Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Making Waves

On Saturday, following a stressful week, I found myself enjoying the great Bear Lake with some of my family. One of my sons, his wife, and their small daughter, came up to spend the weekend. That break at the lake was very much needed. We took over a picnic lunch, a canopy for shade, and camp chairs to kick back on and relax. But what helped me unwind more than anything else was something I haven't done in years. I ventured out into the lake and bobbed on a plastic flotation device. It was great. I leaned back, enjoyed the slight breeze, and rode the waves while visiting with my son. What a wonderful reprieve from the tension-filled week I had survived.

I did have quite an analogy surface as I lay back, watching the clouds go by. It was much more fun riding the waves as they came in, than to sit on still water. In other words, the friction that caused the waves made for a more entertaining ride. Hmmm. Food for thought.

I will admit there are days when I long for smooth sailing in my life--moments when there are no waves. But what would I be missing if that wish was granted? Would I arrive at the end of my journey and find that I had learned nothing of importance as a result? Enduring large unpredictable waves adds spice and color to our lives. We may not enjoy all of the foaming crests that descend without warning. But there is something exhilarating about learning to ride the waves as they come.

Since my life to this point has been filled to the brim with varied challenges, tests, sorrows, and joys, I suspect that trend will continue until I'm "safely dead," a phrase I'm borrowing from an inspired talk given by a former stake president. The winds of change will continue to bring mountainous waves my way. With God's help, I can learn to ride through all of them until the final breeze fades into stillness. Will waves follow me into the hereafter? Time will tell, but I'm almost certain I won't be basking on still water. I believe there will always be challenges, growth, and learning; what we gain is dependent on the type of journey we desire to make.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reveling in Revision

One of the aspects of writing that I surprisingly enjoy is revision mode. I find it interesting how many items I catch when I go through a manuscript with fresh eyes, especially after a space of time. Things that I missed before stand out like a sore thumb. Sentences are strengthened, tightened, and often deleted. Missing words are added. Paragraphs and scenes are plumped out or stretched. Sometimes when extensive editing is required it can be a painful experience. Many times a favorite scene is cut in the best interest of the storyline. But it has been my experience that extensive polishing always makes for a better book down the road.

I suspect there is an analogy in this process for life. We start out fresh, new, inexperienced. It takes years to polish, mold, and tighten our characters. Some traits need to be deleted. Other areas of our lives need a bit of stretching. Enduring the Refiner's Fire is often a painful ordeal, but in the end, we are better for all that we experience. Every stage of life is a new opportunity for growth, learning, and refining. And when it's all said and done, when all of the "revisions" have taken place, we will hopefully be what our Father intended in the beginning.

Friday, July 2, 2010

"Leaning Into the Curves"

Once in a great while a book comes along that totally mesmerizes me. I begin to read and find that I can't put the thing down. "Leaning into the Curves," written by Nancy Anderson & Carroll Hofeling Morris is one such book.

I was intrigued by reading the back cover which states in part: "Molly is happy with her life the way it is . . . but everything changes when her husband, Hank, retires. She's still trying to adjust to this new phase of life when he brings home a Honda Gold Wing---even though he knows she hates motorcycles!"

I suspect that paragraph captured my attention since this could be a chapter from my own life. My husband is planning to retire in a few years, and he absolutely loves motorcycles. Myself, I possess a healthy fear of those two-wheeled contraptions of death---in part because I nearly died on a motorcycle during my college years. (A looooonnnnnggg story for another day's blog post.)

Consumed with curiosity, I totally devoured "Leaning into the Curves," and absolutely loved it. Well-written, it was a fun, easy read, with a ton of wisdom buried in the pages. Filled with captivating characters and humorous twists that seem to go along with the retirement years, this is a book I will definitely reread again and again. It was so true to life, I found myself agonizing with the main character, Molly, as she struggled with facing her fears as she tried to embrace something that meant so much to her husband, Hank.

When I finally set the book down, I found myself rethinking my husband's attraction to motorcycles. In fact, I think I found a healthy compromise for our own retirement years: Click here for that interesting item. ;) I could see myself riding on this kind of contraption. In fact, on a recent trip to Arizona, we actually found something similar. (See picture below.)

You might be interested to know that the two women who wrote this tome are in fact sisters. Their website is VirtualSisters.net and you can also read their wonderful posts on CrustyOldBroads.blogspot.com. I know I, for one, am a huge fan of their novels. I've read some of their other books (The Company of Good Women series---loved it, too) and hope that they will continue to collaborate on future works.

I'm giving this particular book a 5 star rating (5 being the highest rating possible). I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys an extremely good read.