Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Noise Noise Noise

I’m sitting here by the open window on an incredibly gorgeous day in June. I picked today to get some writing done, with perfect 70 degree weather and a slight breeze to accompany me. An unwelcome companion, however, is the street worker who decided to tackle repairs in the road in front of my house. Seriously? Today of all days? The sound of the street cutting machine grinds its teeth into my brain while slicing a cut into the road out front. It won’t stop. For hours. I think to myself, just shut it out and pretend it’s only white noise in the background. I continue with my day’s work, and over time I’m less aware (consciously at least) of the grinding roar of the motor. My subconscious mind, however, remains tuned in to the high volume of the gears. Suddenly, the machine stops. I feel my body melt into my wooden chair. The quiet, thick and welcoming, drapes me like a soft blanket. I want to stay still as long as possible to soak in the nurturing peace I didn’t realize was missing. What did the noise prevent me from hearing, I wonder? My thoughts. They run a mile a minute in haphazard fashion on a normal day but the grating background noise kicked my thoughts into hyper overdrive. Finally, the silence, like a lasso, gave me something to grasp so that I could reel my thoughts back into marching band precision.

A busy wife and mom of teenagers, I run on hyper overdrive on a regular basis. Drop the kids off somewhere, run errands, go to work, get groceries, make dinner, set up the doctors’ appointments, manage the calendar, check in on my parents, pay the bills, oh, and pick the kids up. It’s no wonder when someone asks “What do you do?” I assume the deer-in-headlights expression because I don’t know where to start.

One of my favorite bible verses is Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.” Ahhh. Now we’re talking. This is the type of ‘stillness’ I’m looking for. Only with pockets of quiet can I bring sanity and order into my life and mind. I need to force myself to maintain the discipline of being quiet, even if for a few minutes, on a daily basis so I can hold on to the peace I desire. Then, I am a better wife, better mom, better friend and overall better version of myself.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Ultimate Book Signing

Writing is hard work. Writing a book is even harder. Getting a book published harder yet. But the ultimate challenge? Book signings. Whether a first or fifteenth book, the author is vulnerable. A book signing is one of those events where people are needed more than technology. Live people. I enjoyed attending a number of signings these past few years, and each one was a fun adventure in excitement and hope.

What if Jesus had a book signing? His book would be the Bible, which covers all the nonfiction genres. The Big Book contains biography, autobiography, memoir, letters, history, inspiration, and travel, all in one. With a shiny Cross pen in hand, Jesus would smile his big, welcoming smile to indicate he was ready to greet his readers. We’d each bring our books to the table, get the famed autograph and during our conversation we’d enjoy personal attention from the Big Guy. Of course, there would be light snacks and coffee, since I’m of the belief there will be coffee in heaven. The cake would probably be angel food but hopefully there will be chocolate too. Alongside the table would be business cards with one word--“God”--with no phone number or website needed. Of course, there would also be bookmarks to give away.

I’d walk up to the Big Author, shaking in my shoes, with my favorite Bible in hand, the NIV version. “Hi, Jesus!” I’d say, “Address your note to Lisa, please.”

“Of course! By the way, I know your name already,” He’d say.

“Oh yeah, that’s right. Sooo, Jesus, why did you write this book anyway?”

“To tell you how much I love you. And Lisa, how about you. Are you a writer too?”

“Umm, yes. At least that’s what I keep trying to tell myself.”

“Yes, you’re a writer, because I made you that way. Keep on writing, Lisa. And remember I’m always here to help you.”

To all my fellow writers, keep on writing. And I will, too.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Thoughts are Bugging Me

A quick glance through Google shows we have anywhere between 20,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day. Whether 20,000 or 70,000, it’s a lot. What are all these thoughts and what do we do with them? Among these thousands of thoughts there are some which are damaging. Small, unobtrusive, like termites. These pests feed on wood, the structural form causing a home to stand. When this wood is damaged, a home could eventually be unlivable. But termites seem so simple and innocent by themselves don’t they? It’s a lot like the home of my inner self. The running commentary starts again. Nobody likes you. You’re not smart enough. You’re not skinny enough. You’re hungry again? But you just ate something. You’re not valuable. You’re not loved. Nobody notices. When these safe-sounding, simple thoughts are allowed to randomly crawl across my heart and mind, my insides become structurally damaged. I’m affected physically, emotionally and spiritually. Other thoughts flit about, harmlessly. Like household spiders, they cause me to notice and sometimes even to react. I usually prefer to avoid spiders, but they are safe in that they can be dealt with, one at a time. It could be a random Is it time to pay the bills again or I wonder if the guy on the elliptical cleaned off the machine or I better get the car inspected soon or What’s on TV tonight. Any of these thoughts could fester and grow, but they could also be swept away like the spider that got in the house. They are a nuisance at times but can be handled and dismissed quickly. I’m reminded to filter all my thoughts, the termite-type and the spider-type alike, through the lens of God’s Word, the Bible. I’m told what to think about “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, think about such things…” and I’m told how God thinks about things “My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts…” This is the reassurance I need when my own thoughts run the gamut of the insect world. Thank God for exterminators.