Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mercy Street is Moving

Well, not really. The street is still exactly where it has always been, right outside my front door. But, the virtual address of our life on Mercy Street as recorded in this blog is about to move. I'm thinking big here, folks. I'm perfectly convinced that the various folders representing my works-in-progress will one day be translated into actual books with hard covers, ISBN numbers, and shelf space at Barnes & Noble.

At that point, I'd like to reach a few people beyond this circle of the faithful few who already know and love me (thank you very much for that. Such friendship is better than a book contract. Really. I'm sure of it...) Anyway, when my books are actually perched upon those lovely bookstore shelves, I want new readers to be able to find their way to Mercy Street without too much trouble. I want them to join our conversations and to glean from the richness of our life experiences - the good, the bad, and the sometimes rather ugly.

In the meantime, I hope you faithful readers won't mind this little detour. Please make yourselves at home at the new address and let me know what you think. My extremely talented and tremendously patient son-in-law is taking time away from his Band to design the site for me, and we'll probably be tweaking for a little while. Just go here: Mercy Street.

Note to my mother: I'll come visit and put a new shortcut on your desktop. No worries.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To Love Mercy

I've been trying to figure out life today. A small task for a September morning. I'm feeling a little moody and a little restless and a little unsure about how to shake myself out of it and get back to my normal Pollyanna self.

In the midst of this momentary crises, I crave the solid and the simple. I look for words that echo with the wisdom and the comfort of the Ancient of Days. Words that tell me all is well, no matter how I feel. And I find this:

He has showed you, O man, what is good.

And what does the LORD require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God.Micah 6:8

Ah. That is it. The only thing I have to do to find my Center again. It is so simple. Not easy, mind you, but simple. Just do what is right. Shower folks with mercy. And keep a right perspective of who I am and who God is.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Time to Edit

A Time to Edit isn't listed in the beautiful Biblical passage where the writer tells us there is a time for every season under Heaven. Editing and rewriting are probably the least fun but most rewarding parts of our craft as writers. It takes focus, determination, and a willingness to slash entire paragraphs we once considered brilliant. So, I'm preparing to tackle that project by doing what I always do at deadline time. Clean the garage.

Okay, I'm not actually cleaning the garage. It is a metaphor at our house. A writer once told me when he gets a new book assignment, he goes straight to his garage and starts sorting all the loose bolts into baby food jars. By the time he quits procrastinating, he has the best-organized garage on the block.

I have the same tendency. When I finished the rough draft, I gave myself a couple of days to breathe and then set a deadline for when to start the revision process. As the deadline approached, so did my urge to clean the garage. But, I managed to persevere. Now I'm half-way through the first stage of the process, and it has been relatively painless so far. I'm not fooled, though. I remember the Biblical passage says a time to plant and a time to root up what was planted. Or something like that.

This week comes the rooting up stage. I hope the book and I both survive.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Beauty for Ashes

September 11th is a sad day in our national memory. A day filled with ashes.

It is also a day of great celebration in our family. A day filled with Beauty.

Happy Birthday, Elena Rochelle.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Unofficial Cousins' Camp

We didn't manage to have a complete cousins' camp this summer. Partly because some of the cousins moved an entire time zone away and partly because some of the cousins played on three different baseball teams all summer and partly because of my own lack of planning.

We did get two sets of cousins together last weekend, though. All their parents needed to be out of town at the same time, and we took advantage of the moment. There were only seven cousins, but they ranged in age from two to ten, so that kept things interesting.
By the time they went home, Grandpa and I were pretty much exhausted. But we made some great memories! (That's what people say when the memory of a thing is much nicer than the thing itself. ) That isn't entirely true. It is probably more accurate to say that in the midst of the activity, we had trouble concentrating on anything except the tasks at hand. Afterwards, we could replay events in a more lesuiely fashion and remember how wonderful it was.

They have only been gone a few hours, and I'm already planning for next year. (I have a brilliant idea for bringing in more grandparents!!!) Felicity wisely pointed out it will become harder to pull off a Cousin's Camp the older they all get. So, I'm not letting a summer slip away again. At least not if I can round them all up and hold them still long enough to get one good group hug. And a picture.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Things I Don't Want to Take for Granted

1. The words "all clear" from Serenity's cancer doctor. (again)

2. Public hugs from middle school grandsons.

3. A job I enjoy.

4. A job, at all.

5. Lunch with my parents.

6. The magical internet that lets me know what my children had for breakfast seconds after it pops up in their toaster.

7. Silence.

8. Safety.

9. Salvation. (not in that order)

10. Someone to share it all.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Things We Don't Know

Today, I went to the funeral of my dearest childhood friend's father. He was ninety years old and lived a good, honest, faithful life. My memories of him go back as far as memories go, and I could have told you much about him. I could have described his humor and some of his little idiosyncrasies. Like the fact that he started running for his health way back when nobody ran unless someone was chasing them.

I could have told you he was kind. And gentle. My mother reminded me he often came into the house from his farm chores just to sit for a little while and watch us play with our dolls. I could have told you lots of details. But today I learned something I'd never known. He was a hero.

Well, I knew he was a hero the way all fathers are heroes to their little girls (and to their little girls' friends). I didn't know that among other things, he earned seven bronze stars during battles in World War II. Seven. That is a lot of stars for one young man from a small farm in Missouri. When that information was read in the obituary today, I felt a swell of pride. I was proud to have known a man with that kind of valor. Proud to have sat at his kitchen table, to have slept under his roof, and to have played in his yard.

So, tonight, when I heard the latest war reports on the national news and considered the state of our troubled nation. I thought about Kermit Bane. And I wished I could see him one more time just to tell him, "I'm proud I knew you."