Yesterday I had coffee (well, actually I had tea) with my dear friend Ginger at Kyra’s Bake Shop in Lake Oswego. (As a side note, Kyra’s is a 100% gluten-free bakery and the treats are delicious. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true.)
I gave Ginger a signed copy of my book, which she encouraged me to publish. We had a great visit and I was telling her about the culmination of my year of no fear in 2014, which began when she and I went to a writers’ conference in the spring. She said to me, “I think there’s a poem in that.” This is not the first time that very phrase from Ginger’s lips has resulted in a poem. So I’m dedicating this one to Ginger. It’s my first post of 2015 (so, no, Post-a-Day isn’t happening) as a perfect recap of what God did in 2014.
One by one
You stripped away
Each old fear
That stood in my way
To becoming what
You planned for me
A child of God
Hopeful and free
“No fear” I wrote
I thought it true
So many fears
Had been quelled by You
“No fear” I wrote
Yet one remained
A truth to tell
Laden with pain
Still You were faithful
In my year of no fear
To take that last one
And make it clear
That the truth once told
Would set me free
And the bond I cherish
Will forever be
Now there is nothing
For me to fear
Not even fear itself
Can snicker or sneer
To set me adrift
From the course You’ve laid
Sharing my freedom
In never being afraid
1/13/15 update: The dVerse Poetics Prompt today is to write about a secret. Since this poem involves a secret truth that needed to be told, I decided to share it there.
Last week I was fairly seriously contemplating giving myself a post-a-day 2015 challenge. I’ve done it before in 2011 and was extremely blessed by the experience. For awhile it seemed like a great idea to do it again. I know that when I post more frequently I get more page views and I gain more blog followers. Posting daily would also be a great way to both promote my current book and write drafts of additional poems for my next book.
Then today I decided I wanted to write a new Christmas poem. Nothing. I sat staring at the blank box on the screen for far too long for my current patience level with no original inspiration. Blogging about my quandary was all I could come up with.
I’m going to have to think on this a bit more and pray about it. Come January 1 we’ll see what I decided.
I’ve had butterflies in my stomach since I woke up this morning. Last night, around 9:00, I uploaded the cover art for my poetry book—Light in My Darkness: Poems of Hope for the Brokenhearted—to CreateSpace. Now I’m just waiting for CreateSpace staff to finish the review process and let me know if my files fit their technical specifications. I’m supposed to hear back within 24 hours, so I’ll know soon, but the waiting is hard.
In the meantime I thought I’d share the cover art with you all. This PDF—Light in My Darkness cover- Final flat—is both the front and back cover. This is the actual file uploaded to CreateSpace. It was created by my son, Benton R. Kruschke, who is an amazing artist and is currently an art student at the Art Institute of Portland. I just love how it turned out.
I also want to take a moment to thank Bryan Lowe of Broken Believers blog for writing the foreword and to share here what he wrote:
Never underestimate the sheer power of poetry. It is formidable. Linda knows this, and she has compiled this book from direct experience. And that is remarkable. I hope you’ll read this with an inquisitive heart and an eager mind. Good poetry should carry a weight of truth wherever it might lead. All that it requires is all of you. Poetry requires your full attention, at least to appreciate it fully.
Linda honors God in what she has written. I know her intention is to bring Him glory, and she does it fearlessly. What you read here comes from life’s furnace— things will be imparted through these poems. I pray the Lord’s blessing on this little book.
Read this book. Squeeze out the truth each poem has. I know that the author would appreciate it immensely.
Anyway, now I’ll go back to waiting. I’ll let you all know when the waiting is finally over.
As I’ve mentioned before, this past weekend I attended the Faith and Culture Writers Conference in Newberg. There was a very interesting keynote speaker who was relevant to something I am involved in at work. I am part of the Diversity Advisory Council at the Oregon State Bar and so I’m always on the lookout for information and illustrations that are relevant to that role. I didn’t really expect to find that at this conference, but I did.
The speaker’s name is Randy S. Woodley and he spoke on the topic of diversity. He used two illustrations for how important diversity is that resonated with me.
First, he used the image of a fruit orchard vs. a fruit forest. In the fruit orchard there are only fruit trees that are all alike. If disease comes to the orchard all of the trees are likely to be wiped out. In a fruit forest, however, among the fruit trees many other plants are planted to provide important nutrients to the soil to strengthen the trees, while the trees provide a sheltered habitat for those same plants. All the different plants and trees work together to create an environment that is better for all of them. In the fruit forest, if disease comes the fruit trees and plants are more likely to survive because they have strengthened one another.
Second, he used the image of stew vs. a melting pot. He said that a diverse culture needs to be like stew that has many different ingredients, but that each ingredient retains its own shape and flavor while simultaneously enriching the flavor of the other ingredients. A melting pot, on the other hand, involves all of the different ingredients being melted down to be the same. I liked this illustration because I love stew.
Here is a link to Randy’s website about his ministry with Native Americans, working within their culture rather than trying to change it. http://eagleswingsministry.com/about/index.htm
The prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was to write poem about a time or times that influenced our evolution to the poet we are today. I had to really think about this one to come up with something, and here’s what I came up with.
First it was research papers,
then long-winded briefs
Perhaps just a memo
or letter to a client
but never a poem,
that’s not the sort for me
Expressing in essays
my thoughts and beliefs
No limit on wordiness
to slow me down
Others expressed ideas
great and profound
in simple poetry
of few lines and words
Maybe, just maybe
I could give it a try
Use fewer words to express
the mercy and grace of my Savior
the pain and the darkness
shattered by Light
Turns out a few words
are sometimes all it takes
Some people may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately. In fact, I’ve only posted one thing since Jan. 1, 2014. It’s not that I haven’t had ideas of things to write, because I have. And it’s not that I haven’t had any time at all to write, because as busy as I am there are time-waster activities I could give up so that I could write and post.
To be honest, I don’t really know what’s kept me from writing. However, a few weeks ago I went to a seminar titled “Just Write,” which I initially signed up for just to get the MCLE credits that I need. But it inspired me to pull out my pen (or my laptop) once again. Then over the last two weeks I wrote an essay for the writing contest for the Faith and Culture Writers Conference that I’ll be attending; Doing that reminded me of how much I love writing and want to get back to it. So tonight I wrote three short-form poems and have scheduled them to post over the next three days.
My goal—though I kind of hesitate to set one in writing for the world to see—is to post two or three new poems or essays each week. I need to “just write.” I won’t call it a resolution—it’s a bit late in the year for that anyway—but rather it’s an obligation to myself, akin to breathing.
The Meeting at the Bar prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a poem using common speech, the language of home. I immediately thought of a saying my mom used to use and that I’ve repeated more times than I can count.
As My Mother Used to Say
“It’s better than a poke in the eye
with a sharp stick,” my mother used to say
As if most everything isn’t better
I guess it was her way of reminding us
that we had it pretty good and shouldn’t complain
I remember talking one day to a stranger
who happened to share my mom’s maiden name
and in the midst of our conversation he said,
“It’s better than a poke in the eye
with a sharp stick!” Imagine my surprise
Turns out he came from the great state
of Michigan, same as my mom
That phrase had traveled from Michigan
to California to Washington to Oregon
Who knows where it went with him
I had a dog once who actually managed
to poke his eye with a sharp stick in the woods
Tore a cornea, then promptly pulled out the stitches
because we didn’t put on his cone of shame
Poor dog had to go under the anesthesia
a second time—it took enough to put
a doberman under, and he was just
a little cocker spaniel.
If anyone understood what was better
than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick
it was that dog
Filed under Family, Life, Poetry
Today is my four-year blogging anniversary. It was September 25, 2009 that I decided to try my hand at sharing my writing with the world. That first day I posted four different posts, I was so excited for the new adventure. Over the past four years I have:
- Published 988 posts (plus this one, which makes 989)
- Completed a post-a-day challenge in 2011, actually publishing more than 365 posts that year
- Had over 110,000 page views, starting with an average of 17 per day that first month and reaching a high average of 167 per day for March 2013
- I’ve had page views from 171 countries out of the 195 countries in the world since February 25, 2012, when WordPress started tracking these stats
- Gained 300 blog followers, plus 39 Twitter followers and 188 people who read my posts from Facebook links
- Made a bunch of blogging friends who have blogs I love to read when I have time
- Talked with numerous family and friends about my blog and been encouraged by their appreciation for what I write
- Had 6,241 comments posted, though probably a third of those are me responding to comments
- Started writing poetry, including a 40-poems-for-Lent session in 2013, and a total of 285 poems
- Been invited to contribute to two other blogs, one of which (Broken Believers) is still in operation
- Participated in a bunch of Open Link Nights and other poetry challenges at dVerse Poets Pub
- Boldly shared the Gospel with the hopes of bringing the Light of Christ to as many people as I can
- Based on hits for my recipes, helped a lot of people with their Traeger cooking
- Taken one three-month sabbatical from blogging, though it wasn’t planned, it just happened
- And thoroughly enjoyed myself so much that I am truly looking forward to my next four years of blogging and beyond
When I started, I could never have imagined the journey I’ve been on. I have no idea where God will take this blog in the future, but I have no doubt that He is in control of it every step of the way and that the rest of the journey is going to be awesome.