Monday, April 29, 2013

Guest Blog - Author Buffy Andrews

In Everything That Happens There's a Seed for Something Better

By Buffy Andrews

For months, I’ve prayed for God’s guidance about my writing career, for the wisdom to make the right choices and the strength to bear the weight of those decisions. I kept asking God for a sign that I was doing exactly what I was meant to do, but a sign never came. He wasn’t listening, I thought.
It turned out that I was the one who hadn’t been listening, who hadn’t seen the signs that were right before my eyes.

Sorry, God. I got it now. Promise.

I think that in everything that happens there's a seed for something better. But first, you have to recognize the seed and plant it in fertile ground. Then, you must nurture it, making sure it gets just the right about of water and sunshine.

So often in life, we plant our seeds in ground that is not conducive to growth. And when the plant doesn’t flourish, we try everything in our power to help it grow. But sometimes, no matter how much love we provide, it just doesn’t become the plant we know it can become. 

Maybe it needs to be planted in the shade or maybe it’s getting too much run-off from the downspout. Or maybe it’s time to take it inside and nurse it back to health.

You know that your plant has potential. It’s up to you to help it bloom into the masterpiece hidden within.
For those of you who have planted a seed in infertile soil and watched it wither, dig it out and start anew. I'm betting it will bloom.

(For more from Buffy, visit her blog:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Princess and The Pen

Yesterday there was a princess standing in front of our house. That's right. It was Dress-Up Day at the local elementary school, whose bus stop is only steps from our front door. I paused long enough to view the mini-firefighters, nurses, doctors and a veterinarian (stethoscope and toy kitty in her arms.) One mother informed me that the children had been instructed to dress as the person they wanted to be when they grew up. It gave me cause to wonder if there were any aspiring novelists in the bunch, and if so what outfit would they don to signify their choice?

Naturally the most obvious sprang to mind first. The little JKs, Sparks, Faulkners and Angelous. The would-be Kings and Christies. The up-and-coming Morrisons and Geisels, the pint-sized Plaths and Poes. Were they waiting there too, for their ride to school, running around in their pre-pubescent Garanimals? How would we recognize them, costume-less, armed with little more than their vivid imagination and their burgeoning love of words?

Writers aren't made, they are born - or so I'm told. They are sprung from the womb with untold verses locked inside just waiting to be sprung too. Most times, in their youth we hardly notice them. Often children aspire to the most obvious professions - those with packaging they can try on for a day and strut around in, like a helmet and bright red turn-out gear or a long white lab coat. We don't tend to pay any mind to that child with the pen. That kid hunched over a notebook with crayons and colored markers crafting a little story opening with "Once upon a time."

I was that kid.

If memory serves when I was forced to declare a grown-up identity I'd often reply, "teacher" or "stewardess"  or "mother" because they seemed easiest to understand. "Writer" was too obscure, too...unattainable? And the costumes pretty much sucked. I'd wanted to be a princess, too. (Little girls will never let that one go, will they?) In some ways I've achieved each of those things. I've learned so much in my journeys through the years, even though I may not have traveled all that far. I've subsequently taught my kids that which seemed most pressing to pass along and then some. And I've gotten much better acquainted with that notebook and pen.

The castle however...that might have to wait for another lifetime. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Truth, Trust & Tumult

After having experienced a rather tumultuous week with college exams and an extra heavy workload, my son asked me this morning when it was that life gets easier. My answer: when we die. I suppose my reply was delivered tongue-in-cheek, yet to some degree it was anchored in the truth.

Truth. By simple definition it is that which is not a lie. It is the condition of moral loftiness that we aspire to, that we preach to our children, that we demand of our spouses. We're fed mythical tales of the lightness derived from a conscience cleared of the massive weight of dishonesty. What a grand plan, a most desired state of being. We want to buy some, in copious quantities. If only we knew where this oh-so-fine quality was on sale.

In this world the truths aren't always evident. At times they slip through the cracks of a carefully crafted false facade. Truth aligns itself with fact. There's a reason facts are often described as cold and hard. Inherently they are not bubble wrapped or designed with cushy corners. They are real. They have sharp pointy edges that scrape and draw blood. So it stands to reason that we hide from these facts, these truths as they present themselves. It makes sense to withdraw, to shrink back from the onslaught and pretend it all away. But what good does it serve?

The lies we tell ourselves are nearly as harmful as those delivered from the mouths of others - from the jaws of wolves dressed up as sheep who parade beside us grinning, coaxing our trust, and whom we smile at, and believe, because it's just so much easier. Right? It's less complicated to tell ourselves the marriage will work, the job is secure, love never dies, beauty never fades, time is on our side, life is fair, and the world is a safe place.  None of these statements are accurate or true. Not a single one. But they make for an easier existence. With these delusions in place we can hope to avoid the tumultuous. The disasters, the heartaches, the ugly. As a nation, we've seen more than a plateful of ugly lately. Personally, we've all seen it, too.

I don't propose these thoughts because I deem myself above the clamor. I've been burned by the fires of dishonesty, by the ruse of trust issued blindly. I've learned my lessons. Because a person hangs a shingle marked S. Claus and wears a bright red suit, that doesn't make them Santa. Duly noted. I don't wish to preach a sanctimony that I haven't earned. I am nothing but a student too. Still learning about this life and about character and truth and trust and tumult.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Undoing the Do-er

I sat out in my yard today, just spring's warm early breath and me, a carefree sunshine insisting I keep still. There was oh-so-much to do. But it was Sunday and sometimes, maybe this one time, I chose to sit it out.

I'm a mover and shaker by nature. Perhaps I'm more. I'd venture to say I'm a DO-er. I saw that. You shrugged your shoulders. You crinkled a brow. So, you said. Aren't we all? Perhaps. Perhaps we've become a manic society, governed by the numbers on the clock or dictated by the numbers on our paychecks, our credit cards, our bank accounts, our bills. If this sounds at all familiar then maybe you are a Do-er, too. Symptoms vary but may include:
chasing, running, catching, writing, reading, walking, talking, waiting, cooking, cleaning, working, working, working, doing. I'm an i-n-g girl if ever there was one. How about you?

It's a way of life. It's a pitfall. Doing begets more doing. It's a dirty little trick. Before long you begin to recognize the slight of hand. And yet, the magic keeps you mesmerized  Keeps you in line. Trapped. You promise yourself you'll stop doing right after you finish doing one more thing. You dangle the well-deserved break in front of your own eyes, like a 14-karat carrot, a promised reward for the doing, well-done. As sweet as it looks - as shiny and perfect - the Do-er may never take hold. Chances are there will be yet another thing to do that'll simply get in the way.

Sad? I suppose. Life? I suppose so, too. So there I sat, on this lovely spring Sunday, steady in the breeze, wondering if the very notion of that wondering meant that I will still doing. I thought about inviting a book to pass the time with me. But inviting was doing and so was reading. I closed my eyes and cleared my mind. I felt the air move around me, the sun's rays beat down on my body. Everything else went away. I did not sleep. I did not move. I sat it out.

Time and life are a precious commodity. It seems the further along I travel down both of these roads the more I recognize their limitations. The oh-so-much-to-do list will never cease. If anything it will grow longer and stronger. Some things will take precedence. They will urge me toward action and I'll go along willingly. I will be who I am, that Do-er, that i-n-g girl, because we are who we are in this world. Simple as that. And I'll hope, every now and then for a chance to stop. And I won't go smelling any roses since that's doing, too. I'll just be.