Monday, September 30, 2013

Pass the Word On

IBM 407 Accounting Machine
While in high school I met a young Christian man.  We were taking the same computer classes and ended up becoming very good friends.
Some of the machines we worked on were almost ancient at that time, which would make them nearly prehistoric in comparison to the robust computers of today.  (See the picture above.)
This young man would print out Bible verses using these machines and hand the papers out to everyone.  By today’s opinion of prayer in schools, this would have been frowned upon, but not then.
Although we went our separate ways, I kept the papers for years.  I could probably dig into a few old boxes and not be surprised to find one of those scripture verses tucked into a book or between memorabilia from my younger days.
Those tiny papers containing a huge message, changed my life forever.  Not long after we graduated high school, I met the God he served. I wish I could find him and thank him for those messages he’d given me.  Messages of hope and eternal grace. One day I'm sure I will.
Have you ever had someone enter your life, if for only a brief time, and leave you with a life-changing moment?


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Candy Dance Faire


All of us all have fairs and festivals that re-occur in our neighborhoods every year. Some having beginnings we’re never aware of. One near me in a small town located at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range called Genoa, NV, has a yearly festival called the Candy Dance Faire which runs the last weekend in September. 

In the early 1900’s the Judge Daniel Webster Virgin’s daughter, wanting to illuminate the dark streets of town came up with the idea of raising money to purchase street lamps. The women banded together and made candy. Then every year, to encourage couples to pay for a dance ticket, the woman would serve their home-made candy free of charge.

The dance still occurs over 100 years later, but now they also close the streets of town to motor vehicles and line them with arts and crafts vendors. These people sell everything from jewelry to metal design to hand-made quilts.

And, oh yes, candy.

Check it out here:

What fun historical events happen in your neighborhood?


Monday, September 23, 2013

Autumn – My Favorite Season

When moving across the country two years ago, I expected I would miss many things about Ohio and the location I had lived for more decades than I’m willing to admit.  The obvious were my family and friends.  Other things, like the familiarity of a life lived in one general area, I knew, would be a struggle. What I was sure I wouldn’t miss was the days of gray clouds and rain. 

However, the dismal rain produced the one thing I find I miss the most. Trees.  I miss the vibrant green of the leaves in the spring time and they create as they are tossed by gentle summer breezes.  But most of all I miss them in autumn.

Yesterday marked the start of autumn—my favorite time of year.  I love the musky scent of the season, the appearance of cornstalks and pumpkin decorations along with the feel of crisp cool air against my cheeks. But more than anything I miss the abundant color of the leaves in the Midwest, rich tones of red, yellow and rust and the crunch of their dried remains under my feet long after they tumbled from the branches overhead.

In the desert climate of Nevada, fall is not as spectacular.  The few trees that do grow here generally have a short-lived change in color to yellow before slipping to brown and dropping to the ground. On one particularly cloudy day (an uncommon event here where there are 350+ days of sunshine) a cloud bank muted the mountainside in grays.  As I gazed down at the trees along the river below my home the clouds parted, albeit briefly, and lit up the line of cottonwoods lining its banks.  The view was breathtaking.  The drab yellow turned to spun gold at God’s hand.  It had been a small blessing on an otherwise drab day. One I will not soon forget.

What is your favorite season and why?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My First Writer's Conference

             My very first writer’s conference was the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference in San Francisco.  I had written my first book and wanted the world to know about it. Being married with four children, I had never been on a vacation by myself, across the country, to a destination where I knew no one at all.  I guess you could say I was a little nervous.

               First stop after check in into the hotel was the Faith, Hope and Love Chapter meeting.  There I met Debra Clopton, Linda Goodnight, and Janet Tronstad. In the short time between the meeting and the start of the RWA Conference, I had the opportunity to take a impromptu sightseeing tour of San Francisco with these wonderful women.  Through it, I also experience the open arms of the writing community.  And there in a conference surrounded by thousands of writers, I no longer felt alone.

               I learned more than I ever thought possible. I met authors who up until then were just a name on the cover of a book.  But most of all, I walked away with a fire in my gut and a desire to start another book.  A conference can be a scary thing, but the bonds you make with the writing community are immeasurable.

               Share a memory of your first writer’s conference.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Diamond in the Rough

On a recent trip to Alaska I wanted to see Mount Denali.  During our visit it rained daily, and the most I got to see was the bottom portion, as shown here.  It was the diamond in the rough, an image not quite visible to me until the clouds would part and show me the grandeur of the highest peak in North America.  Denali, also called the "high one", rises over 20,000 feet above sea level.

I never did see it, but much like those clouds hid the beautiful mountain, so does our fear of achieving what God has intended for us. We let the clouds of doubt throw a blanket of indecision and procrastination onto what we can truly be until we let God, the creator of heaven and earth, chisel away the rough edges, create the light catching facets, and polish our gifts until they shine.

The hardest part is taking the fist step, making an attempt at achieving something bigger than ourselves. Then, if you turn the wheel over to Him, the rest is a piece of cake!  Well, almost.  But that's a different topic!  :-)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Weathering the Storm

I posted this print on Facebook, but I couldn't resist placing it here as well.  I have so much empathy for that little bird, holding on with all he has while the cold rain pelts him in the head.

We've all been there.  Felt our lives spinning out of control.  Holding on for dear life to something that resembles normal.  But only when we bow our head and say a prayer, can God work through our lives.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

For most of us Labor Day is the official last day of summer marked by a long weekend where most of us kickback and enjoy our final barbeque of the season.  But what is it really?

Did you know that Labor Day was first celebrated in 1882 in New York City after labor leader Pete McGuire saw a similar festivity in Toronto for the celebration of Trade Union Act in Canada which began in 1872?  So yes, we copied off our northern neighbor.

Were you aware that President Grover Cleveland proclaimed the day a national holiday in 1894 after several workers were killed in the Pullman Train strike by the U.S. Military.  It was supposed to be an appeasement to the workers after the violent act against railroad strikers.

Did you know it was the first holiday to be celebrated with a parade?

Did you realize President Cleveland decided to have Labor Day at the end of summer so as to not associate the holiday with May Day celebrations found around the globe?  May Day had been associated with violent labor movements throughout the world including the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, which was designated as International Workers Day in the U.S.  Workers were shot and killed by the Chicago police force for protesting for an eight-hour work day.

 It also is the start of the NFL and College football season.  So grab a burger and set the dial to your favorite football game, but take time to remember the holiday’s roots starting over 100 years ago.