Friday, January 29, 2010

Big Mouths

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you mumbled to yourself, “Me and my big mouth!” I know I have more often than I really care to admit. One time was when a couple of friends and I were printing our first book. It was a devotional and as it was coming together, we couldn’t help but hold it and flip the pages. It had been a lot of work and it was so cool to see it come to fruition.

The other two ladies I worked with had done some speaking before and up until this point I had not. We had high hopes that we would be invited to speak at retreats and conferences and sell hundreds, if not thousands of books – at least that was what was going on in my mind.

I told them, “When you guys are scheduled for your events, I’ll just sit at the book table and collect money. That way you can be free to talk to your fans.”

This is the part where I later said, “Me and my big mouth!”

I believe God heard me when I said that, and I’ve been told He has a sense of humor. One week after printing our devotional, I get a phone call, “Have you ever done any speaking?”

I was thinking two things at exactly the same time: “How exciting! My first speaking engagement!” and, “Oh, foo! What did I get myself into?” I’m not quite sure what I was thinking when I agreed, but agree I did. I figured I stood in front of people enough at my day job and had embarrassed myself enough times in public throughout my life time – how bad could it be?

Coming up with the topic was easy. Preparing my speech was easy. Even showing up was easy. The problem: my voice. I had lost my voice. I was not sick, but I was doing a lot of coughing. I chalked it up to Satan trying to make me back out, but I was stubborn. I was not backing out. I did very little talking at home the week prior to the event, which I’m sure everyone appreciated.

On my way to the event, I stopped to get some cough medicine to help get me through the speech. Yeah, I wish I could say it worked and in a way it did, I didn’t cough. However, I did not count on the medicine throwing me for a loop.

I took a dose right before we ate lunch so it wouldn’t be on an empty stomach, like any obedient patient would do. By the time lunch was over, the room was spinning. My knees were shaking even though I was sitting down. You see, normally I only take half a dose of medicine. This time, when I took it I was busy talking and not paying attention to what I was doing. Big mistake!

I leaned over to my friend who had come to lend moral support, “If you see me falling, you’re going to catch me, right?” She assured me she would, but she was also smirking at my predicament, so I wasn’t sure I could truly depend on her.

When I stood up to speak, the room spun faster. This was not good. The whole time I was speaking, I was gripping the podium and I was sure I was slurring my words. At least my mind was alert enough to be praying really hard, “Lord, help me get through this!”

In the end, it didn’t turn out too bad. I didn’t fall over. I didn’t appear to be drunk to the attendees. I was even told that I looked like I had been doing it for years, of course, that was a relative and she had to say something nice, and after all, this had been her big idea in the first place!

Since then, I have learned that whenever I speak, I do not take any medication of any kind beforehand. So, if I ever speak at en event that you are attending, I may be sick, but at least my mind won’t be cloudy and I will be coherent!

The next entry will be one in a continuing series of conversations with my kids. I promise, you will laugh, if not at me, you will at yourself!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Falling Trees

Every summer the cuzzy-wuzzies come to visit. (That’s my nephew’s term for the cousins.) We always enjoy the week together and it has become tradition that we go camping for a couple of nights during that week.

We always have some sort of excitement of these camping trips. One time my nephew got burned in the face by a lantern. One time my niece made a “fishing pole” with a string and a clothespin she found lying around and caught a copperhead! Another time my daughter and two of her friends came upon a rather large copperhead. They screamed loud enough to bring nearby fishermen to their rescue.

Then there was last summer. It was our first night and we were all sleeping soundly. All of a sudden we were awakened to the scariest sound I have ever heard in my life. It was a tree falling! It sounded close by and there was a mad scramble in the adult tent to find eyewear. The younger kids were all in another tent and I didn’t know if they were okay or not.

We all piled out of our tent in our half-sleep stupor to find that the other tent was still standing. We were relieved, yet my heart was pounding out of my chest.

My husband got a flashlight and was trying to find the tree that had fallen. Of course, it was 2:00 in the morning and in the woods, so it was pitch black. We heard other campers moving around as well. We saw a lot of flashlights moving around across the creek from us and heard someone yell, “Here it is. It’s just a small one.”
We tried to follow his light to where it pointed. However, what we saw was no small tree. What he saw was a small tree that the big tree knocked down in its wake. The bigger tree used to stand only about two feet from the corner of the kids’ tent. It fell across the creek and into the neighbor’s site. They opened the door of their tent to find the tree landed about five feet from their tent, taking their screen tent down with it.

How no one was hurt, is amazing. It was God. He had His hand of protection on all of us. The kids had been playing underneath that tree in the creek all day long. If it had fallen any sooner, one of them would have been seriously hurt, or worse. If it had fallen at dinnertime, the other family would have been in their screen tent eating and been hurt. God had chosen an appointed time for that tree to fall, when no one would be in its path.

We may not know of all the times when God protects us from harm, but this was one time my husband pointed out to the kids that we had prayed for protection while we were camping and God had answered that prayer. Thank God for all of the times He protects you and you are unaware.
We were all a little jumpy for a few days after that. After we got home, some neighbors set off some firecrackers, which is a very similar sound to tearing wood. The dog and I both jumped up, startled. He ran behind the couch and I went to investigate and then laughed at myself for being so paranoid.

In the next blog, my first speaking engagement. I may have looked confident, but my knees were knocking and I was dizzier than I have ever been in my life, of course, the cough medicine I took beforehand may have had something to do with that…

Monday, January 18, 2010

I should probably put a disclaimer in here – I do write about real life. If you happen to find yourself in some of my blog posts (don’t worry, I won’t mention any names) that just means you’ve been a memorable (and probably humorous) part of my life. You should feel blessed.

I’m borrowing a statement one lady once said to me, “If I become famous and anyone asks me if my house was clean, you tell them it was lived in.” That is probably a pretty fair assessment of my own house. It isn’t perfect, but it’s healthy.
At least it appears healthy enough for people to feel comfortable enough to stop by, unannounced to use my bathroom. I know, you think I’m kidding, but I’m not. Apparently my bathroom is a hot spot in our town.

Years ago, one person would stop to use my bathroom on regular basis. I didn’t think too much of it. Then a couple more people started to stop by my house to, yep, you guessed it, to use my bathroom. Apparently the word was getting out that I have some awesome bathroom. Maybe it was my choice of toilet paper, but I don’t really know for sure. Next thing I know there are people stopping to use my bathroom just because they think it’s funny!

Here’s one you probably won’t believe – a friend stopped by one hot summer day to use my shower because she was overheated! Yes, you read it right – my shower. The funny thing was that both my showers were out of commission. She probably thought I was just making up an excuse. The previous week our downstairs shower began leaking, right before company came for four days, convenient! While company was visiting, the upstairs bathroom sent a torrent of water downstairs into my dining room. When my friend stopped to use my shower, it was the next day, which did not allow my husband enough time to fix either bathroom. She had to make do with a cool washcloth.

One summer, we went to the beach with some friends, however, we ended up staying in different hotels. One night while they were out perusing on the boardwalk, we received a phone call. “We have to go to the bathroom and your hotel is closer. Do you mind if we stop?” People want to use my bathroom even when I’m on vacation!

The lesson here? There isn’t one. It just goes to show that real life is better than fiction.

Next time, I’ll answer the question: “Does a tree make any noise when it falls if no one is there to hear it?”

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Welcome to my blog! I’ve thought about starting one for a long time and now here it is. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a writer. One of the first things would-be writers are taught is to “write what you know.” And I do.

Many of the stories and articles I write are based on my real-life, even if they are labeled as fiction. When I was in high school, I found a pen pal who promised to critique my writing. We wrote back and forth for quite a while and she almost always gave me good advice. However, there was one time when I wrote a story about an incredibly horrible day I’d had. This woman happened to be an English teacher. She made copies of my story and had her classroom critique my story as well.

As I looked through the comments, one idea was repeated over and over again. “This is too far-fetched to be real!” Even the teacher had written some comment to the effect that fiction must be believable.

There was only one problem with what she said. Everything in my story had really happened and all in one day! I guess that means the old adage is, true: “real life is better than fiction.” Sometimes our lives are so unbelievable. They can be good or bad or happy or sad.

This blog will chronicle some of the absolutely ridiculous events that happen in life and how I relate them to or somehow fit them into my writing. I may even do a book review once in a while, so if you are a writer and would like a little promotion for your book, feel free to contact me.

There certainly are a lot of crazy and almost unbelievable things that happen to me. For example, my bathroom seems to be a hot spot in our town, but…more about that next time.