Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cleaning the Tidbit Box

I have on my desk a little open box where I park my tidbits. Today I decided to see what was in it. I found four cassette tapes, one small calculator, pictures, some Bible memory cards (part of Psalm 16 I was memorizing) a small rock, a small clothes pin (I mean 1 inch size) a thumb tack, a plastic baggie of postage stamps (mostly Christmas), tons of cat fur, and two things worth sharing on a blog. That's pretty good for a 5X6X1 box.
The first thing worth sharing is an unidentifiable, yellowed newspaper clipping. It looks like it is only part of a column.
"When I was 30, I read Gail Godwin's novel The Finishing School. One particular passage, in which 44 year-old Ursula advises 14 year-old Justin about aging, scared me so much that I wrote it down and carried it in my wallet for years:
"There are two kinds of people... One kind, you can tell just by looking at them at what point they congealed into their final selves. It might be a very nice self, but you know you can expect no more surprises from it. Whereas, the other kind keeps moving, changing. With these people, you can never say, "X stops here," or "Now I know all there is to know about Y." That doesn't mean they're unstable. Ah, no, far from it. They are fluid. they keep moving forward and making new trysts with life, and the motion of it keeps them young. In my opinion, they are the only people who are still alive.
"Yikes, I vowed to grow like the weed you can't kill."
The rest of the clipping is missing, but I add my "Yikes." There are times of exhaustion, failure and defeat, but get up and learn something new. Today I learned that margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being plastic... and shares 27 ingredients with paint. True? I don't know. I have no source, but I use butter.
Insightfully yours,
Paulita

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Can't We Just Get Along?

It has been a long time since I posted my frustration of last year. I finished Coming Home at Starbucks and published it last December. Now I'm on to other writing projects. That was to be my "Swan Song" but I can't stop writing.
This blog has nothing to do with writing, only every day life, but isn't that what life is about anyway?
A week or so ago I complained to my husband that it was hard to get to the table at the rear of our office because our chairs were in the middle of the room blocking the way. We each have a desk facing opposite walls. His chair fits under his desk neatly but mine only  fits diagonally. We decided we'd each push our chairs in when we were through with them, but what we DID was let each other know when we pushed THEIRS in.
My husband decided my chair would fit under my desk if it were lowered each time it was put away and raised only when in use. After plopping down on the lowered chair several times, not realizing it was low, I decided I didn't like that method of his reminding me that I hadn't pushed my chair in. He didn't seem to mind my telling him I had pushed his dinnertime chair in after dinner.
I didn't like this tit-for-tat, tattle-tale game. It wasn't fun for me, although it seemed to be for him.
We decided on a better way to do things. Now when we see either of our chairs in the way, we put it where it belongs, mainly in the office where this whole thing started. I push his chair in without saying anything and he pushed mine in without saying anything. We help each other.
New thought? It works!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sparknotes May Help

I've hit the Jackpot. I've just located the Sparknotes for my new book that hasn't been published yet. I've worked for three years on Coming Home, the story of the return of the Jews to Jerusalem to build their temple. It's been a real struggle, but no more. I can now tell my story using any of three outlines.

God stirs up a Persian king.
The king commissions a Jewish leader to accomplish a task.
The leader overcomes opposition and succeeds.
Success is followed by a great celebration.
or
Rebuilding the temple.
Ezra's mission.
Nehemiah's help.
or
God uses foreign rulers to help the Jews.
The Jews face opposition from foreign neighbors.
The Jews separate from their foreign wives to preserve the purity of their seed.

It all sounds so easy.
NOT!

Insightfully yours,
Paulita

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Writing, Crying, Starbucks, and John MacArthur

What do you do when you get the overwhelms? I usually cry. So what did I cry about this morning? I  have just spent two hours writing at Starbucks (my usual duration and place on Tuesdays). I must say that I am in the middle of writing about the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity. "The middle of" sounds funny because I have been working on this book for about three years, I think. I first wrote until I was completely befuddled and then put the manuscript under my desk for two years. Now I'm working on it again. This is to be a story, not a history lesson. It has multiple main characters, but I've learned that that is possible if you do it right. There are many people in the Old Testament with the same names. No one seems to be absolutely sure of who went where when.

My problem is that I want to write out of knowledge, not ignorance. I want to be intimately acquainted with Ezra's mindset so I'm going over Psalm 119 (primarily) with a fine-toothed comb. I want to know who the guys are that are standing on the platform with Ezra when he is reading the law to the Jews, so I look them all up. I want to understand the significance of the Water Gate. I want to join in the excitement of the Feast of Tabernacles. I want to feel the sorrow of sin - the ripping of clothes and the pulling out of the beard. Knowing that God hates divorce, I want to grasp the reason why the Jews had to divorce their pagan wives, some already with children.

I have notes after notes after notes, many handwritten at Starbucks, but then my thinking process usually involves physical writing. I don't think on the computer. So what was my insight that made me cry this morning? I don't have to be John MacArthur! I was called to be me, a writer, still at my advanced age telling God's story to the next generation. Hm-m-m, if that sounds scriptural, it is.

"Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, until I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come." Psalm 71:17-18
Insightfully yours,
Paulita

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My First Scam Call

Yesterday I got my first ever Scam call. The phone woke me up at 7AM. I ran to the phone and picked it up just as the "leave a message" recording kicked in.
"Hello"
"Hello. You know who this is, right?"
"No."
"It's your grandson."
"Stephen?"
"Yeah."
This didn't exactly sound like Stephen so I commented to which he said he had a bit of a cold.
...
"Grandma, I'm on a trip. Did you hear about it?"
"No."
"Well, I'm in  Mexico."
"On a mission trip?"
"What? You're cutting out. Are you still there?
"Yes."
"Grandma, (He kept calling me Grandma. Stephen doesn't call me Grandma.) What did you say about a trip?"
"Are you on a mission trip? What kind of trip are you on?"
I'm on a vacation with my friend, Michael."
Here I started to laugh.
"We're just down here visiting to see the ruins. You know about the ruins, right?"
"Of course."
Stephen isn't this forward. There is no school vacation that I know of. Stephen wouldn't have gone to Mexico without his parents, and most likely wouldn't have called me from there. Besides he's coming to see me in a week and a half.
"Michael's dad works for American Airlines and he gives Michael free trips once a year. That's the  only reason I would have came down here."
Whoops! Stephen doesn't make grammatical errors in his speech like that. Who is this?
"Stephen, when are you coming to see me?"
"Well the trip ends Sunday so we should be back Sunday night or Monday. When are you available?"
"Any time."
"OK I'll probably see you then. Grandma, I have something to talk to you about. Do you have a minute?"
"Yes."
"It's very important so you have to keep it a secret. I want to tell everyone face to face, so you have to promise to keep it a secret."
"OK."
"You promise?"
"Of course."
"I  got arrested this morning."
Silence.
"For what?"
"During our layover we were hungry so we stopped to get a bite to eat and some souvenirs."
At that point, my recorder went off with a beep.
"Everything went bad from that point on. What was that sound?"
"Oh that was just my recorder going off."
I think that spooked him but he kept going.
When he finally paused, I said, "Stephen, what is your last name?"
(Sounded like) "Eye width. Why?"
"Because you're not my grandson."
Click.

It pays to know your grandson!
Insightfully yours,
Paulita


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve

Christmas is over and we've been blessed beyond measure. We are old and don't need or want "things" any more. So our family tends more toward consumable gifts or passing on family treasures  or remembrances to the next generation. It's all good, but my heart turns to some children we know who don't have reliable parents and need foster care, to homeless people who sleep near noisy railroad tracks or under a bridge, to the man who wraps himself in black plastic bags to keep warm in the winter.

Mother Teresa said, "If I look at the masses, I won't act, but if I look at one, I can."

Proverbs 14:31 says, "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."

Throughout the year I've collected quotes on little pieces of paper, but New Year's Eve is the time to let go of the old year and prepare for the new. Before I tear and toss, I'll share a few:

"Christ distributes courage through community; he dissipates doubts through fellowship. He never deposits all knowledge in one person but distributes pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to many." Max Lucado

"I want to develop whatever gifts God has given me, but gift development almost never happens for me if I let my schedule drift." John Ortberg

Here are two invaders:
1. We are too busy - we feel we must accomplish things. God wants us to just be with Him. Ps. 46:10
2. Technology lures us away from relationships, away from intimacy.

Meth dehumanizes
Bullying dehumanizes
Pornography dehumanizes
Alcoholism dehumanizes

We see Jesus not as a Savior,but as a Supplement.

Relationships will change. What is there in your life that won't give way?

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you, I lift up my soul" Ps.143:8

The last little scrap of paper I saved says, 1 C peanut butter, 1 C sugar, 3 eggs. I have no idea what it becomes, but it is gluten free.
Insightfully yours,
Paulita

Monday, August 19, 2013

Starting My Day

As I was making my bed this morning, I was reminded of a children's story. In the story a wizard told a couple he would grant them a wish: whatever they started doing the first thing in the morning, they would continue to do the rest of the day.

The man and his wife couldn't decide what to do first and didn't want to waste their wish, so until they could agree on an activity, the wife decided to fill her time by cleaning up the yard. Unfortunately, since that was the first thing she did, she continued to do it the rest of the day.

What do you do for your first activity of the day? Eat breakfast? Have your newspaper and coffee? Exercise? Make your bed? Read the Bible? Spend time with God?
Insightfully yours,
Paulita