I hope your Halloween has been as much fun as ours. Here's our costumes from the party we attended last weekend. Our children went as Elsa and Batman this year and are enjoying every minute of the whimsy of this holiday. May you be able to bring in a large candy tax without the kids complaining too much.
Tomorrow is November and the beginning of Nanowrimo insanity as well as all the craziness that comes the closer we get to Christmas. Are we ready? Ready or not ...
If you've been following my gardening story this summer, you know we grew pumpkins. We ended up harvesting quite a few more than last year. Three to begin with, then eight more, although one of those ended up rotting on our back porch.
We were pretty excited about them (despite the hours of work it means for me, canning them into jars so we can use them for various yummy baked goods over the coming months--it's worth it!).
Then, my daughter had her first field trip--to the pumpkin patch. And she brought home ... a pumpkin. Yes. Another one.
Then, one Wednesday night, my daughter's Bible class teacher sent them home with a cup full of dirt ... and pumpkin seeds. And guess what happened?
Those vines probably won't make it to full pumpkins, sad to say. The temperatures have started dropping here, and while we still have some pollinators around (hooray for the Monarchs coming through!), they're slowing down and migrating on for the winter, too. But still ... this all struck me as very ironic.
How about you? Would you feel you had too many pumpkins? Have you ever had something like this happen where you could literally see the irony in your life?
Fasting is something I thought I couldn't do. I mean, who on earth wants to give up the ability to eat? Not this girl, as shown by her too-tight waistbands.
That being said, the only times I have fasted in the past were only for a few hours. It was probably for a blood test, to be honest. And one time in college when I didn't even make it that long.
I will say, I can't completely fast. My blood sugar crashes, my hands get shaky, my tummy protests by feeling upset, and I'm generally miserable the rest of the day, if I skip even one meal. So, when the governor of Tennessee requested that people in our state take October 10 as a day of fasting and praying, I at first simply thought, "I'll just send up a few extra prayers that day and call it good."
The more I thought about it, though, the more I thought maybe I should I do more. Fasting isn't giving up EVERYTHING. It's giving up something we love for a time so we can focus more on something else. And I remembered I had some protein meal-replacement shakes left over from when I tried to do a healthy thing back in late spring. Maybe I could just fast from real food.
So, that's what I did. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner I drank a lumpy chocolate "shake" and only let myself have water the rest of the day (plus my cup of tea that morning so I could get my caffeine). And it was hard. Especially when we had a play date and my friend made super yummy cookies for after lunch. I was very tempted. And every time I felt the niggle of desire and hunger in my tummy, I sent up another prayer, using those gurgles and complaints as reminders of what my focus was supposed to be on that day. I prayed for our state and country, as well as those voting in the upcoming elections and those running. I prayed for the officials already in office. I prayed for friends and family who I knew needed to be lifted up more. I sent up thanks over and over for all sorts of things. And I made it through the day without eating real food. I did snack on some popcorn after my kids were in bed because I knew I wasn't going to get any sleep that night if I didn't put a little more on my stomach.
Would I do it again? Possibly. It was a good reminder of how much more I could be praying during the day. And I'm sure it didn't truly hurt me to skip heavier meals for one day. Pretty sure I didn't lose any weight. Is it something I want to do with great frequency? No. But maybe that's the point. It's something special, saved for rare occasions to help us remember and reset our priorities.
What about you? Have you ever fasted from anything? Did you do better than I did? Did it help you focus?
We got in a fight.
Both of us are under quite a bit of stress right now. It's a busy time of year. We'd finally found a few quiet moments to talk and snuggle. And instead of it becoming romantic, my stress exploded in hurtful words, chasing him from the room.
It hadn't been my intent. I am the first to admit I let my frustration get the best of me too often, and he gets the brunt of it more than he should.
When we finally went to bed that night, not necessarily having made up, but having come to an agreement to let it go so we could get some sleep, he whispered, "I love you."
"Why?" I couldn't help myself. The question just escaped. How could he still love me after all the stupid hurtful words that have been thrown at him over our marriage?
He was quiet a moment, and then replied, "Because I choose to."
Not the most romantic line, maybe, but in some ways it means more to me than the sappy sayings most expected. We both know we're not always going to have days when everything will go the way we meant it to. Our life is in the real world, and things happen. Sometimes, we like each other more than others, but we'll never give up, never leave, never quit fighting for our marriage. Because we CHOOSE to. Love isn't only a feeling. It's a choice. An action. It's something you do over and over and over again. Because it's worth it.
What about you? Do you choose to love, even in the rough times?
These have become my favorite pencils. I think I first grabbed a pack during back-to-school season several years ago when I had a coupon and sale match up to make them almost free. The writer/artist in me always needs a pencil handy, and these were fun colors. Once I started using them, I discovered they were also easy to sharpen, had a nice soft lead, and had amazing erasers.
Maybe it sounds silly to have a favorite pencil or pen (mine are the PENTEL RSVP, in blue). But I do. And probably the best part of this one is the eraser. Why? Because I erase a lot. I use these for Bible journaling, to keep my calendar up-to-date, to make lists, to sketch out scenes in a notebook before typing it in, to sketch out patterns for sewing or crochet, to do anything that needs a pencil. And I don't always draw/write what I meant to the first time. So that eraser is important. These take the lead back off the page without smearing or streaking or leaving tons of little pieces behind.
God's eraser, though, is even better. Even as amazing as these are, sometimes you can still tell where the pencil mark was originally. Or see the indention in the paper where that word was written before I changed my mind. But God, when he removes something, He does it so well that He can't see it anymore once it's gone. So, when I get super frustrated with my children and snap at them, then repent and ask for forgiveness, God takes that moment away and doesn't remember it anymore. I'd love to not remember it, either, but then I guess I wouldn't learn from it. Still. As much as I love these pencils with their fabulous erasers, I am even more grateful for my Heavenly Father's.
I adore historical romance. I divide my reading fairly evenly between historical and contemporary. Part of me even wishes I had the gumption to write historical, but the research aspect intimidates me. So, I just continue to read the ones others have written.
I have several favorite authors when it comes to historicals, and one I've stumbled upon in the last few years is Roseanna M. White. I've been immersed in this series lately, starting with A Name Unknown. It's about a patched-together family of thieves in England around the time WWI starts, who are hired to use their skills to help the government fight the Germans. Very interesting. Not something you run across every day. And superbly well-written. Plus, the covers are gorgeous. :-)
As I was reading this one a few weeks ago, I giggled and my husband raised an eyebrow as if wanting an explanation. One of the characters is a friend to King George and Prince Edward. Well, Edward had come to visit him, and was offering advice about doing anything you can to have the relationship with the one you love. Why did I giggle at that, you ask? Thanks to my reading challenge I've been doing the last couple years, I've read several books about the history of that time period, and I knew for a fact that Edward eventually abdicates the throne so he can go marry his true love (a divorcee). If I hadn't known that bit of history, the line in the book wouldn't have been as strong.
So many people are pushing history aside as an unnecessary class. Instead, they're encouraging everyone to study STEM classes (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). I'm not saying we don't need those classes, either. I'm just advocating for a balance. If we don't study history, how are we going to learn from others' mistakes? How are we going to have a better understanding of everything it took to be where we are today? How are we going to keep from repeating tragedies that have already happened?
And how are we going to enjoy historical romances more fully?
My two cents. And my history teacher husband didn't even suggest this post. :-)
How do you feel about history? Do you enjoy learning more little stories that explain why things are today? Do you love to go back and read stories about other time periods that make you better appreciate living in a century with indoor plumbing and air conditioning? Have you ever discovered a hidden gem in a story like I did?
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.