kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter 2011

Have you ever read something in the Bible that leaves you scratching your head? It’s one of the things I love about the Bible . . . it makes me ask questions and think.

On Good Friday morning, I read the Passion story from Matthew. I’ve read through the book of Matthew several times, but I can’t recall ever reading this passage before. As many Easter mornings as I’ve been in church, I don’t recall ever hearing it. Anywhere. Yet, there it is. So why isn’t this part of the Easter story?

Matthew 27:50-53 (NIV) And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. (That’s the part we all know, right? We all know about the curtain being torn in two at the moment of Jesus’ death. This next passage is the part that wowed my socks off.) The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Wait. What? Huh? Can you imagine the scene? What must those resurrected persons have thought? Where did they go between Friday and Sunday? Imagine the look on the faces of the people they appeared to!

Those couple verses jumped out at me like a biblical bunny carrying a basket of colored eggs. Have you ever heard that part of the Easter story? So I read this to my boys. They'd never heard that part either. “Why isn’t this part of the traditional Easter story?” I asked them. Andrew replied, “Cause it sounds like zombies. More like a Halloween story than the Easter story.”

Eric checked and said that line does not appear in the other three gospels. Did Matthew know something the other writers did not?

I’m very curious about this. I’d love to hear comments from anyone, but especially anyone who’s a theological/biblical scholar. Or someone who simply knows about stuff like this.

Have a blessed Easter, everyone! He is risen!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

USS Orleck Naval Museum

I’ve never been military-minded or particularly fond of anything related to war, but nonetheless, history interests me. Docked at the end of north Enterprise Boulevard, the USS Orleck Naval Museum recently opened in Lake Charles. So Eric and I took a tour today.

To give you a brief history, USS Orleck was a naval destroyer. Built in 1945, she missed WWII, but valiantly fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars. During her tour in Vietnam, she was known as the Gray Ghost. She later served 17 years in the Turkish Army. When the Orleck returned to the US in 1999, she found her way back to her birthplace, Orange, Texas. She was a museum there for several years until Hurricane Rita caused damage enough to close the museum. I guess she sat there unused for several years. Then through the painstaking efforts of numerous volunteers, the Orleck was brought to Lake Charles. For more information, go to http://www.ussorleck.com/. It’s a wonderful website.

USS Orleck is a work in progress. Many -- though never enough -- volunteers work to maintain and continue restoring the ship. According to our super tour guide Ron Williams, one volunteer who was instrumental in bringing Orleck to Lake Charles passed away this past Saturday at age 88. Edward Godwin was a retired Navy commander and was present at the grand opening and dedication of the USS Orleck Naval Museum just one week prior to his death. It’s as if he held on and waited to see the fruits of his labor.

Big guns.


Captain Eric on the bridge.

The galley. The ship accomodated over 300 men, so this small kitchen served 1000 meals a day.

If you’re looking for something interesting to do, the USS Orleck is worth a trip.

My son Eric is one of the most adventurous eaters I know. When he was six years old, he eagerly ate fried frog legs at the Super Chinese Buffet. On our initial visit to Lake Charles, he was the first to try fried alligator. So naturally when we went to Victoria’s Taqueria (1004 Broad St. Highly recommended for good food and very reasonable prices.) for lunch today and he saw beef tongue on the menu . . . . Anyway, he said it was good. “A little chewy, but it tastes like beef.”

Did I mention my magnolia trees are blooming? Heaven scent.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Post-Conference Musings

This past Saturday, my friend Bev and I attended Houston's Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference. As you know, I was spoiled in many ways when I lived in Pittsburgh. I attended the annual SCBWI conference in Pittsburgh every year from the time I started seriously writing until we moved -- a good seven years. The conference venue there was fifteen minutes from my home. After we moved to Louisiana in 2007, I missed my children's writer friends. There was no SCBWI chapter in Lake Charles. I had the choice of driving three hours east to New Orleans or three hours west to Houston. So, I simply didn't go. Until this year. Attending this conference was long overdue. I enjoyed myself. I met some folks. I learned lots and made those all important editor/agent contacts. Going with a friend made the trip tolerable (thanks Bev!). It was a long day, a long drive, but I believe it will be worthwhile and profitable in the long run. The first speaker of the day, author/illustrator Ruth McNally Barshaw of Ellie McDoodle fame, was both fun and fascinating. (Check out her website.) She had some great quotes, applicable to most anyone's life, not only writers.

  • Stay in touch with the child in you.

  • Take your pain and turn it into something beautiful.

  • Fall seven times, get up eight. (Chinese proverb)

  • Winners are ordinary people who kept trying.
For my readers who might be interested in some of the nuts and bolts of the other lectures, I hope to write a few posts for the other two writing-related blogs I contribute to; http://bayouwritersgroup.blogspot.com/ and http://bestdamncreativewritingblog.com/.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Natchitoches and Hodges Gardens Revisited

Went to Natchitoches this weekend. I had intended to blog on Muggle Quidditch – that’s right, like Harry Potter. No, they don’t fly on broomsticks. They run on the ground. On broomsticks. It’s a bona fide sport. (Wrote a short article for Boys’ Life magazine on the subject. Publication date pending.) Anyway, Eric is on a (poorly organized and casual, at best) team at LSMSA. And we drove up to see him play. But the game, seemingly rather last minute, was cancelled. Therefore, the Muggle Quidditch post is postponed until a future date. So, we had a beautiful sunny day to find something else to do. We drove to Many (manny), thinking I could blog about that, but honestly, as we drove through this tiny town, I didn’t see a single thing worthy of mention. Many aside, our primary destination was Hodges Gardens. After visiting this State Park last October, I KNEW I had to go there in the spring, when the stage would be set, beds bursting in bloom. We were not disappointed. Azaleas and camellias presently star as featured flowers. But roses, irises, poppies, and snapdragons play strong supporting roles. Definitely worth the trip.

Back in Natchitoches, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner out on the deck at Antoon's Riverside Restaurant. After we took the boys back to the dorm, Bob and I went to Mama's Oyster House and listened to a terrific band called Hardrick Rivers, named after the band leader/tenor sax player, then spent a restful night at the Bayou Amulet Bed and Breakfast. All highly recommended! After a delightful breakfast this morning of rolled omelets, sausage, biscuits, watermelon, peach cobbler, juice and coffee, we went to First United Methodist, where Eric worships in Natchitoches. Awesome church! Mr. Rivers plays his saxophone in their praise band, as well.

What did you do this weekend?