Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Internet Addiction?

My husband is a therapist and he recently attended a seminar called "Sex, Drugs and Chocolate" which was basically about addictions. Apparently, a new diagnosis is being considered to deal with Internet addictions.
Okay, this is basically what they said:

First these are the terms he used:
"IBD" Internet Behavior Dependence
"PIU" Problematic Internet Use
"SPIU" Specific Pathological Internet Use
"GPIU" General Pathological Internet Use

The only criteria he gave was for the PIU. You need 6 of the following 8:
2)Need for longer amounts of time on-line
3)Repeated attempts to reduce Internet use
4)Withdrawal when reducing Internet use
5)Time management issues
6)Environmental distress
7)Deception around time spent online
8)Mood modification through Internet use

I'm not sure if I really meet criteria but I start browsing and then all of a sudden an hour has gone by and I have gotten nothing accomplished.

I have issues with not getting things accomplished.

Yes, I paid my bills today, cleaned the kitchen, fed the kids and went grocery shopping...but instead of writing I am here, once again (after wasting all sorts of times looking at other people's blogs - do you know how many bizarre blogs there are out there??)

I'm going now...

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Writing Movies

I'm a novelist - and after five novels, I have sort of rhythym I get into while I'm writing. Kind of like jumping in and finding that perfect current to take you down the river.

But writing movies? It's a whole different beast altogether. It's like working with oils when all you've done is charcoals. The thing i miss the most is being able to write character's thoughts. All my novels are in first person - giving me the luxury of having easy access to the thoughts and feelings of my leading lady. But no go in a movie. I have to force myself to think differently - imagine other ways to make what I see on the screen in my head, show up on the page.

I really love it. Maybe it's because I do love new challenges and learning new things. But more than that, I love movies. When I get stuck I lean back and close my eyes...

What will happen next?

And then I let the movie roll in my mind. I can stop, pause, rewind and rewrite. I can find other ways to let the audience know what's going on in my character's mind.

But did I mention how hard it was? The less words I have to work with, the harder it is to produce them. I can write twice as much prose in the time it takes me to write a page of a screenplay - not what I expected. I have to stop and think more. I know what has to happen next, but how should it happen, what should it look like, where should it take place and who should be there?

So many questions.

So I'll keep you up to date on how it's coming. Now that I have an actual deadline, no more fooling around. It's time to get to work.

(So, Sarah, then why are you blogging? I know, I know, I'm going now...)

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Urging of the Lord

My grandmother, who lives in an apartment in our basement, got a phone call from her sister last night that another sister was in the hospital and "it didn't look good". My Great-Aunt Maggie had a stroke years ago and for as long as I've known her she has been in a wheelchair and unable to talk - she tries, but she's impossible to understand. She is just so sweet though, and her face lights up when she sees my kids! As soon as I heard how sick she was, I felt the Lord prompting me to go and see her. Now this is no easy feat - it's an eight hour trip with three kids six and under but...

I've learned to not ignore those urgings in my spirit. The Lord speaks to us in many ways. And different people experience His voice differently. But ignoring a prompting of the Lord? That's not something I want to do anymore. I want to endeavor to live a life without regrets - one where I went when He said "go".

Besides. I'd rather go see her and give her a hug now...then just go the funeral later. And it will only be a blessing if we go now - even if this turns out to be a false alarm, we've still been able to give her a smile and let her know how much we love her.

So even as my mind races over the crazy logistics of a Memorial weekend trip and how much more I can get done if I stay here and the deadlines that are fast approaching and...

well, does any of it really matter if He says to go?

Here's to going...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

And Jack saves the day

...not that we all didn't know that he would.

But it's still fun. For those of you who have not been obsessively sitting in front of your televisions at 9:00 PM every Monday night - I'll spare you all the details. But I wanted to point out a few things that make 24 one of the best shows on television. Spoilers abound so read at your own risk if you're waiting for the DVD release.

- it's designed like a movie with character issues as well as a fantastic plot. We care about these people, and yet the producers are willing to axe characters if it works for the story. That makes us a little nervous during the entire show. Except for maybe Jack - everybody is expendable - and yet even he died last night. I could go on and on about this because there were some really great character moments - I knew what Jack was feeling...thinking. That's good stuff. I was as worried about his relationship with Audrey as I was about the missle headed towards a major US city.

- The threats they face are frighteningly realistic. And the bad guys - well, 24 took a risk by making most of the bad guys radical Muslims so soon after 9-11. I like it when they take risks. Yes, there are Muslims who are not suicide-bombing radicals (and we have Keifer's PSA to remind us of that - please!) but the fact is that they are the major threats to this nation - and remain so even in 2005.

- The plot is well-designed and twists you through one very long day. One plot beat leads to the next, and the next until you see how they are all connected together. And they are connected together. Some shows forget to make that work (case in point, Alias this season...). I think they were a little more lax on the real time aspect this year - I noticed several times where they didn't leave enough time for a character to actually do something (be somewhere) - but I can forgive that.

- The episodes were run back to back. This was a great thing I think because it was quite frustrating to hear "In two weeks" "In three weeks" during the promos for the next show. But waiting until next January for Day 5 - well, that's just too far away if you ask me.

- Bold ending this year. I can't help but wonder what will happen because Jack is basically a dead man. How are they going to get him back in a position where he can save the world again? I'm sure they will - but it's the how that's so much fun.

- Movie quality on television. If there were movies that were 24 hours long, this is one I'd actually sit through. I missed the first season of 24 - Jeff and I just weren't that interested in it. But FX ran a "24 hours of 24" that summer and we impulsively decided to tape it and give it a try. The six video tapes sat for a long time until one night, with nothing else to watch, we popped the first one in. It was all over and we watched three to four a night because we just couldn't wait to see the next episode. Very little can make me do that. Well - except for Lost. And that one's coming tomorrow...

So - stay away from 24 if you don't want to get hooked...cause a whole new day will be coming for Jack.


Friday, May 20, 2005

Joan's Demise

"I think talking to ghosts may skew younger than talking to God," CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves said Wednesday.

This quote was tacked onto the end of the article telling about the cast's reaction to the cancellation of the Joan of Arcadia series. I have the last four episodes of this season waiting on my Tivo and was saddened to hear about the loss of the show.

Yes, I have some theological issues with some of what happens on Joan - we could debate that until Jesus comes back. And yes, I had a problem with Joan's irreverance of God. But it was an all-too-real picture of the way many people in our culture treat God. Just look at how often His Name is taken in vain around us - something that is recorded in the Ten Commandments of all places! We live in an irreverant society. We live in a world where CBS studio execs think talking to ghosts may prove more profitable.

Even with it's flaws, what I loved about Joan was that they asked the hard questions. Joan's brother is paralyzed in a car accident and she asks God the question we would all want to ask - Why. But instead of giving trite answers, the show often made you think and God often responded with another question. We were challenged to believe that there was more at work than what we can see. That we don't always understand how it's all connected but Somebody does. It was a great thing to have on Television. A great opener to talk about the deeper issues of faith and following God.

Joan got a bad rap sometimes for the way she spoke to God face-to-face - but to be honest, how often do we repsond to Him with whining, complaining or outright disobedience? I am often guilty and my discomfort with Joan often pointed to deeper issues in myself. And this on prime-time television.

I won't be watching The Ghost Whisperer, just as I didn't watch Medium. I take issue with our culture' willingness to lump all things supernatural into some "spiritual" category that tries so hard not to offend people that it ends up saying nothing of value - and indeed perpetuates the erroneous myth that the "afterlife" is a place we all go.

Enough ranting for today. But I will be watching with interest what happens this fall.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Too Much Information!!

I will preface this post by saying that at 32, I don't consider myself an old dog. But learning new tricks is hard on me. I like things to be quick and easy and learning website design has been neither.

In the last six months I've learned to add content to my website, add a few graphics. Change some basic stuff. But the one thing I want on my website has sent me on this frustrating journey of website acronyms. Why does everything have to be initials? PHP, ASP, CGI, DNS, - I tell you I'm so lost I'm not sure I'll ever find my way out of this mess.

So after three days of staring at my computer, downloading and uninstalling programs I went out and bought one of those "Dummies books". Maybe if I learn to actually use my designing program - Dreamweaver MX - maybe I'll have a shot at learning what I need to do to make the website work like I want it to.

But did I mention there are like a hundred other things I need to be doing - namely - WRITING! I need proposals to my agent by the end of the month. I need to be submitting queries for three article ideas. I need to be cleaning my house!

But what am I doing? I'm trying to write up quizzes to add to my website.

I told my husband that if I try to shove any more information into my head I may just start babbling like my two-year old and sucking my thumb.

I sure hope it doesn't come to that!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A Time to Grieve

Today I sepnt the day going through some boxes from my father's office. As many of you know I lost my father to Pancreatic cancer last November. I have been responsible for dealing with his business and sorting stuff out. And every time I look at all of that stuff, it's just hard.

I stare at his terrible handwriting and spelling and just want to cry.

It all happened so suddenly that I still find that I have to remind myself that he's really gone - not away on some extended vacation. And there's no rhyme or reason to why sometimes I feel more upset about it than others.

Maybe it's that Father's Day is coming up - and it will be my first without a father.

Maybe it's the fact that I found the Father's Day Card (yes, i sometime buy cards in advance when I find a great one)that will now go unsent and unopened.

Maybe it's the little post-it note that I left on his computer just a few weeks before he died - before any of us knew he was sick, and knowing that's the last note he read from me.

Maybe it's watching my kids celebrate birthdays knowing that he won't be around to watch them grow up.

Maybe it was writing the dedication for my book to him.

Maybe it's talking to an old friend I haven't seen in a while and sharing about his death all over again.

My husband tells me I'm perfectly normal - that going through waves of grief is to be expected. He even tells me that someday it might not hurt this bad.

I hope he's right.

And meanwhile, I just let it hurt. Comforted only by the fact that I have a wonderful Father in Heaven who is near to my sorrows and acquainted with my sufferings.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


I get overcomitted very easily. I went through this season for months where I had only my regular responsibilities and then just in the last few weeks I suddenly have all of these new "opportunities".

I call them opportunities because they are all good things to do, things that I have a heart for but it's like trying to choose paint from a paint chip - there's too many choices and you're not sure what it's really going to look like in your house. I may want to do X, but don't want to get down the road and realize then that I've taken on too much. Nope, I'd rather know that on this side of it. The Word tells us that we should "count the cost", because everything has a cost.

Deciding what to say yes too and what to say no too has to be a prayerful decision because I know my weakness of jumping into something good and paying a high price in stress. And as I look at this new crop of possibilities, I'm just not sure.

Especially since I've been taking a Bible Study on Priorities the last six weeks and it's made me much more aware of the difference between my priorities and God's priorities for me.

I'm just not sure why everything always happens in such a flood. It's never one little thing at a time it's five of them at the same time.

But once again, that something that makes us more dependent on Him - and that's the way He likes it.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mothers and the Great Baby Debate

Yesterday there were a lot of moms at my house. My mother, my grandmother, my aunt and a cousin - and me. Me with my three little girls.

I truly love being a mom and though there are days that I am as frazzled as any other mother - I think it's the best job in the world. My oldest daughter tells me, "Mom, you're the best mom in the whole world." But I think I'm the blessed one to have such great kids.

And that brings me to the Great Baby Debate. My youngest is a little over two now and if I'm going to have anymore, I'd rather do it sooner than later. I've never been the type that wants everyone spaced out. My philosophy is : if you're changing diapers, you're changing diapers, whether it's one or two doesn't matter that much to me.

My husband felt certain that we were done, but I have been so back and forth on the issue that I'm afraid I've made him wishy-washy on the subject too and now he's pretty open to it either way. I have friends that struggle with infertility - and I know they suffer deeply over that so it is not with flippancy that I say that I don't struggle with it. I am very grateful for the fact that we've been able to conceive quickly - but therein lies the challenge. If we decide we want to try, then we most certainly will be having another baby - so I don't want to throw caution to the wind unless we're sure.

And I am so not sure.

The decision to have another child can be approached from many different angles. We could choose to make a calm, rational decision based on lists of the good side and the bad sides (labor & delivery being at the top of my list). But I firmly believe that the Lord has a plan for each of us - certainly He knows better than me what the design of my family should look like. I want it to be completely a spiritual decision - not an intellectual, financial or emotional one.

But we just don't know. I have not heard from God yet on this one and I wonder if my own hormones and instincts (or even just being in the proximity of a pregnant woman or young baby) will allow me to hear clearly even if God told me. And what I am feeling (that we should have another one) often gets mixed up with another part of me that says that I feel content with our family now.

And I just don't have an answer yet. But boy do I want one.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Fun Stuff...

Kim over at Abba's girl (see Blogroll, I'm too lazy to look up and hyperlink it:-) posted some fun tests she took here . I popped over there and took this one. These are my results.

Your Linguistic Profile:

50% General American English
30% Dixie
20% Yankee
0% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

I laughed at this because it shows my family's gypsy nature as I was growing up. We lived in five different states from Georgia to Conneticut. I know all sorts of terms for different things. Some of my favorites:

Yard sale, tag sale, garage sale, rummage sale

Submarine, sub, hoagie, hero

Anyhow - I could probably think of more but I should be leaving for my meeting and here I am playing...

What ones do you know?

The Worldwide Church

Finally back to blogging!

I had Internet troubles and that's putting it mildly. It's pretty sad how dependent I've become on my Internet access - probably also tells me that I spend too much time online.

But the Internet is such an amazing tool! Over the weekend I got to meet someone that I had met over the Internet. We had some mutual ideas and so we met for coffee after talking on the phone. I was pleasantly surprised to find a true kindred spirit, a new friend, and had it not been for the Internet I don't know how we would have ever met since we live hundreds of miles away from each other. Yes, before the Internet, God was quite capable of getting people to where they needed to be, butI can't help but think that the Internet opens up so many more possibilities. Not only to build relationships with one another, but for bringing unity to the Body of Christ.

As with most things, the Internet has some truly awful things on it. Satan will always try to taint and spoil anything he can. But instead of simply driving us away, Christians should continue to look for the potential that lies in this marvelous tool. And I think we've only scraped the surface because in many ways, we are still very disjointed and disconnected from one another. We still tend to divide ourselves over the differences instead of finding our similiarities. Maybe we would be saltier and lighter if we truly learned what it means to be part of a body - not a whole body by ourselves.

Anyhow, it's good to be back. Blessings to you on this Monday!