Grace and Truth

I have held many incorrect assumptions about grace and truth. For instance, I believed at one point that telling the truth was wrong in many cirumstances because it hurt people’s feelings. On the other hand, I thought it was a percentage then between grace and truth, like if you have 80% truth, then you have 20% grace.

So, I have been studying the relationship between the two because I suspect that what I’ve thought is incorrect, but I haven’t know how. Here’s what I’ve found so far. I think we can figure out our boundaries using a combination of grace and truth. I believe we don’t have grace without truth or truth without grace. I believe it is loving to speak the truth with grace.

I’m working on this for myself and for the next novel I’m going to write, Queen of the Third Grade. I think the prep work will take a while, but I’m excited. My guide is Jesus, full of grace and truth.

white swan

Photo by Anthony on


In these days of rampant technology, writers are being advised to build a platform. This platform, according to the experts, should include a blog – written daily, or at least weekly; and Facebook, Twitter, instagram and some other “presences” I don’t recall the names of, posted with even more regularity; as well as speaking on the subjects about which we writers write. (Do you know how long it takes to prepare to speak?)  I believe this platform-building steals the hope of good writing, especially for those who wish to improve their writing over the course of their lives. There are, after all, only twenty-four hours in one writer’s day, and we all do have to get the dishes done or take out the trash.

design desk display eyewear

Interesting that I’m wiritng this in my blog–kind of an oxymoron in progress. No, not really, though, because it serves to clean my brain of a rant. I’ll just add this. When I was writing nonfiction, research was my biggest “distraction.”  Time-consuming, but far less than my current writing life, then I could spend a fraction of my time on platform.

Now that I’m trying my hand at fiction, there are so many skills  to learn, skills that build on each other and require neverending practice.  This polishing of a writer’s writing should take priority over platform building. If it doesn’t, my writing stands a good chance of being lackluster, ill-conceived drivel.

I know, because I have read others’ who I imagine spent the time they could have polished their fiction — you guessed it, building platforms.

So what to do? Publishers want the platforms so that readers will be drawn in. Makes sense. Perhaps they should consider helping  authors create and maintain their platforms. Or maybe agents should assist with that job? Or perhaps the frequency doesn’t need to be daily or weekly. I’m just advocating for putting the most, best time into the writing.

Rant End.

Adults Abused as Children

For about ten years, my husband, the marriage and family therapist, and I led Stepping Stones, a support group for adults abused as children. It was peculiar in that we didn’t sit around commiserating, but studied Scripture on how to climb out of that pit together. The topics are:

  • Face the Problem
  • Assess the Damage and Make the Commitment to Recover
  • Correct Your View of God
  • Set Healthy Boundaries
  • Improve Your Self-Image
  • Overcome Fear
  • Learn to Control Anger and Depression
  • Increase Your Capacity to Trust
  • Deal With Sexual Issues
  • Give and Accept Forgiveness
  • Determine Whether to Confront Your Abuser
  • Life Beyond Survival

So, we’re thinking about putting the material online for people who don’t live near us to use to recover. Anybody out there interested in something like this? If so, what do you think would be a fair price? If you’re out there feeling alone with your secret, I’m talking to you, and praying for you.

What Darth Vader has to do With a Sea Otter

In the long ago days of the late 1900s, the biologists handled otters with gloves, but wore their regular clothes and didn’t cover their faces. So, the otters liked people. When they were released, they would climb into boats or onto kayaks looking for fun or food. This became a problem when the human so invaded didn’t have food or think having an otter aboard was particularly fun.

Now, otter biologists work with rescued otters wearing a big black suit that even covers their heads. Guess what they call it. Yep, the Darth Vader suit. Now, when they release otters, the otters don’t go looking for human companionship or groceries anymore.

Another thing I just learned is that about 60% of the otter population in Elkhorn Slough, a little north of Monterey, are descendants of rescued otters. How about that!

Sea Otters in the Wild

I have been given a great idea! The research I do for novels I will share on my blog. That will keep it fresh in my mind, help me sort out what I want to use, and give you some info. you may not have had before.

The protagonist in my current work in progress, Rogue Wave, is a sea otter biologist. Hence, we learn about sea otters.

Just about everyone knows they float upside down so they can break open abalone shells with rocks and eat them. In the wild, they also like sea anemones, crabs, sea urchins, octopus, turban snails, mussels, and innkeeper worms. What I didn’t know is that a sea otter pup usually prefers the same foods his or her mother likes, and otters spend eight of every 24 hours finding and eating their food.

Besides humans, otters have only one other predator, the Great White Shark. However, humans nearly did them in before otters were protected. We wanted their gorgeous, soft fur for coats. Otter fur  has two layers, the guard hair outer soft layer and the underfur. They spend a great deal of each day grooming themselves, and flipping in the water to keep buoyant from air bubbles in their fur. One square inch of their fur has between 170,000 and 1,000,000 hairs. I know some middle aged men who would die for that much hair.

Sea otters like to live in giant kelp because they feed on sea urchins that live there, and the otters wrap up in the kelp to sleep.Sea urchins destroy kelp. Otters keep the sea urchin population down and help the whole kelp forest environment. The otters tend to feed alone, or with a pup, but they rest in groups, sometimes out on the beach.

When an otter leaves the ocean, it’s called “hauling out.” California otters do this less than Alaskan otters, and females more than males. They are fast swimmers, but a little clunky on the beach because their back feet are flippers. They might remind you of Dustin Hoffman’s flipper scene in The Graduate.

Next time, I’ll tell you about what biologists are learning from aquarium otters.