All posts by Lorelei Sawtelle

Believer, wife, mother, reader, writer, teacher, grandmother, gardener, crafter, fun, happy, silly,

Inklings and Critiques

I have two small groups that meet on a regular basis.  One meets every Sunday morning at 8:30.  That group I call Inklings.  On Sunday mornings the lesson can go out the window and sometimes does.  This group’s primary goal is for each member to get one step closer to Jesus.  And then, one more step closer.  We also do a small craft item.  Some of the members are phenomenal artists.  Makes me wonder what I’m doing leading this awesome group.  This week we are setting up notebooks for the class, and making name plaques.

On the second Friday night of every month a group of serious writers meet at my house.  That group is Inklings Critique.  We read each other’s submissions and mark all over them.  Some of our comments are funny.   (My fifteen-year-old is a  grammar Nazi and a comedian.)  Most of the comments are constructive.  Most of the comments are words.  Did I mention that my daughter is also an artist?  She can be very informative with  tiny sketches.

This week’s words are:

archetype:  typical example of someone or something.  The archetypical cowboy wears boots, jeans, and a western hat.  His name decorates the back of his leather belt.

assiduous:  showing great care.  Assiduity is the constant attentive concern to what one is doing.

avaricious:  Greedy!  having (or maybe showing) an extreme greed for wealth or material gain or goods.  stingy, penny pinching, ungenerous

avuncular:  Uncle-ish.  His avuncular good humor and patience won the day.

imbroglio: an extremely confusing, complicated, or embarrassing situation or mess!  It was quite an imbroglio when her  husband and boyfriend both showed up drunk and angry.

Here’s to a wonderful week for you and yours. I hope you enjoyed the blog and vocabulary.

Lorelei

Isaiah 40:31

 

 

 

 

I need your help.

A tiny gift, almost weightless, lay in my hand. I was scared. It hurt to admit my trepidation, even to myself.  Even though my part was insignificant, the occasion was so very important, quite possibly life or death, but I’d never know the outcome for sure if it wasn’t life. My friend, Shala was adopting from Africa. What would happen to the child if she didn’t adopt? It is a question without answer, except to our faithful God.

She’d shown me a necklace she wanted. Expecting from Africa, the pewter words lifted from the small charm. It was $80.00, plus shipping and handling. I couldn’t justify or afford the expense. My heart had been torn. Our budget couldn’t be stretched that far. But, I wanted desperately to give it to her.

“God,” I prayed. “Please let someone give it to her. If it can’t be me, let someone who can afford it get it for her. You know my financial situation. We tithe and give offerings.  Our budget is stretched thin.  I want her to have it.”

His voice sounded like he was smiling. “So, if you can’t give her that, what can you give her?”

I frantically searched my brain for anything I had that resembled a pregnant Africa. I found nothing. “I don’t have anything.” It was honest.

He still smiled. “What can you make?”

“I don’t have a foundry. I could make her one if I had a foundry, but I don’t have any way to melt the lead or tin to make it.”

I felt him sigh, “What do you have?”

By now I realized I wasn’t clueing up to what he had in mind. “Give me wisdom. Give me knowledge. I don’t know what to do.”

In reply, he flashed a picture into my mind. It was a stack of paper-clad 1/8” thick sheets of acrylic that I’d purchased a few weeks earlier so I’d have materials of my own to use and use up while I learned to run the laser engraver at work. The company had purchased supplies for the projects and a little extra in case of mistakes, but I’d wanted to experiment with colors. The small piece of clear pink acrylic was lying atop the stack. “Make Africa.”

Today, I had the small pink Africa in my hand; I had three of them. Two had been turned into earrings and one into a charm for a necklace. I handed the result of my hours of work to my friend. A heart was cut out in the general area of Ethiopia. To see her smile had been my hope. It wasn’t the necklace that she’d wanted; I knew that. I had hoped, though, that she’d like this one, too. I had prepared myself for the possibility that she wouldn’t like it. Her joyful tears surprised me. In fact, her absolute delight astonished me. I shed a few tears myself.

Within three weeks Shala got the call to come get her daughter and take her to her forever home. She had been assembling gifts for the workers at the orphanage where her daughter was living and for the government officials who were in charge of the tiny girl’s release. She sought me out on Sunday morning. “How hard was it to make my earrings?” Reticence tinged her voice though I knew she fought it. I could see something in her face that surprised me. Excitement and something else. I knew she was going with several other families whose children had also been given final approval to leave the country. Did she have a particular friend who also wanted a set? I wasn’t sure what desire had prompted her question.

“Well, the first one was really hard. I had to learn how to use two different kinds of software. Now, though, if I want to make another one, all I have to do is pull up the right file and hit the print button. I saved it to a thumb drive and on the computer hard drive so I wouldn’t have to do it all again if you lost one.”

She smiled, “Can you make more, then? Fairly easily, I mean?”

I nodded. I could. I could cut out dozens at once. “How many do you need? I can hit print and walk away. The machine doesn’t need me to stay close.”

The upshot of the situation was that she needed 21 pair of earrings in a variety of colors. I also made some of them into charms and put them on key rings for the men who helped make the adoption possible. And then, a missionary from Germany saw them and wanted a few pair.

A few years later, our church bought three homes in Lesotho and started rescuing women and children out of human trafficking. I sent some earrings with our church members who moved there to help run the rescue operations. Many of my friends wear them. Earrings I’ve made are being worn on at least three continents.

But, God isn’t finished with me yet! Enjoying the earrings is a start for the thousands of women who wear them, but the more important part is praying for the women and children trapped in trafficking. That is where I need your help. Please, say a prayer a day for the people who are being trafficked.  I need your help because they need our prayers.

Blessings,

Lorelei

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Matt 25:40

 

Thank God, I’m perfect.

Actually, I’m not.  Everyone who knows me knows for sure and certain that I am not perfect and don’t pretend to be.  Still, I wish my friends could be better examples for me.

This week’s words are mostly in the ‘a’ section of the dictionary.  I love learning new words and hope you do, too.

  1. absquatulate:  when it’s funny that someone leaves in a hurry, you can say they absquatulated.  So, I guess the definition is a laughable leaving.
  2. acerbic:  this word usually refers to someone’s speech.  For example, his acerbic wit.  Think acidic or sour, sharp, biting words.
  3. alacrity:  brisk and cheerful readiness.  The students changed into their Halloween costumes with alacrity.  (So would I for a plastic pumpkin full of candy.)
  4. animus:  hostility, ill wishes, evil thoughts.  He prepared the noose with more than the usual animus.  (Think animosity.)
  5. conker:  I couldn’t resist this one (I tossed anthelmintic in its favor.)  A conker would be an acorn if it fell from an oak tree instead of a horse chestnut tree.  Since I’ve never seen a horse chestnut tree or a conker either, for that matter, I shall leave you to enjoy this post and go look up images of conkers and horse chestnut trees.

Blessings,

Lorelei

Isaiah 40:31

Spring is on its way.

Seed catalogs!  Flowering shrubbery, hydroponically grown tomatoes with tender skins, silver maples fluttering their praises to a giving God.  I am ready for spring!

I’m ready to mow the yard, plant the garden, and I hope my apple tree will put on apples this year–even though it is barely taller than me.

But for now, all the promise of life outside lies hidden under the guise of death awaiting spring.  Plant corn when oak leaves are the length of the end joint on your thumb.  Plant your potatoes on March 17.  Plant peas on or near Valentine’s Day.  Wait a couple of weeks after planting peas to plant green beans.   Transplant your tomatoes outside on or after Tax Day (April 15.)  If there are any gardeners out there who disagree, please comment.  If I’m wrong, I need to change!

This week’s words are ingratiating, carapace, swarthy, smarmy, and swarmy.  I don’t remember where I saw swarmy, and was hard pressed to find a suitable definition for it.

  1. Swarmy:  creepy but not gruesome, sleazy.  He’s a swarmy jerk.
  2. Swarthy:  very dark, brown, olive skinned, rarely black or African, frequently Middle Eastern and especially Greek, usually refers to men not women, does not imply muscularity.  The man who stopped and helped me change my flat tire was tall and swarthy.  (No, I didn’t have a flat.  No, I don’t need help changing flats, but I do appreciate it.)
  3. Smarmy:  extremely polite or helpful, showing respect to such an extreme degree that it looks and feels insincere.  Those smarmy seventh graders are only looking for an easy A.  (No, it doesn’t help their grades, but I’d rather they act smarmy than threatening.)
  4. Ingratiating:  kind of a smarmy word, intending to gain favor or approval.  His ingratiating behavior made me think he was a seventh grader.
  5. Carapace:  the upper shell of a turtle or crustacean.  I made a rattle from the carapaces of two box turtles.  (No, I didn’t, but it’s a good sentence.)

I will be working on my entries (should have done it weeks ago) for the OWFI Contest!  Good luck to all the entrants!

Blessings,

Isaiah 40:31

Lorelei

Eat your words or choke on them.

The old adage says, “Be wary of the words you speak–of them oft you have to eat.”

I’m modifying that a bit, I’ve choked on words I’ve spoken.  And, more often, wanted to choke others for the words they spoke.  Like the erstwhile brother-in-law who asked my favorite aunt, “How’s that mean old man of yours?” Her reply? “He’s still dead.” I wanted desperately to reverse time fifteen seconds to choke the BIL before he got the awful words out.

My New Year’s Resolution is to help you along the same journey I’m taking.  I am intentionally expanding my vocabulary.  I have a cigar box where I keep words or phrases I find unusual or interesting—or strange. Erstwhile is a new word for me. I don’t know how I missed it for nearly sixty years!

Thank you to e e cummings for puddle-wonderful and mud-luscious. Thank you to unknown for drums of thunder.

One of my favorite authors, Linda Lael Miller, uses the word ubiquitous. Not everyone who tries to write cowboy stories has actually been on a horse. It is obvious to me that she’s been saddle-sore from long hours working on horseback. My own knees have buckled a time or two when getting out of the saddle after a long day of rounding up cattle on the river breaks. (We’d be at the river before sun-up, and were usually in bed before midnight—usually.) She describes the pain exquisitely.

I’ve been listening to Lady Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER series while I clean house or work out at the gym. She has a fantastic vocabulary. I get two or sometimes three new words out of each of her books. More often, I find new definitions or applications for the words I already knew.

I love Louis L’Amour. I must. I have a whole bookshelf with nothing but LL’A Books on it. I don’t find new words in his writing, but I’ve been reading them since I was in grade school.

Without further ado, here are this blog’s words in no particular order. Definitions are compliments of a variety of sources, including websites, people, and old fashioned paper dictionaries.

  1. hoike; to lift abruptly or pull upwards with great effort. She hoiked the soggy collie onto the examination table.
  2. amorphous; without a clearly defined shape or form. The fog alone wasn’t creating the amorphous ghosts between tombstones and statues.
  3. ubiquitous; pervasive, universal, found everywhere. Think about the teens at the mall with their ubiquitous earbuds.
  4. susurrus; whispering, rustling, or murmuring. I’d heard susurrus used to describe the wind in the pines and in the long prairie grass, but I hadn’t known it could rip a sword from its sheath. It surely can!
  5. unalloyed; pure. Copper is not an alloy, but bronze is. Bronze is made of copper and tin. Brass gets its “z” from zinc. Okay, I knew that! But, his unalloyed anger erupting with the susurrus of his sword being unsheathed from its metal encumbrance and re-sheathed in his enemy was a bit disconcerting.

There are your five words for the week. I invite you to send me your favorite words! I’d love to add them to my repertoire.

Happy writing and blessings to you and yours,

Isaiah 40:31

Lorelei

The words we eat–or choke on.

The old adage says, “Be wary of the words you speak–of them oft you have to eat.”

I’m modifying that a bit, I’ve choked on words I’ve spoken.  And, more often, wanted to choke others for the words they spoke.  Like the erstwhile brother-in-law who asked my favorite aunt, “How’s that mean old man of yours?” Her reply? “He’s still dead.” I wanted desperately to reverse time fifteen seconds to choke the BIL before he got the awful words out.

My New Year’s Resolution is to help you along the same journey I’m taking.  I am intentionally expanding my vocabulary.  I have a cigar box where I keep words or phrases I find unusual or interesting—or strange. Erstwhile is a new word for me. I don’t know how I missed it for nearly sixty years!

Thank you to e e cummings for puddle-wonderful and mud-luscious. Thank you to unknown for drums of thunder.

One of my favorite authors, Linda Lael Miller, uses the word ubiquitous. Not everyone who tries to write cowboy stories has actually been on a horse. It is obvious to me that she’s been saddle-sore from long hours working on horseback. My own knees have buckled a time or two when getting out of the saddle after a long day of rounding up cattle on the river breaks. (We’d be at the river before sun-up, and were usually in bed before midnight—usually.) She describes the pain exquisitely.

I’ve been listening to Lady Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER series while I clean house or work out at the gym. She has a fantastic vocabulary. I get two or sometimes three new words out of each of her books. More often, I find new definitions or applications for the words I already knew.

I love Louis L’Amour. I must. I have a whole bookshelf with nothing but LL’A Books on it. I don’t find new words in his writing, but I’ve been reading them since I was in grade school.

Without further ado, here are this blog’s words in no particular order. Definitions are compliments of a variety of sources, including websites, people, and old fashioned paper dictionaries.

  1. hoike; to lift abruptly or pull upwards with great effort. She hoiked the soggy collie onto the examination table.
  2. amorphous; without a clearly defined shape or form. The fog alone wasn’t creating the amorphous ghosts between tombstones and statues.
  3. ubiquitous; pervasive, universal, found everywhere. Think about the teens at the mall with their ubiquitous earbuds.
  4. susurrus; whispering, rustling, or murmuring. I’d heard susurrus used to describe the wind in the pines and in the long prairie grass, but I hadn’t known it could rip a sword from its sheath. It surely can!
  5. unalloyed; pure. Copper is not an alloy, but bronze is. Bronze is made of copper and tin. Brass gets its “z” from zinc. Okay, I knew that! But, his unalloyed anger erupting with the susurrus of his sword being unsheathed from its metal encumbrance and re-sheathed in his enemy was a bit disconcerting.

There are your five words for the week. I invite you to send me your favorite words! I’d love to add them to my repertoire.

Happy writing and blessings to you and yours,

Isaiah 40:31

Lorelei

Why do I hate certain websites?

I hate Bing.  It just ate my whole blog.  I’ll write more later.  I’ve tried everything I know to block it, but it must be part of the software that came preloaded on my machine.  I open a new tab and there it is.  (sound of grinding teeth.)

It isn’t surprising to me that the number one item searched on Bing is “GOOGLE.”

 

Blessings.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Lord.

 

Lorelei

Happy Holy-day

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holy-days.

When clerks tell me “Happy Holidays.”  I reply with “Merry Christmas and Happy Holy-day. ”  If nothing else, it does make them–and everyone else in line–think about their salutation.

I remember going out with Dad on the weekend after Thanksgiving and chopping/sawing down a tiny tree for our living room.  It always amazed me how much the tree stretched and swelled when we tugged it in through the door.  It was tiny outside and huge inside.  Some people are like that.  Not much on the outside, but all heart.

Ah, memories.  Hot tea with toast when the tree was decorated.  Dad made better tea than Mom did.  I think it was because he wasn’t worried about how much sugar we ate, he went to work and Mom was the one stuck in the house with five hyper kids.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Blessings,

Lorelei

Isaiah 40:31

That smells great!

I walked into my office where a beautiful zebra striped Scentsy warmer perfumes the air with coffee. Coffee? Coffee it is. I put a plain tea-light sans aluminum cup and a tablespoon of freshly ground coffee into the wax holder. I’m telling you it is awesome! The coffee was a gift from a friend who LOVES coffee. *Thank you Krista R.*
The first time–and every time since–that I’ve put coffee grounds in my warmer, I’ve been reminded of David’s prayer in Psalm 141. “May my prayers come before your presence like incense.”

Imagine this:
God is sitting on his throne surrounded by hundreds of adoring angels. His eyes are focused on one tiny makeshift altar here on Earth. His nostrils flare and God breathes slowly and deeply. A tiny trail of what might be smoke lifts from that tiny Earth-bound soul and spirals around our Holy Father in a peaceful, unhurried ballet. Saint Peter walks in and immediately his eyes track to God’s face and the strange smokiness that is almost an entity on its own.
Peter sniffs and smells the smoke. Just as God is almost mesmerized by the essence, so is our impetuous Peter. “I’ve smelled that a time or two before this. What is it?” He breathes in deeply, slowly almost drugged by the magnificent spice. It is quite unlike anything else–ever.
Peter repeats slowly, “W h a t i s i t?” He continues to pull the smoke into his lungs savoring, almost tasting the powerful emanation.
God says, “That’s what it smells like to me when Lorelei takes time out of her busyness and simply praises me. When she isn’t asking for anything for herself or anyone else. This is the greatest gift she ever gives to me. It is the powerful life changing praises from my favorite child.
“But,” Peter continues his questioning, “doesn’t she praise you every Sunday at church? Why don’t we smell it then?”
“We do smell it then.” God answers. “It is part of a bouquet then and not a single flower’s essence. It smells different, better when she makes time to spend alone with me. Isn’t it wonderful?”

“May my prayers come before your presence like incense.” May it happen often.

Blessings,
Lorelei