Brief Humor & Check-Ins

Writing Updates: Happy Memorial Day

Some brief writing updates for those fellow happy writers, and some links to opportunities:

• I recently had a poem accepted for a Horror Writer’s Association (HWA) anthology. The anthology is for Mental Health Awareness and publications should be sometime in June. Feel free to check out their website for opportunities. Some contests are open to non-members and are free to enter.

• I recently submitted an Author Spotlight interview to Fae Corps Inc. If my answers are accepted, my interview should be posted on there sometime soon. As well, I will be submitting a short story to their horror Call for Submissions anthology. Should prove to be a spooky time–feel free to check out the opportunity yourself. A big thanks to Andrew again for sharing this opportunity.

• Lastly, several weeks ago I received a full manuscript request for my second novel, GOTD. Please keep your fingers, toes, nose, and elbows crossed for me. I am hoping to go the traditional route this time. A link to a teaser of my novel is on my webpage.

Have a Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone. I will probably be in the basement this evening, comforting my dog against the fireworks people will insist on shooting until two in the morning. Ka-boom! Happy writing–let’s keep encouraging one another on this journey. Tara.

Brief Humor & Check-Ins, Christianity: My Journey & Thoughts

Being Wearied & Laughing at Yourself (Humor | Reflection | Christ | Endurance)

We found about eight letters yesterday from our Compassion kids, stuffed in our mailbox. It had been a long, tiring week and it was heart healing to see all those letters, written by our kids, hundreds of miles from us in America. We got new pictures of one of our girls from Ghana; she’s growing like a weed and is six years old already. The passing of time always complexes me.

I got out the step stool to change out her framed picture on our wall–an easy enough task, right? I couldn’t get the two nails (one on top, one on the side–a unique, heavier frame) to line up just right with the hooks on the frame. I could feel my anger (and really, just exhaustion) rising up inside me and I pushed back a curse word behind my teeth. Tried the frame again. Failed again. It was personal now. I yanked the troubling nail out of the wall, tried again–nothing. And the curse fell from my mouth.

Now, all of this struck me in two ways: 1.) I was much more tired than I realized, as I normally do not curse or get frustrated so easily and 2.) It was a little funny. Here I was, standing before our wall of our framed children’s photos, with an Isaiah quote displayed prominently above them, and this phrase just pops out of my mouth like wild horses. It was like a priest dropping a bowling ball in the middle of church service and screaming “Foul!” Just a bit comical in juxtaposition. I’m sure my guardian angel raised an eyebrow, shook their head and suggested I go take a nap. Like pronto.

I don’t always realize when I’m worn out. Oh yes, I’ll say I’m tired–I can feel that. But can you always tell when you’re wearied–when you’ve been going too far, for too long, without a decent break? I think that’s harder to pin down sometimes.

And as I write this, I think of our Haitian kid, whose photo I received as well in the mail–him and his mother standing next to some animals they were able to buy with a gift we sent them. They’re still recuperating from the earthquake that happened last Fall. Their faces were pinched; they looked too thin to my American eyes. And sad. Who the heck was I to think I could “fix” their lives by sending a gift of money to help them rebuild?

And then I’ll see the Ukraine footage on the news. The headlines that are rolling out, that remind me of primary documents I read in graduate school for my history degree. All the crimes of war, instantly streamed around the world, as we wait for Russia to tiptoe across the sandbox line of Ukraine’s borders into the NATO sandbox. There is real weariness; there is real sadness.

Christ was often wearied while on earth. I don’t blame him. Can you imagine walking around in a hot and arid climate, surrounded by 12 gaggling young men day in and day out, while trying to talk sense to snooty religious and political leaders of the day? Or have people shun you from your own village–even your own family? Or have people give you “the look” when you dare be kind to prostitutes and tax collectors? I think I’d be tempted to order some greasy fast food, sit in a desert and have a conference call with Gabriel. “Gabriel, hi. It’s me. Yes, the Son of God. Look, can you get dad on the line, please? I’m not so sure this is going well, and my feet are killing me in these sandals. Haven’t they heard of insoles yet? Thanks, I’ll hold. Oh great, they forgot my ketchup packets…”

I was reading one of Marissa’s blogs the other day, and she wrote something that summarized the effects of the fall quite well: when we make a mistake, or struggle, we tend to run from God instead of to God. This sentence reverberated in my mind all week. I think my angel was playing ping pong in my head with the words. “Do you get it now, my little green bean connoisseur? You can’t do it all yourself.”

So today, I’ll write a snarky blog mixed with a good dose of humor and humility (check), eat some good food (in progress), and rest–even if Gabriel needs to threaten me with a Nerf bat. I cannot save the world, but I can certainly help be a light and good steward of what has been given to me. I write letters to our kids and pray. Over Easter weekend, we’ll be starting to till the ground for our big pollinator garden, and hopefully hanging up some bat houses. And I’ll be painting a scene from the Hobbit. Stay tuned.

We live in a chaotic, dark world–one with nails that won’t align with frames–but Jesus is there to help us hammer it out.

After all, his father was a carpenter.

Brief Humor & Check-Ins

The Sublime Art of Falling on One’s Face (Humor)

I tend to ask a lot of questions. I like to poke at things and ask why things are done the way they’re done. I turn contraptions of our society upside down, walk around them hemming and hawing, chewing and spitting out the occasional sunflower seed, and even kick at the tires. In effect, I make people nervous. Especially those silly people who follow rules and leaders blindly. They’ve never learned any 20th century history, most likely.

I’ll stare at rules, laws, meeting agendas, policies, handbooks…anything I’m presented with really, as it’s all fair game for the mind to tackle. I’ll ask for guidance on next steps; ask for the big picture from A-Z. I’ll bend down, check out their undercarriages, peer at them suspiciously, ask them who their leader is while throwing up a Spock hand signal. I’ll chew gum and blink; see if it blinks back in Morse code asking for help and mercy. And then, eventually, I’ll ask the question that has toppled empires, dethroned monarchs, and even stopped people from enjoying their ice cream before it melts on a hot summer day: “Why?” In essence, I can thin your patience quicker than a locomotive running over a shiny penny. Choo choo!

I did this recently with a work task I was assigned; I was volun-told to be the hiring coordinator for an interviewing committee. Swish, swish– the questions went out through the gate faster than Greyhounds chasing the Easter bunny. I watched through my webcam as people’s smiles twitched and their patience frayed like a 1930’s pair of Levi jeans. Eventually I did what I do in awkward situations–I fell on the sword. I said “I know I’m probably driving you nuts with all my questions.” Oh, that was the pebble holding back the Hoover Dam. And over I fell–splat!

The act of falling on your face can be seen as an art. Sure, you’ll look stupid–you might even find’s someone half chewed gum on the floor stuck to your cheek. But the knowledge gained–the conversations to be had with the ants found on the ground. The funny way people look when you’re staring up at them, as they stare at you like a constipated bull frog. It’s a true experience, not likely to be forgotten. And eventually, someone helps you up, dusts off your disheveled hair, and says “Job well done; thank you for your work today.” You see–all those questions paid off, eh?

And then you can lolly-skip your way back home, ice cream and ant farm in tow. Now you’re free. You’re free to ask questions of the seagulls, the sky, animals and God–especially God. So shout it loud, shout it proud–I am a questioner. And I sometimes fall on my face doing it.

Cheers and happy writing.