The Rainbow

Several days ago when I started working in my garden I noticed much of the sweet corn and a couple of tomato plants had blown over. I was shocked because I didn’t remember any strong winds lately. Apparently though, a strong gust must have blown through sometime, maybe at night when I didn’t notice it. I staked up the tomato plants and hoped for the best.

Today I noticed that the corn already looks taller as the stalks are straightening as they reach higher. Before long I’m sure the plants will be back to normal, and hopefully the tomato stems will strengthen enough to bear fruit later on.

The corn is prospering despite the damage done to it. The roots are growing deeper, giving it strength to withstand a storm. As the corn reaches for the nourishing sun, it grows stronger every day.

That wind-toppled garden reminds me of life at times. Just when things are going along nice and easy, a storm blows in, threatening everything in its path. James 1:2-3 states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I’ll be honest here. I’ve always had a problem viewing trials as joyous occasions, but He’s expecting us to be gracious always. It’s easy to thank Him for the blessings He’s given us, but I have a lot of work to do in showing gratitude in the problem department. He knows our true needs better than we do, though it may not be what we want or think we deserve.

As true believers, God expects us to look for the rainbow after the storm so we may see His full glory and walk more closely beside Him.

 

 

A little note of thanks

When I majored in journalism in college, I had no idea what a thankless job being a reporter could be.

Now, I was never the type of reporter who just had to get the “scoop,” the kind in TV shows that you see creeping into darkened offices to get evidence, making deals with shady characters for dirt on someone else, or that live to root out corruption (TV and movies make journalism MUCH more exciting than it actually is!). The role of journalist is to report the facts, as unbiased as possible, and let the reader make a judgement for themselves.

Yeah right.

I got my fair share of phone calls from irate people who didn’t like what was reported (despite the fact that most of it was on public record), who thought my newspaper had an agenda, or just plain wanted to complain.

But every once in a while, in fact, in my seven years as a reporter, I think this only happened a handful of times, I would receive an honest to goodness thank you note.

You have no idea how much those notes brightened my day.

One was from a woman who was raising her granddaughter after the child’s parents were killed, and I wrote a feature story about how the little girl was thriving three years after the accident that claimed her parents. Another was from a family whose husband and father was in a tragic biking accident that left him brain damaged, and I wrote about how the family was not giving up hope that he would recover. Still another was from a lonely World War II veteran I wrote a feature on for Veteran’s Day, thanking me for spending a few hours with him as he reminisced about his service.

While each of those people felt I had blessed them with my stories, I in turn was blessed by their thank yous. It made me feel like my often thankless job was actually making a difference to someone. Believe me, those notes are carefully saved and treasured.

We-love-sending-snail-mail-thank-you-notes-around-here A little thank you is a powerful thing, whether it be said or written. Personally, I am a huge fan of handwritten thank you notes. I send thank you notes for gifts (and make a note who sends one to me for a gift I sent them!), because not only do I believe it’s polite, but it’s also a small way I can bless someone else to let them know I care. I also try to send a handwritten thank you note, or maybe even just a “thinking of you” card to someone every few weeks, just to let them know I appreciate them.

A thank you note doesn’t have to be handwritten and sent via snail mail. A phone call, e-mail, text, or even a Facebook post will suffice. Just yesterday, I received a text from my best friend who lives in the Dominic Republic, thanking me for a package I had sent her a few weeks ago. She said just seeing my handwriting in the note I enclosed made her day. I hope she knows that her thank you text made my day!

So I guess what I want to say is, a thank you note is a great way to reset your gratitude meter, because it makes you think of WHO, and WHAT, and WHY you are thankful for someone or something. And in turn, you might just remind that person to be thankful, too.

Give thanks

 

 

* Just a quick note to say THANK YOU to the Inkspers for inviting me to be a part of this blog almost a year ago, and to our readers for continuing to read our words. I am so blessed by this opportunity, and thankful. Thanks for letting me be a part of this community!

In Sickness and In Health

During thirty years of marriage, Grant and I have never been sick at the same time. I catch every little bug that passes by while Grant never gets sick other than a sinus infection a couple of times a year when the weather changes. When I’m sick, it hits me harder than most people. If you’re sick two days, I’ll be down four days. Grant doesn’t stay down long.

Until the last couple of weeks. Our son had just gotten over pneumonia. After church on a Wednesday night, I told Grant, I have this little annoying cough and a horrible headache. I took Excedrin and a sinus pill. Everybody went to bed and I sat up to watch a Hallmark movie I’d recorded while waiting for my head to stop hurting. It didn’t. About midnight, I pressed my hand against my head where it hurt. It was hot. 101.9 hot.

The next few days, the cough got worse and the fever got up to 102.9. I went to the doctor. She wasn’t sure what it was and gave me antibiotics. By Friday, Grant was sick too. Same symptoms, but his fever never got as high. I stayed in bed all weekend. He preached on Sunday anyway—showed up just in time for the sermon and came in a side door—didn’t shake hands.

I called my mom and asked if she could raise our son until further notice. We didn’t want him to get it and neither of us had the strength to take care of him or get him to school. By Monday, we had a coughing marathon. Grant finally went to the doctor. By then, they’d seen a lot of it and decided it was a virus. Grant hates taking medicine. He got antibiotics and left the cough medicine at the pharmacy because it gives him heartburn.

We wheezed at each other for a few days—our voices gone. Of course, he got better before I did, even though I was sick first. We decided that if we were eighty, we’d probably both be dead. We’re both on the road to recovery now, but it’s taking a while to get our oomph back.

During the course of this illness, I was very thankful for the people God has placed in my life.

  • My parents stepped in and took our son. For a few days, he lived at their house, they took him back and forth to school, and he didn’t get sick.
  • Grant and I are in this together—in sickness and in health. Whoever felt the best got the other something to eat or drink. We still laughed—even at our sickest—and then we coughed.
  • The church member who brought us chili just as we got to the point of wanting something spicy. Even though, it was the day before the biggest day of her life—election day and she was running for public office. She won!
  • The church member who called to check on us, heard me wheeze, and asked if the doctor gave us any cough medicine. When I told her Grant left it at the pharmacy, she went and got it, then brought it to our house, a ten mile drive.
  • Several church members who called to check on us and offered to do anything we needed done.
  • Cough medicine—it’s not a person–but I’ve never been more thankful for it. Even Grant took it and our coughs are almost gone.
  • Cough medicine—which led to sleep.
  • Cough medicine.

Writing Therapy

lastone-therapy-24896392[1]Writing has always been sort of a therapy for me, whether it’s writing fiction or non-fiction. Spilling my emotions through words can put me in a whole new frame of mind. It can energize me, let me escape from everyday problems, or just help put life in perspective—depending on the day. In other words it’s just plain healthy.

Some people run marathons as therapy (though I can only view that as inflicting cruel and unusual punishment upon oneself), some become workaholics, and others—like me—write. Writing with the hope that I might help others is rewarding, especially when readers send comments. It makes me realize that God gave purpose to my writing—that it’s not all about me. Even if I don’t share my writing, it helps bring me closer to God, bringing me one step closer to becoming who He wants me to be.

And for that I am thankful.

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We’re giving away a copy of Rose Ross Zediker’s current release, Wedding on the Rocks, to one lucky winner. The deadline runs until November 30, 2013. All you need to do is leave a comment.

Wedding On the Rocks Cover 1JENNIFER EDWARDS IS BACK HOME AGAIN…

When she traded small-town life for the bright lights of Chicago, Jennifer Edwards yearned to discover a world beyond Faith, South Dakota. So when her father’s illness calls her home to run their cattle ranch, she tells herself it’s temporary. Then why is she even thinking about a future with archaeology professor Brett Lange-the boy she left behind-whose life’s work is digging up the past?

Twelve years ago, Brett had a crush on Jennifer the size of the T-rex that put his hometown on the map. Now she’s a citified magazine editor who prefers designer duds to dungarees. Except that’s not the real Jennifer. Brett needs to make her see how a little faith can go a long way in uniting two perfectly-in-sync hearts.

 

 

 

Blessed to be a Storyteller

Have you made your list yet? No, I’m not talking about Christmas lists. I’m talking about the list of things God has blessed you with this last year.

With Thanksgiving in the U.S. just around the corner, many of us are taking this opportunity to look at the blessings in our lives. But the Inkspers wanted to take a  more specific look at one area–that of being a writer–and share some of the ways this “obsession” has blessed each of our lives.

Here’s ten reasons I am thankful for the privilege of writing.

1.  My commute is REALLY short, and I don’t have to drive in bad weather. Since I only have to walk to the basement to begin my day, I get to avoid the icy Iowa roads.

2. I never have to grow up. Writing is a lot like playing with Barbies on paper.

3. Awesome crit partners. We’ve gotten to laugh and grow together, personally and professionally.

4. Research! I love it. For me, research is like a treasure hunt, and when I discover something, I feel like I won a prize.

5. The deep sense of satisfaction I get when I know I’ve written something that feels “right.”

6. I laugh at my own jokes. Yep, I do it out loud while I’m writing, and no one is around to care.

7.   Storytelling is my constant companion. All my life, when I was bored or traveling or having trouble falling to sleep, I’ve made up stories.

8. Meeting readers or hearing from them because one of the books God’s allowed me to write has touched them in a meaningful way is a huge blessing.

9. My writing friends –both real and imaginary. I’m so thankful for all of the friendships I’ve made because of my writing pursuits. I’m also thankful for the imaginary friends who become characters on the pages of my books.

10. The joy of typing “The End”. Having given months and months to a solitary effort and then to see it come together is priceless. I know then I’m part of something as old as time. I’m a storyteller. The words I write become stories that can evoke laughter and tears, and there’s no better job in the world.

I could go on and on about the joy of seeing a cover for the first time or the fun I have brainstorming with friends, but I’ll stop now. I thank God for the blessings he’s given me through writing, and I pray I will bring glory to him with the words I write.

What about your job? What things do you find yourself beging thankful for concerning it? Do you relate to any of the things on my list?