Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Things Say The Darndest Things

Today's entry will make me the billionth person to ever blog about things their kids have said that made them laugh. Look on the bright side - it may not be the most original post ever, but I'm blogging two days in a row, so chill. Sam is almost 5, and Sara will be 4 in a few months. They're adorable, they're my kids, and this is my blog. Besides, I'm the only one reading this anyway. :)

One day last week I was taking my son Sam to soccer practice. His sister Sara was with us - she likes to color Cinderella pictures while Sam practices. On the drive to the practice facility, Sam asked "Daddy, how was the Earth made?" I told him that God made it. He replied "I know, but how did He make wood?" I explained that He made trees, and when we need wood, we chop down trees to get it. Having remained unusually quiet up to this point, Sara interjected. In a very matter-of-fact tone she announced "You know - beavers are better than scissors." Good to know.

After church last Sunday, my wife Carey and I were quizing the kids about what they learned in Sunday School. "We learned about Adam and Eve." Sam informed us. He proceded to tell us that "Adam was the first guy that God made. Eve was the second guy."

Sara also had her take on the morning's teaching. "They lived in a garden. But they ate the apple. They shouldn't have done that."

Carey asked Sara who told them to eat the apple. "The SNAKE!" Sara shouted.
"And what was the snake's name?"
"Hmmm." Sara thought for a moment. "Mister Snake." Close enough.

I have a job interview tomorrow. I've read a lot about the company, and the position I'm interviewing for. I think I'm a good fit. I pray this is the job that God has in mind for me. If not, well, let's just hope I don't freeze up during the interview. I can see it now...

"Mr. Scott, can you tell me the fastest way to move ORACLE tablespace between systems?"
"Um...well, beavers are better than scissors."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Yeah, I know. It's been over two months since I've update this blog. Sorry about that. If you've read back a few entries, you'll see that after 18 years with the same company, I was laid off. For the last few months, my writing has been confined to resumes, cover, and query letters. Some people might say it's the best fiction I've yet produced. Hopefully none of those people are hiring managers.

But I'm not here today to bore you with my employment situation. Instead, I want to write about the amazing blessings that have come to my family since my last post.

God has shown himself to my family so clearly over the last few months. He has used friends, family, and anonymous donors to show us His love.


I few weeks ago, my 4-year-old son asked if we could go out to lunch after church. I told him no, that we were trying to save money where we could while Daddy was out of work. He and my 3-year-old daughter were disappointed - going to Red Robin for lunch and a balloon on Sundays is a tradition for our family.

We pulled up to a ATM to get some money before going to Target for some household items. Looking back, I don't know why we did that, as Target accepts our ATM checkcard. I tried unsuccessfully to insert my card into the machine. It wouldn' take my card - wouldn't even let me insert it into the machine, let alone input my code. I tried a second time, figuring I was holding the card at the wrong angle or something. Nothing. I was about to roll up my window and drive away when a series of mechanical clicks and clunks drew my attention back to the machine. The words "Please take cash" appeared on the screen, and $40 popped out, no receipt.

It was the best Red Robin lunch we've ever had. And when we got home, the kids let the balloons go, sending them up to Jesus to thank him for His gift.

The Gift Card

Last Saturday, my wife picked up the mail on her way home from the store. Among he various catalogs and junk mail was an envelope with no return address. She opened the envelope and pulled out a greeting card. The verse let us know that a lot of people are praying for us, and was signed "A Friend." Inside was a $150 Walmart gift card. My wife had planned on going to Walmart on Sunday to buy things for our son's birthday, which is coming up in a few weeks.

The Gift For Our Children

We send our children to a private Lutheran school. It isn't cheap, but we felt that sending them to a school that allowed them to talk and learn about God was important, even if it put a strain on our finances while I'm out of work. A few weeks ago, my wife went to the school office to buy some script - gift cards for Safeway. We are big supporters of the script program - a portion of every dollar we spend goes towards the school, and another portion goes to our children's tuition. The woman in the office asked my wife if she wanted the good news in person or in a letter. Not a big fan of drawing out the suspense, my wife asked for the news in person. She was informed that an anonymous donor had paid our children's tuition for the next four months - a gift of nearly $1,300. When my wife passed the news on to me, I was just as stunned as she had been when she received the news.

These are just some of the incredible things that have happened in the two months I've been out of work. There have been other acts of kindness that we will never be able to repay, but I haven't mentioned them, as I think the people that came to our aid would rather not be recognized.

If by some chance, you're one of the anonymous donors that came to our aid, we can't thank you enough. Know that when we're able, we will pass your kindness along to another member of God's family that finds themselves in need.

And if you're an employee of a certain large bank with a stagecoach in the logo, I hope you don't plan on coming after me for the forty bucks.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Scenes and Beans Blog Goes Live!

If you're a fan of interesting marketing ideas in the publishing world, best-selling suspense author Brandilyn Collins is trying something interesting. This August, Zondervan will be releasing Violet Dawn, the first novel in Brandilyn's new Kanner Lake series. As you might expect from the title, the series will take place in and around the fictional town of Kanner Lake, Idaho.

As part of the marketing campaign for the series, Bailey Truit, one of the characters in the novel has a blog to promote tourism in Kanner Lake. Posts on the Scenes and Beans blog will be written from the point of view of the folks who frequent Java Joint, Bailey's coffee shop.

Brandilyn held auditions for writers to play the parts and write the posts. I was fortunate enough to be chosen to write one of the characters. The blog went live today, July 5th.

Head on over and check it out. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of Kanner Lake before the first book hits the shelves. Then in August, pick up a copy of Violet Dawn and read about the side of Kanner Lake the residents would rather you didn't know about.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Careful What You Pray For

Yeah, I know it isn't the most original title for a blog post. In fact, a quick Google search for the exact phrase returned over 33,600 hits. The phrase has been used as as the title for a book, a blog, even a 1975 episode of Kojak. But I digress. Original or not, it's appropriate for this post.

Some prayers are more dangerous than others. My three-year-old prays before bedtime, and while the content varys from night to night, the one constant is "Thank you for ponies and horses and all-of-that-stuff-that-we-like." Sweet, but not particularly dangerous. I'd always thought the most dangerous prayers were things like "Stretch me" and "Use me."

So, last weekend, as I struggled to crank out a lowly 280 words on my WIP (I'll tell you all about my WIP other time) I decided it was time for some prayer. You see, I've promised my wife that I won't attend the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference this September in Dallas if I don't have my novel finished. At my current pace, I should be able to attend the conference some time around 2011. And seeing as how I'm a finalist in the ACFW Genesis Contest this year, I'd sort of like to be there on the off chance I actually win something.

So, my prayer. I prayed that God would help me find more time to write. Not so dangerous, right? Wrong.

On Monday, I was informed by my employer since 1988 (We'll call them "Pewlett Hackard") that I was among a large group of people being let go. Beginning next Monday, I'll have four weeks to find a job in the company. I won't bore you with any more of the details. My point is, God answered my prayer. Hopefully, He's not done answering it. It's my hope that I end up with a job that requires more normal, 40-hour weeks. That alone would free me up to write more than the 60-hour weeks I'd been working in my old job.

People have asked me how I can be so calm, that after 18 years working for the same company, I'm not freaking out at the possibility of no longer being employed there. How will you pay the mortgage? How will you support your family? Aren't you stressed?

I'm not stressed, because I know God is in control of my life. He loves me as He loves all His children. He's brought me through far more serious situations than losing a job. I'm calm because to panic over this situation would show a lack of faith in His plan for my life.

If any of you out there are stressing over something - your writing, your bills, your relationships, whatever - just know that it's all part of His plan. Even in your darkest moments, have faith. Then ask yourself the question Kojak was so fond of - you can even slip a Tootsy-Pop in your mouth like Telly used to if you'd like.

Who loves you, baby?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

What are you doing here? Clearly, you've made a wrong turn and gotten yourself horribly lost on the internet. However, on the off chance that you got here on purpose, you have my condolences.

I'm guessing you've got two questions. First, "Why does this guy have a blog?" The simple answer is that I'm an aspiring novelist (Supernatural Suspense , and somewhere on the internet there's some guideline or rule that states all aspiring novelists need a blog. I think it has something to do with needing a place to help market our books. If you got here, you could probably find a website that verifies this. If not, then you'll have to take my word for it.

The second question niggling at your mind has got to be "Why name a blog Dark and Disorderly." Because Forensics and Faith was already taken. Okay, that's not true. I mean, yes, Forensics and Faith is already taken (by author Brandilyn Collins, who has made it an infinitely more entertaining and educational place to visit than this), but no, that's not why I picked this name. I wanted a name that reflects my writing, how I approach it, and what I hope to accomplish with it.

Paraphasing the dictionary:

Dark - showing evil traits, possessing depth and richness.
Disorderly - acting in a manner which disturbs the order of.

I want to write stories that shine God's light. For me, the most effective way to do that is by shining it in the darkness. The beam of a flashlight is hard to see in the light of day; it's only in the darkness that it shines brightest. Only then can one really appreciate how valuable, how lifesaving it can be.

I dont' want to write a piece of Christian Fiction in which the hero is all good, the villian all bad, and all the Godless heathens accept Christ on page 241. I want to shake up the order of things. There are some amazing writers doing that now, the most recognized are probably Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. I want to help them shake things up more. And get more people thinking about Him.