Archive | July, 2012

The end of the beginning… or something like that!

28 Jul

This picture has nothing to do wtih the post, except that this is my “baby” with his new car (my grandmother’s former Torrent).

I’m 47, and in my family, that’s not even halfway to the usual life expectancy. (My grandmother will be 99 on December 1 and still lives alone, walks her dog, goes to parties, goes out to lunch, dresses to the nines, and only recently – and rather unwillingly – gave up driving.) My grandmother’s grandparents both lived to be 96, when the average life expectancy was around 50. So, while I never take having tomorrow for granted, I don’t feel particularly stressed about the years going by.

I’m not a Paula Deen fan, but I like her story, that she didn’t start doing things (even leaving her house!) until she was 48. For women, especially, the season of child rearing is a full time job, mentally if not physically. Sure, some people are creative and self-aware and firing on all cylinders in that period. At least, so I’ve heard. Me? Not so much. I dabbled in things, but with kids and homeschooling and their other activities, not to mention our business and, of course, our marriage, there just wasn’t a lot of extra time and energy for creative endeavors or new long-term projects. I might think of them, but they’d stay on the very back burner in my mind. Definite “some day” material.

So the last few years have been really exciting and fun for me. When my daughter went to college – 3 years ago, as hard as that is to believe – I had just started Ten Eighteen, my non-profit to Uganda. In fact, my daughter had visited, but I didn’t visit until September. I had taken a creativity workshop, and was starting to try my hand again at painting and photography, but mostly I was still homeschooling my then-freshman son, doing business stuff, being a wife and mom.

But as my son has gotten older and more self-sufficient, and after we made structural changes to our business that allow us to be very part-time, and after reading “No Plot, No Problem” by Chris Baty, this writing thing took hold. I wrote the non-fiction book back in May of 2011, did the November NaNoWriMo, and have since been on a marathon writing spree (you can read about that in this blog). Ten Eighteen has been doing amazing things in Uganda, and the people are doing so, so well. I’ve figured out some health issues and feel good. Basically, for the last year, I’ve been in the end of the beginning… The end of the very active child-rearding phase, and the end of the self-doubt phase, and the end of the insecurity phase. I am coming into my own.

Now, as a Kingdom Christian, “my own” isn’t really. I try very hard to follow what I hear God telling me, and change course quickly if I get it wrong. But He knows there are seasons, too – He set it up that way, with plenty of examples in nature to follow. Even in Uganda, along the equator, with no winter, they have wet and dry seasons. So this is the season for a new bit of growth. To stretch upward and outward, to try to follow “the next thing”, wherever that leads. It’s pretty darned exciting, I have to say. As usual, I have no idea where it will lead… But I’m loving the ride!

Life can be pretty crazy

18 Jul

We have always had a crazy life. When I tell people the things that have happened to us, good and bad, most don’t believe it. Some people think we’re “lucky” and some think we’ve been pretty unlucky, and I guess, in human terms, both are true. But I operate on Kingdom terms, and what I see when I look back is a long and winding road that’s gotten me to this point. Some of that road goes through dark, treacherous, scary valleys, and some up along high, sun filled peaks. But it’s all the same road, and I don’t really see any of it as better or worse than the rest. The times that were really awful were probably more valuable in terms of my walk and where I am now than the times that were great, although the latter certainly has better memories!

I say all this because right now things are pretty crazy, in a good way. My first novel was published this week, and I got two dozen copies delivered today. That’s pretty freaking amazing, to be honest. That novel came from a crazy idea called NaNoWriMo, which I’ve written about before. It is not only my first published book, it’s the first novel I ever wrote. And since November of 2011 I’ve written three novels and a screenplay, and will be writing my fourth starting August 1. My second novel will be published in September.

Now, for those of you who don’t really see things from a Kingdom perspective, you’re probably thinking, “What’s the big deal? You wrote a book, that’s great, clap clap clap, move on.” Well, these novels are the culmination – or, maybe, the beginning of the culmination, of many years of living by trusting God. By following him, in ways that don’t match up with traditional church Christianity. By obeying, even when it seemed crazy.

I don’t claim some mystical finger from heaven came and wrote the novels. But I also know that it makes absolutely no sense in the natural that I, having never written a novel in my life, having written nothing longer than a short story since the 6th grade, having published nothing, having had no ideas for a book, suddenly wrote 88,651 in 23 days in November of 2011. And it was good. I wrote 67k words of the sequel to that book in February and March, putting it aside to write a feature film screenplay in April. I completed 130 pages, which translates to a 2 hour plus movie, in 16 days. And it was good. I was in Uganda most of May, came back, and wrote 88,370 words of a historical romance in 26 days, having not even read romance. And it was good. Now I’m almost done with the sequel, it’s good, and I’m starting a new novel, full of ideas for a fantasy/dystopian novel. Another genre I don’t read.

So, whatever you might think of my sudden outpouring of creativity and good writing, I know where the inspiration came from. My Creator. And I know who gives me the ability to think and type so quickly. My Sustainer. Living a Kingdom life is a great thing, if you look back at that road and realize that all those valleys and peaks have gotten you to where you are now. And the cool thing about living a life full on for God? You’re not done until the day you die. I think that’s pretty amazing!

The “joys” of aging

11 Jul

Have you noticed how, when you are younger (say, under 40) you don’t say things like “women of my generation?” There is apparently some magical age where all of the sudden you are separating yourself out from the pack. Mentally and emotionally and spiritually I feel great and, other than (thankfully) more mature and stable, not much different than when I was younger. But physically things change, and the promise of ovary transplants in the future does nothing to change that.

I’ve posted previously about my last few years, so we won’t recap that (thank goodness!), but I think the thing I notice most consistently is that I don’t have the long-term stamina that I used to. For instance, on Sunday I got up at 4:15am and flew to Florida, changing planes in Atlanta. I spent the afternoon with family, then slept poorly on the mattress I had my entire childhood (so that mattress, having been purchased before I started using it, is probably over 50 years old!), and woke up at 6am. On Monday I drove 9 hours and 45 minutes back to NC from FL, on the long and boring I-95, by myself. That night I got either a bad headache or mild migraine, and went to sleep early, and slept 10 hours. Yesterday I did back to back to back (etc) appointments and errands from 9:30-5:30, and by the end of the day was really exhausted. It’s not that what I did was so tiring, on any given day. It’s just that, after 3 days of go-go-go, I had used my energy reserves.

This was a lot worse when I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia back in February, and these 3 days would have put me down for another 3 or 4 days. But now that I’m doing so much better, I find it discouraging. I don’t have a super active life, by design. Maybe it’s just that this type of on the go-ness is unusual for me now. But I suspect it has to do with being 47, also. And that stinks.

The other bummer is how hard it is to maintain my usual weight. I’m not heavy by any measure, but there is a range in which I feel comfortable, confident, and healthy, and that used to be easy to maintain. Now… Not so much! And while I used to gain weight in my hips and behind, now it’s all waist and weird back. Admittedly, when it’s 106 degrees my first thought hasn’t been “Exercise! Yay!” so I haven’t done much in recent weeks. But that’s happened in the past and I could get away with it. Not now. Now, it seems to be about vigilence, and making very careful trade offs to indulge in the slightest goodie. It’s depressing.

On the other hand, I don’t want to look like a 25 year old, have six pack abs or a rock hard butt. OK, I wouldn’t mind looking like that, but I don’t have any interest in doing what it takes to get there. I learned a couple of years ago that, while my brain enjoys exercise that kicks my butt (like Insanity), my body doesn’t. I get injured. I get sick. I get obsessed. And I don’t want to be obsessed with the physical – I’ve got a lot more important things to do! But I do want to feel healthy and strong, and I guess that’s what I’m a bit south of at the moment.

So today, starting back counting points with Weight Watchers online (a great program, btw, even if it’s only 5 lbs you want to lose, or just maintain), and walking/paddleboarding/the gym. Bummer.

HOT summer days – what to do?!

1 Jul

OK, this heat is ridiculous. And this is coming from a Floridian. Seriously, 106 at 5:45pm? 103 at 6:50pm? No. Not acceptable.

So what to do besides sweat? That’s the question. (My husband is the smart one – he stayed in Beaufort, where it’s 10 degrees cooler and the water is still deliciously cool. I, on the other hand, needed to be in Raleigh for the weekend, and can’t get back there fast enough!) Here’s what we’ve done:

* Went to see “Brave” – it was really good! And Merida is so much like our red-headed friend Jess, not just in looks, that we laughed.

* Made key lime pie. Hey, it works in Florida!

* Made guacamole. Ditto.

* Closed off the sunroom. Emmy (the cat) has been meowing incessantly since I closed the door, but even with ac in there, it’s just too hot with all the glass. So the view today is from my living room!

* Stayed cool in dark rooms! I don’t know why it seems cooler with the lights out, but it does.

* Watched movies on tv. Although this wasn’t too successful. I bought “Wrath of the Titans” on iControl, and quit halfway through. It’s bad. As much as I love stuff about the Greek gods, it was just…bad.

* I Love Lucy marathon. ‘Nuff said.

Not exciting, I realize. But how excited can you get when it’s freaking 100+ degrees outside?? What are you doing to beat the heat?