Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lessons from Basketball Camp

Gracee's kind of a wimp.

Well, she used to be anyway. The littlest scratch required a magnifying glass and a box of tissues to absorb all the tears.

Drama queen.

So we were all thrilled, as well as more than a little apprehensive, when she agreed to play soccer last fall. And then she actually asked to go to basketball camp last week.

Run over to to hear the story. 

When you're done reading, take a look around the site. And take your tissues because you'll find posts that will make you cry and make you laugh until you cry. Kathy Richards, who writes some pretty good stuff herself, is the writer's encouragement queen. I've started to call her "barnkat," in honor of the biblical Barnabas, "the son of encouragment."

I'm excited to be able to guest post for her.

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Monday, June 28, 2010

Book Review--Chronological Guide to the Bible

The Chronological Guide to the Bible is a handy little reference tool that attempts to provide an historical arrangement to the Biblical text. It's designed to help one "follow the flow of events in the Scriptures and see where sacred history and secular history converge into one story of salvation." To do that, the authors have simply rearranged the canonical order "according to nine epochs of time and providing a chronological Bible reading list within each of those epochs."

One does not need a chronological Bible to find this book useful. It's filled with colorful maps and timelines and reading guides and boxes that provide clarification on historical culture and customs no matter what version you use.

For instance, have you ever wondered how tall Goliath really was? Or what the deal was with concubines? Or how the prophets overlapped each other? Or who was in power where and when? Or why the Ephesians were especially upset with Paul for preaching against the goddess Artemis (Diana)?

I was reminded that clothing was handmade, and so tearing it as an expression of grief reinforced a depth of sorrow, especially if the item was a special possession, a robe of many colors. I also appreciated references to how clothing was symbolic of one's inner being and the symbolism of Jonathan's transfer of his robe to David.

The authors note that they tried to present a balanced view of debatable issues. I can't say I agree with everything, but I do find this book helpful as I explore the Bible in context.

This book can help provide some answers and give some food for thought. It's a bit pricey at a suggested price of $24.99 for 217 pages, but I do expect to turn to it again and again, and if I not received it to review, I would definitely have considered adding it to my reference shelf.

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

NOTE: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Write Honestly

Pull the curtain back
Reveal the real
Release the light
From soul holes
Where grace flows
From wounded places.

(Paraphrased from Honestly by VOTA)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Squirrel Thoughts--1

I decided to participate today in Duane Scott's Pleasantly Disturbed Blog Carnival today with some random thoughts of my own. Not that I ever experience randomness. I'm the queen of . . . SQUIRREL!

  • Now where was I? Oh, one thing about Duane. He does have a habit about sticking his foot in his mouth when it comes to old things. Like I don't remember exactly what he last said, but it had something to do with being old. I do remember calling him on it.
  • Which reminds me of the lady in our church who was asked what the best thing was about turning 107. She answered, "The total lack of peer pressure."
  • She was also once asked if she needed a ride to her 100th birthday party. She responded, "No, my son's taking me. But he IS 80, and he doesn't get around like he used to."
  • I read that women "my age" should use an eyelash curler. S'posed to open up our eyes. Should men "my age" use them, too? Would that let them doze off with their eyes open, and we gals would think they were really paying attention?
  • Startled by an elephant getting a bath as I drove past the fairgrounds. I guess there's a circus. What if the animals revolted and ran the show?
  • My dentist's torture assistant told me about her daughter who works for a soft serve ice cream place. She said she's only received one complaint--that the ice cream melted. Duh!
  • True confession: When I was a kid, I used to day dream about going to a Tigers baseball game. Bases loaded. Two outs. Down by 3 runs. Nobody available to bat. (I don't know why. Maybe they were all sick or injured.) The manager looked over the crowd, and his eyes locked with mine. I stepped up to the plate, hefted the bat, and whacked that ball out of the park.
  • Why are silos round? Because a rectangular silo develops air pockets that encourage spoilage. A cylindrical silo is also more likely to withstand a high wind. By the way, Franklin Hiram King developed the first one more than 100 years ago. No relation.
Speaking of kings . . .

 I know how the grandfather clock got its name. Do you?

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Head Hurts

My head hurts.

I. Mean. Seriously.

Thought pellets. 

My brain must look like cheap siding after a hailstorm. And I can't get half the ideas out my fingertips or mouth before they melt.

They pound at all times of day and night. Wherever I am. Whatever I'm doing. Or not doing.

I quit my job. To eliminate distractions. To seek tranquility. To declutter. To simplify. To focus.

It helped.

Sort of.

Not so much.

I cleared some overgrowth. Tumbled some walls.

I'm a lone tree. A target for thought strikes.

Holy Discontent. Half Time. Popeye person. Passion. One thing. A good finish. Success to significance. My truest purpose. Eternal perspective.

The "stuff that stirs my heart's holiest chambers." (Bob Buford)


I contemplated past dreams and activities. Missionary nurse. Parish nurse. Nun. Airline attendant.

But . . .

Words. Words. Words. The Word. Words in. Words out. Turn a word. Twist a phrase.

Makes my heart quiver. Throb.

Set apart. For words. Words that heal, encourage, and inspire. Words that elicit laughter and tears. Words that share the Word.

My head hurts.

Make. It. Stop.

Don't stop.

"If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad." ~Lord Byron

What does your brain look like?

(Tweaked and reposted from Beholding God.)

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Artist's Blessing

Kathy Richards posted this blessing on her blog last week, and it continues to haunt me. I do so want to faithfully reflect the face of my Father and Creator--in my writing and in my life.

Visible-Light and X-Ray Composite Image of Galaxy Cluster 1E 0657-556


As faithful image bearers (artists, but saints first),
may you reflect not only the creation
but its beautiful and good Creator.
May you embrace your true calling
to humbly serve the glorious One who promises you glory.
May you accept and acknowledge
the wound your faithful friend has inflicted,
and may you in friendship and loyalty inflict it on others.
May your art be worship.
May your worship be art.
May you afflict the comfortable with jolts of inconsolable joy.
May you call forth the good, the beautiful, the eternal hope of
your true city.
And when people step back from your painting,
put down your novel, 
or leave the theater,
may they leave having been fatally stabbed,
inconsolably wrecked with a longing for home.
And may you reflect faithfully the face of your Father
who strides through the galaxies with a brush in His hand.

(An except from The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith by Timothy J. Stoner)

If you haven't visited katdish, you're missing a treat. Kathy makes me laugh. She makes me cry. She makes me think. And sometimes she just makes me say, "Huh?" And sometimes all at the same time.

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Going to the Dentist

I had to go to the dentist today. I'm so glad my dentist's name is Jim and not Tim and that he managed to numb me up without any drama.

For some Friday fun, here's that famous clip from the Carol Burnett Show featuring Tim Conway and Harvey Korman.

And here is a scene from the movie, They Went That-A-Way and That-A-Way, written by Tim Conway. In this movie, Tim played an undercover cop in a prison, stranded there because the only person who knows that he's not really a criminal suddenly dies.

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Special Touch

I drove Abby to the doctor for an incision check yesterday. She had a C-section a couple of weeks ago, and she's not supposed to drive, of course. But she did. Among other things she shouldn't have been doing. Because she's impatient and needs to be in control. Because she feels like she has to entertain visitors. Because she forgets she just had major surgery.

Thus the reason for the doctor visit. And my driving.

Anyway. There on the checkout counter sat a box. Wrapped in pink paper. Covered with silk pink dogwoods. With a label on the front.

Complaints, Compliments, Suggestions.

Not your normal comment or suggestion box. A box with a special touch.

I scrambled in my purse for my camera.

Must. Take. Picture.

But my battery was dead. I had extras, but I didn't load them in the camera. Because the receptionist had a this-woman-is-crazy look. And Abby had a get-my-mother-out-of-here-now-(!) look.

She had already been making fun of me as I soaked up every special-touch detail in the waiting room. And how I imagined all the straight-backed chairs lining the walls filled with protruding-belly women while all the deep-seated upholstered sofas and chairs enveloped all the just-here-for-my-annual-tuneup ladies. And how I ooh'd and aah'd over the "special touches" in the exam room.

If she'd had the strength, she would have literally dragged me to the car. Especially when I stopped to exclaim over the beauty of the--what are those flowers--pink asters?

"I need to take a picture of these."

"C'mon, Mom!"

"You don't get it, do you?" I whined. "I am a writer. I have to capture everything. I don't want to lose anything."

She just rolled her eyes and half laughed and half complained when I missed a turn and found myself going the wrong way and she reminded me what a terrible driver I am and what a terrible sense of direction I have and to quit looking at everything and to keep my eyes on the road because she'd just had a C-section and she didn't want to get hurt.

And today I'm still wondering.

Why did "complaints" come first in the order of things?

Did the office get more complaints than compliments?

Did they expect more complaints?

Did they think if they acknowledged you might have a complaint you would be satisfied with that and move directly to a compliment?

What a great idea to soften the sting of a complaint with a special touch.

Maybe a writer could design a box with a special touch labeled:

"Rejections, _______, _______.

Fill in the blanks.

And always be sure your camera is loaded with fresh batteries.

By the way, we had a great afternoon together!

A day with a special touch.

How can you soften the stings of the writing life? How would you fill in the above blanks? When did you last experience a special touch?

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Friday, June 11, 2010

A One-Word/One-Line Interview With A 7-Year-Old Author

Gracee never has enough paper. I find remnants of stories and song lyrics all over my house. She loves pens and colored pencils and markers and notebooks. She likes to give me writing advice. She's very creative. And, yes, I'm prejudiced. She's my granddaughter!

We conducted this interview over a meal of Big Boy spaghetti. Thank you, Gracee, for taking the time to answer these questions.

Gracee in One Word

1.  What is your favorite sport?


2.  Strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries?


3.  Who is your favorite author?

4.  What is your favorite animal?


5.  Flip-flops, slippers, tennies, or bare?


6.  What is your favorite Dairy Queen treat?

Slushie (blue raspberry.)

7.  What is your favorite subject in school (not gym)?


8.  If you had to evacuate (leave) your house and had time to grab only one thing, what would it be?

Sister. (Note: Baby Lillee is now one week and two days old.)

9.  What instrument would you like to play?


10. Would you rather read about animals or people?

Do nonfiction books count? Animals. (But I like real people, too, like Rosa Parks.)

Gracee in One Line

1.  Do you prefer to write with pen, pencil, or computer?

Write in pencil, correct with pen, then type on computer.

2.  What is your favorite kind of music?

Country and rock, but I also like classic, like Fur Elise, and harp because it helps calm me down.

3.  What is your favorite book and why?

Thunder Cake because it teaches not to be afraid of a storm.

4.  What rule does your mom think is most important?

Don't talk back.

5.  What do you like to write about?

My family and where we go and what we do.

6.  What are some of your nicknames and which do you like best?

Gray, Gray-Gray, Mogli, Grace Face, Gracee Facee, Sis, Nerbie, Amazing Grace; I like Amazing Grace.

7.  What is the most important thing to remember when writing a story?

Write with expression.

8.  How did you learn to say onomatopoeia?

My teacher, Mrs. Entenman, made us say it over and over; it's easy.

9.  What do you like best about walking in the cemetery?

Flowers, stones, walking up the steps and hills, getting ideas--can you get me a notebook like yours?

10. What is your favorite vacation?

Gaylord Alpenfest because I get to see Roscoe the Clown.

11.  What do you like best about your grandma?

That's kinda hard because you do lots of nice things for me, but you make me laugh--like when you say, "no laughing allowed."

Gracee on One Thing

What one thing would you like to say to your readers or future readers?

Thank you for reading. I appreciate it. It really feels good. I hope you like my stories.

What one thing would you like to say to fellow writers or aspiring writers?

Calm down. Relax. Don't make it hard on yourself. Follow your heart. Feel what the story tells you.

Thank you, for sharing with us today, Gracee. You are an inspiration. And I love you.

Read more about Gracee's writing and tips:

7 Writing Tips from a 7-Year-Old
4 Tips From a 7-Year-Old to Keep Bum in Chair
Gracee--Gold Star Young Author

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gracee--Gold Star Young Author

Some months back, I shared some of my granddaughter's writing tips. She revised her work at school. I thought you might like to see the final product--in her own words with phonetic spelling. 


Coming up: A one-word/one-line interview with this young author. 

P.S. Gracee's mom did have an infection in an ear, and her ear did "swallow" an earring back, but her ear lobe is still intact! And her birthday is in October. She just liked turquoise better!

Note: The Christine Wonch Creative Writing Award program was formed to honor a young girl who was killed in a car-pedestrian accident. The program is in its 20th year and provides an opportunity for area students to have their best work evaluated. They begin working on their stories in the fall.

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King