MLK Weekend, and Another Stormy Year For It

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Saturday’s Saga.

We received about 8 inches of snow in the night, but then it started raining this morning. The temperature was in the lower- to mid-30s – perfect for making snowballs snow forts snowman, aka, heart-attack-snow, because it is so wet and heavy, it produces much stress on muscles, joints, and heart when shoveling it.

We bought an expensive snowplow three years ago. Hurray. Saturday was the first snow of the season deep enough to warrant its use. 8” of snow fell overnight, and then was compressed by in the early hours by freezing rain. Good thing we bought that snowplow, because we had an MLK Breakfast to attend. Jeff has been on the breakfast committee in town for years. Our snowplow refused to start, plus, our street usually gets plowed late. (2:30 this time, so not too-too bad.)

Jeff started shoveling, but we knew by 8am that we weren’t going to clear the drive enough to make the 9:00 breakfast. The speaker really sounded very interesting!

It took us five times going outside on Saturday. Then neighbor Rod rescued us with his working snowplow. Hurray for helpful neighbors! It was still going to be an Advil night for us because of sore muscles and joints.

One of the times between our shoveling, I went out to move just a bit more of that perfect snow away. Did I mention with the heavy, wet snow and icy top, it was perfect for snowman making? Isn’t there some enlightened quote about all work and no play?

OK,all you snow-haters; I mean snow chickens; I mean people who prefer warm weather year round. Snow is not just for scary driving or power outages. It’s also God’s message to tell us to PLAY!

By the time my rough snow guy was finished, my outer clothes were soaked on the outside from touching the wet snow while my inner clothes were wet on the inside (from sweat).

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Sunday Morning.

We easily made it out of our drive for the Pulpit Exchange. Jeff has participated for 16 years. Black pastors preach to predominantly white churches while white pastors preach to predominately black churches. I tag along with Jeff to support him, but also because it’s so much fun.

Jeff has preached at several black churches, and loves the congregation’s feedback during his sermon. And the clapping during singing.

 

(Funny side note story from last year: A young black preacher participated for the first time. Because the congregation didn’t respond during his sermon – not a single “Amen!” – he assumed his message was a bomb, so cut it short, and after the service, scurried out of there. These pulpit exchanges are as enlightening for the pastors as it is for the congregations.)

This year the 8 participating pastors (speaking on the same scripture verses) drew churches to see where they’d go. We got Second Missionary Baptist. Again. Hurray!

We’ve gotten to know many people from that church in particular over the years through several community events. Hurray! Friends!

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Old Friends — True Characters

This past spring, Chris, an old high school friend, discovered during a regular mammogram check up that she’d developed cancer. Although she has an exceptional support system with family and doctors, like any reasonable person facing the unknown, Chris wanted all the support and prayers she could muster. She contacted seven high school classmates to form a Circle of Friends around her, and let us know at the same time what is happening to her.

Even though it’s been decades since we’ve seen each other, even though we seven come from different family units, different faiths, different life experiences and philosophies, we wholeheartedly agreed to support our friend Chris through group on-line communication.

We are so unique from each other, it makes me wonder how we were ever friends in the first place. And yet, we were. And yet we are.

When I develop characters in my books, I sometimes pick traits from true characters–people I know. Someone who is bold. Someone who is betrayed. Someone who did something out of character (so, what lies beneath?). Also, I consider how characters view each other. Do they see someone who is unafraid on the outside, yet the character is actually terrified on the inside? The person’s reaction to conflicts (like cancer or life or death, or someone with an alternate view) prove a person’s true character. Observation and thought not only gives understanding in real life, but is wonderful writing fodder.

Though all the trials of life, and through all our differences, we in the Circle of Friends remain friends How contrary this is to the faceless Internet strangers who so easily stir up word-trouble with their comments. Can your characters be distinct enough from the others, yet retain their individuality, and yet be able to change? Ah, the wonderful challenges of writing!

Today’s Writing Challenge: Pick two of your characters. Make a list of five inner traits which make them unique. Pick two of the most polar traits between them, then put them into a situation where these differences cause feelings to escalate, i.e., conflict–something every good story needs today. Write a scene how they work out (or not) their differences.

Have a great writing week.