"" Writer's Wanderings: March 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006

Tornado Wimp

Okay, when it comes to tornadoes, I'm a wimp. The minute the little boxes go up on the radar screen, I go into my tornado preparation mode--leaving the TV on to watch the storms approach and pacing with an ear for that train they say you hear and a small flashlight in my pocket in case the lights go out.

I've never been in a tornado. Had one pass close to another house we lived in. All the while it was tearing up a garage a mile down the road from us, the sun was shining in our yard--is it any wonder I get nervous?

I have had plenty of "tornado dreams." They are right up there with the dream of being in a convertible and driving up a hill that gets increasingly steeper and then the car starts to free fall. Thankfully I wake up then--sometimes screaming. In the tornado dreams, I see them coming in the distance, ripping up houses and buildings. I know they're getting closer and sometimes I can even feel the wind pick up...of course that could be my husband snoring in my face. I wake up before they hit but the anticipation sets my heart racing.

This morning amid news reports of the storm system approaching us (after leaving houses in ruin in Missouri) I looked outside to see--sunshine? Taking advantage of the warm weather and the sun and knowing it wouldn't last--this is Cleveland, good weather never lasts--I went for a morning walk. To the north, the dark gray skies told the story of the storms out over the lake. To the south, the sun shone through a small gathering of clouds. As I walked back east however, I had the sense of being followed. I looked over my shoulder and there they were, the thick black clouds of the front that was approaching. I picked up my pace and by the time I arrived back in the house, the sunshine was gone, replaced by dark twilight and the ominous rumble of thunder.

I'm a wimp. The TV is on broadcasting the storm's progress. I have my trusty flashlight, and my eye wanders to the window to check the skies outside. It will probably just be a lot of noise and rain but my heart will race as fast as it does in a good action-thriller-suspense movie or book. I'm such a wimp.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Snapshots of Life

Random thoughts of what has passed and what is to come:
  • Watched our Antarctica trip on video...how magnificent it truly was.
  • Looking forward to our next trip--South America and the Canal.
  • Anticipating VIP night with Tyler at his preschool.
  • Remembering Kotomi yelling at Grandpa in Japanese.
  • Encouraging Tracy in her new venture--http://trig-out.blogspot.com/
  • Wondering what kind of adventures Danielle will find in life--something in those eyes...
  • Amazed that Caleb is sitting up already. Is he six months old already?
  • Blessed and encouraged with feedback from speaking at the women's retreat.
  • Excited at the prospect of more opportunities to speak to groups.
  • Waiting...waiting...waiting on news about my novel.
  • Eager to begin the next book.
  • Praising God for all the opportunities in my life to serve Him.
  • Thanking Him for all the good snapshots of life.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Take Two Laughs And...

In the 10th century B.C. the writer of Proverbs said, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” In 2005, a researcher at the University of Maryland Medical Center said basically the same thing. Dr. Michael Miller, director of preventive cardiology released the results of a study showing that laughter may be an important factor in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease leading to heart attacks.

“At the very least,” he said, “laughter offsets the impact of mental stress which is harmful to the [lining of the blood vessels].” Stress causes constriction of the blood vessels.

Dr. Miller is not the first to study the impact of laughter on our health. Dr. William Fry of Stanford’s Medical School has also looked into the impact of laughter’s effects on pulse rates, oxygen levels, and blood pressure. He found that 100 to 200 deep “hee hahs” can benefit your body as much as ten minutes of rowing.

Norman Cousins is one of the pioneers in humor therapy. He suffers from a very painful crippling form of arthritis. He found that watching 30 minutes of funny videos provided him with 2 hours of pain free restful sleep. He documented all his research in a book titled Anatomy of an Illness.

Another advocate of humor therapy is Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams who gained notority by dressing in a clown outfit—red rubber nose and all, to make his hospital rounds. A movie about him came out in 1999 starring Robin Williams. Dr. Adams says, “Joy is more important than any other drug.”

What does all this mean? Have a good laugh. You might find yourself reducing stress and enjoying better health. And don’t be surprised the next time you see your doctor and he tells you, “Take two laughs and call me in the morning."

[http://www.umm.edu/news/releases/laughter.html, http://www.jesthealth.com/art13jnj.html,
http://www.patchadams.org/home.htm ]

Monday, March 06, 2006

Joyful Retreat

This weekend I spoke at a women's retreat. The theme was joy. A more "joyful" group you'd never find anywhere. They were fun and certainly enjoyed each other's fellowship. An Unbirthday Party took away the sting of adding another year onto our ages. Our gift bags included a small rubber duckie--something the organizers never realized could be filled with water and squirted.

The best gift of all though was the gift of encouragement and love that was shared among those who attended. Those are the things that help us to realize we're not alone when the going gets rough in life--when we hit the rocky roads or the potholes of life. God puts those loving caring people in our path to remind us of the joy he gives to those who love him. His joy goes beyond the "happily ever after" in life to the forever joyful.

(Information on my speaker's topics can be found at http://www.karenrobbins.com/Speaker%20Information.htm).

Friday, March 03, 2006

Smoking Bans

There is a wave of smoking bans overtaking the country again. Communities, cities, counties, and states have passed bans for smoking indoors in public places or are considering legislation to effectively move smokers to the outdoors or their own homes. I haven't done the research but I'm wondering--is this how Prohibition got started?

While personally I'd be happy to see all smoking done away with for health reasons (my father had emphysema), I'd hate to see the country go through another round of underground commercialism. Instead of speakeasys there'd be "smoke-easys" springing up in backdoor alleyway joints. Can you imagine raids on attic tobacco growers? If you purchased too much tissue paper for wrapping gifts would you be suspected of rolling your own cigarettes?

There's no easy solution to the insanity of smoking. We all need our "drugs." Mine is chocolate. I can appreciate the addictive qualities of tobacco and chocolate but my chocolate addiction doesn't harm the person in the same room with me when I eat it.

Which leads to another whole imagined scenario--lawsuits. If we banned all smoking in all public places and it was only done at home, with our lawsuit mentality I could imagine children suing parents over being raised in a home with smokers. It's not too farfetched to imagine a slew of lawsuits in apartment buildings. There's already been one on record where a woman claimed her neighbor's smoking was causing her ill health.

How do we get the kids to stop thinking it's cool or awesome, or whatever the teen volcabulary dubs it now? That's where the promise is. If we can stop the younger generations from getting hooked, then we may see smoking disappear from public as well as private view. Of course, what's the chances the smoking habit would be replaced by something worse? Like I said, we all need our "drugs."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Revisiting My Da Vinci Post

What I wrote about the Brown book, The Da Vinci Code, Monday has been preying on my mind since. Here I am saying that his book is fiction and therefore should be discounted when I am a Christian fiction writer. I wonder, do people discount Christian fiction because it's fiction?

I guess the answer is in my philosophy of life--life is made up of choices. I choose to believe the Bible. I choose to believe Jesus is the son of God, the Savior and Lord. I choose to believe that he never had an affair with Mary Magdalene that produced children. That would have been contrary to all he taught, to his purpose here on earth and in eternity.

In my writing, my protagonists reflect those beliefs. They struggle with growth in their faith and the influences the world has on them--like rumors of those accusations found in the Brown book. There will always be opportunities to discount the Biblical records of Jesus' ministry then and now (you see I choose to believe in the resurrection and a living savior). Those who choose not to believe will always find reasons to justify their non-belief.

Did Brown set out to win support for the suppositions in his book? I don't know. Like I said before it was a great puzzle to figure out--suspenseful. I'm sorry that people who look at the Last Supper now will look to it for the clues it is purported to have rather than the great work of art that it is.

The controversy is good in some ways. It forces people to reexamine their faith. It forces people to make choices. Will you believe in the Bible and the Savior it portrays or will you follow the premises that demean him?
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