Monday, May 18, 2009

OCW Weekend

This will be a quick post this morning, as I'm heading to the beach in just a few minutes. I know ... it's a rough life! I get to go back to the beach house where John took me on our Mystery Weekend last month. My parents were planning on going with us, but they've both been sick with colds and won't be able to make it, We'll have to try to get them over there at a later time.

Friday afternoon Christina and I, along with our dear friend and fellow critique group member, Miriam, drove down to Eugene to be ready to attend the OCW (Oregon Christian Writers) conference the following day. What made this day especially fun was that we were slated for a tour of Harvest House Publishers, given by our own Kim Moore. (We call her our own, because we don't want to share her! What's really funny is that she's turned us down three or four times, and yet continues to believe in us and care about us. Just a really special person in our lives.) Another member of our critique group, Kristen, met us there.

Harvest House is an amazing place. Huge--with lots of offices, a distribution warehouse that looks larger than a Costco, and books everywhere you look. It's like letting a drug addict loose in an opium field! Kim must have seen how badly we needed a fix after spending an hour there, as she graciously invited us to each pick out a book to take home. Thanks, Kim!

We didn't want the good times to stop, so took Kim out to dinner at a cool barbecue place called The Hole in the Wall. We'd eaten there last year and really enjoyed it, so now it's a tradition. Kim was an entertaining dinner guest, full of stories and insights about the writing world. After dinner she invited us over to her house to meet her well-loved cats.

We spent the night at Kristen's grandma's house. Rita capped our evening with pie and tea. Of course we stayed up talking 'til nearly midnight. Do women ever run out of things to talk about?

Saturday morning, after many wrong turns, (none of us had brought directions along) we finally arrived at Northwest Christian University for the conference. It always feels like walking into a family reunion when we attend these events, as we only get to see most of these people at the conferences, which are months apart from each other. Cindy Martinusen Coloma was the keynoter and did a remarkable job. She spoke on "The Call of a Writer" and "The Fictive Life." She had very interesting presentations and I took lots of notes.

Mid-afternoon, Christina and I had the privilege of teaching a class called "Writing in Tandem." We had a good-sized group, with lots of interaction and participation. (I think the candy we brought helped!) It was fun to present things we've learned through our years of writing together.

I realized when I got home that evening that I wasn't tired out. Usually a busy weekend will make me feel draggy, but I think the teaching energized me. But in spite of that, I'm anxious to get to the beach and relax!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Beware of Dogs with Zits!

A couple of weeks ago my eight-year-old grandson, Joshua, came downstairs to see what I was doing. It was a little after 5 pm and I had the TV news on in the background as I was working on dinner. For some reason the news appeals to Josh, and he sat down to watch it.

"Grandma, they're looking for a pimple."

"What do you mean?" I asked as I continued to chop onions.

"The news says that people in the neighborhood are looking for a big pimple."

Intrigued, I rinsed my hands and joined him on the couch, hoping to figure out what this breaking news was all about. I listened to the newscaster as she said, "Neighbors are on the alert for a large pit bull roaming the neighborhood."

(Say it out loud to yourself--pit bull and pimple sound a lot alike!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Getting to First Base

It’s that wonderful time of year in Oregon, when we parents and grandparents get to sit in biting wind and pouring rain to watch our children play baseball or softball. Our umbrellas may be up, their edges dripping water onto the knees of the person sitting behind us on the bleachers, and our blankets tightly wrapped around us, but those little players in the field don’t seem to be bothered much by the weather. Their attention is on the game. They are glad simply to be part of the team.

As I’ve been watching the games this year, I’ve been impressed by how much the young players have to learn. It’s not natural for most of them to have the correct stance, their hands positioned correctly on the bat. Nor is it easy to keep their eyes on the ball and swing at precisely the right second to ensure the bat connects with a resounding thwack! Then there’s the whole matter of making it to base before the ball does. One little girl on the team gently lays the bat on the ground before heading off for first base, as if she’s lovingly placing a doll on her bed before going out to play! It’s hard for her to beat the ball, except for the fact that that it’s usually overthrown, giving her a chance to make it in time.

My granddaughter is fortunate to have our pastor as her coach. This is her first year to play, and his encouragement helps her enjoy the experience. “Good try, Andrea. You’ll get it on this next pitch.” And when she hits it I can hear him say, “I knew you could do it!”

I think it may be like that in our Christian life too. When we first become believers, there are a lot of new things to learn. We’re glad to be part of the team, and we have a general idea of what we’re supposed to do, but are maybe not sure how or why. We need someone who can explain the importance of prayer and Bible reading. The importance of attending church and giving. The importance of serving in some capacity.

Will we always get it right? No, there will be times we strike out. But that doesn’t mean we’re eliminated from the game. As long as we get out on the field, no matter the weather, and listen to the directions of our coach, we’ll find ourselves becoming more proficient in our Christian walk. We’ll find our rhythm and it will become more natural, in a supernatural way, to live the life Christ has for us.

Batter up!