Thursday, July 30, 2009

Next few days

It'll be busy around my place for the next two days. Tomorrow I'll be driving down early to the airport to pick up Rochelle, a friend and houseguest from Brisbane. She will have her 6-month-old baby, Constance with her. My daughter is very excited at the prospect of having a baby girl with us for two days. Rochelle is going to publish my book "A Design of Gold" in October! That's very exciting. The details of her brand new Christian publishing house are in the Links section of my website. She's also the driving force behind "Light the Dark," the new party plan company that sells Christian books, gifts and products created by Aussies.

We'll be holding one "Light the Dark" info afternoon at my house tomorrow afternoon and in the evening I've been invited to speak along with two other ladies at a church function for ladies at a local Adelaide Hills church. Then on Saturday afternoon we'll have another "Light the Dark" session. On Sunday morning I'll be dropping Rochelle and Constance back to the airport by 6.10. It's all going to be great fun but those who know me can probably guess that three back-to-back events is a huge boost of excitement in my normally calm routine. I wonder what the effect on me will be.

I'm hoping Adelaide will put on its best display of winter weather. Since my last post, that rain has been steading drumming down every day. I've been rolling Emma's guinea pigs' hutch into the shed every night so the little things don't turn into furry icicles. Andrew thinks I'm spoiling them, but I don't want to take the chance of them catching colds and getting sick. The mud by the shed door has been churned up by the hutch's wheels. It's all good, of course. Just the way our old winters used to be. But I've been watching the national weather and Brisbane has been having sunny, 22 degree days. Adelaide really is a beautiful city but I can understand that a Queenslander, who comes from the state where it's "beautiful one day and perfect the next" might not realise that's true. I wouldn't want her to get the impression that it's freezing, wet and bleak! But that's just part of the Adelaide's rich tapestry.

I'll be back next week with my usual blogging.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An abundance of rain

We've been suffering a serious drought for four or five years but I'm happy to say that it seems to be over in our little part of Australia. Just recently we've enjoyed days and days of heavy rainfall which has transformed our familiar area into a water-world I'd never even imagined. This is a creek at the end of our street which is powdery dry for most of the year. For the last 3 or 4 winters it's only produced a bit of a trickle but when I took Blake out for a walk at the end of the day yesterday it looked as if we were in an entirely different place more like Holland or Venice.
And the road was flooded! For years those gates which say, "This road is subject to flooding" have been permanently open and we've laughed. I couldn't believe what I saw! We hurried home to get the other two kids to come down for a look.

The sound of gushing was incredible. Now that's what I call a creek! I could watch it for ages.

I guess it takes something like a bad drought to make people smile and rejoice in the middle of a cold, wet winter. Emma even did a bit of paddling on the road. Many neighbourhood people were around. It was a cause of great awe and celebration.

And it looks as if there's even more to come. It's fantastic! Those clouds couldn't get any heavier.
A book of devotions I've been reading speak of rainfall representing God's generous abundance. It says He doesn't want to just dampen us with a little of his bounty but pour it down until it saturates us, like these clouds. And when it comes down to earth, it doesn't return to heaven without fulfulling its purpose of refreshing and brightening the countryside.
Another book I have is "The Blood and the Glory" by Billye Brim. She was living in Israel during one of their worst droughts on record. She said that scientists were making dire reports about the status of the Sea of Galilee every day on the news. I knew just what she meant because it's been the same over here with news reports about our Murray River. And then there was a sudden miracle rainfall! Newspaper headlines in huge type read "NES NES NES" which means "MIRACLE" The sea of Galilee overflowed its banks, and scientists had predicted that it would take years to fill up in normal rainy seasons. The Jordan swelled and rolled as it must have done in Biblical days.
What caught my imagination about this story is that the Judean desert bloomed. It was such an unseasonal miracle rainfall that the desert was blanketed with bright flowers. She said exotic seed sprouted that nobody even knew was down there. I love that because it can be so much like our lives. We each of us contain seed that may have been dormant for so long they seem unlikely ever to create anything good, but then they bloom all of a sudden.
Just now, I'm experiencing a bit of a downpour in another area of my life. My mind is being saturated with ideas for a new novel. "Risky Way Home" was published late last year, "A Design of Gold" will be published within the next few months and I thought I'd be relaxing and clean out of ideas, but they've just started flowing for something entirely new. I have the whole concept even down to its name, "A Clean Slate" and I'm up to chapter 5 in my writing of it. The ideas are springing into my head like those flowers in the Judean desert. I can't honestly give myself credit for creating when the ideas just appear like this. All I'm doing is being a scribe. So my notebook is filling up each day, my characters are living, I can hear their voices and laughter. I absolutely this part of writing.
I guess writer's block is a bit like a drought. I've had it before and tried to press through it, but I think it's something like a true climate drought. You can't really do much about it in your own strength and I've learned not to try. And what I'm experiencing now is like an abundance of rain. This abundance will surely occupy me for the next several months to a year and I'll enjoy every moment.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I was honoured and surprised to receive this gorgeous award not once but twice from two fellow Aussie bloggers. They are both terrific writers.

Narelle from Moments for Mum writes devotions that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of busy mothers. Her thoughts highlight topics that are close to all of our hearts and keeps reminding us of our most valuable priorities. She's published a great book of these reflections that I finished very quickly because they are so friendly and easy to read, (see her blog on my toolbar for details). Narelle is planning to release another one in time for next Mother's Day.

Janet has been publishing "Footprints" magazine for several years now, full of wonderful stories, articles, letters, reflections, reviews, tips and more. It always lifts my spirits to find the lastest issue in my letterbox. How often do we find anything that good in the post? How often do we get anything that is not a bill or a dental reminder or an advertising circular or a bank statement?

So before I hand on this award to others, I thought I'd give both these ladies a pat on the back through cyber-space for using their skills with words to so directly bless so many people.

Now, the rules are that we hand this award onto 15 other blogs and drop the bloggers a line to let them know that they've received it. 15 is a lot of blogs so I'll go for 4 of my favourites. These ladies know that I think their blogs are lovely because I've been following them for quite a few years now.

That is Kate, Cristina, Carrie and Comfy. You ladies all bless me with your thoughts on homeschooling and philosophy and just being able to share the glimpses of your lives from so far away. Thanks for the great reading you've given me, and all that which is still to come.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Funny about some retail people

My daughter and I were browsing through a 2nd-hand shop on a rainy day last week. It's the Community Aid shop in Aldgate, one of my very favourites. We found some good winter clothes, a gorgeous candle holder and some cheap books. The lady recognises us because we've been in before. She's a very chatty lady. She saw that we had some Christian books in our pile and said, 'A lady just donated a stack of Christian books 5 minutes ago while you were browsing upstairs. They're here on the counter.'

Well, on the very top was my own book, "The Risky Way Home." I got all excited and said, 'Hey, that's my book!' Come to think of it, that might not have been worth getting excited about. It meant that somebody preferred to drop it off at a good will shop rather than keep it! I wonder who that donater was!! If I been down a few moments earlier, I would have seen! But the shop lady didn't seem at all interested. 'Oh, is it? Well, that's nice, isn't it?' I've had a similar experience with shop people before. When I mention that one of my books is on their shelf, they turn cool and hardly glance at it. What is it with retail people? Do they have to spend so long selling things that they don't want to bother hearing about any of it? Most times now, I prefer not to say anything at all.

But since I had mentioned it, I thought I'd say a bit more. I told her that it was a romance novel set in the Adelaide Hills in case she thought that might interest her customers. Her shop is in the heart of the Hills, after all. Can't get more local than that. 'Mmm, that's nice, dear.' I went off feeling a bit embarrassed and flat.

On the way home, I thought about my choice of words. I'd said, 'Hey, that's my book!' Maybe I should have said, 'Hey, I wrote that book!' She might have thought that it was simply a book that I have on my shelf. In that case, she must have thought I was a pretty excitable sort of person! I suppse it doesn't matter if my big announcement goes over like a lead balloon as long as somebody who'll enjoy it buys it.

But it made me think about the whole process of getting goods into the hands of customers. If the sellers of goods took a bit more interest, the producers of goods might find it easier to sell their volume far quicker!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Collecting too much manna!

The kids and I include Bible study as part of our curriculum and last week we read Exodus 16. God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites to gather enough manna to last for just one day. Some of them disobeyed and collected enough to put aside for the next couple of days. To them it seemed wise. They were planning ahead, cutting the length of time they'd have to be out working the following day and giving themselves an illusion of control in case God changed His mind and didn't provide any for the following day. It seemed wise but was really based on a lack mentality! Of course we all know that the extra manna ended up going off and getting full of weevils. And God clearly could not be pleased by this.

This reminded me where I often get things wrong and go off-track. So many times when I've felt down in spirit, soul and body (because they're all connected), I've stepped back and realised that I'm holding the weight of tomorrow along with that of today! That's too heavy for anyone. We're asked to live each day as it comes and do what lies directly before us. Even when it's a long term job (such as raising a family or writing a book), we only need to do today's part today. That's why God split up time in a number of many little 24-hour compartments.

My thoughts sometimes run along these lines. 'It's going to be so hectic next month! What if the book shops don't sell any of my books, and then they won't buy any more from me? How will I help Logan (oldest son) to work out what his ambitions are, since he's already 14 and doesn't seem to have many?" I came to see this sort of thinking all involves bearing tomorrow's weight today.

A little book I was reading explained that when we dread or anticipate events in our thoughts, it's just as we're going through the pain or doing all the hard work more than once! That was enough for me. It'll be taxing and tiring enough to get there where the time comes. I'm certainly not to wear myself out going there over and over in my thoughts!