After working two 20 hour shifts to make my self-imposed deadline, all I can say is, “Finally!”
Check out http://www.dancing-with-the-healer.com
Tell me what you think
Earlier today I revisited a fantastic blog site – “Merlot Mudpies.” (http://merlotmudpies.wordpress.com), hosted by Mary Eady. She’s quite the writer. What drew me to her site initially was her blog about the cancer-death of her mom. It’s a great article, one I highly recommend if you want “an eternal perspective.”
Today I’ve posted the article quoted here, along with one of her pictures (with her permission, by the way). I’m copying her to this site to expose her insights to a larger audience … well, at least one that’s growing.
Read, and think about it.
Barry, one of my fellow gardeners, reminds me a lot of one of my old teachers, Mr. O’Hagan. Mr. O’Hagan wouldn’t give you answers. But he asked you questions that led you to them. He would not tell you how to do things, but he’d guide you through your own thought process until you got there. He didn’t gush at his students, but with a well placed word he made you feel 10 feet tall.
This whole experience of getting my plots at Ivey Ranch has been intimidating from the get-go in its way. As I’ve said before, I’m a renown black thumb in my family. My mother-in-law and I used to giggle about my “dried herb garden” — my attempt at growing an herb garden in a strawberry pot that I’d seen on TV. It was dead within the month. Not just one of the plants I planted. All of them. I don’t buy houseplants for this very reason. No matter how sweet they look in the store, they turn into a brown, depressing mess the second they enter my domain.
But this seems to have changed somehow in the past few months. Maybe it’s just that I finally get the wonder of it all. I finally understand those people who stop and smell the roses, pet the alyssum, and admire the inside of an iris for minutes on end. It really is, in a word, glorious. Creation is happening all around us still — no longer perfect but still stupendous, brave, and amazing when you stop to consider it all.
My husband, Ryan, is a tolerant man. He helps me cart my 20 tomato seedlings back and forth from the apartment courtyard every day and doesn’t complain about them all sitting on our laundry hamper in the evenings where it’s warm next to a little lamp. He smiles about my avocado seed which I couldn’t bring myself to throw away and is now sprouting in a glass of water in the kitchen on the sill next to a six-pack of okra seedlings and a six-pack of cranberry bush bean seedlings I’m hoping will start soon. He doesn’t say a word about the strawberries I have sprouting on one side of the kitchen sink. Maybe he understands how the newness and awe is so important to me now. I think he does. He’s that sweet kind of man.
However, all of this does not mean I know what I’m doing at all. When I find bugs I rack my brain trying to decide if they are good or the kind I should consider killing. When I see things sprouting in my garden I didn’t plant I let them go for a few days until I’m positive they are weed-like and not veggie-like. This sometimes takes a few weeks for me to figure out. I even grabbed a handful of nettle one day and stung myself with it to a ridiculous degree because I thought it was mint. You get my drift?
But Barry just stands there and smiles at me while he pounds in rebar and trims his beautiful beet greens. He asks me things when I come to him with questions instead of answering me. He says things like, “Well now — where did you think you’d go with it?” or “So tell me then…what did you have in mind?” Then he listens and encourages and leaves me to my own devices.
Today we talked as I walked Eamonn (Mary’s young son) through the plots looking at plants, lizards and flowers. “Look at what your neighbors did, Barry!” I cried, staring at a freshly tilled and composted plot that had been overgrown with weeds last week. “Yeah…people are gettin’ the bug to work hard around here. Maybe they feel like trying to garden like you, figured a little hard work wasn’t going to hurt anybody. You’re inspiring people girl.” I sputtered and blushed and didn’t know what to say.
Later on he told me, “I’ve been coming and checking on this plot of yours and I’d say you figured out you know what you’re doing!” I beamed from my tomatoes and peppers and squash.
How do people learn this trait of building up instead of tearing down? Of guiding instead of directing? I’m sure I don’t know but I love it when I see it in action and feel blessed when I’m the recipient of it. I hope to model the way I interact with Eamonn, Ella and others who come across my path with that gentleness and insight.
Today I left Ivey Ranch feeling 10 feet tall.
For all those who have been following the progress of my writing “The Vicki Book,” I have some news. I’m really close to finishing the “creative stage” of the process. Soon I’ll be entering the dreaded “editing stage,” where everything I’ve written is on the block.
I’d like to ask my blog readers for some input. Please comment on the process I’m going to outline below – one that I believe I’ll follow in order to bring the book-writing to its proper conclusion.
Before I share that process I want to thank Caroline Eitzen-Cocciardi AGAIN for her encouragement to “stay in your creative mind, Lowell,” and not give in to the temptation to constantly go back to what I had already written and edit it (which I had done, time and again until she gave me her wise counsel).
I shared last month that my goal was to have the manuscript done before I went on vacation to Maui. I didn’t make it. Plain and simple. But the goal helped push me like never before. Now, I’ve set another goal – one that I think I will make. I’m working on the last 75 pages of Vicki’s journal. I’ve been able to do about 10 a day (on a good day). Given that, I’m inside two weeks of coming to the end of the creative stage. Then, I’ll read the manuscript from start to finish, trying to find any grammar/spelling mistakes, typos, and breakdowns in the flow of the story. That’s probably another week or two. Then, the gutsy part.
My intention is to share the manuscript with several close friends who have a writer’s background. Some are published authors. Others are journalism majors and masters. One or two of my pastor-buddies will be asked to look over the theological content, and a few readers will be people who lived through much of what Vicki wrote about – family and friends. I’ll be asking all these folks if they would evaluate my style, the flow of the story/book, and its content.
Like I said at the start, anyone out there in the internet world is welcome to comment on the process I’ve outlined above.
And for those who have been praying for me and the book … please continue to do so. I’ve seen that when I’VE been in prayer and close communion with the Lord, the process of writing the book becomes mystical and supernatural, and in turn, I’m able to produce much more than normally possible.
I could use some encouragement right now. I’m tired. I feel emotionally spent at the end of every day. Thank God for Becky! She’s been such a supporter and helper. I can’t think of a day when she hasn’t been there for me. But most of the time she’s been a single (lone) voice. Is there anyone out there who could join her?
Well, back to writing the book.
By the way, the blogging has rarely (I can’t say never) interrupted my writing the book. Actually, blogging has served to break tension, relieve emotions, and strangely – rest my mind. Blogging has been like having a conversation with a friend who’s only purpose has been to listen as I vent or wade through issues that distract me.
Love to all.
I’m praying for Patrick Swayze, and not because it might be the hip thing to do, or the right thing to say. I’m really praying for him.
Swayze has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It’s fast and its deadly, and having gone through a cancer battle with my late wife, I know just a little about how that diagnosis can rock your world.
I feel like I know him. Some of the movies Swayze starred in are among my favorites: Red Dawn, Dirty Dancing, Road House, Ghost, and Point Break.
Patrick, this is my prayer for you … or something like it:
“Lord Jesus, if You speak the word, Patrick will be healed. I’m asking You to do just that … speak the word that Patrick is free and clear of cancer, and that You are giving him a life extension. And in the process of healing him, let Patrick know – if he doesn’t already – that he not only needs You to heal his disease but that he also needs a ‘Savior.’ The biggest ‘cancer’ we, the human race have, is sin, and You died on the Cross to pay our sin debt. Let Patrick come to believe that You are who You say You are, and that He can trust You. And I’m also praying, Lord, for his wife – Lisa. Lord Jesus, draw her into Your arms like a loving father would lift up a child after she has fallen down. And please do all this because we’re asking, and You said we could … in Your name. Amen.”