TIME OUT WITH LOIS: When seeds sprout

A section in my notebook is labeled “Seeds.” These are ideas that may germinate into future newspaper columns. Sometimes a barely legible scrawled seed note grows into a column. There are other seeds that just sit there. I wait but they don’t sprout. Some are silly seeds. “People will think you are off your rocker, Lois, if you write that!”

Lois Olmstead


Like my whale idea. It did end up in a column. He-Who-Took-Long-Steps and I were going to Wisconsin. We were driving across North Dakota. I was surprised at how many lakes and ponds there were. It was spring, fields were green and I was enjoying the scenery. After the third little pond sailed by my window, I thought of my whale idea.

I said to He-Who, “Wouldn’t it be a shocker if you were driving along a Montana road and out in the middle of a small pond, a black hump surfaces and blows water?” He did not answer me. My mind ran through various scenarios. My idea grew. The whale would have to be very realistic.

“Did you hear what I said?” I laughed out loud. “That would be so funny. I bet people would be slamming on their brakes.” He just kept driving.

“How could you get a whale on a motor that would work under water?” I asked, unselfishly bringing him in on my idea.

I wish you could have seen his look. His grip on the steering wheel tightened. “Huh?” and then “How do you come up with this stuff?”

That’s what convinced me to keep my idea to myself. Some seeds were meant to stay seeds. And I couldn’t write about it because if I ever did it, people will know who did it. Besides since He-Who went to heaven, I don’t have an engineer who could engineer the whale for me anyhow.

I have collected a few sibling rivalry stories in my “Seeds” file. Parents have been blamed for many of the defects we are stuck with in adulthood. I disagree. We can blame our brothers and sisters. It is a wonder to me some kids grew up at all! I want to write about it sometime.

One said his baby brother, Jerry, walked in his sleep. His mother would put one of those nightgowns with the drawstring at the bottom on Jerry when he went to bed. “You should have seen him,” the older brother said. “I’d go in his bedroom and make monster faces and growl! It was amazing how fast he could run in that drawstring nightgown!”

The eldest sister of a large family said, “We couldn’t wait for morning to come and the fighting to begin! We’d go to bed at night planning what to do to each other the next day.”  

Another friend, Kathy, said, “I thought my brother really liked me. He was always willing to play poker with me. I’d always lose. I was quite a bit older when I figured out that the only time we’d play poker was on the day Mom gave us our allowance.”

One thing my “seed” research proved that should give parents a small cup of joy — sibling rivalry is not new or unusual. Creativity is the name of the game, making sure someone else gets the blame!

Sometimes as the collection grows, the seeds sprout. Hallelujah! One seed keeps popping up when I think of trouble like no rain and too much rain. It is II Chronicles 20 in my Bible. You need to read it. Jehoshaphat says, “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

Then God says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” 

That encourages my faith as I pray. And our giving can be seeds to those in need.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Lois Olmstead is an inspirational speaker and author who lives in the Shields Valley. Email her at loiso@wispwest.net or visit www.timeoutwithlois.com.