Tuesday, May 31, 2011

gratitude day 16: life

I am grateful to be alive. Are you? Here's a quick snapshot of my life, this week.

1. I am two weeks away from my writer's conference wherein my novel will be critiqued by HOLLY BLACK. [Typing her name, the rhyming phrase "spaz attack" comes to mind. Not a coincidence]. My adult ADD brain is having a hard time focusing on anything else. I WILL finish this round of revisions before then, because I do what I say and I said what I meant.

2. Markus Zusak is now on Twitter. Now we can deepen our imaginary author/celebrity relationship. This brings me an immense amount of joy.

3. I am in love with social media. Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. It feels my social needs while allowing me to stay home, unshowered and barefoot living the dream.

4. I cannot keep up with the laundry. Or rather, I choose not to keep up with the laundry because I am revising my novel. Also, playing Angry Birds.

5. I am teaching a lesson in church this week to a group of women. My self-chosen topic: Lessons From the Garden. Any thoughts, insights?

6. My cousin passed away from a drug overdose last week. His memorial service is today. I cannot stop thinking of the email my mom sent to me and the thought she shared: Life is precious.

Life is precious.

Are you living your dream? Do your loved ones know you love them? Have a beautiful day, friends. You are here, you are alive, and you only get one shot. Make it count.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

gratitude day 15: office

welcome to my author office. i am taking a break from the throes of revising DYING LIGHT* to let you in on 8 of my favorite writerly tools for writing/living dangerously.

8. down duvet. because this writer can't perform with cold feet.

7. netbook. which doesn't have enough memory/big enough screen to search the internet properly, thus discouraging lengthy sessions of online "research".

6. notebook. wherein i write Very Important Things that i don't want to forget.

5. critiqued copies of my novel. otherwise know as The Only Reason My Book Will Not Be A Total Pile of Crap.

4. thesaurus. second only to my beta readers, this is my best writing friend. sometimes i just flip through it, reading words at random, and don't you know...the ideas just come. if i'm ever a published writer and someone asks me where my ideas come from, i have my answer: ROGET'S 21ST CENTURY THESAURUS IN DICTIONARY FORMAT.

3. snow and graham desk calendar. in case i forget what day it is (or what year, or what world. trust me, when your brain is living deep inside an imaginary world this is a lifesaver.)

2. water. known to ward off headaches and "bum enlargment".

1. prayer rock. because i need all the help i can get.

*working title. i'm open to suggestions for a better one.

Friday, May 13, 2011

gratitude day 14: miracles

{photo of and by my lovely sister}

last night i saw my mother-in-law riding down the street on her new purple birthday bike. we honked and she waved, a giant windmill of a wave.

and smiled.

i watched joy spread across her face. watched her hair blown back by the wind. she was a six year-old little girl. and it stopped me short.

in that moment i saw a lifetime of sorrow, abuse, silent treatments, and crushing disappointments float away from her.

and right now, my brother steven is in my front yard, tossing a football with micah. sober. alive. heroin-free since october.

this is what i know, what i have witnessed time and again: miracles happen all the time. there is no sorrow, no injustice, no wound, no atrocity that will not be made right in due time.

and god shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. -revelations 21:4

Saturday, May 7, 2011

gratitude day 13: mom

"It is interesting that today, decades later, when life seems particularly overwhelming or frightening or just downright scary, I call Mother and listen for her to say, “Sheri, you can do it.” A mother’s influence not only spans decade, it reaches into the eternities." -Sheri Dew

During my last trip home to Arizona, I was crying because someone didn't like me.* In the midst of my carrying on, mom walked over to me, kissed the top of my head, and said, "Rachel, I love you and know you are wonderful." And just like that I felt okay—like I was three years-old with a scrape on my knee and I needed my mom to kiss it better.

My mom is a calligrapher, water color painter, cook, nurturer, the life of the party.


I love her. I am so grateful to have her as a mother. How did she survive me?

*It's a long story, in which I acted like I was in junior high and my mother loved me anyway.