Feb 27, 2011

The Accent

Abigail and Dolley readers as many of you may recall, I working on my first novel.  I suppose it is technically a manuscript until it earns publication, but it is finished except for bits and pieces that need polishing.  It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done but also one of the hardest.  One thing I have come to realize is that Charlotteans (of which I am one) order our words differently in our speech vs. our writing.  I sometimes fly along as the words pour out and then must edit heavily so the poor reader does not stumble about trying to decipher what it is I am trying to say.  It has been challenging to say the least and I wonder if the reader would appreciate me writing the dialogue as we speak or if I should clean it up.  I hope I have struck a proper balance but seeing as most publishing houses are in New York City, I am sure they will have an opinion about this.  They say you have to have your voice come through in your writing and that the best writers are distinctive.  I hope the accent comes through, for it is one of the things that makes us special.  Here is a section from the book, Love You Best.

Their accents were distinct and to the trained ear, one could tell them apart from the Mountain folk.  They spoke a little faster and would say they did not sound, “Country”.  They did not call their Mountain brethren Hillbillies, that is a nasty word and if one must use the derogatory phrase, it would have to be applied to folks that hailed from the deep Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky and West Virginia.  North Carolina is a bit more cosmopolitan.   
The Charlottean accent is soft and has a cadence and a way of ordering words that is distinctive.  Notably, they did not take tremendous care in enunciating syllables, especially the latter syllables in a word.  They would rarely if ever pronounce the “g” on any word ending in “ing”.  Only when they are feeling very Southern or have had a few drinks do they drop the "r"  and pronounced it “ah”, but it does sneak in here and there.  So phonetically, “I hear you are going to the store” would be “Ay hear you're goin’ to the store.” as opposed to "Ay he-yah yah goin' to the sto-wah."   It is an accent that is easy on the mouth and pleasant to the ear.

Feb 21, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Abigail and Dolley readers we lost our cat today.  In the grand scope of things, maybe not such a big deal, but it has me thinking.  I take solace today knowing there is a Lord.  I have a deep unshakeable conviction that we are not here by accident and that there is a Creator who made us and regularly attends to His Creation.  There are no direct Scriptures on whether or not pets go to Heaven, but as one pet owner put it, "I can't imagine Heaven without my animals."

The Lord we serve is infinite and He cares for us, better than an earthly father.  If our fathers on Earth, who are sinful, give us good gifts, how much more so does our Father in Heaven give gifts to those He loves?  Jesus said, "In my Father's house there are many many rooms. I go there now to prepare a place for you that where I am you might also be."  Thus, I believe the mansion I have in Heaven has a new occupant today, my sweet Tiggamarroo. He was a good cat, and the last words I said to him this morning were, "Tell Jesus I said, hello."

Feb 18, 2011

The Vase

Abigail and Dolley readers this will be a deeply personal post but I hope that you will be inspired by this story.  I hope that some of you will find this blog and read this story and recognize yourself in the words.

I feel like when God created me, he started out with a beautiful white vase.  On it, He wrote the story of my life.  Each experience, each triumph, each trial was the art that He drew on the vase of my life.  It was fired in the oven, glazed, and shone with glory.  When I was 29 years old, I rededicated my life to the Lord and the Living Water of the Holy Spirit filled me completely.  I prayed for a ministry and He put flowers in the vase.  Beautiful creations that were there for a time to drink of the love of the Living God.  These were my friends, my family, and my coworkers.  The water was sweet and abundant and I was so proud of how beautiful the vase looked with the bouquet of people God had picked to keep me company in this life.

As the years went by, my work began to take a toll.  The stresses of life were overwhelming and water began to leak out of the back of the vase.  From the front, which everyone could see, all was well but the water was leaking.  I stopped going to the faucet and getting filled up, the number of people in the vase was a heavy burden to carry and they started falling out of the back.  Every month, little chunks fell off the back of the vase, but nobody noticed.

I stopped wanting to be around others who were full of the Living Water, they reminded me of what was missing and I resented it.  I tried to fill the void with smoke, but it just evaporated.  I could no longer hold on to all the people in the vase as the water leaked out.  July 20th, 2010 I took a huge blow and the entire back of the vase blew out, shards and water flew everywhere.

I thought if I changed jobs that everything would be okay, I only looked at the front of the vase now.  I presented the front in all its beauty but the back was missing and I was leaking water everywhere.  The vase could no longer hold any flowers and the front began to show cracks.  My family saw a crack here and there, my husband saw others, my friends saw others still, but I am a master at makeup and I quickly covered the cracks and everyone just said, "Well, sometimes vases get cracked."  It's stress.

Over New Years weekend, the vase shattered.  Now, everyone could clearly see the cracks and they began to tell me what they had seen.  I insisted I was fine, no big deal, and I limped back into work, with only a little of the vase still in tact.  That was the part that was making a lot of money, but they knew the vase was gone, too.  When they asked me to leave the last remnant of the vase completely shattered.  I was shattered into a thousand pieces.

I've been wandering around my house for the last few weeks looking for the glue.  I have been wondering how in the world I am going to superglue this vase back together.

What I realized today was this, those broken pieces, the ones that broke off long ago are cemented in the table the vase has rested upon all these years. 

The table is made of concrete and the Lord has taken those broken pieces and has been embedding them.  If you look closely you can see each piece pressed into the mosaic.  Those last few pieces scattered about are the just new pieces in the project.  It's not yet done, the only thing that is certain is that it's not a vase.

I've put down my Super Glue.  I will never be a vase again, but I'll be a table which is infinitely more useful.

Feb 17, 2011

The Engine That Makes the Economy Run

Abigail and Dolley readers there is a lot of talk about getting the economic engine of America running again.  We have all sorts of government programs and they will all fall flat and cost us a fortune for little or no return.  The economic engine of this country has been and will always be small business.  There are millions of Americans out of work right now and I can tell you what they are thinking - how do I make a living now?  Many will start or have started a small business.

What is the biggest impediment to small business?  Regulation and red tape.  We must remove these impediments to get the economy rolling again.  We must make it simple for the guy that knows how to fix engines, to fix engines.  We must make it easier for business to get patents to protect their inventions.  We must make it so the small business person can get a loan to start their business.  We need government to get the hell out of our way so we can make it.  We must rethink the way we've always done things.  We must look for new processes, innovations, and technologies.  There is no shortage of entrepreneurs but there is an overabundance of bureaucrats.  What we are trying to right now is dig out of is an environment that hampers the great American Spirit. 

As for me and my family, we are going to make it happen for ourselves and in the process, we are going to live the American Dream.  May God Bless you and may God Bless America.

Feb 10, 2011

A Praise Report

Abigail and Dolley readers I have to say that I am frankly stunned by the miracle of God that has occurred in my house.  Yesterday I wrote to you all about my little kitty who was at death's door.  The vet gave him about a 1% chance of responding to the antibiotic shot they gave him on Tuesday and basically prepared me to say goodbye to him this morning.  Well, I have written a lot about faith and God's healing hand and from where we sit tonight, it appears we have had a miraculous healing.  He is not out of the woods yet, but Praise God it sure looks like the little guy is on the mend.

I am so thankful!

Feb 9, 2011

A Good Cat

Abigail and Dolley readers I learned 2/8 that my kitty cat has an inoperable cancer under the base of his tongue.  We gave him some inter-venous fluids and a shot of antibiotic just in case it was an infection and not the cancer the Vet suspects.  Today will be our last day with him, he can't eat and he can't drink much.  We won't let him suffer.

His name is Tiggamarroo and we got him about 6 weeks after moving in this house.  He's only 10 1/2, we figured he'd be around a lot longer.  He'll never reach old age, he'll never be frail, loud, and senile.  When my husband leaves here tomorrow with him he will be much like he's always been, sweet.  He's not got a mean bone in his body and tons of personality.

I figured such a good cat deserved a blog post.  Goodbye Tiggamarroo, you are a good cat.

Tiggamarroo in his Garden

Feb 8, 2011


Abigail and Dolley readers I have been reading Ephesians 6 lately.  This chapter is a favorite of mine for many reasons: it addresses how we as children are to obey and honor our parents.  It implores father's not to aggravate their children.  It gives us guidance on how we are to work and how we are to manage.  Finally, it  tells us that we are not just living a physical world that we can see and touch.  There is a supernatural aspect to our lives that we need to understand and be aware.  We are told to put on the whole armor of God as we resist the Devil and his lies and tricks.

The first item of the armor is the belt of truth.  Why a belt?  I mean a belt is the LAST thing you put on when you get dressed, right?  Who puts on a belt first?  What is God thinking here?  I am not sure, but I think I have an idea.  Follow along with me if you will.

First let's look at truth, in the original language it is aletheia.   Aletheia signifying "the reality lying at the basis of an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a matter" and "not merely verbal, but sincerity and integrity of character".   

Thus, we are told to start with the Truth.  This is often one of the hardest things to do in human existence because the truth if often painful.  Telling the truth at the beginning gives us no latitude to trick or manipulate. 

We don't like the truth anymore, about ourselves, about others, about sin.  We don't like it at all, we'd rather skirt around the truth, we gloss over the truth, we find the truth harsh and unwavering.

So we are told in Ephesians to begin with the Truth.  That in itself is a tall order my friends.  Something that going forward, I will endeavor to do.  If I find that I can't, I will just be quiet.  Nothing of good substance and honor can begin with less.  Relationships, stories, business deals - they all have to begin with the truth.  If we don't we have built our house upon the sand instead of the bedrock of truth.

It is of note that in the Old Testament the majority of times the English word truth appears it refers to our mouths.  It is often paired with righteousness and refers to justice.  In the New Testament most references are to THE truth.  In the book of John, he refers to the Spirit of Truth which is the Holy Spirit.

For me, it's a lot less difficult to start out with the truth if I recognize that it is God's Truth where we begin.  Knowing how fallable we are, HE gives us something to hold fast to and that is the Spirit of Truth. 

May you be greatly blessed today and thank you for reading!

Feb 1, 2011

A Flower in Winter

Abigail and Dolley readers I have been using this down time to do something I have not done in more than 20 years - art.  While I am a rank amateur and have no false sense of my talent, I find it fun.  I wanted to share a thing or two with you, I hope they make you smile.