I Have A New Favorite!

It’s been ages since I’ve written here on my blog. It’s hard to call yourself a blogger when you don’t blog! There are all kinds of reasons for my absence. One of them being that I’d written myself dry!

This spring I worked feverishly to finish my novel and get it cleaned up to submit to publishers. (Still haven’t heard back from any of them but you can read the first five chapters of my novel here.) After hitting send on the last submission I couldn’t bring myself to move my rusty fingers over the keys. I had poured it all out. And even more significantly I was terrified it was all terrible!

But words run in my veins as surely as blood does so I filled the gap with reading words instead of writing them. In the last couple of years I’ve purposed to read a variety of genres to stretch my mind. Mostly I look for quality.

This spring my father in law suggested I read the Harry Potter series. I was hesitant. Having avoided them when they originally burst on the scene, with all their spectacular controversy and accolades, I wasn’t sure I wanted to dive in now. I’ve never watched the movies, and had only the barest familiarity with the characters.

I’m far more impervious to criticism or censure than in the past, so I dove into the first book with curiosity and an open mind. I was enthralled immediately by Rowling’s storytelling ability. By the first chapter I was hooked!


I’ve read all seven books in a couple of months, which is saying something because I can be a very slow reader and some of the books are quite thick. By the time I tenderly closed the cover of the last book, setting it silently aside with a swirling mind, the series had secured itself in my heart as an all time favorite. I now completely understand the Harry Potter mania, and am sorry I missed it as it was happening! I’m also thankful the story has captured so many hearts. Children should be reading stories of characters that exhibit loyalty, bravery, love, and forgiveness. There are many authors I admire, and aspire to emulate, none more than Joanne Rowling!

Have you read the Harry Potter books? If so, what was your favorite character or theme? I loved the theme of sacrificial and redeeming love.


Sisters coverToday feels like a big day. Today is the birth of my novel, SistersI’ve always loved words. According to my mom I was born screaming, making my voice heard! When I was a kid it was said of me that I would argue with a wall. My dad’s nickname for me was boca grande. While those may sound like negative antidotes, I don’t mind, it’s who I was. Those of you who have known me only a short time may find it hard to believe I was a big mouth. Restraint is a characteristic I’ve had to learn.

Perhaps that’s why I write more now than ever. My words need an outlet other than just running my mouth. Which is good because the written word can be edited, deleted, held back until polished. I love speaking but I love writing even more. I love the power behind a finely crafted metaphor. I love the beauty behind description. I love the light bulb that comes on when new ideas are shared well.

Today I add my words to the gigantic ocean of words available to the human race. With that knowledge I feel both small and great. I’ve come a long way in the past years. And even though my little book is unsolicited by an agency, standing alone and independent among it’s fellow books, I still feel proud. The very first words of Sisters were written by hand 15 years ago. And then they were put away for more than a decade. Truth be told I’m not sure if the first words are still in the finished work. Editing does that. But it was a beginning. And now I’ve come to a time of birth. Now I release my words, a mother turning loose her child’s hands, and see if they stand.

As I’ve been getting my book ready to join the Kindle world I’ve been thinking about the brilliant authors who have changed me, taught me, stirred me.

Harper Lee has influenced my ideas of mercy, inclusion, truth, and the concept of fairness more than any other writer. I love stepping into her bygone southern world. I love Boo. I love that the children learned to see Boo. I want to be that way, I want to see the Boos around me.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow spun words into music. Of all the poets he’s my favorite. Though I love many; Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, Alfred Tennyson, Emily Dickinson to name a few. The meat of his words is as meaningful as the beauty. I want my life to create beauty. Not just in what I write, but also in how I live.

Mark Buchanan marries beautiful imagery with practical instruction. His book, Things Unseen, speaks to my soul. It feels more like meditating than reading. It’s a book I wish I had written. One day I hope to attempt a book of spiritual insight with the feel of poetry.

Words matter. Not just for those of us who write books and blog posts and short stories. But for all of us. The words we speak to each other, the words we write in an email, the words we hold back. They bring life, joy, beauty, courage, or pain, sorrow, embarrassment, shame. Let’s all use our words well. SistersHere are my words. I’m pleased to introduce you to Sisters! I hope I’ve used my words well. You’ll have to see for yourself.

If you follow the link to Amazon Kindle and download Sisters I hope you’ll do two favors for me, let a friend know if you enjoy the story and leave a review on Sisters’ Amazon page!

Words Can Hurt: Gay and Retarded Aren’t Okay Descriptors

Not so many years ago I referred to things, situations, and people as gay, or retarded. Meaning they were worthy of ridicule or were less than ideal. I don’t know that I gave the meaning of the words that much thought at the time, but that is what I was saying.

Not only did I use those phrases, but so did most of my acquaintance to some degree or another. I don’t know why. We didn’t talk about it. We just said it.

Maybe you’ve been known to use the phrase “That’s so gay” or “That’s just retarded” in a casual manner. I get it. I’ve done it. Words become habits.

Here’s why I don’t say those things anymore.

  • I’ve held the hand of a gay person as they’ve agonized over what it means to be who they are, how to relate to God, and why they were born the way they were. And I’ve held the hand of people who were born with different intellectual abilities, who as a result, live in dependence that makes them vulnerable.
  • Touching real people in those real situations has helped me see beyond my narrow view of life. I’ve lost the indifference to what that means for them and their families.
  • I’ve recognized it is only divine grace, not favoritism but grace, that I don’t wrestle with those realities myself. And because of that I have great compassion for those who do.
  • I’ve also come face to face with the things that do make me vulnerable. And I’ve learned I don’t want those things exploited. One of them is an ADHD diagnoses as a teenager. Do you know how often people talk about giving someone Ritalin in a joking manner? (Which I took for a while.) Or refer to someone as being “ADD” – whether they are or not? The answer is a lot! I’ve developed a thick skin.

I grew up in fundamentalist, Bible belt, 1980’s America. When I look back to my childhood I remember standing in a sanctuary filled with white, straight, middle class, Christians. I didn’t know people with vastly different lifestyles than myself. Is that where making fun of people who are different came from? Were we scared, or is that just human nature? I think it’s probably a mixture of all of the above.

I don’t know why I thought using those words in that manner was okay. Compassion is always in order. Care with our words is always a good idea. I suppose that’s the journey toward maturity. What we know now we didn’t know in our youth. But I regret my carelessness.

We never know who we are talking to, or who might overhear us. Is a mom of a child with disabilities listening? Does that person who doesn’t ‘look gay’ have homosexual feelings they don’t know what to do with? Our words should come from a heart of humble compassion. When we think of our deepest vulnerability and our fear of its exploitation, we should want to protect others from the same discomfort of exposure or ridicule. Life is hard. We should never make it harder on someone else. Ultimately the words we choose reflect our heart attitude.

Now I cringe when I hear people use derogatory labels or flippantly use words like retarded. Because to refer to people as broken or bad, with disgust in our voices, means we haven’t looked into the desperate heart of humanity and seen ourselves there.

Let’s be careful when we talk. People with real hearts are listening and as long as it’s in our power to encourage we should take that opportunity.

Ephesians 4:29. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

How about you? Do you use phrases you need to rethink? Or maybe you have been hurt by people’s words. How do you deal with that?