God’s Idea

I was making a key lime pie yesterday evening. I bought the actual key limes–those little yellowish balls that take forever to squeeze. Well, I needed some zest so I was trying to hold the small fruit with one hand and use my zester with the other–tricky. But as I struggled, the aroma of the oils began to waft up. Regular limes smell nice–fresh and citrusy. But key limes are a category all their own–they have an exotic nectar that’s almost intoxicating. As I breathed in the perfume two words popped in my head: “God’s idea.”

And so it is. Everything good is God’s idea. My best idea on my best day doesn’t even approach the idea that when the rind of a key lime is scraped away, it will release an amazing smell.

I looked around my kitchen at the corn on the cob boiling on the stove, the fat, summer tomato waiting to be sliced, butter–all God’s ideas. God’s very, very good ideas. My husband was in the other room and I thought about how much I love him and how pleasant it is to share a meal with him. Very good ideas, indeed.

Matthew 7:11 ” If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Writing Update

Each Monday I’m going to post my writing activity for the previous week. I ought to be averaging at least a page a day on the new book. That’ll get me a first draft in less than a year. It took me two years to write the first book, so you can guess how that goes! You can be my accountability partner and knowing I plan to make these posts will help keep me on track.

Week of August 9 – 3 pages (terrible)

Don’t Worry

A mother bear and her three cubs have been cutting through our backyard all spring and summer. Our house backs up to a steep hillside covered with trees and we think the den must not be too far away. They’ve worn paths through the little clearing on the other side of the creek where we have a firepit and a bench.

Of course, Mama and the Cubs aren’t the only bears around. Black bears have gotten so frequent in our community that hardly anyone even raises an eyebrow when one strolls through the yard or crosses the road. But we did find out that it can be pretty exciting when they cross one another.

Mama and the Cubs were ransacking our bird feeder when Mama suddenly shooed all three little ones up a tree at the corner of our deck and then hauled up there after them where she began to blow and clack her teeth furiously. A second bear had wandered into the area. We hollered and carried on until the second bear skulked away and then we looked up in the tree to see what Mama was doing. She had gotten comfortable–backside on one branch and front feet drapped over a higher branch so that she looked like she’d pulled up a chair to a bar. The three cubs were higher up in the tree, playing. Mama blinked down at us, then pillowed her head on her front paws and as best we could tell, took about a 45 minute nap.

It’s always dangerous to anthropomorphize animals, but it really did seem that she trusted us to watch over her. She’s also been known to run the cubs up that same tree and then disappear. As if she knows we’ll babysit for her.

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Farmer’s Market

Our little community has a Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning. Local growers have had the most beautiful tomatoes the past few weeks. Today I’m hoping for okra and green beans. I’m taking my neighbor Agnes with me this morning. She’s 89 and grew up on a farm in Virginia and used to harrow the fields with a team of horses. She misses the farm and being able to work outside. She’s told me she watches Jim and I cut the grass and wishes she were still up to mowing. I don’t much like mowing, but Agnes reminds me to be grateful that I’m able to do it.

She baked me a chocolate chess pie earlier this week. It’s kind of like brownie batter in a pie shell and utterly scrumptious. Here’s her recipe:

Agnes’ Chocolate Chess Pie
1.5 cups sugar
3.5 T cocoa
pinch salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 small can evaported milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 unbaked pie shell
Mix sugar, cocoa and salt. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into unbaked shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Remember what your mom said about watermelon seeds?

Today’s item is just for fun. Reading wacky stories on the Internet is definitely a good way to pass the time while waiting. Well maybe not a GOOD way, but it’s a way.

So, yes, I was told by any number of people as a child that if I swallowed watermelon seeds they would sprout in my belly and grow a watermelon. Turns out this isn’t as far fetched as it sounds. Read the following story and see if you don’t eat more carefully.

The Daily Mail – UK – YOU CANNOT PEA SERIOUS – A retired teacher who had been struggling for breath for months was amazed when doctors told him there was a PEA plant growing in his lung.

Ron Sveden, from Brewster, Massachusetts, was already fighting emphysema when his health took a turn for the worse.

‘I was not doing too well, a lot of coughing, I was very listless,’ the 75-year-old said.

Ron Sveden, from Brewster, Massachusetts, was amazed when he was told he had a pea sprouting in his lung. He had assumed it would be cancer

His wife Nancy was so alarmed by his deterioration that she called for an ambulance and he was rushed to hospital on May 31.

Doctors took X-rays and found his left lung had collapsed and the pensioner feared he had developed a tumour after a grainy spot was found. But his doctors were baffled as they could not find any evidence of cancer.

They were amazed when samples revealed Mr Sveden had the green vegetable sprouting inside his lung.

Ron said: ‘I was told I had a pea seed in my lung that had split and had sprouted. It is probably about a half-an-inch which is a pretty big thing.’

This X-ray reveals where a tiny green vegetable took root in Mr Sveden’s lung. The pea shoot can be seen circled in red with the leaf bending over to the right

A young pea plant in more natural surroundings

Doctors speculated that Ron had eaten a pea that ‘went down the wrong way’ during a meal and ended up in his lung, and then sprouted leaves.

Dr Jeff Spillane who treated Ron, told the Cape Cod Times: ‘It was small enough to get down there but big enough not to get out.’

Ron said: ‘Whether this would have gone full-term and I’d be working for the Jolly Green Giant, I don’t know. But, I think the thing that finally dawned on me is that it wasn’t the cancer.’

Through it all, Mr Sveden hasn’t lost his sense of humour. He said: ‘One of the first meals I had in the hospital after the surgery had peas for the vegetable.

‘I laughed to myself and ate them.’

His relieved wife added: ‘God has such a sense of humour. I mean it could have been just nothing, but it had to be a pea, and it had to be sprouting.’

Mr Sveden’s wife Nancy said the pea showed God had a great sense of humour

Mr Sveden is now recovering at home where friends and neighbours have sent get well presents of pea seeds and canned peas.

His case follows that of Artyom Sidorkin, a Russian who was found to have a five centimetre fir tree growing in his lungs in 2009. Like with Mr Sveden the medics had assumed the 28-year-old had cancer.

What I’ve neglected lately

My first love was poetry. How much easier to craft a story that fits on one piece of paper than to write a whole book? But now that I’ve caught the fiction bug, I’ve neglected my poems. I have a couple out to a magazine now and it’s been long enough that I know they’re at least giving them serious consideration–which doesn’t mean they’ll use them! But I haven’t written much new stuff lately. And I may continue to leave off writing poetry. That’s the catch when you start writing books. Something else will almost certainly fall by the wayside.

Here’s a rewrite from last summer that fits the season.

While I wait–writing

So, I said the two best things to do while waiting for a response to my proposal are reading and writing–what am I writing? Why, the second book, of course! I’m writing a series based on the miracles of Jesus. The characters will be loosely related if at all. Each book focuses on a particular miracle–the first is walking on water and the second is feeding the five thousand. Here’s the tagline:

Casewell has always thought of himself as an upstanding Christian with high moral standards, but when the woman of his dreams turns out to be an unwed mother with an uncanny knack for feeding people in times of want, he is forced to consider what it really means to forgive and be forgiven.

Each book also focuses on a particular area of Christian belief as well–book one is faith and book two is forgiveness. Keeps me busy while waiting and hoping!

The proposals have been sent

It’s done. After a week of fiddling and tweaking and perfecting, I’ve sent book proposals to editors at two publishing houses. Now the real waiting begins. And the trying not to check my e-mail every 15 minutes.

Q4U – What have you had to wait for recently? An appointment? A long line at the DMV? A phone call? Tell me about it.

While I wait–reading

From what I’ve learned about the publishing business, the best things to do (for my writing career) while waiting are reading and writing the next book. So here’s what I’m reading these days:

  • Walking on Broken Glass by Christa Allan
  • The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen
  • Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo

The first two are books I ran into at a recent conference I attended. Marybeth Whalen did a session on what it takes to be a Christian novelist. Perseverance and a touch of insanity seem to be the magic combination. The third has Jane Austen in the title and I couldn’t resist. They’re all Christian novels, although I think it’s important to read secular stuff, too. I was a good ways into “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” but it’s SO dense I decided to take a break.

This is the way I used to read books in high school and college–three or four going at once. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to dip into the thing I’m most in the mood for at the moment. And then dip into something else a little later on! Literary crudite.

Welcome to my blog . . .

Please join me on what I hope is the road to publication. I’ve written a Christian contemporary novel that I hope to see published. I’ve written the book and pitched it to editors at a Christian conference. By Monday morning my proposal will be on it’s way. If I understand correctly, I will then have a month or two (at least) to wait and see what happens. Basically, I’m inviting you to keep me company while I wait.

The working title for my book is “The Lotus Leaf Effect.” See how drops of water are beading up on the blades of grass in the photo above? That’s the lotus leaf effect at work. Here’s the one-line summary for the book:

When a woman who thinks of herself as a Christian learns that she may have literally walked on water at the age of four, she acknowledges her lukewarm faith and comes to terms with the tension between what she can prove is true and what she believes is possible.

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