What is with the title of this post? Am I suggesting you break the rules? Didn’t I just say last week that I LIKED rules? Is Connie getting a little double-minded, swaying with the wind, or am I just losing all facets of my memory now?
Though there is some truth to that last possibility (me being ‘well-seasoned in life), there is a little more to this ‘rule thing’ than to blindly follow what someone tells you. For instance, there might have been a few rules Hitler implemented back in the day that would probably make a God-fearing girl, like myself, a little queasy.
And how ‘bout the one for making pot roast?
Let me show you what I mean.
One day, a little girl studied her mother preparing dinner. She watched as her mother cut vegetables up and placed them in a large pot. She concentrated on how her mom carefully sliced the side of a raw hunk of beef with a knife, discarded the slice, then threw the rest in with the v...
I know, you all are bristling at the concept, wondering why you can’t run with scissors, swim right after you eat, or … cut your sister’s hair when she’s sleeping.
You’re thinking about how rules limit you, keep you from doing things you want to do—things that are fun.
As I drive through a green traffic light, with the reasonable assurance another car won’t side swipe me because the driver on the other street is stopped at a red light, I ponder the greatness of the rule he follows.
And though I’ve complained about the timing of that SAME red light when I’m stuck in front of it, glancing at my watch because I’m late for work, I follow that rule even when no other car is coming.
Because it keeps me safe, it keeps the other guy safe, and it keeps my family safe even when I’m not the one driving the car.
It’s a good rule.
It seems futile sometimes to stop at a red light when we see no cars driving in the other direction, but since we can’t always see around the corner or as...
Great News for writers!
I'm really excited to tell you about a project I’ve been working on with a few other bestselling and award-winning authors. The ten of us are putting together a guide to assist you on your journey to become a bestselling and award-winning author yourself. And ...
Inspired by an extraordinary podcast I listened to this morning (there is a link to it provided below), I decided to FINALLY publish this blog post I'd written many months ago when my heart was heavy after reading a bad review of one of my novels. The review did not pan my writing style. Instead, the reviewer chose not to understand the inner workings of the character who was in desperate need of faithful enlightenment.
I write to help people understand these worldviews (of those who've never known Bible-believing Christians--EVER!) so they can better do the work of The Savior. So, though I can handle the usual criticisms of my books, this one, I needed to address. Here is what I wrote ...
A while back, one of my novels, An Insignificant Life, received a one-star review. Though my books average about 4.5 stars, I do get the occasional one or two star reviews, sometimes because the reviewer didn’t like the number of commas I used, or they just don’t like my style. Maybe I'm too "religious...
Ahhh, safe at home again after our long drive from Pennsylvania spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my in laws. Family is so important. Even my non-verbal autistic son knows this. We told him not to hug grandpa goodbye this time because grandpa had a bad cold, but he insisted and made noises until we finally relented. Normally, as often happens with children who have autism, he backs in for the other person to hug him. This time he leaned in and pressed his cheek to grandpa’s.
Maybe it was because grandpa was ill, or maybe my son is aware that grandpa’s 91st birthday had just passed and time is fleeting. Either way, he understood the patriarch of the family needed a little extra love.
But that’s how my guy works. His autism is the opposite of aspergers. His gentle touch and thoughtful reminders to "pway" have been a blessing to our family. Even his one-word, and sometimes completely wordless (believe it or not) sense of humor fills us with laughter after a rough day.
When I stood beside the keg, red cup filled with an intoxicating liquid, at the party doing the things my friends told me everyone did (and I believed them), I often pondered a different kind of social engagement where people were alert and discussed things that interested them with clear speech unhindered by the blurring contents of said cup. Sometimes I’d bring up my belief in God only to be met with wincing expressions. I wasn’t sure if the look was due to an uncomfortable topic of conversation or the other person’s need to retch into a porcelain throne.
Because of my unusual interest in The Almighty, I was sometimes considered religious, and even the goody-two-shoes of some groups.
But those were relative terms.
I had other friends in school who never seemed to be at these parties with red cups and big silver drink dispenser systems. I often wondered if they were at ones in another neighborhood.
Why? Because my daughter has her Lerner’s Permit and that means I need to sit beside a Rookie Driver for at least 60 hours whilst she attempts to maneuver through Baltimore-Washington area (aggressive!) traffic and remain alive. Sometimes we take narrow, windy streets; parked-car-laden neighborhood roads; traffic-filled town boulevards … And worst of all … I-95. Yikes!!! We have yet to attempt the latter. The US Routes have been hard enough …
… On me. She’s doing fine!
My “little girl” is actually a good driver. I don’t worry so much about her negotiating through streets and highways nearly as much as I worry about the crazy, selfish, speed-demons who inhabit the space with her … and her ability to react quickly to their recklessness.
Sometimes, when my faith is running thin, and I want to secretly ask myself the questions satan desperately attempts to engrave on my heart, I must remind myself to look for the Signs of God in my life. These times often come when my son’s autism diagnosis manifests itself in its ugliest form, and I forget everything else that’s good. But much like the psalmists who, during their most difficult trials, remind themselves of the long history of God’s faithfulness, I find I need to do the same. The story below is only one example of that ...
I once told a Christian Counselor colleague of mine he should see the movie Signs.
After all, it’s a story of a man battling a lack of faith. My colleague came back a few days later and said, “What are you talking about? Signs was about an alien attack!”
Well, maybe that’s the writer in me, always looking for the underlying story. Or maybe my view of the premise had more to do with what had been occurring in my life the week my husband and I decided to...
How realistic is a story about a woman hired to run an all-male dorm? One in which she must live?
Actually, very. I did it myself. (And yes, I’m female, BTW)
It’s funny, because when I’d first entered this manuscript into contests, my scores would always get dinged (by more than one judge) for the sole reason that the premise of a woman living in an all-male dorm was just too unrealistic.
I guess truth IS stranger than fiction.
Yes, I did really live in an all-male dorm (over twenty years ago). In fact, some of the most unbelievable parts of this novel came from true-life occurrences from that time.
So what else did I pull from my male-dormitory experience? Let me tell you.
Was there really a police sting operation occurring in my building?
Yep, though it ended in a dull thud. Guns were drawn and a dorm room searched, but no evidence was found, and no one headed to jail. We had drug use and distribution arrests that semester, just not from the sting.
Though this tale is not meant to be a magical fairytale, or even a fantasy, there are
some fantastical elements in it. One being Ari’s continuous bus-ride dream. But, as mystical as it may seem, that dream was actually inspired by a true story.
I hadn’t meant to continue the Dark Forest series at the time, but had pondered doing a story about Sam Sakamoto and a woman who worked with therapy dogs (which has gelled further, recently, and may become another fairy tale). I considered doing something with Manny … eventually … maybe. I never would have imagined writing a modern-day retelling of Sleeping Beauty! In fact, the thought sounded boring. Who wants to follow the life of a sleeping girl?
But then two things happened. I read a novel with a coma patient in it (who had no other role but to be unconscious--unlike Ari, whose memory and dreams carry this story), and right around the same time, I’d seen the movie Maleficent. That was when...