Friday, May 29, 2015

Judy Blume on Writing

On Tuesday, I was tickled to stumble upon a Twitter feed, #lunchwithJudy, where followers and fangirls (ahem) were given the opportunity to sit on the other side of the screen from the living legend of kid lit that is Judy Blume

Who hasn't read a Judy Blume book at some point in her childhood?

In fewer than 140 characters, Judy Blume fielded questions with wit and guidance and inspiration that any writer would appreciate. So I grabbed some portions of that #lunchwithJudy, put them in a to-go box, and brought them home to share with you. 

On inspiration . . .

On second-guessing . . .


Advice for ANY writer . . .

Digital vs. Longhand 

On writer's block  . . .


On editing . . .

On characters . . .

On book sniffing :) . . . 


On trying new things  . . .

On Sally J. Freedman . . . 


Want more? Her website offers a generous section on writing.

Happy writing!

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Lion and the Mouse

Jennifer & one of our friends
A few weeks ago, my friends and I held an event to help some of the people who live in tents and under bridges in Murfreesboro. My dear friend and hairdresser left her posh salon--on one of the busiest hairdressing days of the year--and set up shop in the smoking section of a dated hotel to offer haircuts to our friends. 

Throughout the afternoon, we heard lots of interesting stories from lots of interesting people. As Jennifer said, "When I put my hands in people's hair, they just start talking." And as Jennifer always does, she listened. We left that day completely spent, but hoping our new friends felt a little more refreshed and a lot more loved.

Then today, when I went to see Jen for a haircut, she told me an interesting story. Her adorable daughter (a high school senior who had also come to help that Easter weekend) ran out of gas a few days ago. Emma Claire coasted to rest on a steep embankment at the side of a busy intersection and called her mom for help. 

Stranded and waiting, Emma Claire watched people pass her by, some staring, some glaring at her audacity to slow the traffic on a Friday afternoon. Jennifer arrived soon thereafter, but then realized that the car was sitting at such an angle, even when gas was added, it still wouldn't start. So Jennifer and Emma Claire set out to push it to level ground. 

That's when a van pulled up. And Jennifer immediately recognized the two passengers walking toward her. Jennifer had cut Kristen's hair on Easter weekend while her boyfriend, Sean, watched in anticipation of the new look. 

"How many people have offered to help?" Sean asked, listening to their predicament. "Nobody has." He answered his own question, knowing the feeling all too well. 

Then together, they pushed Emma Claire's vehicle to level ground and got her on her way.

It reminded me of Aesop's story of the lion and the mouse

When we give, we will be repaid, even--or especially--in the most unlikely of ways.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Tale of Two Songs

When I started my car the other day, Steven Tyler was warbling over a catchy riff. I, admittedly, like me some Aerosmith and instantly recognized "Love in an Elevator" (common side effects of the 80s & 90s). 

As I took a breath to sing along, something struck me, and . . . well, I reached down and changed the station. As soon as I did, I knew what--or rather who--it was that struck me. 

I heard, "Your love is like radiant diamonds, bursting inside us, we cannot contain. Your love will surely come find us, like blazing wildfires, singing Your name. . . . " 

It was Needtobreathe, with probably their most beautiful song ever, "Multiplied." (If you have to choose between reading this post and listening to that song, by all means, listen.)

God's love had come to find me, to remind me that in that moment--in every moment--I had a choice. I could choose the insta-love in an elevator, an empty, entertaining distraction, grasping and gasping for fleeting satisfaction. Or I could dig deeper and find a love like radiant diamonds. A love that we cannot contain. The love that will seek us out, never go away, and never grow old.

I'm not talking about sex versus purity. Or the negative effects of the "devil's music." I'm not saying don't make banana pancakes with Jack Johnson or shake it off with Taylor Swift. (I enjoy doing both on occasion.) 

This is about so much more than that. It's about how we fill our lives, our eternities. It's about that invitation that you respond to every single day.

Who are we listening to? 

Who are we singing along with? 

Whose messages are sinking into our souls?

Do we fill our heads with the brash, cheap, temporary love (that isn't really love at all)? A pining for popularity? Superficial beauty? Stuff? Do we cheer louder for our sports teams than we do our God? (Thank you, Pastor Allen.) 

Or do we change the channel and fill our souls with love everlasting? Generosity. Truth. Kindness. Compassion. God's Word. Things that make a difference for eternity.

What's your station tuned to? What music are you allowing to fill your heart, your soul, your life?

The choice is ours. And we make it every. single. day.

Choose well.