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Writing Process Blog Tour #9

navelHey Ya’ll! I have the privilege of being Stop #9 on the Writing Process Blog Tour, thanks so much to Vincy Abraham at Verily Quirky (http://verilyquirky.wordpress.com) for the invite!

Vincy is newer to the blog world and will probably take the whole thing over in a year or two! My understanding of this tour is for each of us to share a little more of who we are, and give insight to our writing process. This won’t take long.

What is your background?

In life? In writing? Hmm….let’s just say that I have been married for 21 years and we have three teenagers. This amount of life experience has given me a lot of material to write about. I have no formal experience in writing, except to say that in college whenever I was given a test that required an essay, I knew I would be okay. Multiple choice killed me every stinking time.

What are you working on?

I’m working on living the best life I can muster, learning how to love others the way we are commanded in scripture: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbors as you love yourself. This is the greatest command. Mark 12:30

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

I don’t really know, I’m not terribly concerned with other peoples’ work, but I have noticed that my posts tend to be much shorter than most! It’s become kind of a game for me to see how I can convey a thought in the fewest words. For years I have faithfully read Seth Godin’s blog, every single day at around 5am he releases a gem, many of which have impacted my way of seeing the world. I know he will share something every day, and often his posts are short, so I feel he values my time. I think his consistency and respect for the reader made quite an impression on me.

Why do you write what you write?

I write because when I talk I say too much, or the wrong thing, or make the opposite point I had set out to. When I write, I have the luxury of time to roll an idea around in my head for a while first, better understanding what I am thinking and feeling about the thought. In person, if I think it I say it out loud and often it is gone, on to the next thought. Writing helps me to process my thoughts and turn them into more than a vapor.

Over the years people ask for advice or opinions on various topics and I have been told I should write a book a time or two. This is my way of sharing thoughts without the commitment of the written page.

I recently began sharing recipes, which may seem odd in a blog about your lovelife, but I love to cook and am asked for recipes or ideas for cooking a lot. This has been a good forum for sharing whatever I am making at the time.

How does your writing process work?

I don’t consider myself a writer or a runner, but I get most my ideas for writing while running. I don’t listen to music when I run, just to myself huffing and puffing and I think it opens me up to what God is trying to show me. Also, I learn best from watching and listening to others, so a lot of my ideas come from how I witness people around me living life. Many times I will have an idea for writing and not bother to make note of it, certain that it’s so obvious and important to me I couldn’t possibly forget it, only to then forget it. Incredibly frustrating. And common. Although I may have a concept roll around in my head for days or weeks, actually sitting down and writing takes me 10-20 minutes. If I spent more time than that on one post, I would consider it not ready to write and scrap it.

Well, that bit of introspection was fun. This may become the longest post I write, and it’s all about me! Let’s turn our focus on the next stop of our Writing Process Blog Tour, Rachel Toalson (http://racheltoalson.wordpress.com/).

I found Rachel’s blog a few months ago, and she is one that I read every time, not just when I have time. I believe you will be blessed by her vulnerability and wisdom, as I have.

Thanks so much for sticking with me in this navel gazing venture!

 

 

Something Different

manipulatorI had the unique privilege of guest posting on a different blog today. I would love it if you would visit the site of a new friend:

http://racheltoalson.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/guest-post-my-name-is-jennifer-and-i-am-a-manipulator/

Stand Out

Photo (53)When you look at the flowers at my front door, what stands out? Those big round yellow ‘look at me, look at me’ flowers? They will practically attack someone as they walk past to come inside.

When I choose the flowers for the front, I go for color, not worrying about keeping things matching or working together, I just like a burst of everything available. These guys fit the bill.

But take a look at the bottom, those little dark pink ones peeking out. These are my favorites this year. I love the deep green in the waxy leaves and the size of the tiny petals.

I like the fact that they suggest that you consider them, instead of assaulting you as you walk by.

I want to be more like that; not necessarily the first one you notice, but the ones that requires time and observation to appreciate.

Those big bright flowers only last a day or so each, throwing their petals to the ground as they die a dramatic death and who cares? There’s another one coming up right behind it.

But the gentle ones at the bottom live so much longer, shaded beneath their hulking neighbors, and when one goes away, there may be nothing but green leaves there for a few days.

Missed. Felt.

As I pass through this time on earth, I want it to count. Not all flash and brilliance, but subtle and known.

you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. James 4:14

Soy Marinade

soyGrilling Season is upon us, so marinades are front and center. This is a simple soy marinade for fish or chicken, or grilled vegetables, that has deep flavor.

It’s from the website, Tasting Table, and if you love food, you want to subscribe to this site.

If I am grilling chicken breasts, I throw a couple of extra on each time. The same goes for corn on the cob. I like having grilled corn and chicken on hand

to add to salsa, vegetables, soups, etc.

 

Simple Soy Surprise

1/4 c toasted sesame oil

1/4 c rice vinegar

2 T organic soy sauce

Whisk ingredients together. Place chicken in marinade 2 hours before cooking, or salmon one hour before.

http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/national/17502/How_to_Make_Jonathan_Waxmans_Favorite_Sauce.htm

 

No Competition

momloveIn my early twenties, I had a job where I worked in an office with three other women. Our boss was twice my age, very fit and energetic and seemed to check me out head to toe each morning as I arrived at work. She would comment on my outfit or jewelry, in that way that you don’t know if someone is really being nice or nasty. Often the next day she would come to work wearing something similar to what I had the previous day, but nicer or bigger and better in some way. It didn’t take me long to realize we were in competition. Whether I wanted to be or not. The whole thing made me so uncomfortable that I didn’t work for the organization for long because I wasn’t interested in competing with this woman.

For years I have struggled with comparing myself to other women, trying to answer the questions that seem to hound the female gender: am I beautiful? am I too much? am I normal? I believe that most women have a personal gauge they use, constantly comparing and tallying up wins and losses against other women. This may sound callous, but a woman who completely denies it is lying or blind. One may say it’s not an issue now, but few can deny that it ever has been.

We have two teenage daughters who are gorgeous inside and out and yesterday they both got dressed up for church and reminded me how stunning they can actually be. Now, I have a choice to make; I can try to outdo or I can remember it’s no longer about me. I have watched many Moms accept this progression well, encouraging their girls and helping them reach their full potential. But I have also watched  women compete against their daughters, wearing the same styles and sharing their clothes. Some will even antagonize their daughters, comparing weight and clothing size, or talk to their friends about them in condescending ways. Mom, there comes a time when you must take a step back and allow your girl(s) to be beautiful. Period.

Julia Roberts was in a movie about ten years ago called ‘Mona Lisa Smile’ and in an interview she was asked what it was like to work with many beautiful women who were 10-12 years her junior. Her reply was simply, “You can’t out-cute kittens.” She knew the secret, that although she is beautiful, there is a slew of women on her heels who also fit our culture’s rigid standard for beauty and she cannot compete. Let’s take her cue and encourage our young women by working with them, not against them. Game on.

Garbage Day

Alfie, Kirsten, Miles and Elly.Friday is garbage day in our little community. I don’t like to run outside on Fridays because every few feet I am greeted with cans, boxes and containers of smelly, marinating trash. Normally I would hold my breath while passing by, but when I run I am sucking air as my lungs demand, no control at all. My typical route takes me out of our neighborhood and into an affluent pocket of town where the landscape is perfect and each lawn is always pristine. But on Fridays, the wealthy have garbage day just like the rest of us. Stinking and overflowing.

What a great reminder that although some people appear to have it all together, to have a perfect marriage and family, to have that sin mastered and never doubt their purpose in life, they have garbage too. It may appear to be better contained but it’s still garbage.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Isaiah 64:6

 

This picture is from a photo experiment done by Gregg Segal, depicting a week’s worth of trash collected by different US families. It’s fascinating: http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2014/07/08/gregg_segal_photographs_people_with_a_week_s_worth_of_their_trash_in_his.html

Chocolate Chip Cake

Photo (50)….or Coleman’s birthday cake every single year. We originally had this cake while visiting dear friends in Memphis and now it is the only cake he will eat, and it’s gone in hours when we have it.

So, this recipe is from my friend Britta:

Chocolate Chip Cake

1 Pillsbury yellow cake mix

4 eggs

1/2 c oil

1/2 c water

1 small box instant vanilla pudding

8 oz sour cream

1 4 oz bar German chocolate, grated

6 oz chocolate chips

1/4 c sifter powdered sugar

Combine first six ingredients, mixing well. Fold in all the grated chocolate except 1/4c.

Fold in chocolate chips and pour into a greased Bundt pan.

Bake 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan to cool completely.

Top with remaining chocolate and powdered sugar.

 

 

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