One Last Summer Saturday

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The crickets are telling me that summer is over and done. It’s time for them to go, they say, and time for you to go back to school and learn, little girl. 

They’ve always told me that. The crickets always sound different when it’s time to start school again. 

For the first time, I’m excited. I’m excited about my job. I’m excited about the classes I’m taking and the books I’ll be reading. I’m excited about the people I”ll meet and the people I’ll see again. I’m excited about how God might choose to use me. I’m excited about being where I am, in the present, in this moment, right now. 

All summer I’ve been dreading the beginning, the return to the routine. It’s the same story from when I small: I never wanted school to start until I arrived at school in a new dress my mother made for me with a backpack full of new school things, ready for adventure and new stories to read. 

I’m the same. Just taller with a different dress size. I’ll show up at my first class with new notebooks and sharpened pencils (because I still believe in the value of a good sharpened pencil). I’ll be bright-eyed and eager to learn things. 

Goodbye, summer. It’s been grand. 

What a Librarian Really Does

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  1. Finds obscure bits of information. 
  2. Stares at absurd amounts of barcodes.
  3. Wears ten sweaters at once because the library temperature is kept at sub-zero so mold won’t grow on the books. 
  4. Logs on to computers. All day. 
  5. Explains modern technology to people who grew up with typewriters, all the while secretly envying them.
  6. Puts together parties. Nobody knows how to party like a librarian knows how to party. 
  7. Moves furniture. 
  8. Transfers calls from one office tot he other with mixed success.
  9. Sanitizes dehumidifiers. 
  10. Runs to the freezer for ice packs. Don’t ask. 

Family

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Some people go to church. I go visit family. 

On the outside, it may look like I’m doing the same thing. I get dressed up, drive to a pretty white building on a hill, sing some songs, pray, listen to a sermon. But really, I’m spending time with family. 

My church is my family. not just in a spiritual sense, a “we’re-all-the-body-of-Christ” sense. Nor are they all genetically related to me. But they’re really my family. 

My church is small. We live in an area of churches that look more like shopping malls and act more like country clubs than perhaps churches should, but mine is an exception. My church’s size has fluctuated over the years, but we’ve always been pretty tiny. Right now there are about thirty of us who attend regularly. I’ve gone there my whole life. 

I never had a youth group. I was the only one my age. Everyone else was either many years older or many years younger than me. Now we have seven kids, including the youth group of five. I’m their big sister. 

We look after each other. Everyone knows each other’s names. We pray for each other specifically and take care of each other when one of our number is sick or sad. when one of us celebrates, we all celebrate. If someone’s moving, everyone pitches in to help the move go smoothly. 

Sometimes I meet people who are cynical about God and about His church. Churches are full of hypocrites, they say. Well, sure, churches are full of sinners, but sinners saved by grace. Sinners still fighting their flaws. We’re broken people helping each other as we grow in grace.

Sometimes I wish I could take every person I’ve met with doubts about God and ask them to come visit my family every week for a month. 

They might change their minds. 

Accomplishments

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In order to make time slow down, I will reflect on things that somehow got accomplished this week. 

  1. Ran four miles, total. 
  2. Went without coffee for three days and counting without a single headache. 
  3. Made a movie trailer. 
  4. Moved (sort of) smoothly from reverse warrior pose to triangle pose to extended tree pose to warrior three. 
  5. Finished summer inventory at the library. 
  6. Cooked me some super awesome chicken. 
  7. Cut waaaaaaaaaay back on sweets. 
  8. Socialized. Of my own free will. Several times.  
  9. Started writing a short story. 
  10. And I’m one chapter away from finishing the one novel I’ve had time to read this summer. 

I’ve got a week to go. i wonder what else I can do. 

Dear Time

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I never said you could accelerate. You do not have my blessing to be moving as quickly as you’ve been moving these last several weeks. 

Just stop. I want to enjoy this. This phase of the adventure is pretty stinkin’ awesome, and I don’t want to miss a bit of it. 

So stop being a brat. Hold your horses. You’ve never galloped this fast before, and I won’t have it. I will not let the days run together. every day is unique and brilliant–as unique and brilliant as the people in it. You won’t trick me by blurring them together, by making me wish them away. 

No. 

I refuse. 

Good day, sir. 

 

–R.R.

Bleeder

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There are three kinds of writers. There are “sprinters”: people who write projects in a hurry and fix the typos later. There are “plodders”: people who write in a disciplined, steadfast way and always meet deadlines.

I am what’s known in the writing business as a “bleeder.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean that I write with my heart on my sleeve (even though I know I do, occasionally). It means I am distracted by my own grammatical and syntactical mistakes. I have ludicrously high expectations for myself. I am surrounded by distractions that are not necessarily under my control. I am mortally afraid of failure.  

As a result, I write very, very slowly.

I expect myself to be the next Flannery O’Connor. The next Ray Bradbury. The next O. Henry. I expect my writing to be deep and intricate and to plumb the depths of human nature, yet to come out smiling.

I am incapable of these things. I am not a brilliant writer because I do not practice. I do not practice because I get swallowed alive by a thousand duties that I neglect my duty as a writer to do what I am. I set out to write stories, but have written precious few, and none worth mentioning.

I am not Flannery O’Connor. I’m Stephanie Meyer.

But then again, maybe it’s asking too much of myself to become a Flannery O’Connor unless I let myself start as a Stephanie Meyer. If I never start, I’ll never improve. No matter how poor the start, there’s nothing that won’t improve with practice.

And I can’t expect to write like anyone but me.

Why Cats are Cool (A List)

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  1. They are the perfect foot warmers.
  2. They purr.
  3. They don’t require constant attention.
  4. They bury their poop.
  5. They are amused by little things, like red dots of light and boxes.
  6. They make funny faces.
  7. They are dignified, except when they’re not, and then they’re hilarious.
  8. They are self-cleaning.
  9. They are perpetually curious.
  10. All of them are different.