Monday, September 20, 2004

moving sale

Blog entries going for next to nothing!! Hurry and save while inventory lasts!

Not too terribly well known author is moving her blog! All previous entries for sale at rock bottom prices! She must be crazy to let this stuff go so cheap!!

Visit her new blogshop at the above link, or type in

Sunday, September 19, 2004

a big chicken, baby, stupid-head weenie

I don't know what's wrong with me lately. Maybe it's because I'm on sabbatical and trying to get away from the worries of being a professional writer. Maybe my guts diminish each year, like melting ice, or evaporating kool-ade that leaves just that dry skin of red sitting there like a circus ring at the bottom of the cup.

I can't log on and read my Amazon reviews anymore. I don't want anything to do with reviews in magazines. In fact, I think I've become allergic to critics-armchair and otherwise. And it doesn't matter if it's good stuff or bad. I just don't want anything to do with any of it. I've written on this here before. But it's getting worse. Am I just being a big chicken? Or do I need to remove myself from such influence to create in a more pristine fashion?

I'm hoping it's the latter. If you've got pros and cons of both, I'd love to hear them.



Thursday, September 16, 2004

was it just me?

Yesterday, Will heard an interview with Judy Blume on NPR. Now, I have to admit, the woman wears moxy like a hand made suit. I mean, how many people could pen kids' books, one of them a series with a kid named Fudge, publish Wifey, and get away with it?

When I was about 12 years old, I read Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret? My sole excursion in the Judy Blume jungle. What follows here is not so much a critique on the book or the author, but more telling of who I was in that really hyper-vunerable, walking on marbles stage of female living. And did anyone else feel like they'd sniffed a magic marker potent enough to last from 6th grade through 8th? I swear the memory of that time period feels skinny and hyper and full of altitude.

I was explaining the book to Tyler last night. "So there's this scene where Margaret and her friends are sittin' around doing bust exercises."

I showed her the "We Must We Must We Must Increase Our Bust" maneuver.

She looked horrified.

I pointed at her. "So tell me, do you know one girl that would have done that?"

"No way!"

"Me either. It was so weird. And I totally couldn't relate when I read that. I would have rather been thrown into a hole with scorpions than have sat around a room and done THAT!"

Yeah, yeah, I know I employed a smidge of hyperbole.

"And . . . when Margaret gets her period it's like a religious experience. She's so happy!!"

Now, I don't come to this area without a few medals of honor. I was THE LAST GIRL in my class to get IT. Okay? I was embarrassed and hardly let anybody look into my purse because no feminine hygiene products ever lurked behind the zipper. In fact, even when I did finally get it, Lori Gorham, three months after the fact (a fact I didn't advertise) approached me in the girls' bathroom.

"I think I'm about to get IT. You don't have anything on you, do you?"

"Well yes!" I whipped out a pad. "I do!"

"Really?!" Shock, surprise, and a little smarm. But probably not smarm. I might have been a little over-sensitive.

"Of course!" Shock, disdain and an unspoken, "I've had it for months you twit!"

I handed her the pad.

So when I say that even I was not thrown into ecstacy at the sight of blood in my underwear that October day in 1978 it makes me wonder about Margaret. And boy was she in for a quick turnaround on the opinion of how great it is to have a period. At best I can say, "I felt glad I wasn't a freak anymore."

Nowadays I'm hoping for an early menopause!

So, did you related to Margaret more than I did?

And apologies to the guys. And Judy Blume. It wasn't your fault I didn't like the book. It was mine.



Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Ahem. The Samsons have hairbrushes.

i love that town

New Orleans is gearing up for Ivan. If it hits like they're expecting, the city will be submerged beneath floodwaters containing raw sewage, gas and chemicals from plants in the area. I'm sad. I love that town. And the two paragraphs below, from the article linked above, illustrate why.

'In the French Quarter, businesses put up plywood and closed their shutters. A few people were still hanging out at Cafe du Monde, a favorite spot for French roast coffee and beignets, and a man playing a trombone outside had a box full of tips.

"They said get out, but I can't change my flight, so I figure I might as well enjoy myself," said George Senton, of Newark, New Jersey, who listened to the music. "At least I'll have had some good coffee and some good music before it gets me."'

A really heart-rending portion of the article tells about a woman who has no car. "How am I gonna get out?" she asks. She lives on disability and supplements her income with housecleaning and babysitting. The flooding, if the storm surge rises to expected levels, will probably reach the rooftops.

for pity's sake!!

I dreamed I found a brush again last night! This time it was in a drawer and had red yarn wrapped around it. I'd say it might be a vision, but I've already been through that drawer ten times looking for a brush.

dog-gone-it. Okay, today I really am getting to the dollar store, if for no other reason than you all don't have to hear about my brushcapades on this blog.


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

what a loser

Yes, I'm talking about myself. I really need to get more exciting dreams. It all started when I lost the final hairbrush in the house around two weeks ago. Gwynnie looks like a scarecrow and I keep trying to brush her shoulder length, blonde hair with my fingers. It's horrible. And I refuse to pay full price at Target or the grocery store when I can get three for the same price at the dollar store. The problem is, when I'm out and about, I'm not thinking about brushes or the dollar store.

The night before last I dreamed I found the brush. There it was right on the bedroom floor, the one that was silver at the core with the black bristles poking out of holes. The blowdryer kind of brush. I know it's around here somewhere. But that dream was so good. There it was. The brush. The lovely, wonderful brush.

And then I woke up, forgot the dream, until later, when I remembered the dream and said to Tyler and Gwynnie, "I dreamed I found the brush last night!"

The sad thing is, it seemed perfectly normal. I mean, it's been a hair crisis here at the Samson abode. Dreaming about finding the hairbrush is akin to unearthing buried treasure or finding your name in the paper within the list of people who are owed money.

I'm such a dweeb. A brushless dweeb, still, at that. A brushless, mundane dreamer of a dweeb, actually. I need to get out more. Obviously. Maybe the dollar store would be a good place to start.



Monday, September 13, 2004

batman and the queen

This is too funny. Batman scales the walls of Buckingham Palace? Quite the creative protest by Fathers 4 Justice.

aretha at the samsons

Gwynnie just asked me how to spell "respect". I'm sure you can figure out the rest.



Saturday, September 11, 2004

where were you?

I can't believe it's been three years since the terrorist attacks of September 11th. It seems like yesterday that I was pulling out of Dunkin' Donuts around 9 a.m. to go pick up Aunt Sis when I turned on the radio and heard about the first plane crashing into the tower.

Then the reports kept piling up, one upon the other. I kept up with Will on his cell, heard about the Pentagon, and listened to him as he stood atop his DC office building and watched it burn. I picked up my elderly aunt in the city, brought her out to Harford County and we watched the towers fall. I didn't care if schools were staying in session or not, and I'd heard no word, I needed my children so I went and picked them up at school.

It took Will hours to get home as the DC Metro was shut down as well as the commuter trains. He shouted out in the crowd, "Anyone else heading for Edgewood?" A beautiful African-American woman replied, "I am."

Long story short, Will and three sisters made the exodus from DC together. He's still friends with Donna who told him when she met him, "I was just praying God would send someone to help me."

It seemed harrowing enough, but when compared to the stories of the victims and the families, it was nothing. I'm praying for them today and already found myself crying. Some memories refuse to lay down like good dogs. And this is something to be thankful for because it memorializes the sacrifice of others, dignifies their suffering and rings the death knell once again for those who had no choice in the matter of their passing, and those, like the firefighters, policemen and the heroic civilians, who did.



Friday, September 10, 2004

for the record

When I die, if it's from a misdiagnosis and the doctor did the best he could, I don't want anything like this to happen. Had a discussion yesterday with two physicians who come into the cigar shop. About malpractice insurance. It's going up 41% this year and the insurance companies won't say why.

Doctoring ain't what it used to be is it? The average OB-GYN pays out 100K a year for insurance, and gets paid between 1800 - 2200 from the insurance companies for a typical pre-natal, delivery, post-natal (6 weeks check up) patient. There's a surgeon shortage now and it's going to get worse.

If you've got a phone, you've got a lawyer. And you don't pay unless we win!!


Thursday, September 09, 2004

way to go hootie and the blowfish

Hey, here's an idea! People actually putting their money where their mouth is. Pretty cool.



interesting diagram

Take a look at this on Bob Carlton's blog. Now, I'll be the first to admit, I lean more to the conservative side of things and Bob doesn't . . . but he's still a really nice guy! Love ya, Bob.

Anyhow, just take a look. I don't need to take up your time trying to explain it ahead of time.



wrestling with God

I'm reading Leonard Sweet's new book Out of the Queston / Into the Mystery. First of all, writing-wise, he's eclipsed his earlier work. Waterbrook will help a writer do that. They have a wonderful editorial staff.

Although I'm only several chapters in, something has struck me very deeply and it is this. Allah will brook no questions regarding his plan, Buddah won't either regarding his ways. But Yaweh, when He is questioned: such as Abraham bargaining over the amount of people for which God would spare Sodom, or Jacob wrestling all night demanding a blessing, Yaweh rolls up His sleeves and says, "Convince me."

Now, as a Calvinist, that would normally make me bristle. But I can't get around the Biblical accounts of God doing just that, whether with Moses, Jacob or Abraham. In other words, God wants interaction. God wants to love us and for us to love Him and trust Him enough to come to Him with our doubts and say, "What gives? Can we negotiate?" And His answer is "yes."

It's given me a whole new view of God. Surely, yes, He is all-powerful, but He created us to be in communion with us, to interact with us, not just so we could obey. Shoot, as Sweet says, if that's all God wanted, He could have just stuck to the angels! I think the point of these stories is clear, God's not offended by our questions. God doesn't want blind obedience. Did you know that God stopped talking with Abraham after he was so willing, without question or a good wrestle, to sacrifice Isaac? So what was the purpose of the test? Read the book to find out Sweet's compelling view.

This book is intriguing and will help you answer some of those nagging questions like, ""How in the world could a loving God even do that whole 'sacrifice your son' thing? Why would God demand something that is obviously sinful?" It releases September 21st and is definitely worth a pre-order at the amazon link provided above.



Wednesday, September 08, 2004

me an' gloria gaynor

At first I was afraid, I was petrified
Being home all day with all three kids
Just how would I survive?
I've spent many sleepless nights
Thinking how this could go wrong
But I tell myself that we'll just learn to get along.

Oh no don't go, you shut that door
You've still got history
A little science and there's more
I tell you it's not time to play
You've got swimming now I say
But we'll survive,
We will survive . . .

Oh, I . . . I will survive
As long as we can get on-line
Our homeschool stays alive
Only two complaints a day
Respect each other or you pay
And eat alone
In the dining room, hey, hey.

I'm sayin' don't walk out that door
There's social studies, math and reading
Now your test grades can't be poor
You've got your whole life to live
You've got lots of you to give
You must survive, you must survive
Hey, hey!

Shoot, when you think about your child's future riding on you, it's just plain scary!

Actually, it went pretty well once we all got up and running on-line. We ended up starting almost two hours later than planned because, I assume, everyone was trying to log-on at once. We're doing The Jubilee Academy ( and it's great. I still have to teach, but no curriculum planning really. I jump from computer to computer. We're just plain wired here at the Samson house.

Thanks for the prayers. How's the school year going for you?



Tuesday, September 07, 2004

never even made it to Ashton Kutcher

Started to watch The Butterfly Effect last night. I didn't last for more than thirty minutes. The cruel brother of the sweet, blonde girl did it for me when I saw he was about to light a dog on fire.

I don't know if there's something wrong with me. I know there's evil in the world. I'm not completely naive. But cruelty for it's own sake, or to gain something for one's own self, is something I can't handle. In a movie, or real life.

If you don't like cruel kids, don't watch this film. If you've got a stronger stomach than I do, and have watched the movie, let me know if I can swing past that part and actually get something out of the film.



feelin' the luv

Yesterday, around 2 p.m. I felt a real lightening in my spirit. I have a sneaking suspicion it was prayer. Thanks everyone. I've decided to really let myself think about my grief, and instead of just shoving it down, to pray over it. I haven't done that.

I guess part of finding ourselves having gone through the death maze prematurely (both of my parents were dead by the time I was 37--not a childhood loss, but still young enough that none of my own children's milestones will be viewed by them, etc.) is that there's no one to blame. At least for me there isn't. My father dropped dead when I was 29. Great way to go, really, and what he always said he wanted. "I'd go sooner if I could just drop dead." And, boom, there he went. My mother died from heart failure due to her polycystic kidney disease. It was a blessing she went when she did because she'd just made it into the Depends stage.

So I've tried to be strong about these things for years because, "it could be worse." But something hit me a few minutes ago. "It sucks to lose your parents." No, they weren't perfect. We all had our issues. But the bottom line is that I would extend loads of compassion to anybody else who lost a parent, so why don't I do that for myself?

At least I've really been coming to terms lately with my miscarriage, thank God. After me wallowing beneath the psyche radar for a dozen years, I think God finally just reached down and laid it all out for me.

"Here, Lisa. For Pete's sake, you need to get this. Okay?" And then He cups His hands on either side of His mouth. "It was not your fault. Not. Your. Fault."

So there it is. Thanks for your prayerful encouragement. I hope this blog is a place where we really can encourage one another.

grace and love,


Monday, September 06, 2004

we forgot about the flowers

In direct contrast to Monster, the inner recesses of my mind flung out something against my consciousness I hadn't thought about in a while.

Ice Castles.

Remember? Robbie "way too cute" Benson and That Blonde Girl who played, Lexie, a figure skater coached by, yes-oh-yes, one of my favorite actresses of all times, Colleen Dewhurst, God rest her soul! Tom Skerritt, who proves some men get sexier with time, rambles about the movie as Lexie's dad. To make a long story short, Lexie wows the people at regionals, she gets a big-time coach and a big-time boyfriend (leaving behind Robbie Benson for heaven's sake and what's wrong with this chick?). Trying to do the dreaded triple axle on an ice rink outside some glamorous party, her blades catch on a chain bundling up the lawn furniture for the season. Whoops. Down she goes. Poor Lexie ends up blind. Not black blind, but enough to see a sort of tie-dye-on-a-white-T-shirt world.

Where are all those big-time people then? They've split. Naturally. Because, as we all know, there isn't a successful person out there with actual feelings. Only blue-collar folks or the poor have feelings, right?

Robbie Benson takes her back, I mean, she is cute, afterall. Colleen Dewhurst helps and Lexie finds herself at the regionals once more. Everyone's abuzz. She skates a flawless routine. Yes, Lexie is back! Will she go on to win the nationals? What about the internationals? The olympics?

Oh, dear. People are throwing down flowers. Tons of them. Lexie can't see flowers! Heavens no! She can just make out the red and blue lines on the boards. And down she goes. An awkward silence, you know that awkward Hollywood silence, settles on the crowd as Robbie helps her gain her feet. "We forgot about the flowers," he says and they kiss. The crowd goes wild. And then a reprise of Melissa Manchester singing, "Lookin' through the eyes of love" begins.

Please don't let this feeling end
It's everything I am
And everything I long to be (or something like that)
How it feels to touch you
I can feel so much
Since I found you
Lookin' through the ey-ey-eyes of love. (big building with violins)

So after Monster, I remembered this movie that I went to see with my Mom. My Mom had terrible taste in movies. She loved You Light Up My Life with a passion. And yet, she also loved serial killer stuff, which actually would have made Monster a big hit with her.

But there it was, a memory I hadn't thought of since she died. Me singing the theme to Ice Castles, her singing along but never getting the words quite right, her cadence more swing than pop. It picked free a piece of the thick crust that envelopes my heart these days after losing both parents, an unborn baby and soon, my life here in Maryland. And I realized that I'm really not fine underneath it all. It's still a mass of raw hamburger meat inside my chest, only most days I can forget it's there. I'd love to say it's something Jesus wants to heal. And maybe it is. Maybe He wants me to address my innards, but honestly, I've been shoving things down so long, I don't really know how to do it without inconveniencing everybody else, especially myself. Maybe Jesus wants me to hurt so I can write the way I do. Which kind of sucks if that's the truth.

I thought I was fine. But I forgot about Ice Castles.

And now, in light of all the pain and crap going on in the world, I once again feel guilty for my suburban angst. We're not allowed to feel this way, you know. Only the poor and the blue collar or disadvantaged are. And while I'm on the subject, if there's one thing that bothers me about the emerging church, it's that only the poor and disenfranchized are worth the effort. That's the place where really serious people minister. Pain is everywhere though. Who will minister to those who don't even feel they deserve to hurt?

Hmm. Maybe Will and I? That sure would be cool.

grace, and sorry about the ramblings. i do try to keep that to a minimum on here.


F F F F fffffffff and F!

Last night Will and I watched the movie Monster. It effin' tells the effin' story of Aileen effin' Wuornos, a effin' prostitute executed last effin' year for the effin' slaying of effin' six of her effin' johns. Effin'-A, it was an effin' incredible acting job by effin' actress Charlize Theron. You wouldn't effin' recognize her.

Not for the faint of heart. Watch it to visualize a portrait of a woman in intense emotional pain, and maybe it'll tenderize your heart a bit. Mine can always use a good smash with the hammer here in suburbia. Monster is raw and open and really unveils the life of prostitution in a way that isn't PrettyWomanish or cliche. You understand where Aileen is coming from and the script is written in such as way as to leave no room for judgement.

It makes you thankful for your home and family. Effin' thankful, maybe?



Saturday, September 04, 2004


Maybe we should each take a moment to pray for the victims and their families in Russia. Horrible. Horrible.



weighing in

Okay, 1.6 lbs. this week. I'm up to 6.2 total lbs. lost. And considering I was in England, fried food, pig meat capital of the universe, I was thrilled. They did have a vegetarian booth at Greenbelt, but I'm sorry, I'm just not that cool. One veggie burger was enough for me. Bob Carlton, who we shared a tipi with, I'm sure was with me on that. And he's from the Bay area in CA. I call that simple bravery.

The whole vegetarian thing? Love it in theory. But for me to admit I like food substitutes made from soy products would be akin to remarking on the beauty of the emperor's new clothes. I don't like that stuff. And you know what? I don't even wish I did.

Grrr. Meat. Ughhhh. Mmmmmm.



homeschooling for dummies

Now why hasn't that book come out? Hah! I think I'd be the perfect person to write that.

Anyway, I'm just asking for a little prayer here. On Tuesday I begin homeschooling all three of the Samson offspring. 9th, 5th and 2nd grade. I'm a little apprehensive, and well, here's the confessional part. I'm totally giving up a year for this and I'm a basically selfish person. Here I thought I'd be having a restful sabbatical from writing, and it's filled in with something even more time consuming. Well, God knows what I need better than I do. Pray I find joy in the sacrifice. Oh, and the ability to stick to a schedule.

thanks and grace to you,


Thursday, September 02, 2004


At Main Street Cigar where I hang out and write or chat or listen, a mahogany sentinel stands outside the shop. Or he used to. His name is Punch. He's not a cigar store Indian, he's a cigar store Italian. There's a picture of him if you scroll down a bit on Main Street's website.

For the past few weeks I've been restoring old Punchy as we affectionately call our wooden mate. His finger fell off and he suffered from a literally splitting headache where the moisture was threatening to peel him in two from head to toe. Dave puttied him up and I got to work. Painting him took several days and yesterday, I antiqued him. Soon we'll put a waterproof varnish on him and set him back outside to welcome patrons and visitors to "the shop" as we call this community.

I'll post a picture of him in all his newfound glory when he's back on duty. In the meantime, if you're in the area, stop inside and take a look. See, as a follower of Christ we might consider taking our redemption responsibilities very seriously. Punchy was old and worn, weatherbeaten and bleached out. But now he's dapper and ready to take on the world. Well, maybe not the world, but Main Street in Bel Air is a definite go. The owner, my friend Tony, is delighted.

So what have you redeemed in your community today? Did you get outside the Christian box? You can learn a lot out there.




The theme of Greenbelt this year was Freedom Bound.

I'll have to admit it. I feel like I'm in bondage to something, and I don't know what it is. Perhaps it's my depression/ADD. Perhaps it's an inability to rise above circumstances, a helplessness that even forgets to call on God. All I know is, I feel my chains acutely and don't always know what to do about it. Yes, I am free indeed. I know that intellectually, but my guts don't feel it. Am I merely feeling the constraints of being a fleshy creature when all I really want to do is fly into Jesus' arms? Or can we overcome this frustration? Can we somehow get to the point where we meet Jesus more viably and in such a way as to banish our limitations?

Here's what I read from the book of Acts this morning. And in my attempt to be multi-media, you might want to get Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata in your head for background music. :)

Acts 12:1-18

Peter's Miraculous Escape From Prison

It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell.

He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists.

Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals."

And Peter did so.

"Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him.

Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.

They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating."

When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, "Peter is at the door!"

"You're out of your mind," they told her.

When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, "It must be his angel."

But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. "Tell James and the brothers about this," he said, and then he left for another place.

In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed.

The question for me is, "Do I get up when an angel strikes me on the side?" Do I realize that's what's happening? Or am I so dulled to spiritual movements, I'm not recognizing the blow for what it is, and remaining in my chains. Another question I can ask myself is this: "Am I guarding someone else's freedom?" Keeping it under lock and key? And what will happen to me if I am? Consider the guards. Yikes. And finally I realize that prayer is the fuel for all of this (vs. 5), and I surely don't do enough of that. Will I ever?



Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Here's some quotes I came across this morning. I love quotations and proverbs. If these bore you, just come back later! If you want to read more, go here.

The man who claims to be the boss in his own home will lie about other things as well. Amish saying

Non-reciprocal principle: If you add a cup of wine to a barrel of sewage, you get a barrel of sewage. If you add a cup of sewage to a barrel of wine, you get a barrel of sewage.

Do not attribute any action to malice that can be explained by stupidity. (This is my new take on our politicians in general.)

If you can get nothing better out of the world, get a good dinner out of it, at least. Herman Melville (in Moby Dick)

Way to go, Herman. And thanks for reminding me I'd better go pull something out to defrost.