Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Pond

On April 21st, 1836, the most decisive battle in Texas history was fought. No, not the Battle of the Alamo, (the Alamo fell on March 6th, 1836). Nope, this was the Battle of San Jacinto, in which Sam Houston and his Texas forces defeated Santa Anna and his Mexican troops in just 18 minutes. They attacked during siesta time and forever turned the tide of Texas history. So much for naptime catching up to you!

Okay, I know that today is not the 21st of April – I’m a little late. But this date and its importance recently came to light.

Last Monday, the 21st, my daughter who is at Texas A & M went to a campus-wide event called Muster. This tradition is the most solemn and perhaps beloved celebration on not only the A & M campus, but locations throughout the world. During the Muster ceremonies all fallen Aggies (those who have died during the year) are recognized by roll call. A family member or family friend answers ‘here’ during the call. Once all the names have been read, the lights in Reed Arena are extinguished and candles are lit one-by-one for each fallen Aggie. I understand that the silence in the arena is . . . well, reverent and awesomely deafening. Across the world on April 21st, this event is replayed for Aggies on all continents.

The point of this ceremony is obviously to recognize those who have been loved and passed on, but more importantly, I believe the ceremony reminds us that we are all part of a whole.

Like the pond, drop a stone anywhere on the surface and the ripples are reflected in multiple directions in constant movement and reverberating back and forth until slowly over time they fade from existence.

Is that not the perfect analogy for our lives?

We begin with high speed, rushing to and fro in constant motion, skimming across the surface, sometimes barely touching before we change direction and begin yet again. Eventually, our momentum will lose force and vigor, finally easing our heady pursuit to leisurely explore the pond itself. At last, our wave will stop and grow still to become one with the water again. We never leave the pond; we are always part of the larger whole. No matter the speed of our wave, we are never separate and while each wave is unique, every one contains exactly the same properties.

Why did Texas A & M choose April 21st as the celebration for their Muster ceremony? Because whether Aggies or not, each is part of the larger whole. That particular day in Texas history is a celebration that life will preserve and press on. Once badly defeated (the Alamo), Texans refused to stop their hurdle toward independence and what they perceived as freedom. Yet, here to, they were all part of the bigger pond. Texas became part of the United States, and now the US is just part of the global community. Our pond continues to grow, but we are all inherently connected to one another.

As someone about mid-way through my life, my wave speed has slowed. The hectic pace of raising small children and balancing a nonstop career has eased. I find moments to sit on my back porch and enjoy a sunset and cup of tea – or glass of wine. That still depends on the day leading up to the sunset moment. But enjoy the moment, I do.

Here’s holding a cup of tea up high to each of you and hoping you find time in your day to celebrate your uniqueness and your wholeness, as well.

Personally, I love sharing a pond with you.

Come on by the back porch anytime and sit awhile.
~Sandra

Sunday, April 27, 2008

READING CHALLENGE . . . on it goes

While I've been away from the computer I've still be reading.

I've finished THE WILD CHILD by Mary Jo Putney and THE FIREBRAND by Susan Wiggs. I know I've read both of these authors before, but I had forgotten how much I enjoyed their works.

THE WILD CHILD by Mary Jo Putney brings to life mental illness in the 18th century and how wives of that era were completely at the mercy of their husbands or guardians. Women could be locked away simply on the word of their supposedly 'better' halves. The novel not only deals with a women's rights issue, but I really liked the unlikely hero in this story.

THE FIREBRAND by Susan Wiggs deals with the great Chicago Fire of the early 1800s, and a woman who was a true suffragist of that era. I loved this heroine's spirit and determination, and her unfailing love for a child. Add a tortured hero and a dog, and what's not to love.

Two lovely reads that kept me totally enthralled. Yep, I'm whittling down my TBR stack one book at a time.

What have you been reading while I was away?

See you next time on the backporch
~Sandra

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Electricity

It's a heck of a thing to do without -- electricity, that is. We want to flip a switch, touch a button, or twist a knob and have the world at our fingertips. However, occasionally mother natures decides our egos are a bit to large and crashes trees into transformers.

What happens?

A very large pop, and then darkness. Well, at least, it's darkness if it's late at night.

From my profile, folks can see I'm a Texas gal and during the springtime here in the Lone Star State, the weather likes to rock and roll a bit. Last night was another rendition of an obnoxiously loud Rolling Stones concert.

As luck (or mother nature) would have it, the winds picked up for my neighborhood right at the tail of the storm and we went dark -- overnight and through part of today. Not long as these things go, but long enough to be a healthy dose of inconvenient.

Now, I could moan about all the things that I couldn't get done in the dark, but I'm a 'glass is half full' sort of girl. So here's a list of what you can't do and what to do instead:

Take notes! Yes, on paper. If the electricity is out you'll never get back to my blog.


No TV, Cable, Satelite, Video games means time to read another book in my stack.
Washing Machine doesn't fire up means no laundry.
Stove/Oven/Microwave won't turn on means NO COOKING!
No computer/Internet means time to write (okay, it's with pen and paper, but it still gets the job done).
No ceiling fans whiring means picnic lunches on the breeze-cooled backporch.
No A/C means all the windows open and a breeze strong enough to kick around the dust and hopefully carry some of it off.
No hot water means no dish-washing.
Automatic garage door won't raise means I go in and out the front door like I actually own the joint.
No TVs left blaring in now-empty rooms means more quiet.
No TVs means I didn't have to listen to Sponge Bob for the 1000th time this week.
No alarm clocks . . . okay, this one is a little dicey. If I don't get the kids out the door to school then they'd stay home with me all day and that lovely silence I'm enjoying because there are no blaring TVs will disappear, so I did set the alarm on my cell phone.
No phone ringing, answering machine beeps, or fax whirling means more quiet.

As you can see, sometime being left in the dark (AND QUIET) is really a good thing.

Hope your Thursday was lovely. Mine was filled with all things non-electric and it turned out just fine.

Oh, one important tidbit for people who live in 'Tornado' Alley: when the sirens sound, DO NOT stand on your front lawn and look up at the sky. You'd think those sirens are designed to call folks to a free lunch or something the way houses empty up and down the block. Parents, kids, even the family dog stand on the front lawn and sky-gaze. Tornado sirens mean take cover.

That's it . . . all I have on safety tips for the night.

Happy writing, and ya'll come by the backporch anytime.
~Sandra

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sparkling Today

It's been awhile since I've consistently updated my blog . . . no longer.

I'm back!

Finished with the 3rd grade round of teaching and I'm back in the writing saddle again. It's a great fit, and I couldn't been happier than to listen to my characters fuss and complain.

So many things to discuss, so much has happened since last I was blogging everyday, but those are for another time.

Today, I'm over at Sparkle This! completing our second short story. A little time travel, a little historical, and a little contemporary all rolled together. Six contributing writers and a whole lot of fun.

You can follow the whole story if you start on this LINK. However that entry is the end of the story . . . so, don't cheat, just scroll all the way down and read from the beginning. Story begins at 'Turning'. If you have a few minutes, it's a fun read.

I'll be back tomorrow to tell you about my lastest read, what's next on my list, building a new backporch, the next story I've started, the broken dryer, meeting author Geralyn Dawson again and so much more.

Come on back to the porch, and sit awhile.

Until then,
~Sandra

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Reading Challenge and Writing Challenge

Okay, I may have seriously lost my mind.

My reading challenge is still in progress. This week's read, already under the belt, was A Sacred Trust, by Sharon Mignerey. I had to start on the weekend to make sure it would get finished

because . . .

I'm also involved in a writing challenge with
Sherry Davis
, and a crew of other great writers.

Goal each day: 1,000 new words.

Yesterday, I had to edit 60 pages to get the 1,000 new words in (believe there were some plot holes big enough to run a semi through -- so yep, it took a 1,000 words to fix those)

However, I made it. And the work actually, well it actually works -- on page that is.

After grading a basket of papers (yep, still riding herd over the 3rd graders), throwing a few stinky clothes in the wash, cleaning the kitchen, I'm burying myself in the computer for my thousand word quota tonight.

Happy Reading and HAPPY WRITING
~Sandra

Texas sayings

~Watch your step! Cacti, tumbleweeds, and an occasional armadillo might be ahead.

~Welcome to the land of tar-bubbling summers, gas-guzzling pickup trucks, standard Stetson headgear, and mile-high hair.

~Welcome to the Lone Star State, and Romance With A Texas Twist!

Quote of the Day