Friday, October 9, 2009

Late Bloomers

A single scalloped yellow pansy amid a sea of spiky, spent, brown coneflower heads cheers me on this chilly autumn day. So does the lone cherry-red sweet pea that has somehow sprung from dry, tan vines to climb the trellis in summer's last hurrah. Feisty red geraniums raise victorious fists above the garden's browning greens. After weeks of winding down, one more rose has decided this is the year. Late bloomers are bright, wonder-filled surprises of life.

Yesterday I made perfect creme brulee quickly and easily. Ten years ago, at a sidewalk table on the Ile de Re when Robert and I tasted our first creme brulee, we couldn't even imagine how it was made. My path to yesterday's victory included passive times of anticipated failure and active times of real failure~rich, sweet scrambled eggs~a class, and just-okay results. Yesterday's triumph was a lovely surprise.

Fifteen years ago I wrote strictly nonfiction and could not imagine writing a story. Truly, I couldn't imagine myself imagining anything. To bring nonfiction concepts home to readers, I needed to learn how to tell true stories though, so I decided to practice by making up a story. One thing led to another, and last year I published my first women's fiction novel, with the sequel in progress. Never would I have predicted that blossom in October's breeze.

Last weekend I gave a workshop at our church's women's retreat. I don't do public speaking. It scares me. I'm most comfortable talking to my dog and have mixed success talking with my husband and everyone else. My topic was to be: If Only They Would Change. What do we do when another person's sinful at-worst, uncooperative at-best, behaviors hold us hostage? How do we step into the promise of Jesus to set us free? I didn't think I had answers or a delivery dynamic enough to impact anyone. But I sensed the Lord wanted me to say yes, even though I couldn't imagine talking for a whole hour. From the moment I agreed to speak, God changed my heart and sweetly brought me material and helped me put words together on paper. Paper I do. Podiums I don't. So I thought this would be a peace-to-panic process. I worship an amazing God.

Whipping up creme brulee? Playfully crafting fiction? Feeling peace at the podium? in my repertoire? Ephesians 3:20 gives glory to "... him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us ..." In these three examples, I love that God didn't wait for me to imagine the flowers; He grew seeds I didn't even know were there and now here they are, blooming in the autumn of my life.

I've often said I can't draw, and I can't paint. And I can't. But I just had my first drawing lesson a few weeks ago. Standing on the stepping-stone path through the garden ... tipping the watering can forward ...


Bethany said...

YAY!! Congrats on all the new experiences and accomplishments. I do think with practice and prayer anything is possible. I can't wait to hear more about the podium part...I also appreciated the verse from Psalm 34 you shared with me: Those who fear the lord will be radiant, they will not be put to shame.

tandemingtroll said...

How cool! I was praying for you right up to Friday before the retreat. I'm glad it went well.
Praise God!

Are you taking art lessons somewhere or learning through a book?

Charlotte said...

Hi Jane,

"Every picture tells a story don't it?" Or at least that's what the Rod Stewart song says.

Today I read this story on Fox News and thought you might enjoy learning how this sweet mystery was solved!

Link is here,2933,565000,00.html