I Wrote a Writing Thing


For the last year and a half, I’ve been blessed to be part of a group called Write/Create. It’s a group that seeks to foster the creation of art (particularly writing) by Christians that is, first and foremost, high-quality and beautiful. It was such a godsend because I was hoping to connect with a group just like this, despite not really having (re)begun my writing endeavors yet. I had known Write/Create’s fearless leader, Ashley, for a few years because our daughters were in an activity together, but I didn’t realize she was involved with creative writing. One day, I asked her what was new, and she told me about the organization she was putting together. Of course, I was like, “How can I get a piece of that action?” And that’s how I came to be part of the writers’ group.

It is such a fun, witty, helpful group of people, who spur me to get better at writing and take myself seriously as a writer. We have a million laughs and guac and chips whenever we get together for critiques. They have made me feel so welcome, and even though several of them are already talking agents and publishers, it lives up to its name as a group for writers of all levels.

Write/Create is having its 2nd annual Advent Art & Writing Exhibit. It’s a collection of poems, paintings, photography, or other media that travels around to a few local churches during the Advent season. Last year, I did not get on the ball and was intimidated about submitting something, but this year, I submitted two poems. Ashley just sent me the above photo of my work on display at a local church. It feels good/crazy to see it all set up!

Here’s a confession: writing is scary! Actually, it’s not the before or during part that’s scary; it’s the after, when you let people out in the world see the contents of your mind. The risk is that some of them might–no, some probably WILL–look right at what you’ve poured out of yourself and say, “Ew. Well. That was ugly.” Or embarrassing. Or “I had no idea her ideas were so weak and ill-thought-out.” And it’s right there on the page for all to see. It’s a feeling of exposure. So after I let anyone see my writing is when the difficult part begins for me because I second-guess myself endlessly. I suppose I had been postponing thinking about this aspect of submitting a piece. To see my poems on display just made stuff get real. But I guess that’s something anyone who wants to be a writer must overcome. After all, much like sportsball, writing is a community sport.

I hope your Advent has been blessed, and that your Christmas brings you a lot of joy! If you’d like to check out Write/Create’s Advent Exhibit, with several other great writers featured as well, it’s on view on Christmas Eve at Lifebridge Church in Cypress, Texas.

Gluten-free Yellow Squash-Zucchini Casserole

Blessed Christmas break is here, and I am so excited about the chance to do nothing. I spent the first few days issuing grades for the course I’m teaching, and we’ve had a few doctors appointments, but I’m trying to spend as much time as possible just reading, walking, and doing spontaneous things that feel fun.

My current read is The Lord of the Rings. It has literally sat on my night table for a full year (with the brief exception of during Harvey when we had to move everything upstairs.). I got 50 pages in last Christmas break and hadn’t gotten back to it, but the moment school was out, it was like I finally felt like I had my full attention to dedicate to it.

It’s interesting reading a book when the movie is already deeply ingrained in your mind’s eye. I keep wondering how I would have perceived the characters if I had not seen them through that lens already, or if that view would fade and a more purely Tolkien one would come into focus, were I to re-read the book once or twice. In any case, I’m enjoying it–and finding plenty of parallels in our time, of course.

When reading about hobbits and all their (many) meals, what one wants is a little comfort food. This recipe that I threw together on the fly last night fits the bill. It’s gluten-free (which we just started back on) and easy to throw together. Serve at first dinner, second dinner, supper, or even elevenses.

We had a yellow squash and a zucchini that needed using. Mustardseed doesn’t care for them–and if I’m honest, plain yellow squash don’t top my list of favorite vegetables either. This is what I came up with to disguise them a bit.

1 diced yellow squash

1 diced zucchini

1 clove of minced garlic

Put these in a casserole dish and mix them. Then sprinkle them with salt, pepper, onion powder, and Italian spice (or oregano).

Grab handfuls of shredded cheddar and mix that in until the mixture looks pretty cheesy. You could also use other cheeses. Some Gruyere would be amazing! I can see this with a nice crust of parmesan over the top, too.

Then sprinkle about 1/3 cup of yellow cornmeal over the top. Toss this so it distributes evenly.

Beat 2 eggs in a separate bowl. Pour them over your veggie-cheese mixture, and stir it all up again.

I didn’t add any other liquid. That may be why it took it longer than I expected to cook and it came out a little on the dry side. You could add maybe 1/4 cup of heavy cream or of beef or chicken broth to make it a bit more moist and perhaps speed cooking time.

Cover it all with foil and cook on 350° F for 20-30 minutes. Mine was more like 30 without the liquid. If you want to do them parmesan crust, sprinkle it on before you slide it in the oven, bit remove the foil for the last 5 minutes.