Category Archives: Quotes

15 minutes…and spring at last.

That’s all. Write for just fifteen minutes…make it count, or write something that doesn’t even matter. It doesn’t…as long as you’re writing.

It’s something my writers group came up with this past week. Just something to keep the creative juices flowing…to keep us in the habit. I missed yesterday, but it couldn’t be helped. This new idea isn’t meant to cause guilt or dread…just help us to be who God made us. To help us stop procrastinating all the time!

The more I write (or read), the more inspiration strikes. Those first few minutes are painstakingly slow…they drag, and the muse comes out kicking and screaming in protest; she doesn’t like to be woken. But after Muse sees the light of day, she becomes happier, and will eventually talk your ear off if you give her the time.

I know that there is something that God has planned in this passion for writing He gave me. He has something for each member of our group. And as we see it unfold, we are going to be amazed at His goodness. But for now, it’s an exercise in faith…in patience. And in perseverance.

Spring is coming…and with it comes new joy; new hope. It’s the way God designed it to be. Spring is a time of new life. The burden’s of winter roll away, and the next several weeks we are refreshed, restored…it’s a time to prepare for the harsh sun of summer; when we will be tested, our faith tried.

But today, it is spring. The lawn is mowed for the first time this year; the sweet smell of freshly cut grass mingles with that of the fragrant blooms that have appeared almost overnight.

There is peace in knowing that God is faithful in what He promised; there is joy in watching it unfold.

There is contentment in circumstances; understanding that God moves us in His perfect timing.

There is excitement in relationships…in restoring old friendships, and forging new ones.  At times, I have grown discouraged at the pace that God seems to move people in and out of my life; but in this moment, I know that He knows best…and I understand that we may come in and out of each others lives for the good of us all, and at exactly the right time. Still, there remains the hope that each of those friendships I hold dear at this point in my life will remain so forever.

Spring is that time when the heart overflows, when God’s loving-kindness is so closely felt. When you wonder that you ever doubted…and resolve once more to never do so again.

“It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what.”
~John Galsworthy

Spring is that time when we feel a small part of what it must be to walk in heaven.

Hope To Inspire

A couple years ago, I started another blog, with one of those lesser known blog hosts..vox and then blogspot. This one (StoneRoseValley) had started to become slightly more regular with people I knew, and I had wanted a space to write what was on my heart…without anyone else knowing the writer (read, not having anyone ask me awkward questions).

But…I decided that I don’t need that anymore. I am who I am, a work in progress. I’m not perfect, nor do I ever wish to appear so. People learn from mistakes…they learn from yours just as much as you learn from theirs…or your own.

Every once in a while, I may pull an old post out of the archives there, and share it with you here…or maybe not. The past is in the past, and sometimes it’s best left there…yet, you can learn from it also. So, I won’t share everything (and I retired it, so don’t even bother looking), but I will look towards the future, using the past to grow in wisdom.

So, looking towards that future, I decided it was time for a change…my new inspiration comes from one of the first posts I had written:

 

Hope To Inspire

Like my dear Jane,

“I find, on looking into my affairs, that instead of being very rich I am likely to be very poor…It is as well…to prepare you for the sight of a sister sunk in poverty, that it may not overcome your spirits.”
Jane, in a letter to her sister, Cassandra.

Hope to inspire….what does it mean? Well you may ask. This blog and it’s title are born of many things; hope not the least. Hope that someday, I won’t echo Janes’ thought above with truth. Hope that a brighter day lies waiting tomorrow. Hope…faith, and those things unseen. Hope in Christ, that He is faithful. Hope that one day I may “hope to feel or inspire affection again”.
But that is my life right now. Hope. Inspiration. Thoughts, dreams, goals, even irritations. Those things that make us human: fear, sorrow, joy, pain, love, faith…and hope.

I’m starting a new journey; one that I invite you to share with me. Are you willing to ride with me, to risk comfort for what may come? Honestly, you’ll still be doing it in relative comfort, from that of your office chair…but still.
My thoughts I lay open…my dreams…even my heart. Tread light upon them.

But, as Jane  says

“Those who tell their own story must be listened to with caution….[for] seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not disguised, or a little mistaken.”
From Sanditon and Emma

Jane was incredibly wise….I hope to learn from her example. As you would be well to do. Sift what you hear…think on it, determining the truth in it…and then, only then, may I hope to inspire you.

 

I Believe

“I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing; kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles”. ~Audrey Hepburn

Post 2: A Favorite Movie

Please note, this is A favorite movie, not my all time favorite. That would be just too hard to narrow down. But this does figure into my top five, for sure.

My pick for this post is simple. It’s heroic…even epic. This is an amazing tale of courage, honor, and compassion. Of brotherhood, love, sacrifice, and integrity. Of violence, and corruption.

It’s a story of war.

This is TEARS OF THE SUN.

~

Starring Bruce Willis as Lt. A.K. Waters, the film is about a Navy Seals Team that goes into Nigeria (experiencing civil war/military coup/genocide) to rescue a handful of American Citizens at a Catholic Mission deep in the jungle….among them a Doctor Lena Kendricks (played by Monica Bellucci). When she refuses to abandon the 70 odd workers/families/patients (most of whom are native Christians) there in the face of the oncoming Nigerian rebels, the team is faced with extracting all who are willing and able to leave.

I loved this film for a variety of reasons, not the least of those being the fact that while this is very much a ‘war’ movie, there is a good plot, nice character development (uncommon in action/war flicks), and a moral ground/message.

In addition, the cinematography was amazing. I mean, really outstanding. This film sparked an interest in me, for the first time ever, in Africa-Nigeria specifically. The country is gorgeous (granted, some of this movie was filmed in Hawaii), and the people (those portrayed in the film) stole my heart. Patience (Akosua Busia) is one of these people, and her friendship with Lena and her unwavering faith in God and His ways is a precious thing to behold. Her daughter, Amaka (played by Akosua’s actual daughter), is so adorable; and Patience’s husband, Musa (played by Awaoviey Agie), is a brave and honest man.

The Seals Team was incredibly cool, too. Not because they were warriors, braving unspeakable horrors (though that definitely adds to it), but because they were men. As I said, there was character development. You get to see who these guys really are, deep down. You get to see them go from men who are just following orders, to men who believe in a mission. One way or another, they become invested in the lives of the Nigerian refugees.

Ellis ‘Zee’ Pettigrew (portrayed by Eamonn Walker) is second in command (as far as I can tell, now, I’m not up to speed with all that military jazz, so it’s entirely possible I’m wrong on this). He is a pretty quiet, silent type of man, much like the character of Waters. But Zee seems to know what his LT is thinking even before Waters does…he very nearly is Lt Waters conscience. He backs Waters 100%, never questioning, but fully assured that the LT has a reason for whatever he does. If I were to pick out friendships that ran deeper than what is already there between them all, I would wager that A.K. and Zee have a very close one…you know, if they needed to call a friend up back state way, they’d have each other listed as #1 on their speed dials.

If Zee isn’t second in command, then that’s gotta be James ‘Red’ Atkins (Cole Hauser). This guy is outstanding. He has questions, probably a million raging through his head in any given second, even going so far as to seek out and question A.K. privately…but still he follows his leader, ‘either way’…and, eventually, you get to see his determination in following a cause, as well. With his Texan drawl and southern boy manners, Red seems at odds with himself for much of the movie. He is a soldier carrying out his duty, but more importantly, a young man determining his role in life. By the time the last 30 minutes rolls around, Red has finally determined who he is, and what is important to him. Oh, and he’s pretty handy with those explosives, by the way….

~

Micheal ‘Slo’ Slowenski (Nick Chinlund) is a favorite of mine. I can quite easily picture him as a father, two or three little kids back state, a loving wife. Why do I think that? With no mention of the particulars of their lives back state, this man in particular has an aura of fatherhood about it. He is constantly looking after the Nigerian refugees in a much closer fashion than most of the others, even from the start. He makes sure to talk to them, touch them lightly on the elbow, giving comfort with both his words and actions that he is there for them. He watches out for the people. And I think he gives a [care] for them nearly right from the start. And maybe I’m reading too much into it, but this guy seems to have the same close friendship with Kelley that A.K. and Zee have. Just something in their easy camaraderie, and the looks that pass between the two. I know each of these guys would take a bullet for each other, but there are some friendships that run even closer…and there honestly doesn’t seem to be many friendships that can run deeper than the bond that brothers in arms bear. So, in my head, Slo and Doc are #1 speed dial friends as well, and you can take it or leave it. lol
This guy also gives some light-hearted moments to the script–“Are we there yet?”–though his humor is, overall, a slow and dry one…so if you don’t get it, sorry; I personally love that. He’s pretty cool with a gun, and his laptop/satellite thing (I know, that’s lame, but I don’t know what else to call it). And, he makes me wish, with all my heart, that it wasn’t necessary for the men we love to fight, but yet, makes me prouder than ever of those who do.

~

Probably my favorite character in this film is Danny ‘Doc’ Kelley (played by Paul Francis). This guy….wow, words fail. But I fell in love with this man completely. He is tough (heck, he made it on the SEAL’s team!), just like all the rest, but still he is a compassionate man….observant, and tender. He never seems to question orders, but carries them out to the best of his ability. I could recount to you every scene he is in, but I’ll stick to just two. While taking a much-needed break in the middle of their flight to the Cameroon border, Doc observes the Nigerian people with them either going hungry, or eating what little fruit was around..and one of their number who is quick to act and slow to talk about it. He turns to Slo, and demands his MRE (Meals Ready to Eat), who replied that he didn’t like ‘roast beef anyway’–as I said, humor–then takes Slo’s and his own to divide up between the people.
The other time is after a shootout…I’m going to skip some of the particulars, partly to avoid spoilers, and partly because its graphic war violence…(here, I usually recommend ClearPlay to cut down on the violence part, but I also feel this is an important scene; just definitely not for anyone under the age of 21, and I’m sticking to that).
While doing all they can to save the life of and comfort someone who experiences first-hand just how horrible this type of war can be, Doc turns to Lena and Patience, and, almost brokenly,  but surely in shock, asks who could do such terrible things to another human being. Here is where Patience has a tiny but epic speech, summarizing in this: these are evil men. That is who they are, that is what they do. Evil has no other way.
Doc wears a cross constantly around his wrist; during one scene he prays with/for a suffering victim.

There are three other guys on the team, the two marksmen (again, not too good on the military knowledge, that’s just my guess), Demetrius ‘Silk’ Owens (played by Charles Ingram [no picture]), and Jason ‘Flea’ Mabry (Chad Smith); as well as the point man, Kelly Lake (played by Johnny Messner).

Silk and Musa (one of the Nigerian refugees) have a great moment together one evening. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Flea is also a compassionate man…the least storyline of all the men, but still quite likeable. He truly is the silent type (they evidently didn’t have enough time to devout any kind of a script to him), but he is probably the most compassionate and gentle of all the team with the Nigerian refugees.  And he has a role to play in that lunch break as well…

Lake is a complex character. You don’t want to like the guy, through various actions/conversations he has…but by the end, he’s made it onto your hero’s list, along with pretty much all the others. And his determination puts some of those other guys to shame. He is a soldiers soldier.

In all, each of these men showed great courage and loyalty; and also, as the film progressed, we are shown that each and every one of them had great personal relationships with one another. They do not all believe in this particular mission, but never do they falter in their dedication to carrying it out. And though this film might lack somewhat in the dialogue department, the actors did a great job conveying the emotional changes they were undergoing.

Yes, there may be some inconsistencies throughout the film (you may spot them better than I did); and you may find it hard to believe that a large force of the rebel army pursues a small band of SEAL’s and refugees through the jungle…but hold on. It’s a great film, and some things become a little clearer the further into the film you get. There is a big surprise hiding in the midst; I wonder if you’d see it coming?

The musical score to this film is amazing. Hans Zimmer is an extraordinarily gifted composer, but he very nearly outdid himself on this one. Highly recommend buying it; I listen to mine all the time.

I actually have the Directors Extended Cut of the film, giving me twenty-four extra minutes of footage, so some of the things I mentioned or alluded to may not be on the Theatrical release. And, as well as the war violence, there is quite a lot of profanity (these are soldiers, fighting in a horrific and violent world, so I do give them leeway for that…I’d just rather not hear it all myself), earning this film an R rating…so Clearplay, or at the very least a Language filter, is recommended. Make no mistake, this is a hard movie to watch; it’s brutal, it’s violent; it is heart-wrenching. But it is also inspiring.

This story is one which fills me with hope. In a world that is so wrong, fraught with so much evil…there is still good to be found, there is still hope left in the world, and in some men.

In the end, we are told that

“the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” (credited to Edmund Burke).

~

And I think that is true.


 

 

~

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Another Oldie, but Goodie…

Yes, I am totally sorting through old files….stumbling across a couple good ones, I’ve decided to share one yet again. Here it is,

 

Joseph Mallozzi’s Washer Experience.

 

I honestly would do the laundry more often if it wasn’t so needlessly confusing. It’s never as simple as throwing the clothes in the wash, turning it on, and coming back in an hour. No. You have to actually separate the clothing into three separate piles: darks, whites, and colors. Okay, okay. I’m sure there are many urban legends about the hapless husband who tosses the colors in with the whites and ends up transforming his wife’s favorite dress into a rainbow mutation but, seriously, how likely is that? It’s not like my t-shirts were hand painted. Still, best not to tempt fate and so the clothing is separated into three separate piles. Sort of. What about cream items? Do they go in with the whites or the colors? Where is the dividing line that separates cream-okay-to-go-in-with-the-whites and cream-not-okay-to-go-in-with-the-whites? Is there some rule of thumb that will let me know how creamy is too creamy? And what about the white outfits with the color or black trim? Do they go in with the whites, the colors, or the darks? Let’s face it. Whatever decision I make will be the wrong one, so I set creamies and hybrids aside, along with the pile of whites that may or may not necessitate bleach in their washing process (I’ve heard rumors, but nothing solid), and leave them for Fondy (my wife)  as I concentrate on the darks and colors.

I can’t imagine what kind of problem mixing darks and colors could cause (and will admit to even having tested conventional wisdom by tossing my green Doctor Doom t-shirt in with my dark socks to no obvious ill result), but I nevertheless do stick to the game plan and keep them separate. I start with the darks, cramming them into the washer and then somewhere, in the back of my mind, I seem to recall Fondy advising against this. She may well have cautioned me against packing the washing machine so full I have trouble closing the lid, or it may have just been a fleeting memory from some long-forgotten dream but, just to be on the safe side, I empty the washer of half its contents and decide to run two loads. I then add the blue syrupy gunk. Again, I’m not sure what I’m doing here but my improvised rule of thumb is “trace a trail twice around the clock”. I figure that should be enough to clean the load yet not too much that it would overwhelm me in a sea of pulsating foam like one of those far-less-savvy 1950’s sitcom dads.

Now, all that’s left to be done is twist, pop, and punch the various dials on the washer console that slightly resembles something out of mission control. Let’s see.

Dial on the very left (above the words “Infinite Water Level” which I find cheerfully optimistic) gives me the choice between Mini, Small (seriously, they’re too completely different things), Medium, Large, Super, and Reset. I choose and twist, aligning the arrow with Large.

The next dial to the right gives me the choice between: ATC cold/cold, ATC warm/cold, ATC warm/warm, and hot/cold. Hmmm. This one’s trickier. Well, reverting back to the logic I used during my high school multiple choice exams, I decide that the answer should include ATC since it is in 3 out of my 4 choices. They last choice is never the right one and my high school self tells me to choose Warm/Cold, but I am older and wiser and for no good reason, I turn the dial to ATC cold/cold.

The third dial gives me a whole host of choices: Handwash, Delicate, Sweaters, Perm./Press, Cotton/Colors, and Regular/Whites. Well, I’m not washing this by hand, I’m getting the machine to do it, so I can discount Handwash. And they’re darks so I can discount Regular/Whites. And I don’t wear much silk or chiffon, so I can exclude Delicate. And, really, do I have to commit a whole separate wash to sweaters? I think not. I exclude that choice as well, leaving me with Perm./Press and Cotton/Colors. Well, as anyone will tell you, while white is an absence of all color, black is a merging of all colors (including, yes, teal). So I turn the knob to Cotton/Colors, wondering whether I don’t have it backwards and black is the absence of all colors while white is the merging…only to be distracted by the writing I failed to notice directly beneath my various choices, from Ex. Gentle/Slow beneath Handwash to Normal/Fast beneath Regular/Whites. Ah, the heck with it. I’ve already cast my lot with Cotton/Colors. Medium/Fast it is.

Okay, almost done. Moving eastward, I come upon two buttons. The first, beneath the words Extended Spin, give me a choice between On or Off. Hey, I work on Stargate (SciFi TV). Make it spin! On. The next button, beneath the words Extra Rinse, also give me a choice between On or Off. Sure, why not? Extra Rinse it is. On.

Which brings me to the biggest dial of all, a huge silver knob surrounded by a dizzying variety of choices: Soak Only (On or Off), Extra Rinse (which, I must point out, already has its own separate selection dial, but I digress – On or Off), Spin, Rinse (Can you actually choose Extra Rinse without getting Rinse?), Hand wash (Again!), Light, Normal, Heavy, Prewash, Presoak, Quick Wash (On or Off), Extra Rinse (They are really pushing the Extra Rinse option! WTH? On or Off), Spin (!), Rinse (Aw, come on!), Light, Normal, Heavy, Extra Heavy, Prewash, and Presoak. Just above these various choices are the seemingly random interspersed words “REGULAR” “Cotton” and “PERMANENT PRESS”. I choose Heavy – the second Heavy under the words “REGULAR” and wait. Nothing happens. I twist the dial to another selection and wait. Nothing happens. It takes me fifteen minutes to realize this dial requires me to not only twist it, but pull it as well. I pull and the machine rattles to life.

Too late I notice the final two buttons on the very right of the huge silver knob: Chime (Hi, Off, and Lo – which was set on Hi from the last wash) and Finger Faucet which is thankfully set to Off. Seriously, at this point, I don’t even want to know. The washer is humming along, the spin-thing is sloshing around, and something, perhaps the change I forgot to take out of my back pocket, is rattling around quite nicely.

Tomorrow’s blog entry: Mastering the dryer.

A Cowgirl Should Know…

I found this several years ago (I think from Lynz), and stumbled across it in my notes the other day. I still like it, and thought I would share.

 

Five Things a Cowgirl Should Know (or any girl:)

 

How to look like a girl.
How to act like a lady.
How to think like a man.
How to work like a dog.
How to live like a Christian.

You Should Know:
How to look like a girl. God chose to make you a girl when he created you. From the beginning you were different. That look of difference envelopes your complete being and radiates all about you. The clothes you wear don’t matter, if you know you are female. Men agree, so does God. 1 Timothy 2:9. . . “that women adorn themselves in modest apparel.”

You Should Know:
How to act like a lady. A lady is, as a lady does. Actions speak louder than words. Some women talk unlady like, even walk like men. Rough speech and a manly stride are not acceptable for women. Men know you are a lady by the way you act. So does God. Romans 12:1-2 “…That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God … and be not conformed to this world.”

You Should Know:
How to think like a man. God gave you a mind, and knowledge is a great gift. Show people have many skills and abilities. They learn how to use them well. Competition between men and women is alright. But you can win or lose like a lady. Men agree, so does God. 2 Timothy 1:7 . . .”For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

You Should Know:
How to work like a dog. Man may work from sun to sun but women’s work is never done. A woman does so much for her family, sometimes it’s unnoticed, even taken for granted. But our families love us for all the work we do. So does God:
Proverbs 31:13 through 27 . . .
“She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands . . She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

You Should Know:
How to live like a Christian. Christian means Christ-like. Christ died for our sins. So we must die, to self and be born again of the Spirit. Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Everyone has sinned) Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (Salvation can’t be worked for or bought, it’s a gift). Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead thou shall be saved.”

The Countdown Continues…Only Two Days Left.

Well, technically, since today is nearly over, I have one day left. One day to reflect upon twenty-three. To prepare myself for twenty-four.
In so many ways, I am ready; I am ready for this new year to start, to see what God has in store. But a part of me, that reserved, even cautious, part, wishes that it would never come. There is so much to fear….pain, regret, disappointment. But as Mary Manin Morrisey said, “You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith”.

I don’t want to allow fear that much power; I definitely don’t want it to take the place of faith in my life. Instead, I choose to believe. To believe that God does indeed, just as He says, have a plan; that He is in control. Of not only my life, but of every living thing–over all creation. I choose to believe that 2011 will be even more exciting, new, strengthening, and miraculous then each passing year has been before.

And I choose to give God control of my life…to not hold back the secret, hidden parts of me. I choose to pursue Christ with my whole heart, so that I will recognize His voice and have no doubt when I hear Him say “This is the way you should go, walk in it”.

I choose hope over despair, joy over sorrow, and trust over fear. I choose Christ as my figurehead, to grace my prow, and also as my rudder, to direct my ship in the direction which most brings Him glory–to use my life in HIS great plan, not in the way that I would set forth as my plans or purpose.

I choose Christ in 2011.

Countdown is Six…

and unfortunately, I don’t have much I can write. I have been battling my pecuiler illness on and off all day. For whatever reason, it’s been targeting my back specifically lately; as I write, I feel as if I would feel just fine if only I could simply snap my back in two…that’s how bad it’s been.

So, instead of sharing some of what I’d originally intended, as I just got off work, I am going to bed directly.

I’ll leave you with this;

Live for today, but hold your hands open to tomorrow.
Anticipate the future and its changes with joy.  There
is a seed of God’s love in every event, every unpleasant
situation in which you may find yourself.
– Barbara Johnson