Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer Time

I hope you all enjoyed Faithful.

I'm going to take the rest of the summer off from blogging. We all know I've been a little sporatic this summer. My daughter heads back to school in a few weeks and I want to spend more time with her without worrying about keeping up with some of this stuff. I'll come back in the fall and try to be more consistent. I may wait to return to blogging until after a big writers conference I'm going to in Denver in the middle of September.

But I'm I may jump on a few times to blog about books I'm reading and such.

Have a great rest of the summer.

Blessings,
Mary
:-)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cascades Galley

In September my next book comes out, Cascades. It is a historical compilation of Uncertain Alliance, The Captain's Wife, and Reckless Rogue. Each of these is set in a different Washington State town; Seattle, Port Townsend, and Cashmere.

I have been working on the galley for this books for a week or so, so this post won't be very long. I'm just taking a short break between loads of laundry and reviewing the galley to pop in and say hi.

I haven't read these stories in over a year and am finding that I'm really enjoying visiting with these characters. I am liking them all over again, feeling for my heroines and falling in love with the heroes.

I can't wait to see what they choose for the cover. Washington State is so beautiful.

Back to work. :-)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Renaissance Festival

We have a great Renaissance Festival in our area. We go every year. We wouldn't miss it. This past weekend was opening weekend. We had a great time and took one of my son’s friends with us who never knew the festival was there. He had a great time.

If you've never been to a Renaissance Festival, you are missing out. It allows you to step back in time. Food, entertainment, and harassment.

The food is great. We always have a turkey leg. They are delicious. There is also frozen flavored ice on a half of an orange, funnel cakes, baklava, corn on the cob, beef kabob, turkey sausage, shaved ice, smoothies, and much more.

There are shows going on all over the festival all the time. There’s a magician, acrobats, jugglers, ventriloquist, hypnotist, comedians, musicians, storytellers, and much more. We have our favorite shows and usually find a new one or two each year. Last year Cast in Bronze was there. He plays Carillon Bells and is fantastic. If you go to the link below and wait for it to load, you can hear him play. Or go to Cast in Bronze Web site.

There are dozens of little shops. There is pottery, glass blowing, swords, period clothing, jewelry, leather journals, crowns, wings, stained glass, artists, hair braiding, and so much more.

The festival hires actors to roam the park or to stand around and harass you. They are great. They call out to you as you walk by and some times they might start walking with you. They are always in costume and in character with old world speak. One of the ticket taker girls at the gate was calling out my son and his friend (they are both 20) to come over to her. My son and his friend were far to shy for that. Their eyes got big and they stayed with us as we entered. It’s always fun. Especially when your son turns red at a pretty girl calling to him.

Of course, King Henry is there every year with his full court of ladies.

I look forward to going a couple more time this summer .

For more information on my local festival go to http://www.coloradorenaissance.com/
You can also Google Renaissance Festival to see if you can find one in your area.

Have fun!

Monday, June 8, 2009

History & Air-Conditioning

I used to hate history. In school it was dry and boring. You would say the word history and everyone would grunt or groan as if in pain.

But now I find history fascinating. I’m not sure why. Little known stories about real people or inventions. Our history classes told us about some inventions like the cotton gin, penicillin, and the automobile. But what about all those everyday items we use that we don’t even think twice about.

I found a fascinating book call Origin of Everyday Things by Johnny Acton, Tania Adams, & Matt Packer.

Did you know that air-conditioning dates back to ancient times? People in hot environment have always sought out ways to cool their environment. The Babylonians splashed water on the outside of the dwellings to draw heat from the inside as it evaporated. Egyptians would moisten mats/veils and hang them so the warm breeze would cool as it went through them.

British scientist Michael Faraday (1791-1867) discovered air could be cooled by compressing ammonia. American physician John Gorrie (1803-1855) used tubs of ice to blow cool air over his patients during an outbreak of yellow fever. In 1902 Willis Haviland Carrier (1876-1950) built the first modern air-conditioner for a printing plant to keep the paper dry so it could be aligned correctly.

So due to these ingenious people, we can stay cool and dry on hot summer days or when traveling in our cars.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

“Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. … It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.” (Text) (Photo)

To honor those who gave their all. We live in a country that is free because of ALL the men and women through the centuries who have fought and died. Who gave their all.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13NIV) If a friend would have no greater love than to die for me, how much more love is it for a stranger to die for me. For our country. For our freedom.

People you don’t know and will never meet have died for you and are dying today for you to remain free. The love. The sacrifice. When I think on this, I am in awe.

“In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael replied with her own poem:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.”
(Text)

Just remember, freedom is never free. Someone, somewhere has paid for your freedom. And that blood of heroes never dies.
(Photo)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Snym is back!

Snym is a beautiful white Siamese. Please don't ask what his name means. My son named him. Snym doesn't really mean anything. It just is.

Snym is my son's cat, and he is moving back for a while so his cat is coming too. Snym has arrived a couple of weeks ahead of my son. Three of our cats and our dog are adjusting just fine even after one night, a few hissy fits here and there, but nothing serious.

My cat on the other hand will have the longest adjustment period. She is a people cat (madly in love with my husband) and only tolerates the other pets. When snym comes around, she sounds just like a cougar. Seriously! I didn't know a little domesticated house cat could make those large wild cat sounds. Given time she will quit freaking out.

Now I can't wait for my son to get here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

For Me

I’m studying Hebrews in my Bible study.

In Hebrews 2 it talks about Jesus as man. Whenever people would teach on or talk about Jesus as man, they would say something along the lines of “because Jesus was a man as well as God and suffered and was tempted, He can understand me and my troubles.”

And it hit me.

God did not need to come down to earth and be a man to understand my troubles and trials. He already understood all too well and came down to show me how much He understands. He knew that humans needed to see Him as a man so our little brains could comprehend that He does identify with us.

Don’t think I am saying if we understood, He wouldn’t have come down as man. For it says in Hebrews 2:14b-15 “For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”

He had to become human to save us but not to fully understand us. He created us.

Also in Hebrews 6:17 & 18, “God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. . . . it is impossible for God to lie. . .”

If it is impossible for God to lie, then He need only to say something for it to come to pass. If He says He is going to do something, it will be done. He does not need to make an oath. But He knows man well and knows that man needs the oath to be sure. God does not need the oath to keep his promises as man would.

I just think this is all so neat how God does things He doesn’t need to do prove to man and to me that He understands and will keep His promises.

Not for Him but for me.

God goes the extra mile.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blossoms!

I have been trying for 10 years to grow fruit trees in my backyard. I have not had much luck. They seem to do well the first year, but don't come back the next year. Then I rip them up and plant a new tree. Last year my two new cherry trees came back and I had one whole cherry on one of them. I was so excited. My first fruit. It tasted delicious! And this year all but one tree came back (It wasn't one of the fruit trees).

My two cherry trees have blossoms on them! I'm so excited. I'm hoping for more than one cherry this year. I can't wait.

I have this pathetic dwarf apple tree that has been struggling for 10 years. It will grow and leaf for a couple of years and then the branches and trunk will die and not leaf, but up from the ground shoots a new trunk and we start all over again. It's done that 3 or 4 times. My two-year-old cherry trees are bigger than the 10-year-old apple tree. Maybe some day I'll get to taste an apple from it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mini China Dolls

In the novella Faithful that I’m posting on Fridays, I have Hannah assemble and dress a China doll for little Sophie. So I thought I’d post a pair of mini China dolls I just made some dresses for.


These two little cuties are 5 ½” tall. She was so cute I had to make two. Then I couldn’t decide which fabric or pattern to use for the dresses, so I made several. I may even make a few more.







My doll friends think I’m crazy for making the really small dolls. I figure that I’ll make them while I can still see (with the aid of glasses). Also, small dolls take up less space and I can fit more of them in my house without having to sell any of my children.











The doll that Hannah would have made for Sophie would have been about 15”-16” tall. But I thought these little cuties would give you an idea of the kind of doll she was dressing and maybe the kind of dress Hannah would have made.

Monday, May 4, 2009

NEW RELEASE!


The Prairie Romance Collection

12 complete stories by 12 authors is ready to be released this month.

Relive history on the American Great Plains as penned by twelve different multi-published authors. Follow pioneers, immigrants, and orphans through their adventures, heartaches, challenges, victories, and romances. You are sure to find more than one favorite among twelve stories in this unique collection to warm your heart and inspire your faith.

The authors are Lynn Coleman, Mary Davis (ME!), Susan Downs, Birdie Etchison, Linda Ford, Linda Goodnight, Joann Grote, Cathy Marie Hake, Judith Miller, Kathleen Paul, Janet Spaeth, and Lena Nelson Dooley.

My story is Love Notes and won in the historical novella category in the Book of the Year contest from ACFW.

Love Notes: Laurel has just lost her father in a bank robbery of his own scheming. She is ashamed of his behavior and the small town is shunning her and doesn't want her around. The only solace she finds is in the sheet of music she discovers propped up on the piano in the church. Each week another line of melody is added to the music. She falls in love with the author of the song even though she doesn't know who he is. She thanks God for sending her the music. Ethan has his arm in a sling because her father shot him in the holdup. She can't bear the shame to face him. Ethan thinks Laurel hates him because he is the one who killed her father.

You can go to Barbour Publishing to find out just when this book is available.

I hope you enjoy all the stories!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Googlie!

Besides writing and reading, I have many other interests. One of which is making porcelain dolls. I have been making porcelain dolls for over 20 years. I have made dolls ranging from baby dolls to lady dolls from 1” to 38”. I prefer making lady dolls because I love the beautiful dresses you can make for them. I also really like making fairies and 6” dollhouse size dolls. I’ll tell you more about some of those another time.

I am really good at getting the porcelain part of the doll cleaned, polished, & painted. Where I run into trouble is putting the dolls together and dressing them. I never seem to find the time to finish them. I have many “dollies in waiting” as a friend of mine calls them.

I am trying to get better at finishing dolls. I have recently dressed one called a Googlie. I have never been a fan of Googlies, and never thought I’d make one. But several years ago when my daughter was young and very much a fan of the Power Puff Girls, I made her a porcelain doll that looked like Bubbles. It was a bit scary looking, but my daughter loved it. She is older now and recently changed rooms and did some cleaning out of her things. She was ready for the scary Bubbles to go away . . . forever.

So I made a new head for the body, because I hated to waste the perfectly good all-porcelain body. When I attached the head and put on the wig, I fell in love with her. She is soooooo cute. I had to dress her right away.

Her name is Sweet Pea. Take a look.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Snow

I woke this morning to an inch of snow. And it's snowing again. Fortunately the pavement is warm enough to melt what hits it so the roads are just wet.

I thought we were done with snow for the school year. I was hoping so. We had a big storm a week ago Friday. It was a snow-day for the schools. But the roads weren't too bad. We had over a foot of snow and when I drove twenty minutes to the south end of town, they had no snow, dry roads, and the sun was shining.

Some times it seems like my end of town is in an alternate dimension.

I'm so ready for spring. But what can you do when you live int he mountains.

So I'll snuggle up with a cup of tea and do a little sewing or reading.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Writing Journey Story, part 2

BEYOND THE MIDDLE:
It’s not right putting “the end” for this last part, because the end doesn’t come until the Lord takes her home. Her story is an ongoing one.

Anyway . . .

So the grownup little girl started writing fiction for adults; prairie romance, contemporary romance mystery, even a futuristic adventure romance. She joined a writing group and started attending writer’s conferences. She submitted novel proposals and got no thank you letters in return.

She submitted a couple of sample chapters at a conference for an author to review. A new editor had come to that publishing house and assumed the slot that the author was going have, including the chapters she had to review. The grownup girl was mortified. It was hard enough to have a favorite author of hers read her chapters, but an editor, and particularly this editor. She was scared witless. She wanted her chapters back.

A friend of hers sat at this editor’s table at lunch because she knew the grownup little girl needed to talk to this editor. The editor wasn’t there yet. Her “friend” finished her lunch in a hurry and left. The editor arrived and sat . . . right next to the girl. The editor kindly asked each person around the table what they were working on. Lunch was almost over and there wasn’t going to be time for the grownup girl. Yes! She had succeeded at being invisible.

But the editor turned to her and asked what she was working on. Immediately every thought, story idea, and all words fled her brain.

Uh . . .

She did manage to get out a word or two about the editor having a couple of her sample chapters. The editor said she had them in her bag but hadn’t read them yet, but the grownup little girl should make an appointment with her. “Sure,” she said, while wondering if she could snatch her chapters from the editor’s bag. It was right there on the floor between them. She could drop her napkin and when she bent to pick it up, she could slip the pages from the bag. Well, it was more like she would have to rifle through the editor’s bag and search for them. She didn’t know how to do that all while looking like she was picking up her napkin. The editor walked away with her bag and the grownup little girl’s chapters.

The grownup little girl walked into their meeting with fear and trepidation. She figured if she could get through the meeting without fainting or throwing up, it would be a raging success.

She didn’t embarrass herself too bad, even found a word or two in her empty brain, and the editor liked one of her story ideas. The editor was willing to work with her. It took a few years to go through the process, but finally her first book was born. Someone had finally chosen something she had written. Since then, she has been chosen many more times.

The grownup little girl’s writing journey is far from over, so this is not “the end” either. The Lord has been with her through it all, guiding her and teaching her. If not for Him, she’s sure she would have given up a long time ago. She’s a better reader now than she has ever been, even if she still reads slow, still has difficultly writing, and her spelling still couldn’t save her life, but she’s so thankful for Spellchecker, even if it doesn’t know what she’s trying to spell half the time.

And the journey continues . . . . . . . . .

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Writing Journey Story

THE BEGINNING:
Once upon a time there was a little girl who couldn’t write well, could hardly read, and couldn’t spell her way out of a wet paper bag to save her life, but she was creative and had people running around in her head with whole lives of their own.

The little girl thought she was stupid and people told her so. But not the people in her head. They liked her and told her she was smart. When other kids were reading chapter books by the armloads, she struggled through a simple picture book.

The little girl loved creative writing in school. The teacher would give a prompt and a story would immediately start swirling in the little girl’s head. She would start scratching out words with her stubby little hands. The letters were crude and the spelling atrocious, but her story was fun and adventurous. She couldn’t wait for the teacher to choose those few stories that would be read aloud in class. She was sure hers would be chosen this time. She had a great story and everyone would see that she was not stupid.

The stories were chosen and the little girl sat disappointed while others read their stories aloud. No one would know that she wasn’t stupid.

She continued to make the space between her ears a haven for characters to live out their lives.

THE MIDDLE:
The little girl grew up and married. She decided to write a special story for her new husband, a picture book. She typed it, edited it, rewrote it, typed it up again. When she had it perfect, She typed up each page, leaving room for the planned pictures. Since her typing ability wasn’t any better than her spelling, she had to type some of the short pages several times before she had one good enough to use.

When the pages were all typed, she sat down to do the artwork. (FYI: She was not artist. Not by a long shot. But she loved her hubby and would do the best she could.) She first drew rough drafts then held them up to the window to trace them onto her finished pages and colored them in, afraid of making a mistake that she would have to type the page over again.

Finally all the pages were complete. She bound them together and created a fabric covered cover. She even made a teddy bear to accompany the book. Her hubby loved it. Her family loved it. Her mother had the audacity to say, “You should get this published.”

She almost laughed out loud. Her? A published author? That was about as likely as getting oil and water to mix on their own. Maybe her mother needed helped. Don’t worry her mother is perfectly sane, but she got the grownup little girl thinking. Eventually, the grownup girl enrolled in a correspondence course.

She started writing children’s stories for magazines. But like with her teachers, her stories weren’t chosen to be published.

This is too long for one blog post, sooooo . . .

TO BE CONTINUED

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Humming Birds, Camera Lenses, & Clutter

Today I feel like a humming bird. You know how those little birds look like they are hovering in the air and dart to and fro but never really land anywhere. That’s how I have felt lately. I have so many things I need to do but can’t seem to land on any one project. I want to do them all and none of them all at the same time.

I dart over there and look at that then hover over here and gaze at this, but I don’t know if I’m accomplishing very much. I can see it all, but I have a hard time focusing on any one single thing. I think I’ve always been this way. There are too many things I like.

It’s like looking through a camera and having it out of focus. I can see everything, but nothing is clear and I can’t tell what anything is. Until you turn the lens to make everything clear, you can’t pick one thing to focus on and enjoy.

So what am I trying to say here? I haven’t a clue. Maybe it’s to get rid of some of the clutter, both physical and mental, so I can see things more clearly. So I can focus on what I really want to do and enjoy it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Springtime in the Rockies

I woke up Easter morning to 4” of snow. I wasn’t expecting that. The weatherman said it was supposed to be in the 40s on Sunday and therefore the precipitation we were expecting should have been rain. Imagine that, the weatherman was wrong.

It was one of those really, really wet, mushy snows. Shoveling that kind of snow is really hard. It’s heavy and it sticks to the shovel. It snowed that way all day.

And today? We have sunshine and it’s supposed to get up into the 50s. Most of this snow, if not all, will be gone by the end of the day. This is what is meant by springtime in the Rockies. Snow shovels one day and the next day you may need your shorts.

My daughter is ready for the snowy, cold days to be over. She wants a real spring.

Some real spring weather would be nice but then it would be harder to be indoors at my computer all day. Work, work, work. And all of mine is the indoors kind. Even so, I too look forward to nicer weather. Hopefully it stays.

Hope you had a good Easter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Upcoming 2009 Releases

In May, A Prairie Romance Collection will be released by Barbour. My novella, Love Notes, will be one of twelve in the collection.

Laurel’s father robs a bank, Ethan accidentally kills him in the hold up. Does love have a chance to blossom between these two?

Love notes won the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year contest in the historical novella category. You can order it through the Barbour Web site. As of this posting, it wasn't listed on the site yet, but should be soon.

In October, Cascades will be released by Barbour as well. Cascades is a compilation of my three historical Washington state novels. I don’t have a cover yet to show you, but when I do, I’ll post it. It will also be available through the Barbour Web site in the fall.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Astrid & Veronika

Book Review
Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson is about two hurting women. Astrid is eighty-years old and is a hermit, staying in her own house, having no friends, and socializing with no one. Veronika is thirty and has come to live in the house next door to Astrid. These are the only two houses in the area. Veronika has come to write her book and to recover from the loss of her fiancé.

Astrid is inexplicably drawn to Veronika and the two women head out on the road of friendship. They each tell the other about their life and their hurts and their darkest secrets. Both women heal from their pains.

As I read this book, I didn’t really enjoy it. I couldn’t connect with the characters. I thought the story that was being told was good, but I just couldn’t connect with either Astrid or Veronika.

I read this book for the book club that I’m in. After going to book club and discussing this book, I like it better. This is not a surface book. It is better appreciated when you have time to think about it. Maybe if I wasn’t in a hurry to read it so I could pass it on to the next person in the group to read, I might have found the beauty in it as I read.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Works In Progress, part 2

Now for my fantasy.

It is a three-fold project. I have this fantasy world swirling around in my head and am trying to create three different series from it for three different age groups; early readers, learning disability middle schoolers, and adults. My fantasy world is set around warrior faeries.

The early reader would be for those beginning readers in 1st – 3rd grade. The ones learning to read. Think Flat Stanly, ABC Mysteries, & Berenstain Bears Big Chapter Books with simple black and white line drawings on most pages. Also Junie B. Jones, Hank the Cowdog chapter books, & up to the Animal Ark books that don’t have all the pictures.

My idea for the middle school series I might be most excited about. I want these books for those resouce kids with learning disabilities like dyslexia who don’t want to be embarrassed about carrying around a little kid book because that is all they can read comfortably and enjoy but the stories are below their interest level. I myself am dyslexic and know what it is like to be standing in front of the room giving a book report on a picture book while all your classmates are reading chapter books. My oldest son is dyslexic and was struggling his way through Harry Potter. He eventually made it through the whole book but it took him almost the whole school year. I say bravo to him for keeping at it.

My books would have a very low reading level but with fast paced, high adventure and stories of interest to middle school boys in particular. I want short, short chapters with an occasional line graphic picture to complement the story and help relieve needing to read all the details to make the story read faster. I only have a title for the middle school series: Flying Warriors, book 1: The Outcast.

My adult series starts with a human young woman being taken to the faerie world by a faerie cat. Here is a teaser for the series: In a parallel world, a broken warrior, an old man, and a cat struggle to reinstate the rightful heir before evil forces takeover the land and destroy both worlds.

So that’s what I’m working on at the moment.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Works In Progress, part 1

I thought maybe someone out there might like to know what I’m working on in my writing. At the moment I have a three-fold approach. Historical, nonfiction, and fantasy.

My agent has recently sent out a proposal for a full-length historical novel that we are hoping sells. The working title is Untamed Angels. Five sisters—in a town of men. Love and fireworks fly in every direction, while one man walks a thin line to keep the peace.

I also have a historical series at Heartsong that I’m waiting to hear about. The Knight brothers are all struggling to find their place in the world. Book 1: Knight Refuge: A stubborn ranch owner meets a tenacious healer and together they must fight social injustice to save a papoose and themselves. Book 2: The Gambler: A young farmer struggles to hold on to her land when her brother loses the farm and her in a senseless wager. Book 3: Courtship of Katie MacGregor: Barely a teen, a young girl fights against her father’s wishes that she marry a young doctor in training.

I also have a contemporary story with historical elements that is sitting on an editor’s desk waiting to hear. It’s a seventy-year-old treasure hunt mystery dealing with Confederate gold. The working title is One Came Back. A feisty female guide and a determined stranger clash in search of the truth and treasure in the desert.

My nonfiction is a craft book on making new things out of worn out jeans. I call it Do It Again Denim. Go Green with blue jeans. Recycle. Reuse. Repurpose. Jeans are an American icon. But don’t throw out your old, worn-out jeans. Give them a second life.

On Wednesday I’ll describe my flying fantasy series.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Break

I always have good intentions to get a bunch of stuff done over the school breaks. Take time off from my regular writing and regular schedule and get something different accomplished that I’ve been wanting to get done.

Then my daughter sits across from me in the living room texting, talking, and laughing. We play with the cats and act silly. She’s a junior in HS, a great kid, and a blast to be around. We have fun whether we are shopping for groceries or clothes.

My two sons have grown and moved out. How much longer am I going to have with her? Not much.

So, I’m going to take advantage of one of the few remaining school breaks and laugh with my daughter.

:-D

Monday, March 23, 2009

Confessions of a Blogaphobic

Almost a year ago I stepped into this blogging arena determined to blog 2-3 times a week. Not because I wanted to, but because I was supposed to . . . I had to. :-P

I made exactly six posts in about two months. I didn’t see the point. No one was reading it, so why bother? Every week I’d tell myself that I’d start posting again . . . next week. Next week.

The year came to a close and next week never came.

The guilt piled up. I would shyly tell people I had a blog. A few people told me that it didn’t count if I never posted. (You know who you are.)

But . . . but . . . but . . . I have a blog.

So with a new year, I had new determination to blog three times a week. What was I going to write about three times a week?! I didn’t wait until next week, I just wrote something and posted it.

Why was I doing this? I was supposed to, I guessed.

I got some needed inspiration and motivation from a friend. I still didn’t know what to write about but at least I was motivated now.

Then I came up with a brilliant idea. At least I thought it was a brilliant idea at the time. I had a novella I wrote years ago. Every Friday I post an edited scene/chapter. This meant I only had to think of new things to write two days a week and my readers would get a free story. Brilliant, right?

What happens when I run out of chapters? Do I start a new story that I write from scratch? What have I gotten myself into?

So I’m posting nonsense two days a week and a chapter on Fridays. I’m inspired and motivated. And I’m having fun.

Yes, I’m actually enjoying blogging. (Shh. Don’t tell anyone.)

I have ten library books on blogging, including the Idiot’s Guide, No One Cares What You Had For Lunch: 100 Ideas For Your Blog, as well as others, trying to figure this whole thing out.

I even started another blog! Can you believe that? I thought I needed a Web site for this other project I’m working on, but a blog is perfect. I have tips, fun facts, and instructions for projects.

I’m even telling other people to start blogs. Me, a blogaphobic!

It’s mind-bloggling.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Take a Deep Breath

Sit up straight. Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it five seconds, and slowly release it through your mouth. Do this ten times.

Some times in our busy lives we forget to breathe. Oh yes, air goes in and out of our lungs, but we don’t really fill our lungs to capacity and get the side benefits of breathing.

Taking a couple of minutes out of each hour to take ten deep breaths can help us to slow down, relax, and can revive us. When we don’t take the time to breath deeply, we don’t get enough oxygen and that can make us lethargic.

In my efforts to slow down, I’m going to try to take a few deep breaths every hour. Because I know I am full of good intentions but forget to keep up with good habits, I have put a sticky note on the corner of my computer screen that says “Breathe.” Hopefully this will remind me.

Don’t’ forget to breath.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Slow Down You Move Too Fast

Currently, my pastor is preaching a series on Slow. He’s basing it off of Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God!” He says that in our fast paced society to go from speedy fast to stop is too much for most of us. So let’s start with slowing down.

It’s a lot harder to slow down than you would think. It seems like the moment you determine to slow down, all these things come up to whisk you faster and faster. All you can do is hold on.

I like the idea of slowing down. It is not just doing less, but how you think about what you are doing and going to be doing. While working on project A are you thinking about event B, project C, and errand D, not really getting the most out of project A?

Not only do we go-go-go and do-do-do, but our mind is racing a hundred miles ahead of us. We get up in the morning, start thinking about what we are going to do, and get exhausted before we begin. No wonder we burn out.

I am struggling with this slowing down. I am one who likes to do-do-do. I have half a dozen things on my plate at anyone time that I’m trying to do all at once. As humans, we tend to draw our worth from our accomplishments. But because we are humans we have worth just for existing. God loves us not our accomplishments.

I am trying to slow down and eliminate some things, finish other things, so I can enjoy what I’m doing at the moment. And to learn more about God and who He wants me to be.

To be still and really know who God is.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Book Review
I recently finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. It’s our book of the month for the book club I’m in.

It’s a story about a girl growing up in Brooklyn after the turn of the century. Her family is quite poor, often not having enough to eat for days. The book describes in detail life of the struggling, immigrant poor at this time in a city. How they bought bread and meat. How they scraped together money. How the children spent their time.

The book mostly follows around Francie Nolan from birth until she is seventeen. Her mother works hard and usually has a steady cleaning job that doesn’t pay much. She is centered on providing for her family. Her father is more of a dreamer and has little concern for having a steady job to take care of his family. When he does get sporadic work and money, he drinks half of it away. He is a likable fellow though and truly loves his wife and children. He just doesn’t really know how to take care of them. The mother knew this when she married him but also knew she would do most anything to have him.

Francie is a smart girl who develops her own opinions. Like her mother she has an inner strength to be a survivor. She loves to read and loves to learn. She has nothing monetarily but she and her brother are quite happy and seem to have a good childhood in spite of their circumstances. I think that because they have the love of both parents, their childhood is good.

Fittingly, the story wraps up with the family moving away from Brooklyn and their circumstances improved.

For me the book seemed to start out slow and without a clear purpose. I had a hard time connecting with the characters. If it were not for needing to read it for book club, I would have set it down and not picked it up again until it was time to return it to the library. But because I was forced to continue to read, I did eventually connect with the characters and care about their well being.

Even though it’s a classic, it’s not a book I’m excited about, but I’m glad I finished it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Daylight Savings Time (DST)

I prefer to refer to it as Daylight Silly Time. We change the time on our clocks so we are doing everything one hour earlier. Then in the fall we change them all back and do everything one hour later. Why?

What I mostly hear from people is how hard it is for at least a week after either change. I have not every heard one person say that they like this time changing thing we do every year, twice a year. It takes people a week or so to get mostly adjusted.

I’m not adjusting well. I’m slow and sluggish today. The older I get the harder it is to make the change.

Daylight Savings Time

What are we saving anyway?

I heard that we have DST because it saves so much money in energy costs each year. Well, the electricity I may be saving in the evening because I don’t have to turn on lights until an hour later, I use in the morning because it’s dark for an hour longer after I get up.

I’ve also heard that insurance claims for car and workplace accidents goes up the week or two after both time changes. So what we might be saving on one side of the ledger, we are paying out on the other side of the ledger.

So, what are we saving anyway?

Why don’t we pick a time and stick to it? If it is such a good idea to save all this daylight in the spring and summer, why not in the winter too when we have less daylight?

If the American people were given all, and I do mean ALL, the fact, both negative and positive about the time changes, would they vote to keep them? Or would they vote to abolish such nonsense?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Some Days Are Just Like That

So I was thinking (I know, thinking can be dangerous.) What am I going to blog on today?

My brain said, “Nothing.”

“What? I have to blog on something,” I replied.

“Not today. I don’t feel like it,” my brain said.

“But I promised my readers and myself I would. I told Heather I was blogging 3 times a week. I can’t just not blog.”

My brain shrugged. (Okay use your imagination on that one.) “It’s too much work.”

“Well, Brain,” I said, “some times we have to do things we don’t want to do.”

“Then you do it without me.”

“Hmm. That’s a thought.” Then I realized that without my brain’s cooperation, I wasn’t going to think of anything.

“Okay, Brain. You win.”

Some days are just like that. No matter how much you want to do something, it just doesn’t work.

Have a happy day! ☺

Monday, March 2, 2009

Called to Anxiety

On Saturday, I ran a one-day writing conference called Peak Writing Conference. I have never ran a conference before, but I have an awesome board. Everyone worked well together and the Lord made it all run smoothly.

I have talked little about my anxiety issues before. The pressure of running a conference and anxiety don’t exactly mix well.

So why would a relatively sane person with anxiety take something on that she knows will cause more anxiety?

I felt called by God to run a small conference like this for years.

God is not content to leave me hiding in my closet, which is where my anxiety can send me. He wants me to grow and tell others about Him and the wonderful things He is doing in my life. I can’t do that from closet very well. Not much exciting happens there. ☺

When God calls, you have to answer. Sometimes the answer is an immediate “yes,” other times a “no way,” and other times it is a “maybe, can I think about it?” But we do answer whether we realize it or not.

If we say yes, God smiles.

If we say no, God waits to ask again. And sometimes He even smiles because He knew we would say no, but He had to ask anyway.

If we say can we think about it?, God waits and gives us the time we need to think. He also smiles as he watches us figure it out.

God has been working on me for years and setting everything up to put me in a position to run this conference, and He rewarded my obedience. He did not have me run this conference and have it go well to make me look good, but to glorify Himself and help me grow in Him.

Do I still have anxiety? Yes. Do I like it? No. But with the Lord, I’m learning to deal with it and to live with it. I don’t mean “live with it” as in tolerate it. I mean live life in spite of it and not hide in my closet.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Travel Adventure Wrap-UP

So now that we are paranoid about using our rental car, we head off the next day to a permanent swap meet. It was four long buildings with booth after booth after booth. We were planning to return the next day, so this first day, we were just going to look and we would buy the next day when we were sure of what we really wanted.

I bought a couple of things I was sure of the first day and one of my sisters bought a couple of popcorn/bubble shirts. These shirts look the size to fit a large doll or an infant but stretch to fit many body sizes.

So that night we all tried on these shirts. We are all different body sizes. We were very surprised that they looked good on all four of us. So the next day we all went crazy and each bought several of these shirts.

Now came the hard part, getting it all in our suitcases. My stuff barely fit but I made it.

We set four different alarms to make sure we got up at 4 AM to get to the airport, praying the car would work. We made it fine and caught our planes.

We had a lot of fun on our few days away for girl’s time. We're already planning our next one.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Traveling Adventure #2

The next day we went to the mall and a special store call the Tinker Bell Store. I love Tinker Bell. We looped through the mall, hit Borders then later we had dinner at the Organ Stop Pizza.

This place is cool. They have a huge theater pipe organ with an organist who plays the whole time you’re eating. All of the pipes, bells, drums, bellows, and even puppets are visible. It’s quite a show. We had fun there and the food was good.

We’d had a full day and were ready to head back to our room to play some games. We got into the rental car, started it, but we couldn’t get it out of park. Yes, we had our foot on the break. We tried pressing the break harder, softer. Turn the car off and back on. Seatbelts off, seatbelts on. Door closed, door open. Whatever we did, we could not get the car out of park.

So I called my husband (two states away) and asked him if he knew anything. He said that it was a break thing. We’d tried that already. I called my oldest son (also two states away). He said the same thing and tried to give some other advice. Nothing worked. Someone walking through the parking lot thought it might be a fuse. Some men stopped who worked for other rental car companies and they couldn’t get it to work either. We called the rental car company and had already done all the things that they said to do. So they sent out another car that would take 90 minutes. That kind of blew our evening, sitting in a parking lot watching the Organ Stop Pizza employee making his rounds around the parking lot, over and over and over and over, etc.

Meanwhile, my son had looked up on the Internet the particular model of car we rented and found out that this is a common problem with it. When the tow truck guy got there, he said the same thing. He literally had to break a piece of melted plastic in the gearshift area to free the gearshift to drive it up onto the truck bed.

I asked my son if there were any issues we needed to look out for in this new rental, different make and model. He said that it wasn’t much better. He gave me a list of its issues to watch for and how to avoid one of the issues. Great! Now we are paranoid this car will break down.

I’ll finish up the trip tomorrow.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Adventures While Away

Well, I’m back. I survived traveling. It’s the nervousness and stress of making sure you don’t over sleep so you hardly sleep at all, getting to the airport in time with time to spare for unexpected problems like traffic at 4:30 in the morning, returning a rental car, finding the right shuttle from one end of the airport to the other, checking in then finally “relaxing” in an uncomfortable chair while you wait for your flight, then having to go to the bathroom just when it’s time to board. No wonder it stresses me out.

Well, I had a great time with my sisters and mom. We rented a car so we could get to the places we wanted to go while there. The first stop was getting to our hotel room, adventure #1.

So we crammed all our suitcases into the trunk and between us in the car (next time we get a van. Four women with luggage and one midsize car!). We followed the airport exit signs and managed to get off the airport. Then there are like four different highways straying from the airport but not the one we wanted. The ones going east and west looked like they were going north and south on the map. We didn’t know which one to get onto to get to the highway we wanted because that was the only one not going into or out of the airport. The signs on the side of the road were vague and unclear. We were all helping drive by giving different opinions on what way we should go. What was the poor driver to do? I was not the driver, but I was giving some of the nonsense directions. We started heading back to the car rental area. (Not on purpose.) We made a few guesses and a few missed turns but finally got on the highway we thought would take us to the highway we wanted and in the direction we wanted.

We finally arrived at out hotel, actually it was a suite at a golf resort, none of us golf, but the price was right and we enjoyed having the two rooms. We unpacked, found a nearby (across the street) grocery store and bought a few provisions. Then we could relax.

Next time I’ll post on adventure #2. I’ll try to do that tomorrow and wrap up my trip on Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Leaving On A Jet Plane

I’m leaving this morning to meet up with my mom and two sisters in Arizona to have some girl time. It's going to be a lot of fun.

But . . .

I don’t travel well. It’s not that I’m afraid to fly, I’m fine with flying, it’s traveling that gets me. All the nerves inside me go bonkers no matter how hard I try to keep them in check. Unruly little things.

I’m still going to try to post Friday’s chapter for you all.

Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, February 16, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You

Movie Review

I went and saw He’s Just Not That Into You with Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Aniston yesterday.

This movie is about the struggles of dating and finding the right person in the 21st century. All the things the twenty-something crowd does right but mostly what they do wrong when looking for love. How to read signals to tell if the other person likes you and will call you or should you call them. This movie is very up to date with all the current technology being used in the modern dating ritual.

At times this movie was hard to watch be cause of the struggles and pain involved with rejections. I was rooting for Gigi to find a nice guy who would treat her well. As she tried over and over to find Mr. Right, she kept waiting for a Mr. Wrong to call her back. They never did. This I didn’t understand. She was so sweet and likeable.

There are several romance and anti-romance story lines. There is Gigi who is actively searching for love. There is a married couple who is struggling. There is a guy who likes a girl who likes this other guy who is married. There is a couple where she wants to get married but he doesn’t. And there is Mary (Drew) who meets men via technology but never in person. I liked the way the unrelated stories had character connections.

I would watch this movie again. I thought it was a good study in the current dating culture. I would recommend this movie to my friends. ☺

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Movie Review #1

Last Chance Harvey

Harvey is played by Dustin Hoffman and is about a down and out music writer who has hit bottom writing jingles. The company he works for is giving him one last chance but the votes are already in before he has his chance. He is divorced and is in England for his adult daughter's wedding. His ex-wife is remarried to Mr. Wonderful, everything Harvey was not. Harvey disappoints his daughter by telling her he has to leave early and can't stay for the reception. He loses his job and is stuck in an England Airport.

Emma Thompson plays his love interest. I would guess she is forty-something and a want-to-be writer whose job it is to take surveys of travelers in the airport. She stops wary travelers to ask them questions. She does not live with her neurotic mother but her mother calls her several times a day. During the movie her mother believes the neighbor is hiding bodies in his smokehouse.

The first half of the movie is a bit hard to watch as Harvey’s life turns from bad to worse. You feel for him from the start. Also Emma’s character isn’t much better. She really has a pathetic life. Between the two of them, it is a bit depressing.

But once these two downtrodden people meet and start spending time together both of their lives improve even though it is only a few hours. But it is not all smooth sailing and Harvey still has his daughter’s wedding reception to ignore and then there is his daughter’s perfect step-father. And we can’t forget the body-hiding neighbor.

Despite the depressing start, I came out of the theater feeling good. It ended well and I really enjoyed the movie. I would definitely recommend this movie to friends and family.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dreams, part 2

Dream the Impossible Dream.

Dreams of the future are things you want to reach for. These are akin to goals. Goals are more tangible. Dreams intangible. Goals lead us one step closer to our dreams. A dream is out of our control. Goals are within our control.

So once upon a time, I dreamed of selling a book and having it in print. I had no control over whether or not a publisher bought and published my book. In order to sell a book you have to write it and write it well enough to be publishable. So I set some goals, write 2 pages a day and learn how to write well. These were within my control. So I sat at my computer everyday and wrote. I also read books on the craft of writing and went to writer’s conferences to learn to write better. So I had goals leading to my dream. Then one day I did get a contract. Dream realized.

Dreams give us hope. Hope for something new, different, or better in the future. Hope is important. If we have no hope, we despair. Life is drudgery. Life is meant to be exciting and alive.

If you don’t work at your goals then your dream is flat and there is no hope in it. You can’t dream something and just wait for it to magically happen. You have to make your dreams come true. And you can do that.

So I’m dreaming of a time when my husband can quit working out there and work from home. I dream of having my house paid off. I dream of my children moving out and NOT asking for money for rent or food. I love my children, but it is right for them to live on their own. I do not want to have a 30-year-old child living in my basement. It’s just not right.

Two of my three children have moved out and it has given them a boost to their self-esteem to be taking care of themselves and being independent. They feel good about themselves even when they don’t have quite enough to eat. I am realistic that there might be a season that one or both will have to move back in for a season, but they are doing well and I am so proud of them. I just wish that they would visit more often.

My husband and I are setting goals and working toward him being able to work from home which would also help us to pay off our house and be able to give more to charities and help out family, including said moved out children. We have had some huge financial set backs this past year so this dream has become bigger, but I have more hope of it coming true now because we have goals and are working toward them.

There is something inside the human heart that dies without hope.

So dream big and dream small. Then set goals to reach your dream and commit to achieving those goals. Then you will know that you have done everything you can to attain your dreams.

What is your impossible dream?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Odd Thomas - Book Review

I just finished reading Odd Thomas for the second time and LOVED it once again.

Odd is sweet, sensitive and definitely the reluctant hero, but wherever people are in danger Odd is right there on the front line to do whatever he can to help save anyone he can. He is a simple man, a short order cook and is good at his job. He does not have lofty goals; he just wants to live a quiet normal life with his love, Stormy Llewellyn.

I have heard Odd Thomas, the main character in the series of books by Dean Koontz, described as the boy from Sixth Sense grown up. Odd is his first name, and he is indeed a bit odd. He sees dead people and the dead don’t talk.

The lingering spirits of the dead come to Odd for a variety of reasons, some come for him to help them. One spirit hangs around him daily, Elvis. Though Elvis doesn’t talk, he is quite a character. He also sees demon spirits that clue him into that something terrible is about to happen. So he goes off to figure out what this terrible thing is, when it is going to happen, and try top stop it.

Even though there is suspense and people could die and Odd sees dead people, Odd Thomas differs from The Sixth Sense in that the story is filled with humor, littered with it. The light tone that Dean Koontz uses through the eyes of his main character is masterful. As in the opening scene where Odd is chasing a child killer through someone’s house and up into a child’s bedroom. He grabs a lamp to smash over the killer’s head, but not just a plain boring lamp, a panda bear lamp, and not just a panda bear lamp but a smiling panda bear lamp. In the fight and flurry of the chase, the contrast to the smiling lamp can hit you as funny. I laughed many times while reading this book even though Odd was racing toward doom and danger. I laughed, I cried, and I held my breath. I would give Odd Thomas 5 out of 5 stars.

So far there are four Odd Thomas books, Odd Thomas, Forever Odd, Brother Odd, and Odd Hours. I have read them all and loved them all. I have heard that there will be maybe up to seven books in the Odd series. I can’t wait for the rest.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dreams part 1

Taking a deep breath.

I think dreaming is important. I don’t mean the kind of dreaming you do when you are asleep, though I understand that it’s quite important for one’s sanity. But the other two kinds of dreaming: daydreaming and dreams of the future.

Daydreaming: wishful creations of the imagination, letting your mind drift, pleasant visions.

Daydreaming helps us relax and recharge. We live in a society of go, go, go. Do, do, do. Faster and faster and faster until we can’t keep up. I think a lot of people look at daydreaming as a waste of time and that you’re lazy if you do it. I believe we need daydreaming to recharge. If you just keep going all the time you will burn out, life will be a chore instead of a joy. We all need to take time for ourselves, “me time.”

When we slow down and relax, God can meet us there. He patiently waits for us to slow down and stop. Waiting for us to enjoy the life He has given us. He did not give us a life that rushes so fast we cannot enjoy all the beautiful things in this life. So that we can’t enjoy Him.

We have forgotten the old saying: “Stop and smell the roses.” We say that we are too busy. What roses? I don’t see any roses. Don’t they have thorns or something?

Like the White Rabbit who says he is late for an important date, hello, good-bye, I’m late. We are so much like the White Rabbit rushing here and there, never giving ourselves enough time to get anywhere without being late and then we are stressed because we are late.

Our bodies weren’t designed for this kind of hurried life. They were designed to slow down and to be still. Do you know that if you are always go, go, go that sticky platelets build up in your arteries? Eeew! This can lead to heart attacks or strokes or something. Have you ever noticed that when you go, go, go, you eventually get sick and have to stop and sleep for a few days to get well. That is your body telling you to slow down. You can either have forced rest where you are miserable or you can choose when you rest and enjoy it.

One of my favorite children’s books is The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein. There is this “It.” It is a circle with an eye and a wedge out of it. It looks a lot like PacMan. So It is spending all it’s time looking for It’s missing piece, the wedge. It rolls along singing and enjoying the small treasures of life. His favorite is when the butterfly lands on him. He finds various pieces but they don’t fit. Finally he finds a piece that does fit and they roll along but he can’t sing very well now with his mouth full, and he rolls faster and faster. He rolls so fast that he can’t enjoy the small treasures of life. And the butterfly can’t land on him. So he stops, sent down the piece, and rolls away singing that he is looking for his missing piece. And the butterfly lands on him and he is happy.

We have become a society so consumed with going and doing we don’t slow down to enjoy life. My pastor is challenging all of us in the church to slow down this year. He admits it is hard for him to do. He used Psalm 46:10a: “Be still, and know that I am God.” He said that maybe being still is too much for us all at once, maybe start with slowing down. With all the pressure our society put on us to produce, do, and go, go, go, it is hard to slow down and nearly impossible to be still. But I’m going to try.

Take a deep breath, slow down, and enjoy life.

Blessings,
Mary
:-)

Next Monday I’ll ponder on future dreams.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Narnia, etc.

I finally finished reading the Chronicles of Narnia. I had read The Lion, the Witch, and the wardrobe years ago, and even had it in mind to read them to my children when I was home-schooling them in the last millennium. Now two are out of high school and the third doesn’t have far to go. So that didn’t quite work out the way I wanted it to. And now there are fantastic movies of two of them. I’m looking forward to the other movies coming out.

So I committed to “reading” all the books. You may wonder why reading is in quotation marks. Well, like a lot of people, I find it hard to find time to read. There is so much that needs to be done in keeping the house clean, well, cleanish, and children, and husband, and writing, and crafts, and book club, and church, and volunteering, and life. It is really hard to fit in an activity like reading.

I love to read. It was not always so. I am dyslexic and reading was always a chore that literally gave me a headache. I was a slow reader and comprehension didn’t come easy. So I didn’t read if I didn’t have to. Then the world of reading opened up to me. And now I love reading and I love books. Which is a good thing since I’m a writer.

Anyway, with such a busy life finding time to read is challenging and some times quite difficult with people and phones interrupting. I checked out a “book” from the library that our book club was reading for the next month. Did you catch the quotes around book? I checked out the book on CD. I popped the first CD into the player in my car and listened to it as a drove to and from and across town during the week. I found that all that wasted time I spend driving in the car is now put to good use. I don’t feel that driving is a waste of time anymore and being stuck in traffic is a good thing. Instead of being mad that I’m only going 10 on the highway, I think, I’ll get to hear more of this book. I can pop a CD in my player at home while I clean or sew.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love to read real books that I hold in my hands, but this way I get to enjoy so many more books. I encourage you to checkout books on CD.

So back to Narnia. I decided that I wanted to read all the books before all the movies came out and it made reading them a moot point. Well, I just finished The Last Battle. What a satisfying ending to the series. I enjoyed each of the books, but I’d have to say that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Last Battle were my two favorites. One because it was the first glimpse into the world of Narnia. The first of anything is usually the best. And then The Last Battle had such a satisfying ending. I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, who was like me and hadn’t read them all yet.

If you have not read all the Narnia books, go back and read them. You are never too old to enjoy a good book. And pick up a book on CD and listen to it in your car or while you are working around the house.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Shortcomings or Weaknesses

So here is my point to ponder:

When do you know that something in your life is a shortcoming that you can't do anything about and accept it? Or is it a weakness you need to work on to strengthen it?

I bought this Inspirational Thoughts book Grace for the Moment Vol. II by Max Lucado. There is one for each day of the year. I love reading Max’s books. The Lord really speaks to me through his writing.

So the inspirational thought for January 1st is titled “Packed for a Purpose.” It starts out this way, “You were born prepacked. God looked at your entire life, determined your assignment, and gave you the tools to do the job.”

I believe this wholeheartedly. God knew everything tool I would need for the job he set before me. So how do I know if the tool I’m looking for is even in my toolbox? I look for a tool I’m sure is there but no matter how hard I look I can’t find it. Other times, I’m sure that the tool isn’t there and I don’t bother to look, then if I had only opened the toolbox I would have found it right on top.

If I don’t have a tool in my toolbox, I can accept that. I am dyslexic and embrace it with loving arms. I didn’t know I was dyslexic until my oldest was in third grade and I had him tested. As I read books on dyslexia, it was like looking in a mirror. I was learning so much about myself. Until then, I just thought I was stupid. So though I am dyslexic, which comes with a boatload of shortcomings, I can accept it. I have found that I have been equipped with other tools to help me compensate. If you ask me just what those tools are, I couldn’t really tell you. You see, I can’t see into your toolbox to know how my tools differ from yours, I just know they do.

The Inspirational thought ends with this line, “God packed you on purpose for a purpose.”

God did NOT make a mistake when He knit me together in my mother’s womb nor did He with you.

I need to figure out what things are shortcomings and accept them and not dwell on not being able to do some things, like carry a tune. And I need to recognize my weaknesses, hold onto them and grow stronger for them and strengthen them.

I am weak but He is strong.

I have a purpose; shortcomings, weaknesses, and all. :-D

Friday, January 23, 2009

Novella

As promised, I’m going to try something different on Fridays. I’m going to post chapters of a novella I wrote years ago. I’m editing it as I go so that you can read a chapter each week. I have broken it into single scene chapters. The story is called Faithful, a historical romance set in North Central Colorado in 1892. Here is a teaser to get you started, then I’ll make a new post with the first chapter in it.

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

Hannah McConnell’s father founded Faithful, CO but didn’t live long enough to realize his dream of building a mountain resort. When the Coughlins from back east buy up the land and steal her father’s dream by building the resort he had planned, Hannah wants nothing to do with any Coughlin. Shortly after the resort is completed, Hannah’s mother’s failing health finally gives in, and Hannah blames the completion of the resort and the Coughlins for her mother’s death.

Gerrit Finnley Coughlin recently inherited his uncle’s bookstore but has no intentions of staying in the Rocky Mountains. He comes to town with plans to sell the bookstore and head back home in the east until...he meets Hannah. Hannah has made it clear she hates any Coughlin and thinks Gerrit is only a Finnley. She doesn’t realize he is not only a Coughlin but the son of the Mr. Coughlin who stole and built her father’s dream. Gerrit doesn’t want to shatter his budding friendship with Hannah, so he doesn’t correct her misconception. Gerrit is intrigued by this outspoken young woman, but knows the moment he tells her he is a Coughlin, she won’t just slip away from him but will run away. Gerrit hopes to change her mind about Coughlins before he tells her his full name.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mom, Kittens, & ???

I’m a little late on this today, but I still made it. I dropped my mom off at the airport this morning. She had been at my house since Dec. 16th. I was sorry she had to go but I was glad that she was heading to my brother’s house for a month. A year ago, my step-dad, who has been my dad since I was five, was in the hospital and then passed away in February. It was quite a blow to me. I struggled for quite some time. So my mom’s visit was to help her over the one-year anniversary of his hospitalization and his passing.
It was good to see her laughing and having a good time. I know that in the back of her mind she was always thinking of Dad and wishing he were here. I know I was. I miss Dad. Still can’t believe he is gone.

On another note, I wanted to let anyone who was curious about the kittens we rescued in May know how they are doing and what became of them.
Snym the all white kitten was adopted by my oldest son. He is 9.5 months old and is as big as a full-grown cat. We believe he is a white Siamese.
Serena, the mom, was adopted out through Dreampower. She was a real sweetie and I miss her.
Tilly, the tri-color calico, was also adopted out through Dreampower. My daughter really misses her.
Rolff, the long-haired white and dark gray, went to PetSmart for a week with Tilly so people could see them and adopt them. I picked them up after a week and we think Rolff was too scared to eat the whole time he was there. Tilly was thin, but Rolff was a little bag of bones. We were afraid that when we held him that he would break. He was so weak he couldn’t eat, so we bottle fed him a couple of days to get his strength back. After that, we couldn’t adopt him out so we let our daughter keep him. He still has a problem with food, but now it is that he eats all the time. He is huge. He is long and wide with a cute little kitten head. He has a thick, very fluffy tail. He trills, squeaks, and talks to us all the time. He is a love!

One last thing, tune in on Friday. I’m hoping to have something special on Fridays that will be ongoing for a few months.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Goals for 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
I figure it is still January, so it's still okay to wish you all a happy new year.
As this new year begins, I have asked the members of my local ACFW chapter to write down their writing goals for the year so I can pray for them throughout the year. I did this last year and enjoyed being able to pray for them.
I asked them to write out three or more writing goals. They needed to be realistic for them, measurable, and within their control. Here are some examples:
Don’t say, “I’m going to get an agent this year,” because you have no control over this. Rather say, “I’m going to send out one proposal a month until I get an agent.” You have control over how many proposals you send out but not if an agent accepts you.
Don’t say, “I’m going to write one book a month this year,” when you haven’t been able to finish one in your lifetime.
Rather say, “I’m going to complete one book this year.” If you complete twelve, great! It is fine to exceed your goals.
Don’t say, “I’m going to write more this year,” because how do you define more? More than what? How much did you write last year?
Rather say, “I’m going to write one page a day or a thousand words a week.” You can measure that.
Other goals you might want to think about putting on your goal list would be to read a certain number of books on the craft of writing, or going to a writer’s conference, or getting into a critique group, or starting one, start a Web site or blog. Stretch yourself.
And if you are not a writer, set other goals for yourself like reading books, or gardening, or volunteering, but do set some goals.
One of my goals for this year is to blog two to three times a week. That will be a stretch for me. I’m hoping once I get in the habit of it, it will come easier.
“Reach for the stars. You may not get there but you will soar higher than if you had never reached at all.”
If you have no goals, any road will get you there. (Or rather nowhere.)
So I challenge you, set some long term and shorter-term goals for the year then focus on meeting them. Even if you don’t reach them all, you will get closer than if you never reached at all.