Burning Desire to Succeed – Writer Eulogies

For some really strange and weird reason, the thought of writing a biography errupted through the process of an interview yesterday with Danielle Simone. I’d been considering a biography, simply because there are things about my life that I believe my grandchildren (okay, I only have one now) might want to know at some point. Not because I’m a famous person or because I’m even someone who made a great impact on the planet, I believe I’ve left a relatively small footprint thus far, although, I’ve made a difference. But, rather because I’ve been an integral part of the lives of their parents.

Beyond my own grandchildren, there may be a few who would be interested in the life I’ve lived. Probably a few more who don’t give a rinky-dink about anything I have to say, anything I’ve accomplished, or anything that might have been caused by the fact that I raced time across planet earth, somewhere during the late 1900’s. To those folks, I can only say, you’ll never know what you’ve missed by not knowing me. To those who did know me, I’d want to thank you for making an impact on my life, for the breathless moments you shared with me, and for the breath taking moments we experienced together.

The real reason I’ve been thinking about a biography is that I have noticed successful writers have one that spills out the joy of writing and shares the purpose of their lives. Once joy and purpose are spilled out, success appears. A biography doesn’t have to be long or accomplished to be important, it can be simply a statement of joy and purpose. (I’ve been told, I’m redundant. I disagree.) I want mine to be an expression of the joy I’ve lived, the care and concern I’ve given others, and a gift of love that I can give back to my children and grandchildren.

An Epitat goes on the headstone, and mine should read “A blessing in word, deed, and seed. She has wonderful children.” Of course, it would be best if my ex-husband’s were not asked. I’m most certain they’d have a different epitat for me. Of course, I have a few blessed words for them as well, so if you don’t ask, I won’t tell.

The Eulogy is read after the demise, and most often written by the heirs of the demised (hopefully prior to the reading of the will). This short description of the dash between the years of birth and death leaves those behind with a view of a warm fuzzy person, caring and sharing, and often missed.

The biography, on the other hand, recognizes the importance of life before it is complete. Most often a Biography tells the story of how the person lived, the joy they gave to others, and the purpose of their life. A bio shares the philosophy and the concerns of the person and reveals the attempts at success as well as the achievements. But, more than anything else a biography does, the simple profound fact that a writer has a biography often implies the writer (or person) has accomplished something of value.

The value of a person’s accomplishments may be perceived differently from one person to another. Whether a writer offers great provisions and receives great awards may not be the only determination of value, but it probably has significant impact on their readers. At some point in life, I aspire to receive a pulitzer. The bigger goal is to write for people who read, to share the joy and the purpose of my life and to glean power and prestige for what is good and whole in life.

The Burning Desire to Succeed rests in my daily drive to complete my goal of loving more, giving freely, and sharing the most.


The Write One – Jan Verhoeff Writes

Early in those formative years as I started learning about life, I knew I wanted to write. There was only one solution to my desire to write. It had to be the foundational moment of conception. I’d have to write the real content of my heart.

Words appeal to me.

From the beginning the shape of words, the actual writing of the words meant something. I wasn’t sure what, but I spent hours writing words, one at a time until I got them down just right. I knew I needed to put the words on paper in perfect script. There were times I’d write one word for hours, just working the penmanship and writing that one word until it looked perfect between the lines.

Stringing words together.

After one word became perfect, I’d find another and string them together to formulate a thought. On rare occasions when the words became rhymes or poetic, I’d share them. But more often, I’d simply write them in my journal. I’d write one word at a time in perfect script into my journal, acknowledging the whole value of each stroke of my pen. The words adjoined to make a perfect thought, a sentence with value unto themselves.

Poetic license was born.

During a particularly long winter, I began arranging words around formative thoughts that described my favorite time of year. I’d write one word after another until I’d described the picture in my mind. During this time, words developed function and form, beyond the perfect script of the pen. They became poetic pictures of my life.

Plots thicken and jel.

Once I’d begun to write one scene, the rest of the plots began to jel and thicken in my mind. Delightful events escaped my pen, flying across the paper in words mingled with penmanship, guided by the write one, me. The story became real, living and vivid in words kept in check only by the time to place value between sentences and edged into focus, chiseled by the write one.

Characters were born.

Beyond the scenes, deep in the emotional connection of description, characters breathed life into the story. The write one expanded into creation and gleaned introduction to the spirit of inspiration, allowing the characters to flow, exist and live. The write one knew them. They were born of desire and need. Characters developed where none had lived before.

Daunting danger and mystery arose.

Out of the depths, I wrote the write one with daunting danger. Mystery arose and existed in havens of gilded pleasure and escape. Did the story line appear before the character or is the character living the storyline. Only the write one knows. Only, the write one knows…

Okay – so, I know this is literary prose at its very worst, but… The words escaped my finger tips, drilled into the white screen and appeared before me. I could hit delete… But, the words have a life of their own – and the write one knows.

Honking Geese Encourage the Masses

Encouragement comes in many forms. For me, it’s often the sound of geese honking as they fly over in V formation, to their winter or spring destinations. I never cease to be amazed at the structure and resources God provided nature.

Geese are a True Source of Wealth when you realize their Secret to Prosperity.

Continue reading Honking Geese Encourage the Masses

Snow on the pines…

The first snow of winter fell on November 14th in Denver, Colorado. Those who know me, know how much I love snow and rain, weather of most any kind, except for  the kinds that become treacherous with wind and damage. My favorite thing is to wake up to snow covered trees and lawn with a heavy fog outside. There’s just something incredibly wonderful about heavy fog and snow.

Outside the pines are dripping with snow and ice. The weather looks fine! I’ve got a big pot of stew cooking on the stove, pies ready to bake in the oven, and company coming. I can’t imagine a better day for winter to arrive. Life is sweet in the fall.

Have you ever noticed the apples ripen just in time for first frost? We pulled the last apples off the tree about a week ago, I prepared apple pie for the freezer and canned 20 jars of apple butter for the pantry. Life is good in Colorado.

Missinformed, Ignorant or Just Plain Stupid…

Life sometimes hands out a bowl of cherry pits, sans the fruit. This past week, I’ve experienced the PITS and someone covered them with LEMON Juice. The alternative of being depressed over what life hands you is looking for the opportunities entangled in the mess. The opportunity appears to be in adding heat.

If you boil cherry pits and lemon juice, add enough sugar, a little water, and eventually remove the pits, you can have jelly. Sour Cherry jelly sounds good on toast. But, in the meanwhile, I’m still smelling the sour fragrance of lemons and cherry pits boiling.

Choices must include other people. In order to be successful, you really must take into consideration other people involved in your life and contemplate the outcome of involving them or leaving them out. In my experience, it’s generally the other people who mess up your plans. No matter how well you’ve laid out the strategy, planned your actions, and programmed yourself for success, if other participants are required and they mess up, your plan can be ruined.

Such is the case with today. The reason for the pits and lemons include other people. The outcome of the jelly will also include other people. Very little in life can be accomplished alone. None of us is an island unto ourselves, we’re all dependent upon others for completion of our “plans”. I’m sure God created us in a unified manner to proclaim that we reflect off each other for a purpose. Good, bad or indifferent, we’re all pretty much in life together, stuck in a vaccuum packed unit that requires at least two to move in order for there to be motion.

The kicker comes in when one makes a promise, the other moves on the promise, and then the one who made the promise fails to carry through. Life goes awry, the vaccuum sucks air, and the world starts turning the wrong way.

Jan’s Philosophic View of Existence? Perhaps.

But it’s more than that… Life hangs in the balance when people promise and don’t carry through. We’ve grown up counting on others, and we need other people. We can’t live life alone. It just isn’t possible in this time and age. While it would be simpler, if possible. The reality is we need others to sustain us emotionally.

Be the thermostat, not the thermometer.

No matter what comes, you can determine your own outcome. (Yes, even after all I said earlier, I believe this.) You can determine that life will be what you want it to be. You may not be able to determine the outcome of your life, but you can determine the responses you give to life.

This morning, I behaved rather badly, in response to a disappointment. I truly reacted with disappointment, rather than as I should have, with gratitude that I can work and get things done today, instead of having fun… I have so much to do, a friend not coming to visit, could simply be God’s way of allowing me to get my work done, so I can have more fun later. Instead of being grateful, I felt tearful and dejected. Disappointment filled up my space, and I allowed tears to come in. Did it change anything? No. Nothing changed, but I didn’t get accomplished the things I need to accomplish.

I can change my reaction, and I’m doing so right now. Because I know that I don’t have to react this way. I can react in ways that will benefit me, my children, and my life. I can step beyond the strife and into the clear blue skies of satisfaction by changing my reaction to the disappointment.

People who are ignorant of the Thermometer Principle often go along reacting to life as it comes, never actually realizing that they can make a difference by simply choosing their reactions. People who are misinformed about the Thermometer Principle think they can change the outcome, by willing the event to be different. The event happens, you make a choice how you will react, but ultimately the event happened and you’ll have to work around the fact that it did happen and choose how to act after the fact.

Stupid people allow the events of life to control them and never acknowledge their responsibility for their own choices. My part of the cherry pits and lemon juice is the sugar. I can respond with a sweet continence and determination to make the most out of this mess, or I can allow the sour fragrance to eat up my presence in life and ruin my day.

I’m choosing sour cherry jelly for my morning toast… What about you?

Encourage me…

Those words have some heavy, life changing impact on me.

During my teen years, like many teenagers, I slipped deep into depression. I didn’t want to be in school forever. I didn’t want a career. I didn’t want what other kids wanted from life. I wanted to be a wife and a mom. I wasn’t set too firmly on the whose wife I wanted to be concept, but I did want the white dress and babies following not to far behind. It wasn’t happening. I suffered through school getting straight A’s on tests and messing up on the homework and other requirements, because (quite honestly) I didn’t care. I managed to get into college and found the man of my dreams, I thought… And settled for college. The man of my dreams had other dreams.

I drifted through college, work, and those next few years suffering every obstacle known to woman for messing up my dreams, then I met my first husband. My parents loved him. My sister thought he had possibilities. My friends adored him. I married him. Less than seven weeks into the marriage I knew why he hadn’t impressed me. I was pregnant. The divorce took five years and a toll on my life. The abuse of that first seven weeks lives on in me almost daily. I feel it every time I take a step. I see the damage, each time I look in the mirror.

My daughter is magnificent. She’s been a treasure for her whole life.

“Encourage Me” was the title of a book I was given way back in those early days after I left. While my tummy grew with the life inside, I needed encouragement. I needed to lean on my faith. My church tossed me out. I was pregnant, divorcing, and alone. My family had other issues. They were there for me, but not like I needed. How could they be, they weren’t the father of my child.

Encourage me… became my vivid plea to God. I knew He was there, looking down on me, listening. I knew He was. I had faith. I needed encouragement. I went back to college, worked full time, raised my baby girl alone. Life was okay, not good, but I survived.

I met a local man who appeared to love me and my daughter. I was beaten down, but he said he loved me, and I believed him. I tried to make the marriage that followed work. But, again, I’d failed. Whether it was God’s voice I wasn’t listening to or something else, regardless of the cause of failure, I failed. Three kids and several years later, my marriage was over. When he walked out of my life, abandonment was complete. He didn’t see me or the kids for several months, then years. Life crept on…

Again, I prayed for encouragement.

Through the years, I’d begun to see God’s encouragement as something different than I’d expected back there in high school. I began to recognize His encouragement in different ways. One of those ways was when I wrote, I’d see understanding, comprehension and peace in my writing. I recognized God’s hand in my work. The Source was feeding my soul and I knew it came from God. I knew God provided my gift of words.

Encouragement came in forms I didn’t fully understand to begin with, but as I lived life, I began to understand where His encouragement was coming from, and more importantly, where it was taking me. I gave God the lead in my life and allowed Him to take me down the paths that I’d dared not tread. A career, happiness, my children, and ultimately a home in the town I loved came together and I knew God had guided me there.

Encourage me… God’s courage works miracles!

Desparate Teens – Searching for Home

There’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed recently in American teens. While most pleasantly return home each night after their search for identity and comfort to parents who care and want them at home, there’s a segment of society who have no place to go. There’s a house where they receive their mail, their parent’s provide them a room and sometimes food, but there’s no home life in that house.

A few weeks ago, I handed a young man who is staying with us a key to the front door and he stood there staring at it for a little while, didn’t say a thing. Then he said, “You’re trusting me with a key?”

I wasn’t sure I heard what I thought, then I looked back over previous conversations with him and thought about what he’d said. If he was out after curfew, he wasn’t allowed in. He had to sleep over at a friend’s house, or on rare occasions his parents had left the back door open for expected nights out. He’d indicated that he had actually stayed in the driveway on some occasions, when he came in too late to get inside.

He spoke fairly well of his father, mentioning that he was hard, had been in the military and had high expectations of his children. This young man appeared normal in most instances, but occasionally I’d noticed a deep inner sadness. His self esteem is lower than normal and definitely not up to his current position in life. His ambition is low and unsettled. He isn’t secure in relationships and lacks necessary self esteem to succeed in life.

Our teens are desparate, searching for a home. In this young man’s case, he thinks he’s comfortable and has found a home, but he isn’t taking the steps necessary to maintain it. Will he be in that position next year? Perhaps not. His time is running out. He’s no longer a child, and yet… He desires to be treated as a child, snug and secure in his environment. The problem is… He’s an adult and should be working to create his environment.

How will our children learn to be responsible adults with loving cozy homes, if their home life is less than comfortable and cozy? If they have no memories of parents providing comfort for them, how will they know to provide for their own families? Our children are searching for home. Will they find it in time?

Burning Bush – The Warning of God

Well, the election is over.

I’d like to say I’m happy with the turn out, and although I realize it’s a choice of the majority. I have to admit that I’m not too happy. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to turn out. I’m not sorry that the majority of people had their say. I’m sad that the majority of people out there voted a baby killer into office. I can’t imagine where this next Presidential term will take us, and to be honest, I’d rather not. I’m trying very hard to focus on the good, the pleasant, and the positive.

With a Democrat in office, there’s that promise of rainbow stew and FREE bubble up as Merle Haggard so aptly put it in the late 60’s. As with the rest of the world, I’d like to think there might be a FREE LUNCH available. But, in reality, I’m not a fan. I know there’s a payday eventually and I don’t want to know the cost of four years of rainbow stew.

This blog is about writing, and today… I’m writing my thoughts. These are hopes, aspirations and dreams of an American girl.

I know that in reality, I will be the one who determines where my life goes. I understand that the presidential election only changes the general political concept, not the foundation of who I am and who America is. So, ultimately, my world isn’t changing much. The fabric from which I’m cut is still strong and secure in the knowledge that God is the head of my world and with Him, there is nothing I should fear. Therefore, I’m comfortable to lean on God and allow Him the power over Obama and future political issues.

But then, I look at the political fiber of the past two years and begin to think of the way our nation has strapped President Bush to the stake and lit the fire beneath him. President Bush stood tall and strong when our nation faced the greatest crisis of my lifetime, 9-1-1. This man took on his shoulders the weight of a nation brought down by terrorists and has literally be beaten to a verbal pulp over financial choices he didn’t make. His solutions to these problems may or may not have been the right ones, but he made them in good faith, as the President of this nation. He didn’t deserve to be burned at the stake for making choices when others faultered and fell. He deserves our support and encouragement as his term comes to an end and he returns to civilian life.

President Bush deserves the blessings of God and this country for his strength, his reserve, and his caring presence when this nation was in trouble. He deserves our gratitude and appreciation for a job well done, even when it wasn’t the best of times.

So, when you’re out there burning Bush and ripping him to shreds, consider for a moment that the last time there was a burning Bush – God warned the world. This may be a warning!