faith · heritage · life · money · wisdom

hello grandmother.

Book writing…

It’s super difficult.

Taking all the journals and notes in my phone and trying to make sense of everything in a way that would make sense to a reader…feels impossible.

I cuss my computer some days.

I tell it to kiss my butt and get outta my face and eat dirt.

I stopped writing altogether for a few weeks and convinced myself this was insane. If you’re supposed to do something it should not be this hard! I’m not a writer! I need a real job.

When I’m in a funk I de-funk with de-cluttering. I throw crap away. I clean out closets. I organize my cabinets and pantry. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…throwing things away is my placebo effect for getting over emotions I want to toss.

I’m finished with the closets and kitchen and now it’s time to tackle my office. I file and sort and dust and light some incense I bought at Whole Foods…Black Pepper…love it. All this time I could be writing…but I don’t want to.

I’m not a writer.

I move my desk for a third time then decide I don’t like it and post it on Facebook Marketplace. Desk and Chair For Sale. I don’t need a desk. Writers need desks. I’m not a writer.

I’m scanning the room for other things I can rid my space of and I see the two vintage typewriters…one given to me from Paige and Jag and the other Kurt won for me in the auction at our family reunion two years ago. It was my grandmother’s and he saw my face when I saw it…knew how much I wanted it…and went to war on the bidding until it was mine. Neither of them is going anywhere. As much as I can throw things out in a way that would make Marie Kondo hand over her crown, when it comes to sentiments that speak to my heart, I hold on.

The beige, weathered case housing what once sat in my grandparent’s full service filling station now sits in my office and makes me smile. Why I’d never opened it before, I don’t know. But I did now…

For such a time as this.

I lift the lid and find an old piece of notebook paper rolled around the carriage. Faded and crumpled, I read the randomness of someone trying their hand at secretarial skills.

It appears she must have pecked out a few keys for nothingness, then typed out some things from memory…a portion of scripture from the parable of the talents…the quick brown fox sentence that uses every letter of the alphabet…Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country…another standard typing drill.

But what most stood out to me was the parable of the talents. I wonder why she had that on her mind? Found in The New Testament in both Matthew and Luke, Jesus speaks to his disciples from The Mount of Olives in regard to signs to watch for declaring His second coming and the end of the present age. I’ve heard this sermon preached dozens of times but decided to stop all the stuff tossing and grab my bible. I read it again and let the message soak in as needed.

Here is my personal take on it…

A rich man, the boss, a business owner needs to go away for a while. The guy needs a break. He has some servants he can trust to care for his things while he’s away. He gives five talents to one, two to another, and one to one of them. Talents were a form of currency. Think gold coins or goats or whatever you want to imagine being bartered for one thing or another. So the three guys are just standing there with what was given to them. No instructions were left with what to do so they did what they thought was best. The guy with five talents was probably thinking, “Wow. He trusted me with more than these other two.” The guy with two talents was like, “I didn’t get five, but I’ve got two and that’s more than one so it’s cool.” And the guy with just one was like, “This feels super limited and limiting and in comparison to these other two I don’t have enough. I better live like it.” Flash forward and here comes the rich man back from his much-needed vacation to retrieve the talents he left with the guys he trusted to care for them.

Guy #1: Lookie here! I invested and made you double what you gave me! Say hello to five more than you left me with.

Boss: Wow. Proud of you. You’re not afraid of a challenge and you don’t waste time or energy. I could give you 10 talents and you’d turn it into 20. You are what I’m looking for to increase my business.

Guy #2: Not gonna lie. When you first handed me only two instead of five like you did Guy #1, I was disappointed for a second. But that didn’t stop me. I got to work with what you gave me and with a grateful heart I doubled your investment.

Boss: I like your attitude. You want even more?! Here you go!

Guy #3: Okay. So I noticed as you were delving out responsibilities that you must think me incapable of handling more so I thought I’d prove myself to you. I took the one talent you gave me and I locked it away for safekeeping…guarded it like a fragile figurine and sat around watching it, making sure no one touched it or tried to steal, use or abuse it. So I present to you…exactly what you left me with…unscathed and unscarred…unused and unavailable.

Boss: What good does that hoarding mindset do any of us? You’re lazy and I’ve no use for you in my empire. Increase and success is impossible with the way you think. In fact …that one talent that you were so afraid of using…give it to Guy #1 and make his 10 an 11. Get on outta here. Take nothing with you. Bye, boy.

Yikes.

So the message in all this?

Without disrespect to the biblical etymology of the word, I want to look at the word talent as a skill…a gifting…a natural ability. You have been given a talent. It may not look like much in comparison to someone else who appears to have “more”… but we all know what comparison does to a heart. It wrecks it and wastes time and energy. In case no one has told you yet, you will not get prettier, wealthier, smarter or in better physical shape from comparing.

You have been given what you’ve been given and what you do with it speaks volumes to The One Who Gave.

I’ve eaten at The Jealous Cafe. The menu is brimming with looks and money, wit, wisdom and formulas for success. I’ll have what she’s having. I questioned why God would allow someone to be BOTH beautiful AND have a singing voice. You can’t have both, Faith Hill. Not fair. From a young age, I recall being frustrated when God placed me in a family that was naturally talented when it comes to musical abilities and after seven years of piano lessons, I knew this was not ever going to get easier and begged my mom to save her money and let me quit. She did. It seemed I would never find my niche so I journaled about it…and journaled about it and eventually started a blog and then entertained the idea of a book.

Do you see what I’m trying to paint for you? And Lord knows I can’t paint.

God gave me words and a heart to write.

I’m not Harper Lee or Jane Austen or Nora Ephron or Lisa Bevere…but I’m Gina Miller and I am the only one who can take what was given to me and multiply it for good..return it with interest accrued and declare nothing wasted.

Opening up the typewriter happened at the right time. I needed a reminder. A nudge from Grandmother and God.

My grandmother lived a few days shy of her 100th birthday. She married at 14, had 7 kids, buried 2, never learned to drive and never complained. She was not known for much more than unconditional love for others, unshakeable love for Jesus, whistling incessantly, the best pineapple upside-down cake you’ve ever tasted and letting the neighborhood kids win at checkers when she knew good and well she could beat them to tears…Every. Time.

Her talent? Love. Her mission? Give it away.

I have to wonder when she read this parable if she ever compared herself to the woman with more…the lady down the street with a bigger house, a license to drive, an occupation with merit and the money to show for it?

Maybe she did…for a minute.

Then knowing her…she started whistling, got back to loving on others, and told the devil to run along with his lies and doubts and comparisons.

Time I do the same.

8 thoughts on “hello grandmother.

  1. Gina you are a blessing to our family & you have always had the talent to write!!! Every time I read your writing I have my heart strings strummed!! I cry, laugh, & praise God that you are a part of our loving family!! Love you so much!!! Please keep writing!! God will bless you!!! Love, Uncle Johnny

  2. You’re amazing! Look forward to reading your book in 1 year, 2 or 5. If it’s anything like your blogs, it’s gonna be fantastic! Love you my friend! ❤️

    1. Love you too forever friend! Like I told Tom…COME SEE US! Always a joy to be in your presence! Thank you for your encouragement!

  3. Well said and very relatable. I too have struggled with calling myself a writer, but have come to the realization that I am regardless of my doubts or comparisons. I have stories that I want to write but do not always have (or make) the time to put in the work. So I write poetry instead – short bursts of creativity in the mist of my busy day.

    Here is a poem I wrote about the writing process:

    The Writer’s Myth
    That it flows intuitively from head to pen
    From thought to eloquent prose
    The practice is much more tedious
    For it is a slow, painstaking process
    Trial and error; work and re-work
    The writer’s block is more like a mountain
    That takes great skill to climb

    BTW – if you have not already read Steven Pressfield’s “War of Art”, check it out. I also recently read “Old School” by Tobias Wolff which was inspiring.

    Peace,
    Tom

    1. Tom! I love this! I didn’t realize you had the writer bug! Thank you so much for sharing and I’ve read War of Art but I’m adding Old School to my list of books to read! You and Stephanie need to add Baton Rouge to your traversing and come hang out with The Millers! We’d love to have you!

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