wrong. I want to do it so that everyone can see the end result, the way I see it. People don’t always see what I see, the big dream that I know will be amazing once it’s finished. In those instances my focus is spear-like.

I’m not going to lie, I think if I didn’t believe in God, if I didn’t have the relationship with Him that I have, I would have probably lost my mind by now. I would be restless all the time. Peace was foreign to me, until I really started to pursue God to the point of choosing to give those things, those parts of me that I typically can’t control, to Him. He keeps the aimless wanderings going in the right direction at least. I must focus my energy on something. So I know I can accomplish masterpieces if I keep my focus on Him.

Not everyone gets my need to constantly spring into a new situation or venture out into new territory. It’s not that I’m reckless. And it’s not that I’m ignorant and don’t understand the risks. It’s that I’m trying to feed the howling ‘brain-beast’ that won’t shut up until I do.

Not everyone gets my need to escape either. I love people, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes I realize that I need seclusion, and I don’t know where the freak-desperation comes from without warning, but sometimes I just need to be by myself so that I can ‘hear myself think’. Little distractions instantly become my enemy. I need to focus, or I will lose my train of thought. And if I lose my train of thought I might never get it back. And for whatever reason my mind deems it pivotal to keep these little thoughts safe, like they are priceless treasures that are worth a fortune.

It’s so weird. I’m not saying it’s normal. I was never really a normal kid – even in elementary school I had more than one teacher that had to pull me aside to get me in trouble for handing in papers with doodles and pictures coloured in around all the margins of the paper and only half the required school notes. I never broke that habit. In fact, halfway through my grade 10 math exam I gave up and just wrote, “I don’t need math. I will get through life with my art” across the page. And then I handed it in. Granted, at the time I might have been a little naïve. But I was never good at exams.

You know, finally confessing all of this actually makes me feel better about it. I think I just needed to let it all out for a change. Thank God, for God. I can’t even comprehend what my life would be like without Him.

And for the record I’m not crazy. Just a little distracted on a regular basis.

That’s my rant. Tootles.

Flesh Eaters.

When life is coming at you like a hoard of angry zombies, and you just feel like you’re about to get eaten alive, lift your eyes up to Jesus. He’s a heart-loving-zombie-crushing-pound-on-Satan’s-face kinda guy. And in your worst moments, even when you feel disconnected or like you’ve lost your way, Jesus still knows you by name, loves you in your weakness, and is ready to fight on your behalf. He gives peace. He restores life. He makes you a survivor.

You will make it.

Wipe your Butt with Silk

Just saw a commercial for Cashmere toilet paper. I don’t know if any of you will remember this but Cashmere actually used to be called “Cottonelle”. But I guess cotton isn’t soft enough for some people wipe their arses with.

Sometimes I wonder about the media and their constant portrayal of normalcy. *Sigh* Oh the tragedy – that some people can’t afford to buy the “good” stuff. Poor them. They wipe their butts with Value Brand.

What an interesting concept. Who was it that first presented to the world that one brand of toilet paper is needed over another? Commercials can convince us of the oddest things. Somehow we actually have it in our minds that if we buy the cheap brand, we’ll practically be scrubbing a layer of skin off our butts with sandpaper. But it’s just toilet paper. It gets flushed. It’s so like our nation to fuss over things like that, when really the whole mindset is just a fancy load of BS. No pun intended…but you have to admit I’m on a roll. Ha! Okay, enough.

Hasn’t anyone ever tried camping? Use a leaf. Pitch a tent. Make a fire. Eat some wild berries. Get diarrhea. Use a leaf again.

Whelp, that’s all! (I know, what a bummer. Ha!)