Straddling Two Worlds

I'm a follower of Jesus.

I dress in current styles. I keep my hair cut and styled. We homeschooled our kids and they turned out to be (relatively) well-adjusted and contributing members of society. I watch Survivor and Burn Notice and even an occasional R-rated movie. I read Harry Potter and Twilight and Nora Roberts.

I have friends who... don't. They believe their call from God means being separate from the world, to never be mistaken for a worldly pagan, and to vote Republican.

I have other friends and acquaintances who believe their call is to live in the world and in many cases to look like the world. They read The Secret and don't object to gay marriage.

I see the pros and cons of both positions and usually straddle both positions, figuring God knows my heart and that's all that matters.

Sometimes though I question myself and second guess how things are turning out. If I'd been more "godly" and eschewed fashion and threw away my hair straightener, would my kids be closer to God? (Not that they're not close, but maybe they'd be even more pious.) Or if I sent them to school and let society and culture have more influence, would they be happier?

By picking a moderate gospel, did I sell out and not follow Christ the way He would have me? Even worse, did I not point others in the right direction? Did I let them think a life without Jesus is okay?

May it never be!

Today I prayed for: Joyce, Taryn, Sarah, Susan and family.

Last movie: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Currently reading: Tripwire by Lee Child


The More Things Change…

After watching Julie & Julia, I left the theatre a little discouraged. Again.

There is nothing new under the sun. That’s even more true now than it was when King Solomon penned it.

In the writing biz, we’re told to bring something fresh and unique to the publisher.


Blogs about using a crock pot every day for a year and about preparing every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking get picked up for books and movies. Both are well done, I’m not saying the bloggers/cooks turned in substandard work.

I’m saying it’s tough to find that one unique niche that only I can fill.

I’m too snarky on the page and too passive in person.

Last week, a friend I’ve known since I was 15 recalled that way back in high school, I’d be observing and listening in a group and then pipe up with a zinger and leave everyone with their mouths agape.

My husband loves when I do that.

If that’s my unique niche, how in the world do I transfer that to the pages of a novel?

In the words of Kathleen Kelly, in You’ve Got Mail: I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void…


Today I prayed for: Nancy, Taryn, Louise, Richard Gere

Last movie: Harry Potter

Currently reading: …. something by Chris Grabenstein…



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Lofty Expectations

As a writer, foodie, and Nora Ephron fan, the new movie, Julie & Julia seemed to be made for me. I’m the exact demographic. I expected to love it. I wanted to love it.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but I left mildly disappointed.

The beginning more than whetted my appetite. The food was beautiful, the scenery a feast for the eyes.

But somewhere in the last twenty minutes, the movie floundered for me. Part of it, I’m sure, is it’s “’based on a true story.” The writers and producers can’t change too many details. But there was a carefully worded disclaimer at the end that even though the movie was based on real life events and people, there were liberties taken and then it finished with the usual, “any similarities to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.”

Excuse me? If a movie based on real people’s lives shows what really happened, it “just happened?”

If it’s fictionalized, why not end with a bang, something satisfying as Beouf Bourguignon? It really just petered out, like no one knew how it ended for real, so they decided to walk off the set and let the audience figure it out.

Alternate endings I’d have loved:

*  Julia Child reading the blog and critiquing it. Especially about Julie saying, regarding unmolding aspic: “The bitch lied.”

*  Julie Powell getting a PBS series for an updated edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

*  Paul Child returning to spying for the Food Network.

*  A deathbed scene between Julia and Julie.

Something better than Julie leaving a pound of butter at the Smithsonian’s altar to Julia. Come on, people. I know you can do better.


Today I prayed for Joyce, Shawna, Dee, Mona, Jeff Zucker

Currently reading: The House on Olive Street

Last movie: Reign Over Me


It’s the Economy

I know “times are tough.”

I know there’s a recession. I know there is rampant unemployment.

But, even in good times, it seems to me, times are tough. There is always someone I know looking for work, someone being buried in bills (payable, not legal tender).

There’s always someone doing better than us and someone not doing as well.

It’s often easy to “weep with those who weep.” It’s harder to “rejoice with those who rejoice.”

That’s the mark of a friend: they will be happy with you, not just for you. It’s a fine distinction and one I’m not always able to achieve.

An ancient quote attributed to Socrates: “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

Yep, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I think Socrates would agree.



Today I prayed for: Mackenzie, Joyce, and Jillian

Currently reading: The House on Olive Street by Robyn Carr

Last movie: One Night With The King


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There Goes My Pride


Our church has a wonderful tradition of training servants. During Vacation Bible School the junior and high school students help with VBS in the morning, then in the afternoon they do service projects for church family and community members. And a couple of days they do fun stuff, water park and laser tag.

I’ve been using this slave labor for several years now to get some projects done. One year, three big teenage boys used Dave’s SawzAll and cut up the redwood and fiberglass spa that had been curing down by the barn for 10 years and had finally zipped from “almost ready” to “rotting away.” The boys had a ball and we got rid of an eyesore.

One issue every year is the weather. I don’t know how we do it, but every year, VBS is the hottest two weeks of the summer. Last week, I kept the kids working inside. They lemon-oiled my wood furniture, vacuumed and dusted, even did some ironing.

Today is a little cooler so I’m thinking of turning them loose outside again. There are weeds to be pulled. The dogs need baths.

I love giving the kids work to do and seeing their enthusiasm as they tackle the job. They are good kids and they work hard. Now, I know it’s a different scenario at their own homes. I’m sure their moms wish they’d bring a little of these servant attitudes home at the end of the week.

Sometimes it’s hard letting kids see my dust bunnies under the refrigerator and the dog snot on the sliding glass door. But I’ve come to understand, if I want them to learn servanthood, I have to let the pride go. There’s no room here for both.

Gotta go pick up my slaves-er… helpers.