Monthly Archives: May 2009

Just Me and My Shadow

Scott and I drove down the Oregon coast for the first time and were astounded and blessed with the view. It’s hard to describe the beautiful mountain peaks that end in foamy, sandy ocean beaches without the cliques. I am speechless. All the beauties of America are wrapped up into one coast.
Viewing all 518 pictures later, I was surprised that my favorites were always the ones with my shadow. I realized how much I have missed my shadow, my elusive, long-lost friend, who hides for 226 days a year.
I know she’s there, I know she is a part of me, I just don’t enjoy her presence very often. I have to live by faith that she is there, waiting to publicly join me on one of my “moments.”
Sometimes, my shadow has a sassy attitude.
She was happy to be near Astoria, where Lewis and Clark spent their second winter.

My shadow is happily married to another scarcely seen shadow.

Our shadows are much wider than we actually are, of course.
My shadow loves wading in water with those Chaco sandals
that never leave her feet once the rainy season is over.
This is the same ocean water where Lewis and Clark soaked their prickly-pear cactus scraped toes after their acclaimed trip across the Louisiana Purchase.
They just don’t have a picture to prove it.
My shadow loves little flowers that bloom randomly in the sand.

My shadow’s spouse loved the friendly dog on the beach.
He named him Buster. His face was cute and all smashed-in lookin‘. The dog’s face, that is.

A shadow is a flighty, fleeting image, but it is a representation of a very real presence. The shadow is a promise that something else is really there, its presence made evident with the light of the sun.

I looked up “shadow” verses in the Bible and was reminded that the Lord God of Heaven has a shadow. I guess He has wings, too.
Psalm 91:1 “He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
Psalm 63:7 “Because you have been my help, therefore in the shadow of your wings will I rejoice.”
Psalm 57:1 “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusts in you: yes, in the shadow of your wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be past.”
The Lord’s shadow is a representation of His very real presence, offering us shelter, comfort, help and refuge. As His almighty wings surround us, the Lord’s shadow is a promise that He is really there; His presence is made evident by the Light of His Son.

When the Lord Gives You Rain…

R A I N B O O T S !
It does rain and rain and rain around here.
In fact, we started the month of April  ’09 by breaking a record for rainfall.
When we first found out we would be moving here five years ago, I was sure I would never see the sun or be dry again.
I did some Internet sleuthing and was surprised to discover  many other cities have more annual rainfall than
 Seattle’s 37 inches per year.
Atlanta, Georgia, 50.2 inches
New York, NY 46.33
Springfield, MO 44.97
Tulsa, OK 42.42
In fact, the average rainall here is not that much greater than some areas in the Midwest.
Des Moines, IA 34.72
Minneapolis, MN 29.41
So, how did Seattle get this reputation for being so rainy?
‘Cuz it rains all the time.
But, it usually rains lightly with mists to frizz your hair and dampen the hems of your jeans,
but not enough to soak you or make you change your plans.
Most of the time.

Sometimes you might wish you could change plans.

They only call off the game if it is pouring rain or if the field is unfit for play.
It’s understood that the parents can sit in the drizzling rain at 40degrees
and the kids can catch, throw and hit when their fingers are approaching numbness.
Remember, it is 40 and you are WET! Notice the heater on the far end of the bench?
How about the neat chair with the built in blue umbrella? They must be natives.
But, what can be really, really, really, really, really challenging is not seeing thesun for days.
That’s where Seattle wins the award.
Seattle , with an average of 226 cloudy days per year,
ranks only behind Anchorage,AK; Forks, WA; Astoria,OR; and Olympia,WA
for the least amount of sunny days. Simply put, only four cities in the United States see the sun less days in a year than Seattle.
Rollie, a long-time Seattle resident, claims the record number of sunless days in a row is 90.
That’s three months. That’s 1/4 of a year.
That’s a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time to NOT see the sun.
In preaching to unbelievers, Paul and Barnabus use rain to explain the goodness of God.
Acts 14:17, “He did not leave Himself without witness,
in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons,
satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
The goodness of God gives us rain?
Many in the PNW might find that a little hard to believe
when it’s the third month in a row you’ve barely seen the sun.
But, my favorite preacher (my husband) once said,
“If there was no rain, our life would be a desert.”
Instead of looking outside and saying,
“It’s raining again!” or
“The sun isn’t shining – again!”
I try to say things like,

The rock cress blooms are so beautiful!

“Look! My evergreen clematis just bloomed!”

“Look at all the little babies this year!”

The jonquils are so cheerfully nodding their heads.” (OK, that was corny.)

“My heather is STILL blooming!

“The forsythia is the sunshine in my yard.”

(These pics were all taken at the beginning of April.)

Seattle is called the Emerald City because it’s green ALL year round.
Not to rub it in to those from other climates, but I mean ALL year round.

Without the rain they wouldn’t have this title.

We have so many brilliantly-hued flowers and shrubs, something is blooming ALL year around.

Without the rain we wouldn’ have this lushness.
Yes, the PNW experiences the goodness of the Lord everyday.
The Rainy Day
(3rd verse)
Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It’s not really about the rain. It’s how we cope with it.

When we are hit with another heavenly outpouring,
instead of complaining, Beth and I say,
“We get to wear our rainboots!”
Then, we stomp and splash in and out of buildings while running errands,
with women eying our boots enviously and complimenting our taste in footwear.
I thank the Lord for the rain,
I plant flowers that need the rain,
and splash around in my adorable new,
polka-dotted red RAINBOOTS!

Gramma’s Little Monkey Visits the Pet Store

This video is just in case anybody wants to see how my very gifted grandchild acted in the pet store on Saturday. Sorry, Gramma isn’t the gifted program for videography, especially when people walk in front of my camera. Like, duh!?!

I thought it was adorable that she knows the signs for bird and fish.

She is also wearing big girl panties. Way to go Brookie! Way to go Brookie’s Mom! She isn’t 2 until September.

On Sunday, Jana and family visited attended our chapel since they were in town for Mother’s Day weekend. Little Brookie was sitting quietly, until she noticed it was her Grandpa preaching. To everybody’s delight, she called several times, “Poppa, Poppa!”

Because there haven’t been babies in the chapel for years, the congregation enjoyed hearing that cute little voice echoing in the high-ceilinged room. There were smiles and quiet laughs, enjoying the delight of a little girl who loves her Poppa. Of course, her Mommy wasn’t as happy as the rest of us, and like a good Mommy, made her sit still and be quiet for the rest of the sermon.

Somehow, I imagine that each time my husband now steps up into the pulpit, I will always hear that little voice calling in delight, “Poppa, Poppa!” And, I will smile with delight, even if the echoes of love are only in my heart and mind.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Scott and I spend a lot of our nights sitting at baseball games, cheering on our son.
To be more accurate, I spend a lot of time crouching down in the dirt,
balancing on my high heels,
holding my telephoto lens between the crisscrossed wires of the chain link fence,
trying to capture The Perfect Shot.
Giving up hours of free time to shiver in the drizzle certainly shows our love and devotion, doesn’t it? Do they give out merit badges to parents? We were so thankful the team started the season by winning the majority of their games with the ten run rule. To be honest, it wasn’t parental pride, it was parental paralysis. We just wanted to get home and warm up.
A great second baseman, Jon usually can be counted on to get an out.
(I know, I know, I sound like one of those moms.)

He could get on base more often if he didn’t have to dance so much.
We all praise the batters, “Good Eye!”
But, wouldn’t it be more accurate to be yelling,
“Hey kid, way to duck!”
“Way to jump, babe!”
Don’t ask me why – this year “babe” is in vogue for cheering teenage boys on.

He didn’t dance enough, this time. After hearing that sickening “thunk” of speeding baseball against bone, I heard his teammates yelling, “Yea, Jon! Way to take it for the team!”

Getting hit means a free limp to first base.
Getting to first base means he can steal his way to third and most likely be hit home.
Yea, we baseball parents encourage stealing – only bases, though.

Then, occasionally, you have that Perfect Baseball Day.
The sun is shining, your team is winning, and you have enough change in your pocket to buy one of those all beef-nitrite/nitrate free hot dogs. (We’re in WA, remember.)

As I lean over the fence towards third base, the wires gouging little marks into my underarm, I’m feeling the warmth of the evening sun and enjoying the all-American moment.
It is the stuff memories are made of.

I am in the presence of baseball.

I called my husband in the stands with my cell phone and had daughter, Bethany, bring my second camera over to capture this photo. Just in case, in my old age, I forget that
it didn’t rain during a game.

Just once, I’m feeling,
“I don’t care if I never get back…”

cuz I’m at my son’s

“Old ball game.”

Brookie’s Reluctant Sign Language Exhibition

My kids never performed when I wanted them to. They could know all the animal sounds, the aphabet song, memory verses and other amazing feats. But, when you pulled out the video camera, called Gramma or had an expectant audience waiting, that’s what you did – waited for the performance and tried to enduce those little monsters to perform the greatness you knew they possessed.

My grandchild is no different. Even though she is in the gifted and talented program in her Mommy’s home, even though there probably isn’t a smarter or cuter litle girl around, she just doesn’t want to perform. I think she is just a humble genius.


Look at me, I match! I had advice from a friend, Bev, to dress “fun” and “artsy” and to NOT wear a suit to my writers conference. I was relieved to find out I could wear jeans. To me, dressing up is jeans without holes and a shirt that doesn’t have baby urp or paint stains. Oh, and my shoes, belt and jewelry need to match. Thank you to my Winzer kids for the matching dangly black and silver earrings. They were perfect!

Unfortunately, my sandals have $3.99 written on the bottom in metallic gray permanent marker, thanks to some employee at Value Village. Util I remember to use the Goo-Gone, I will always have to sit crossed left over right so the price doesn’t show.

I was wearing a beautiful filigree ring with a large stone as I left the house with fear and trembling, but matching clothes. I was so excited to have painted nails and this cool ring. I imagined my hands looked like a writer’s hand should look. Within one hour of arriving, I looked down and noticed the huge stone was gone and I was left with a filigree ring with an ugly dab of glue.

As my friend Barbie sympathized in laughter, she stated, “That is always the way it goes, you want to look like a million bucks and you end up looking like $.59”.

Lesson Number One learned during my writers conference –
Do your homework before meeting with an editor!

I thought I had effectively researched the editor/agents that would be available and what their companies published. I didn’t realize that because they are PUBLISHING a genre, doesn’t mean that they are PURCHASING that genre. Neither of the two companies I was interested in associating with are aquiring historical fiction.

Because I don’t have a completed manuscript, it wasn’t a great loss. However, I still wanted that eyeball to eyeball contact with an editor. I actually wanted him to stare into my eyeballs so he didn’t see the dirt under my fingernails and the sweat under my arms. I was nervous.

There were approximately eight of us in a room with the Terry Glaspey, Director of Acquisitions from Harvest House Publishers. Each had 3-4 minutes and their initial “pitch” was to be 25 words. Some didn’t know that. It was a little nerve-wracking when someone talked too long, threatening the opportunity for others. I found it slightly amusing that they didn’t realize that each minute they went over, they were taking a minute from somebody else. Must be the Mommy in me, desiring everybody to effectively take turns. Several others didn’t do their homework and gave a pitch for a product Harvest House wasn’t buying.

I also thought it was interesting that as soon as some opened their mouths, I found myself thinking, “I wouldn’t buy that book!” How would you like the job of listening to rooms full of writers who all think the Lord told them to write their book, but you know it is a book that nobody would ever buy except the writer’s mother? People confuse the Lord’s presence while a Christian is writing with the Lord inspiring each word. He only did that with the Holy Scriptures. We humans need to be edited and challenged and corrected, but not all writers grasp this concept.

The whole process was fascinating to watch. Since I didn’t want to pitch a book that I knew they would never buy, I threw together a quick pitch based on a title from my “jot list” of ideas for books. “Do as We Say, Not as We Did” would be written by parents gutsy enough to admit their parenting mistakes to a younger generation of parents. It’s a book I will probably never write, but I wanted the opportunity to see what rejection feels like.

Glaspey was gracious and encouraging, but kindly stated that parenting books put you in the arena of competing with people like the Dobsons, and that people want to see a ministry first, then the book. That was that. I was the last one and with that we all walked out of the room, our few minutes of glory over. We all were rejected. But, we all didn’t feel that way. Some he directed to another publisher who might purchase their genre. To another he suggested blogging as an outpouring for her written prayers. To another he complimented the idea, but felt it was too gritty for Harvest House, as they are one of the most conservative publishers. He had something kind to say to everyone. He turned them all away without dashing hopes or inspiration. I was blessed just to watch him at work.

Later, I considered his disappointment as we all walked away, most of us unprepared and/or unpublishable. His job is to acquire manuscripts, and our group didn’t make his job easier that day. Editors and agents want to help writers, they want to buy manuscripts, that is their job. Like a newsreporter with that cliqued nose for news and the desire to sniff out a new story, I believe they want to discover that new writer. We all love a good book! They also need to. They need to sell books. It’s their business.

The process of getting a book published today is different than it has been in the past. The majority of writers are “found” through contacts at writers conferences, where you have opportunity to meet the editors face to face. Manuscripts sent in unsolicited go in a big pile. A big “slush pile” they don’t touch. You in the midwest know how useless slush is. It isn’t fluffy enough to play in, it isn’t melted enough to add to a water source. It just sits there, thick, gray and useless. They encourage you to make an internet presence with blogs, Facebook, etc.
Other great things I learned at the Conference…..
*If you don’t have an appointment, don’t try to make a pitch at the urinal! (One editor said it really happened to him!)
*You should always carry business cards
(I can see my title now, Mindy Peltier, M.O.M. (Mommmy of Many)
*Don’t wear dress-up shoes two days in a row, it makes your feet hurt.
*You should make sure your family has groceries before you are gone for two full days.
*It is very, very, very encouraging to be in an environment of learning about the craft of writing and meeting many people who just want to use their lives and their talents for the honor and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

It’s a Mindy Thing

This is a phrase coined by my close friend, Kirsti, years ago. She observed that whenever I am under a lot of pressure, have too many things on my plate or have something hard to face, I add some project to my life.

…something irrelevant….

…something that could wait….

…something that doesn’t affect the outcome of the current situation….

…but something that relieves pressure, adds beauty to my life and gives me a creative explosion of energy. Ya’ know, like the same reason you want to put an ADD kid in soccer?

It’s a Mindy thing.

So, this morning, despite having one of the biggest days of my life ahead of me, despite the fact that I needed to be ready to go – with matching clothes with no holes or stains, makeup, styled hair and no breakfast stuck in my teeth – I did a Mindy thing.

I gardened. I gardened in my pj’s. I had great intentions of sipping my first cup of coffee, having devotions, showering, then leisurely packing my computer bag for a two day Writers’ Conference.

Then, I remembered I had bought a small forest of plants for my deck. Cool plants to replace the ones frost killed this year. Yea, we were so shocked that we had all these snows and killing frosts out here in the PNW I just forgot you can cover your plants or bring them inside to save them. Duh.

Before I could even reason with myself, I had grabbed my little red hand shovel and added new seedums to the cool “ladder vignette”, a cool term I adopted from a plant artist.

This ladder was washed ashore at Lake Superior. We were trying to watch fireworks while slapping bajillions of kamikaze mosquitoes when I found this in a pile of driftwood. Scott caught me trying to shove it under the seats of the van. I just smiled and said, “Don’t look and it won’t hurt.” Like a good husband, he didn’t look and this ladder has been a part of our decorating for about ten years. I like to pretend it was from the Edmund Fitzgerald, a sad part of Duluth’s history.

It’s the details that add to the vignette, or so she told me. I always wondered what to do with this cool, rusty pulley I never could throw away.

A rusty lock with no key finds home on the ladder, too. I didn’t have to look hard to find a rusty nail. Somehow, all my husband’s tools and supplies always get left out in the yard.

Repotted my aluminum coffee pots with seedum, then arranged with the lids I couldn’t bear to throw out. They have such great glass knobs.

While I was digging around for the coffee pot lids, I found the antique picture I have been looking for.

To finish another project I had to finish before I went into surgery. The picture is now hanging on the right side.
What am I trying to project away this morning? Fear, nervousness and more fear. This morning during the conference I have a 3-4 minute appointment with the editor to pitch a book idea. 3-4 minutes? It takes me that long to clear my throat. It’s in a group setting. I am sweating already.
As I try to analyze my fear I realize that for 22 years I have been Mindy the Mom. Since I joined the Northwest Christian Writers’ Association last November, I have been Mindy the Writer. People usually don’t ask me about my kids, what home schooling curriculum I am using, which diapers worked best, or a few tips on poddy training.
Instead, they’ll ask what I am writing, what successes and failures I have had (we embrace them both), what I do for writer’s block. This is totally a new world for me. A wonderful, exciting, world, but a little scary for me. It feels like I haven’t talked grown-up talk for a long time. It also feels like I have barely been out of the house alone except for those exhilerating runs to the grocery store for diapers or milk. The trips where you drive extra slow and take your time reading all the labels in the store just to prolong those wonderful moments of alone time.
This morning I had to calm myself. I had to dig in the dirt, praise the Creator of all living things, sing hymns and prepare my heart and mind. Had to. But now, I am running behind. I will end up rushing until the last minute. I might end up in my appointment stuttering and stammering with dirt under my fingernails, but that’s OK.
It’s a Mindy thing….

Scott and Mindy Visit Doc M

Our final follow-up visit with the surgeon, Doc M, was this morning. I asked Scott to be the photographer. I don’t think I really knew what I was getting myself into.

The wait was pretty long. Scott was starting to get antsy. We began joking if he could bill the doctor for the time he spent waiting for him.

But, I really didn’t think that was a good idea. I like my new doc.
Besides, he threw in an extra cancer tumor with no extra charge.
Who doesn’t love that?
I’m trying to be stern with Scott and encourage him to be a good boy and wait patiently.

To pass the time, Scott thought up his own creative pics for my blog.
This is the scenery outside the window; he held his arms up over his head and clicked randomly.
Well, almost over his head.

These are the tools that are no longer sterile.
Yes, Scott touched them.
He thinks they were for looks.
He swears he saw rust on them.

This is what is inside Drawer Number One.

Oh, NO! The Sharps Disposable Container is Full!
Alert the Haz-Mat Team!

This is the door Scott kept staring at while waiting for Doc M.

Once inside the door, though, Doc M. patiently answered all our questions. Sometimes I need to hear the answers more than once. It is one thing to hear the Doc say something and you smile and nod through it; it is another thing to be able to coherently repeat that information later on.
My previous Doc said to me once, “If you need to ask me any more questions, you will have to make another appointment.” Of course, he always ran his office on time, but there was a cost for the punctuality. Today Doc M informed us that the appointments are scheduled for as long as we need. It could take 5 minutes, it could take 30. However, we have to understand that policy not only when we are the ones asking the questions, but when we are the ones in the waiting room. He also patiently let me ask a repeat question without saying, “You asked me that last time,” like I have heard before.
I like my new Doc.
He said my scar was healing well, all was fine and we discussed the Radioactive Iodine treatment I will be going through in September. He was glad I was doing well, but also reminded me that he can’t guarantee that he found all the cancer. He said he didn’t want to have to see me in there again for another surgery, but that is a possibility we have to understand.
We thanked him for being so blunt. We are finally clear, after four years of dealing with thyroid cancer, that this could be a lifetime situation for us. Could be. We are leaving this in the hands of the Lord.
My only disappointment was that he didn’t know the number of stitches I had. I had to ask! I told him it was for bragging rights, because I am a writer. He told me, with a puzzled look on his face, that he thinks they only do that in the movies. He thought I should just measure it instead.
Using the bright red tape measure from my sewing cabinet, I attempted this fete alone.
6 inches
That didn’t sound like much to brag about. I had the brilliant idea of measuring my entire neck. It is about 12 1/2 inches.
Now, that is something to brag about. The scar covers about one half of my neck.
Job knew what it was like to have the Lord dealing with his neck.
Job 16: 12 “I was at ease, but He has shattered me: He has also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his target.” Job suffered tremendously, but never lost faith, then was doubly blessed by the Lord.
It can be very hard for the human mind to grasp the concept of suffering, especially suffering that is caused or allowed by the God of Heaven.
I have been blessed with simple thoughts of understanding.
Psalm 115:3 says, “Our God is in the Heavens, He does whatever He pleases.” He can do this. He is GOD.
Then, Isaiah 53 tells us “it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.” (the Lord Jesus Christ) This was because He was offering His Son as payment for our sins. Ours, as in all mankind – each and every one of us. It was a horrible tragedy for a wonderful gain. Through Christ’s suffering, we can gain salvation.
It pleased the Lord to bruise the Lord Jesus; I am willing to be bruised, too. Well, actually, scarred, with a six inch scar that covers almost half of my neck.
What is the ultimate thing we have to remember? This God who allows suffering, who allowed His Son to suffer for our salvation, LOVES US.
My scar testifies to me of the Love of God towards me.
If the Lord Jesus can wear the print of the nails in His Hands,
I can wear the print of His Love on my neck.