Because I am a Writer

I attended my first writer's conference on May 19, 2012 at the invitation of my writer friend, Elece.  At the time I did not consider myself a writer, but it sounded like fun. It was a one day conference held at a Church in Cushing, Oklahoma. Donna Goodrich was the only speaker.
Donna taught us how to find interesting topics to write about. She stressed the importance of using proper grammar and punctuation. She cautioned us not to use another's work without permission and to give them credit when we do use their words. She spoke about the importance of construction of good titles for our stories and books. She instructed us on how to prepare our manuscript for publishing. I learned much at this conference and found it to be quite interesting, even though I had not yet begun to think of myself as a writer.
Since that time I began attending a writer's group in Tulsa. I learned many things that would be helpful if I ever did decide to become a writer. Speakers kept talking about being called to write. I wasn't comfortable applying that tag to myself. I had many things I wanted to share with my children and the children I taught in Vacation Bible School each summer and others with whom I associated.  I homeschooled my daughter through all but a year and a half of her school life, and even taught my grandsons for two years. Yes, I was a teacher, not a writer.
I found myself writing daily. I wrote school lessons and Bible lessons and plays. I wrote a program for a three day homeschool history learning activity called "Wagon Train Camp". I wrote pages of notes every morning as I read my Bible and studied. I always thought how great it would be to teach and share what I had learned with others. I was still just a teacher, not a writer.
One day as I browsed through my Facebook feed, I noticed there were many posts complaining about the condition of our economy and talking about what our government officials should be doing and not doing. That day I began writing a post of my own. The subject of my post was that we as Christians need to quit griping to each other and start praying. The only way for our nation to remain Christian, is for us to be truly Christian and spend time on our knees praying for our nation and its leaders.
 As I wrote, I realized what a small audience my post would have with my barely more than one hundred Facebook friends. It needed a bigger audience to have the impact I had planned for it, so I created a blog on which to post it. A blog still had limits, I realized, but it was a start in the right direction. The more I thought about the thousands I wanted to reach with this message, the more inadequate I felt as "just a teacher". I wanted the message God had given me to impact the world, not just those who were within the sound of my voice or who would read my measly Facebook page.
 It was then that I felt the gentle whispering of the Holy Spirit, "How many more people do you think you can teach through writing? You can reach the world through writing."
Then I understood. God had been preparing me all along to write for Him. I am still teaching, but I am doing it through writing. I have the opportunity to share what God has given me with the whole world.
Because I AM a Writer

 A Christmas Poem

                Rabbit for Christmas

He was only 14, my brother John,
But tall and lean and so very strong.
“Where are you going this Christmas morn’?”
I asked as he pulled on his boots, so worn!
“Why hunting, of course, we need some meat
“To go with the meal we’re planning to eat.”

His boots, how awful, with holes in the soles,
That flapped when he walked exposing his toes.
I watched as he worked, stuffing the holes,
and wrapped them around with old ragged clothes.
He covered them each with an old burlap bag,
Then tied it all on with twine from that sack.

He pulled on his coat and fastened his hat
And took down his gun from off of the rack.
“Be careful,” I shouted as he went out the door.
He smiled his reply as he’d oft done before.
The snow was already more than 2 feet deep,
With more coming down and mixing with sleet.

As soon as he left I pulled out the box
I had hid in my closet under old rags and socks.
I wrapped it all up with brown paper sacks,
And tied it with ribbons I’d been saving back.
Then stuck it far behind and under the tree
The present for my kids so he would not see.

I went back to the kitchen and kneaded the dough
And set it to rise as I covered the bowl.
Paul came in then, his arms full of wood.
He filled up the box as much as he could.
I smiled up my thanks and struck such a pose
That he planted a kiss on the tip of my nose.

 “John is out hunting some rabbits to fry.
“They’ll be so good with the fresh pumpkin pie.
Will you check on the kids to be sure they’re awake?
I’ll put these pies in the oven to bake.”
Then John walked in with the rabbits he’d shot.
He cleaned them and put them to soak in a pot.

Then he sat down with the tedious chore
Of removing his boots from feet red and sore.
Billy and Ella came in and looked at the tree.
They jumped up and down and shouted with glee.

“Can we open our presents?”  They wanted to know.
“Why your poor uncle John’s just in from the snow.
“A few minutes longer, I think you can wait
While I fry up the rabbit and put the bread in to bake.
I’ll get the food ready while you put on your clothes
And John has a rest and warms up his toes.”

The presents were all handed out by Paul.
First Ella’s, then Billy’s, but that was not all.
John looked up in surprise when Paul called out his name.
“I should not get one, it’s a mistake!” he exclaimed.

He opened it carefully, taking time not to snap
Those ribbons that Lorene had so faithfully kept.
He opened the box and said with a grin,
“It’s just what I need to go hunting again.”
Inside that box was a brand new pair
Of shiny leather boots in a size he could wear.

                by Martha Curtis

This poem is based on a true story as told by my husband's now
deceased mother.  It took place in the mid 40’s right after 
the war (WWII) ended. Very few people had much money during 
that time. The larger families had an extra hard time getting by,
thus the 14 year old brother was living with his married sister's
family. He helped them on their sharecroppers farm for his room
board, making things a little easier for his single mother to take
care of the rest of the family.      

written on December 9, 2013

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