The Tortoise and the NaNoWrimo Writers

The Pancake Cat is the story of a wild cat that would not be owned, but finally chooses a family.  Meet the family and learn something of contemporary American history and multi-culture in the pages.  Nine year old Andrea is thoughtful and vivacious.  She has always wanted a cat and aspires to own and run an orphanage when she grows up.  Her little brother Philip is cute as a gifted four year old can be.  Mom and Dad provide time honored nurture and upbringing, and give their best effort to squeeze fun and teaching moments out of daily life.

 So, while all my friends are crowing about winning NaNoWrimo and writing 50,000 words in 30 days; I present to you my latest offering, “The Pancake Cat,” which was written and published at tortoise speed.

Thirteen years ago I received the inspiration to write about a stray cat that enjoyed pancakes. I added to the narrative and submitted the manuscript as an Institute of Children’s Literature project for which I eventually received 6 hours of college credit.  In 2004, I researched and added several more chapters in my bid to win $10,000 in scholarship funds to finish my college education. I did not win the scholarship, but I did finish my education-and the book.  In December of 2006, I had several copies printed and tape bound at a local photo copier establishment and these I gave as Christmas gifts.

Those first books are sure to be valuable someday.  Only 20 copies contain the “Fact or Fiction” endnotes that explain how I came up with the story.

In 2009 I discovered that my book was “out of print.”  Because the information is still relevant, and because gifting with a book never goes out of style, I present to you, dear reader, The Pancake Cat.  Newly released from Xlibris and available by special order at Barnes Noble or Amazon; The Pancake Cat is suitable for accomplished readers ages 8 to 10 (and it won’t bore the grownups either).

Wounded and Broken Hearted

“What I don’t want to be is wounded and never healed.  I don’t want to die of a broken heart, only to discover that I had the means to mend it, but waited for someone else to see the need and meet it.  Codependency is such a two edged sword. I spent my whole life doing for others, in the hope that someone would see my need and do for me.  I didn’t feel it was right to meet my own needs.  When I noticed that I had needs or desires, I ignored them, or outright denied them-rejected them and told them to go away. It seemed so self-centered if I paid attention to myself.  Never-the-less, while I ignored the desires of my heart and self-sacrificially gave to meet the needs of others, my reserves to give were dwindling. “But,” I reasoned to myself, “It’s not self-sacrifice if you have unlimited reserves, is it?” Deep down, I knew that this giving thing, ministering, serving; is supposed to be reciprocal. No one was filling my well back up and I became starved, parched, and finally:  resentful” (Excerpted from a work in progress, “Before I Went Crazy.”).

Dear Reader, As you go about your Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations, I encourage you to take some time to care for yourself; to be about the business of fulfilling your own God-given destiny.  Yes, serve and minister to others- but, not to a fault.  Take care that you do not do it to the point of exhaustion and resentment.


The Desires of the Heart

I believe that it is healthy for a person to follow his or her dreams.  I am not talking here of nonsensical, unrealistic, idle daydreams.  I am referring to God given desires of the heart which are inherent in the temperament one is born with. I am talking about dreams that are the substance of what I am meant to be. The deep, sometimes secret, desires that will not be squashed, will not be denied, no matter how hard I try to distract myself with other busyness and obligation.

In addition to embracing the emotional and spiritual health that comes from pursuing the person I am meant to be, via following my dreams and passions; I continue to ask the God of the universe to grant me good vision-the perception to know the good thing when I see it. It is not always easy to see the dream when you are living it.  The cliché, “Can’t see the forest for the trees,” expresses it simply.

The Innovative Minister of Music

There was a time, at the tender age of 29; that I thought my life was over, washed up, truncated, and I would never get to see my dreams fulfilled no matter how long I lived.  That dream, which had been instilled in me as a child, was that I was destined for full time ministry. At 29 I was recently divorced, but all the passions to serve and minister were still intact. I already knew that maverick leadership and ministry carries tough challenges.   It is difficult to minister effectively without a Paraclete, a sidekick or right hand man.  Imagine Batman without Robin, Roy Rogers without Dale Evans-or even Simon without Garfunkel. Nevertheless, I determined to move forward.  Being alone and divorced seemed insurmountable and I spent a number of days grieving that I would never be able to fulfill my calling.  Some 18 months later the realization began to dawn that I was ministering full-time; just not in the traditional way I had always envisioned it.

I was teaching piano lessons to 20 young people each week, enriching those little lives and building into their futures.  I was working 20 hours per week as a radio announcer for a nonprofit station, ministering to listeners in the most lonely hours of the evening and weekend.  And, I was raising a uniquely gifted son who would go on to influence a broader audience (with more confidence) than I ever had.

All the World’s a Stage

Playing piano and radio announcing make an easy morph (metamorphosis) to a passion for performance.  I could not ignore the siren call of the stage, the studio, the microphone, though I was fearful and timid.  Today I can say, “I have found my stage.”  Of all places: in the classroom. Yes, there is a designated body of information I must teach; narrow parameters to what I can do with my creativity.  But, my classroom is my stage.  I have 27 minutes in which to wow my audience; to leave them laughing or pondering a new concept. I have 27 minutes to minister to 27 wiggly (or apathetic) bodies and provide them an opportunity to become better, to broaden their body of knowledge and experience, to taste performance.  I am who I am meant to be. I am living my dream.  I am doing all I can do to empower them to live theirs-to be all they can be.

Daylight Savings Time, Your Problem

Spring Ahead, Fall Back. “There you go!,” they tell me, “it is easy to remember.” But they’re accustomed to their way of thinking, not mine.

A little phrase like ‘Spring ahead, Fall back, can trip my over-analysis switch:  Let me think here. Is that, fall forward and spring back? (After all, when you compete in triple jump it’s important to fall forward-I’ve known that since before daylight savings time began). 

I have the same problem with dessert and desert.  Let’s see, do those Ss stand for too much sand or too much sugar?  I can never remember.  I think I eat dessert and live in the desert.  One thing I have no trouble remembering, however; is how to wield there, their and they’re.  And if you’re thinking that’s a silly thing to pride myself on, that’s your problem.  Not even the media gets that one right.