Tag Archives: writing

Chasing Fireflies: A Midsummer Blogging Update

“I assumed everyone had fireflies,” said my friend. We stood on her porch at dusk watching my son spin and dart around her yard, chasing the tiny, mid-air pulses of light. “But they don’t. People are surprised to see them here.”

tree canopy

tree canopy

Growing up in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, I assumed the same. Fireflies are a given of summer. Since we moved back from the Midwest last month, I realize everyone doesn’t have them. Not the way we do here.

We didn’t have fireflies like this during our 16 years away. Chicagoland drowns them out with stronger, artificial lights. I vaguely remember them flickering in our yard in St. Louis, but that was rare. And their floating courtship didn’t stand a chance against the winds of Wichita.

Here they flourish. Waves of them parade through the night in the deep woods near our little rental house. We walk the trails in daylight and find them dark and hiding in the cool of the forest.

The first week we arrived, we walked those trails like destitute people who’d happened upon a cathedral. The rich green of thick vegetation flooded us. We took shelter under the canopy of tall trees. We breathed it in. An enchanted forest, steps away from our front door.

The dog refused to come into the house that first week. She would go out, but she wouldn’t come back in. The disruption of movers followed by driving across the country with my husband only to be met with movers again didn’t sit well with her. She’s adjusting; I still carry her back into the house some days.

Corinth

Corinth

My son and I made the drive incrementally from Wichita to North Carolina alone. We stopped along the way in interesting, important places: Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Memphis, Corinth and Shiloh, Chattanooga. People have asked if I was scared driving all that way by myself with a child. No, I wasn’t scared. I was thankful I could do it.

Once we were moved in, my husband hit the ground running with his consulting work. He’s very busy, and we’re grateful.

My son and I are taking things slower, exploring our way through the summer and adjusting much like the dog. I’ve seen only a  fraction of the many people I want to see. Sixteen years is a long time to make up for being gone. Some things have changed. Others haven’t.

“Do you have a to-go cup I can pour this Coke into?” I asked the man at the counter of the barbecue restaurant. I love North Carolina barbecue. Eaten it twice already since we arrived. It’s comfort food to me. Makes everything better.

“No, we don’t have no to-go cups.” The whites of his eyes flashed up at me from his downturned, brown face.

“Oh,” I said. Just like the city. No margin for courtesies. Then I caught his smile.

“Here you go,” he said, handing me a cup, punctuated with a belly laugh.

“You have quite a poker face,” I said and laughed with him.

“I also work in drug and alcohol law enforcement,” he said. “I need a poker face.”

Later that day, my son and I took to the woods again, this time on our bikes.

forest path

forest path

We zipped through the forest in late afternoon, cutting the humidity like a boat cuts water. Rain from the night before had overflowed the creek banks and shifted the sandy trails. We ducked off the path to maneuver around fallen trees whose soggy roots had given way. Our wheels spewed flecks of gravel as they spun around.

Soaked with sweat and water, we reached the turn to go back to the house.

“Do we have to go in?” said my son.

“We can ride more tomorrow,” I said.

Today is only the beginning.

 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Eccesiastes 3:11 NLT

For King and Country, Middle of Your Heart.

What has your summer held for you?

Like fireflies in a city, my posts have been rare this summer. Thank you for your readership and your patience as my family makes this major relocation.

Martha Stewart, image credit David Shankbone

Martha Stewart, image credit David Shankbone

My work as a Project Underblog contributor continues. In June, Martha, May I? was published, and in July, A Clinique Conspiracy Theory was published. A third post is on tap for August. I invite you to click on the titles to read these stories. If you blog, consider stepping out and submitting a story to Project Underblog for publication. They are a supportive, safe community of writers~#smallandmighty!

I plan to attend the BlogHer conference in Chicago next week. It promises to be a fun time with my blogger sisters. If you’re there, please contact me @AimeeWhetstine on Twitter so we can connect IRL.

You may remember Listening to the Women of Monsanto was published this past May as a BlogHer Original Post. It was a well-read story for me. What’s next? That’s the question I’ll ponder at the conference and beyond. I must remind myself, as do we all, today is only the beginning.

photo credit: david_shankbone via photopin cc

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Happy Birthday, Blog

How do you wish a blog a happy birthday?
Let’s bring in the birds for an avian rhapsody soiree.

image by wili_hybrid via flickr

Click to read “Birds on a Ledge.” Image by will_hybrid.

April 23, 2012

Click to read “Nestful of Blessings.”

parrot by rotorod creative commons license

Click to read “Parrot Island.” Image by rotorod.

Flowers are essential.

single pink peony

Click to read “An Unexpected Post.”

lamb's ear, iris and Baptista in J's garden last spring

Click to read “Paper Weight.”

dillon's daffodil

Click to read “Missing Alex.”

And we must put up a sign.

sit up get God

Click to read “Everyday Q&A.”

private property

Click to read “Privacy Schmivacy.”

power mom sign

Click to read “The Lie of Having It All.”

Happy Birthday, everyday epistle.
Thank you for two fun, adventurous, unexpected years.

The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3 NIV

hair model

Gonna get my hair done for this occasion. Click to read “Gray.”

Music flashback: The Sign by Ace of Base.

What will you celebrate today?

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Reader’s Choice ’12: Poetry Slam Party

Like poetry, Corey Turner is an old friend of mine.

Corey Turner

Corey Turner

Corey’s quip about turning 40 inspired last year’s most-read post, I Like My Bike. He’s a poet the same way I’m a poet—unpaid, part-time, hobbyist. We have a thing for words.

It should come as no surprise when I asked him for his Reader’s Choice post, Corey delivered it along with the words for its introduction. And so I yield the floor to the gentleman from South Carolina.

Aimee and I shared a classroom once, a rogue’s gallery of earnest and earnestly irreverent undergraduates who each of us thought perhaps we might have something to do with Poetry. Someday, anyhow.

But in the intervening years, many of us from that classroom have fallen sadly out of touch with the stanzas that spoke so powerfully to us when we were younger.

April of this past year stood duty as National Poetry Month. And via the magic of the internet, that month rapidly became something of an opportunity to reconnect with those all manner of old familiar friends on the page. Aimee’s post here was part and parcel of that, her readers sharing poems that had leapt off the page for them.

Long ago, some. More recently, others. Regardless, it was immediately apparent if they had ever leapt once, they are still leaping, those poems.

And so sharing good poetry is still, as it always was, a dangerous game. What leapt for one reader will often strike another. Sometimes in unexpected, usually in exceptional, and almost always in provocative ways.

But then again, that’s why we read and share these sorts of things in the first place, isn’t it?

Save the date, everyone. Come April, you’re all invited to a party. Corey’s Reader’s Choice is:

Poetry Slam Party

poetry sign

click to read Poetry Slam Party

readers choice

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Advent

Growing up, I couldn’t talk without my hands. 

tis the season

tis the season

I had to animate to express my words. Ask my childhood friends; they’ll tell you. If I wasn’t allowed to use my hands in a conversation, the conversation ended. Can anyone else relate to this?

For almost two years, I’ve been learning to talk with my blog. 

The phrase “don’t blog about it” is the kiss of death. It feels very much like a challenge. Don’t blog about it? Oh, yeah? We’ll just see about that!

This past year I wrote about a lot of different things, including some subjects nice, Christian, mommy bloggers normally avoid: abortion, terrorism, politics, Chick-fil-A.

I fear I’m not finished yet. The stream hasn’t run dry. 

My mind is crowded with stories waiting to be told. They stand in line like patrons at the post office in December, restless and impatient. There are inspiring stories about attorneys who become novelists, dancers who become designers, soldiers who become entrepreneurs. Stories of devotion and loss and the able hand of Providence for people who are often overlooked.

self-portrait

self-portrait

There are more words to remember. More verses to consider. More characters to meet. More humor, I hope. More surprises, I’m sure. More Grace (much more Grace) and more Love (much more Love) to cover a multitude of sins. More meals to cook; I didn’t forget our recipe series. Autumn just unsettled me a bit and bumped me off track.

But now we’re entering winter.

Perhaps it’s good to be unsettled. It spurs me on to pursue Peace. To find a way to get the words out.

Maybe there will be snow this winter covering the ground like a clean, white sheet of paper. I imagine the endless folds of the Flint Hills flush with snow against the backdrop of a smooth, clouded sky. White, white, white. Punctuated by wind, wind, wind.

What words will be written on your winter? What stories will be told in the new year? Huddle together by the fireplace and drink a cup of kindness with me.

We’ve so much left to discuss. 

“But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings…” Malachi 4:2 NLT

Winter Song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.

Joyeux Noel

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.
Thank you for being part of this community.
Please join us for Reader’s Choice 2012 and a look back at some favorite posts from this past year. 

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An Uncommon Meeting

Syndicated on BlogHer.com

This post was syndicated by BlogHer on 9.20.12 and featured in the BlogHer Conferences Newsletter on 10.3.12.

I wanted to eat my breakfast.

welcome to blogher '12

welcome to BlogHer ’12

“Okay, everyone,” said Lisa Stone from the stage. “It’s time for Speed Dating.”

Imagine a hotel convention room filled with thousands of women. Not just ordinary women. Blogger women.

That morning, I was late to the BlogHer conference welcome breakfast hosted by co-founders Elisa Camahort Page and Lisa Stone. I was hungry. I wanted to eat.

“Form two big circles around the outside of the room.”

“I hate ice breakers,” I said to myself as I inhaled scrambled eggs. “I hate speed dating.”

“There’s room over on this side. Let’s go, ladies!”

Then it occurred to me. “You bought the ticket. Now get up and speed date!”

I joined the outside circle that faced the inside circle. For the next 20 minutes, the circles moved around each other. And I met fabulous bloggers.

Bloggers who blog about food and family and carpet and cities. Bloggers with beautiful business cards and creative names. Bonbon Break. The Downtown Project. The Succulent Wife.

Our hostesses issued the one-minute warning, and my mind returned to the bacon abandoned on my plate. “Hang on, breakfast. I’m coming!”

I had time to meet one, last blogger.

A gorgeous, vibrant blonde from California introduced herself to me. “Hi, I’m Lisen Stromberg,” she said. “You look so familiar. Where have I seen you?”

“Hi, I’m Aimee Whetstine,” I said and shook hands with her. “I was syndicated on BlogHer this week. You may have seen my face there.”

“What was the article?” said Lisen.

I braced myself. “I wrote the Chick-fil-A post.”

lisen and aimee

Lisen and Aimee

Have you ever witnessed a cat and a dog face off for the first time?

We tried to make small talk about our blogs, but we kept coming back to the issue at hand. I couldn’t understand why civil unions weren’t enough. Lisen couldn’t understand why my church didn’t approve of gay marriage. Back and forth it went. Each of us holding our positions with dignity and without screaming.

There was another blogger waiting to speak to Lisen. As I said goodbye and turned to go, I looked down at Lisen’s business card in my hand.

The moment of truth fell like the sunlight through clouds.

“You know,” I said as I turned back to face her. “We should do something together. We should write about this.”

Lisen’s eyes met mine. Was she thinking the same thing?

“Yes, we should,” she said.

“It would be good for my readers,” I said, “and for yours too, I think.”

“Yes, it would.” she said.

Today Lisen and I set out to create a forum of civil dialogue about the issues that matter. We’re launching a neutral, shared website called Finding (Un)Common Ground.

We’ll regularly post our views on hot topics and invite you to dialogue and share your thoughts. All comments and perspectives are welcomed, provided they are expressed within the bounds of civility.

Today we’re posting about the events this week in Libya and Egypt. I hope you’ll visit, share, and comment.

Civil discourse must be achieved if we are to find understanding and solutions within the issues that divide us and our country.

Please join the dialogue at Finding (Un)Common Ground.

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord:
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 ESV

Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. You say tom-ay-to, I say tom-ah-to…

You are invited to read
Finding (Un)Common Ground.
Follow us on Twitter @uncommonground1
and 
on Facebook, too!

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Gone Fishin’

Recommend a book to me everyone’s reading, a blog I must follow, a movie I must see. My first reaction is to turn up my nose.

low shelf library

low shelf library

I’ll go there, to that book, blog, or viral video. Do my best to be in-the-know.

More delicious are the discoveries.

I may find them by following a crowd or reading a review. But usually they come to me in lonely library catalog searches. Woeful browses through bookstores. Dives on Amazon. Quiet suggestions made in passing by trusted friends.

I take to the water in my small boat and put out my line. Maybe I’ll make a catch today. The repetition of searching almost always precedes the finding.

The best ones tug at my line. If I believed in fate, I’d say it was destiny. I was meant for this book at this moment.

In the continuum of space and time, it caught me.

stone fish, Lake Champlain

stone fish, Lake Champlain

And when I’m caught or when I catch it or both, the sun bounces off our meeting. Sweet life flapping and flickering and fighting to be freed.

The memory imprints of those books, posts, poems, movies, and songs. I catch and release. Now I bear witness.

You must see what I’ve found, this book. You simply must.

I live with the scar of the hook, and I’m not the same as before.

“I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.” Proverbs 8:12 NLT

Toes by Norah Jones.

Catch any fantastic books lately?

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BlogHer Spotlight on Food Fright

when pigs fly

pigs fly

Short post to share good news.

This afternoon I got word Food Fright is featured in the BlogHer Spotlight.

I’m surprised, tickled pink, and grateful the BlogHer Green editor Heather noticed this post.

Please click to BlogHer to see:

Food Fright: Too Much Misinformation?

Tell ’em Aimee sent you. Oh, and that’s not me in the photo. I have no idea who it is, but I believe that’s some kind of squash pictured with her. Now you’ve got to click over to see this!

Quite coincidentally, we’ll be talking more BlogHer news in a post scheduled for tomorrow. See you back here in the morning.

Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:2 NIV

Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. Just a Ride, by Jem.

Click ‘n share.

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