19 December 2013

thankful thursday

My husband is off through the end of next week. I'm loving that. Yes, we'll have some great quality time as a family, but there's, ahem, a honey-do list waiting. I'm jittery with anticipation.

I'm also using this time to catch up on writing--while the kiddos are distracted from their incessant questions and requests. Daddy gets to field those.

Oh yeah. There's also this matter of taking care of myself. Seriously. I have multiple doctor appointments scheduled. My dermatologist took a biopsy yesterday, so in about two weeks I'll have results on that. My podiatrist gave me another shot in my foot. This time in the joint of my pinkie toe. I thought the one in my nerve was bad. But I used my natural child birth breathing and relaxing techniques--and nary a sound left my lips. Well, except breathing. Woot woot!

I've got the girly doctor today and a physical tomorrow. Then whatever blood work is requested, I'll have done next week. Whew...

Thankfully, I can knock it all out sans kids. For real. Every time I sit in a waiting room or in the patient room, I have flashbacks to so many visits gone awry. Like talking to the doctor while nursing a baby. Or hushing a whiny child.

Or the one where a curious toddler opened a drawer and got his hand stuck in a speculum. Yeah, that was one special visit. (Ladies, you know what I'm talking about. Gentlemen, don't bother googling it. You're welcome.)

I'm very thankful for the time to care for myself, for my husband getting down time, my kids getting daddy time. They love it. And there will be tears when he returns to work after more than a week off. But every second of it will be worth it.

12 December 2013

thankful thursday

I'm thankful for the leak in my dishwasher,
and the landlord coming soon.

I'm thankful for the vacuum cord that was self-consumed,
and the replacement on the way.

I'm thankful for Louie so soft,
the dragons that keep watch,
and the joy they've brought to our home.
Spark and Arya
I'm thankful for the rain that feels endless,
the moments of sunshine that peek through,
and the shimmery visit from Jack Frost.

I'm thankful for my husband's job
that allows me to homeschool my kids
--even on the days of restlessness.

I'm thankful I've been redeemed,
that I can experience His life.

I'm thankful for the story I'm revising,
the one I'm piddling with,
and my crit partners who push me on.

I'm thankful for friends who make my life so rich,
both old and new,
for you and you and you.

(And no, this isn't a refined poem...it's midnight ramblings of thankfulness as I finally enter the blessed State of Groggy. I would almost NOT post it, but hey...it's my thankfulness, so here ya go.)

What are you thankful for today?

05 December 2013

thankful thursday

Oops! I just realized it's Thursday! Life's been a tad crazy since yesterday--because we got our cat! There is so much emotional upheaval in our house over that small creature.

Arriving home for the first time.
Louie...he's gorgeous. I mean, he's really and truly beautiful. And we cannot wait for him to fall in love with us. He's spent today hiding under the couch observing the comings and goings--unbeknownst to us! He'd been under a desk for a while, then sauntered off. It was many hours later we found him there, peering our direction. It seems he likes the company and the ruckus, but is still figuring us out. (There are plenty of obscure hide-outs he could have chosen instead.)

A lot of hearts were lightened to know he was in our midst the entire time. And those same hearts are anxious for him to fall equally in love with us--because the love is definitely poured out on him. Watching my daughter in particular, her heart in her eyes as she gazed on Louie, I said to her, "You know how much you love Louie?" A shiny-eyed nod responded. "He hasn't done anything yet to deserve that love, has he? But that doesn't matter. You love him anyway." Again, rapturous agreement. "God is like that. We haven't done anything to deserve His love, but He loves us anyway, even more than you love Louie." I treasured that awe-struck moment. It was so precious. Such a wonderful picture.
Figuring us all out.

The other poignant moment--one that makes me tear up when I consider how many details God had in the works before we even thought of getting a kitten--is what my younger son said: 
"I think God created Louie to be in our family."



Thank You Lord for your deep, prevailing love for us, your children. Thank you for sweet Louie. For creating him to be in our family, and for meeting the needs of my daughter's tender heart with an allergy-safe pet to love.

02 December 2013

blast from the past

I dug around on facebook for my High School English teacher this weekend. Her class was always my favorite, and my love of words grew so much during that time. Especially poetry--I began writing a lot of it at that time. And I fell in love with e.e. cumming along the way.

In fact, I met one of my closest friends in that class...yep, you know who you are. What a fabulous Junior year. Our English and History classes were a "team" and we did joint projects, got graded in two classes for one paper, even put on a Vaudeville show (yours truly and above mentioned closest friend were the co-managers of that bit of amazingness, thankyouverymuch!). All kinds of wonderful things. Out of the box, creative learning that fuels my love of that very thing as I homeschool. Hmmm...I never made that connection before, but it's so, so true.

Anyhow, "Mrs. N" has been on my mind this past year or so while I've been working on my novel--she never failed to encourage my writing pursuits all those years ago. When I told her what I've been working on, and why it made me think of her, she remembered me and my love of the written word. How sweet! (I knew she was a great teacher--that or she's a great pretender, but both work just fine for me.)

28 November 2013

thankful thursday

Happy Thanksgiving my sweet reader-friends!

I'm not sure how many stop by and read my blog, catch it from an RSS feeder, or email...
...I'm thankful today for each one of you.

Some of my dearest friends are lurking on the edges, and I know you're there because you've told me.
Thank you for your consistency.

Some have come by on occasion when time allows, catch a few posts and try to keep up.
Thank you for remembering.

Some people have forgotten my blog--and you know what? That's all right.
I'm thankful they have not forgotten me.

Some people in my life don't even know I have a blog, a secret life, a pen-name and a passion to write. I choose to keep it that way. If a few stumble upon it or hear from someone else, that's fine.
If that's you, welcome. I hope you'll let me know you're here.

On this day, my heart is full. I cannot put into words how much I love each one who has carried me through dark times the past few years, rejoiced with me as lighter times emerged.

And I'm so excited by how much you've all encouraged me as I pursue my dreams of writing!
Thank you!!

I'd love to hear what you're thankful for this year...
Leave a comment below and tell me what it is. 

25 November 2013

here kittykittykitty

Our little world just tipped on end.
Or tipped us over and dumped us out--not sure which.

The longing for pets in our house isn't exactly new--it's just typically shut down. And we do have a tank of fish (happy pet solution for mom and dad). Mostly, we're a house laden with allergies--food allergies and pet allergies. If a dog licks my daughter, hives cover her. If she goes to a home with cats, she's a sniffling, sneezing mess, rubbing her nose and miserable--and my husband is even worse, if that's possible.

Now...I'm not a pet person. So her cat and dog allergies have never upset me. They have upset my oldest son with his desperation for a dog. But as much as I hurt for him, I've always been secretly happy I couldn't accommodate the request. (True Confessions of a Mom #183).

This weekend, we had a pet discussion that took an unexpected turn. My son wanted a Bearded Dragon. He's twelve, he's showing a lot more responsibility, and I know a pet would be good for him. Really good. For his heart. And as a mom, I need to take care of the heart of each of my children--after all, God entrusted these special people to me, expecting me to do just that. So I listened to him talk, watching his eyes brighten with the topic. I asked questions, willing to think about it. Then my husband joined us and we talked some more. For the first time, it felt right. Our son was ecstatic. We asked if he could wait for his birthday, which he gladly agreed to (still four months away!).

My daughter, the one with all the allergies, was sitting there listening, excited with him, pondering one of her own. I wasn't past it. They could share a cage. But the conversation got emotional when she realized that holding one wouldn't exactly be a snuggly moment. Heart-wrenching emotional. Like when she discovered she was allergic to horses emotional (I almost pulled over on the highway to cry with her that day). This time, I pulled her into my lap and let her tears drip down my shirt. Twice.

Her little heart is in need. She's denied so much, yet is so strong. My husband discreetly pulled up something on his phone for my opinion. Siberian Cats. They're known to be safer for allergic individuals, though we there are exceptions. We've read about them before, but they've been way out of our price range. This time we saw one kitten deeply discounted because he'd gone past "new kitten" stage between litters--the only way we could even think of buying one. So he called to find out more.

I believe God arranged every moment of that day so we'd be the first ones to call about the kitten. Only one town over. And an allergy test visit showed no reaction--though realistically that could change since she'd been on some medicine. Some things are worth the risk.

Friends, we bought a cat. He will come home in a week or two (the breeder offered to let us get him neutered and heal at her home before we get him to decrease the stress). Afterward, we went to the pet store to get a few things in our excitement. And we bought not one but two Bearded Dragons. It was just...time. It was needed. (Boy, I hope I can handle it all!)

So our plans for a mini-trip next month? Not happening (we're broke!). But my heart is so very rich at the joy in my kids' eyes. They've gone from "not even a possibility" to cat owners and dragon tamer in a few hours. That's huge in this household. Everyone is reeling from the shock.

(Yes. My son owns dragons and calls himself a dragon tamer. They live in a dragon sanctuary. Nothing could suit this boy more. Perfection.)

I'll post pictures soon. But in the meantime, anyone have kitty advice? I've never had a cat and I know nothing but the bits I'm begun reading...

21 November 2013

thankful thursday

Life is so full of the unexpected, isn't it?

A couple months after my youngest was born, I began having some pain in my foot. The right Achilles tendon, to be specific, as well as some arthritic-type pains. It was rough and both have flared off and on for, well, almost three years now. I saw a rhuematologist last year who could never solve the achey problem, I found that Glucosomine helps the endless aching. I called that good enough, and she was happy with that solution, too.

The tendon thing, though? Well, it's stayed mostly manageable--especially if I try to keep it still at night. And I did not pursue more help--let's face it, finding childcare or hauling four kids from one doctor to the next is just a pain. Ha!

This past spring, I got funky pains in my toes, and numbness in one. I figured I jammed it and forgot. Sturdy shoes helped. But my sneakers were triggering problems. Walking with my neighbor? Wasn't happening. Treadmill? Wasn't happening. Low exercise became no exercise.

I decided I had old lady feet. Horrible. And then it was suggested I see a podiatrist. Hmmm. Sure, if I could find time. Months rolled by. Flare ups came and went. Then last week I had a list of appointments I needed to make for regular exams and such nonsense. I tacked "podiatrist" to the list. After all, my deductible was met and this was probably inevitable.

They got me in yesterday. Which it probably a good, good thing. I have Achilles Tendonitis. The non-insertional type. That means it's not where the tendon inserts into the bone--it's farther up. Where there's less blood flow. Which can increase risk of rupture. Oops! Yeah, good thing I went in.

And the doctor sent me home with a present:

A selfie of my sassy boot! Yee haw!
I only take it off to drive or sleep. Or shower. In one day, I'm feeling better. Woohoo! Sassy isn't it?  At least I have a black boot for the other foot that keep it less...obvious.

In two weeks, I go back to have it checked. The toe pain? A result of over compensating for the tendon pain. She's addressing one problem at a time. Yeah, it's really good they could see me so fast.

Today, I'm super thankful for this black boot. And the wisdom of the doctor. And the deductible that's already met. And the weeks left in this year to help solve my foot issues. Oh, and Glucosamine.

Your turn: Have you ever worn one of these boots? What for and how long?

19 November 2013

freedom

Okay, anyone who's been watching that poor little thing on the side bar that says I'm not writing much--you'll know it's been s l o w going for a while here on the NaNoWriMo project. But you know what? I got freed today.

I'm loving my story. I really am. And I have no problem with continuing to write it and post my word count each day--but I decided to let go of "winning" the NaNo challenge. For several reasons. One is that I'm so distracted with life and kids I can't keep up the pace. Another is likely due to my lack of experience--which probably makes that first reason even tougher. I've only finished one novel, and it still needs some touch-ups. I am totally willing to push through learning curves. But I'm not ready for the tight deadlines NaNo asks for. It's stressing me out, not giving me joy in the process.

The thing is, I love writing. I love the process. I love that it's okay if I need to ponder a scene for a week before it's grown enough to spread onto a page like butter on a bagel. That gives me joy. And I believe the Lord wants me to write. He put the love for it within me.

But NaNo is stifling that freedom. Not on purpose--but it is anyway. Maybe it's just my inexperience that requires me to fully understand where I'm headed before I can spit something onto paper. Maybe one day I'll dig into a NaNo challenge and thrive on it--I think it would be fun! But I'm good with it not being right now. I'm still a novice and am just not ready for that much pressure.

So I'm letting go.

Because if I'm writing like I'm made to write, I'm succeeding.

I feel freed.

Funny thing--I was freed from concepts and expectations on another level this week, too. A spiritual one.

The group of believers we meet with on Sunday morning all read the same book (with verses and spiritual reading) during the week, and we are then encouraged to share a portion they enjoyed from it when we come together. It's a great, healthy practice and builds us up together rather than keeping us scattered spiritually. We're encouraged to continue our Bible reading wherever we are, etc...the suggested reading is very short each day, and very rich. But I felt pressured to finish it each day. Especially because it carries an implied "morning" time (no one set that in law, fyi).

During a conversation with a friend, she shared that she felt the same way--and that she typically reads the week's worth all at once, so she's current by Sunday morning. And suddenly I was freed to just touch the Lord each morning in a way that refreshes my spirit and causes me to love Him more, rather than conform to a certain way or a certain book or a certain method.

If I get Christ as life, I have succeeded.



14 November 2013

thankful thursday

When I first arrived home from the ACFW writer's conference I posted about my experience a little bit, and I shared that I'd met my favorite author--Robin Jones Gunn.

What I wrote in that post: Her books have whispered to my heart through different stages of my life for 20 years. It was such a sweet honor to meet her and hug this lovely lady. The fragrance of Christ is all around her. That moment alone would have been enough to call my conference complete.

cjoy allen and Robin Jones Gunn

As a teenager, her books were a sweet reminder that I wasn't alone in pursuing the Lord and wading through the mess of life as high schooler. I know now why they rang true for me--she had young girls living that life, coaching her in what she should write. And it all began when those same girls were tucked into a tent, reading books that gave her pause. She told them to find something else to read, but that was hard to come by. They finally begged her to write books for them, and Christy Miller was born. Recently, Robin posted a picture of some different girls tucked into a tent reading her Christy books. This story of full circle gives me tingles of delight.

I've read most of her books over the years--I feel like I've grown into adulthood with her stories. But what has spoken the deepest to me was Victim of Grace, a recent nonfiction about Robin's own life, her story. Her open, humble spirit was so touching. The genuine experience of God's grace pouring over her life--precious to read. I was in tears by the second page because it met my heart so perfectly where I was needy--as her books often have. I'm slowly re-reading it just to be refreshed once again.

I was blessed beyond words to hear her as our keynote speaker at the conference, her lilting voice washing the room in a breathy "Aloha" as she shared from her life. I'm grateful I had the opportunity to meet this Godly woman--it was a God Thing, I believe, divinely arranged in a quiet spot by the elevators while classes and appointments were going on. I'm still not sure how she remembered me from an email months prior. But she did, remembering the the question she told me she'd ask if I would come up to introduce myself.

I am so thankful for this amazing author whose stories stirred my own passion to write. It was during the early days of reading the Christy books that I began to dream of writing something that could draw readers to know Christ better, to long for Him in a deeper way. Now I just pray I am obedient to His heavenly vision, because the blessing is truly inside the obedience... 


12 November 2013

i want your thoughts

I just titled this post "monday monday"--can we say off a day? Oops.
Yesterday I took the kids and hung out with  my  mom all afternoon...totally eliminated that Monday-ish feel. Watch, now I'll be confused all week long.

So, I thought I'd give you a little NaNoWriMo update. It's just barely slugging along. Poor WIP o' mine. Weekends are slaughter for my efforts, filled with errands and family and worship. But, I won't beat myself up. You just never know God's plans for me or the story. No sweat.

I am hoping for some better writing time this week, though. I've got plans to hang out in the library with ear buds and my novel while my daughter is at karate tonight--that is, as long as my husband gets home early enough. Otherwise, I'll crank out what I can once the kids are in bed, before slumber takes over for me. The older I get, the older I feel--I'm sleepy at 10:30 every night. I've pushed past it for writing recently, but let's just say the word count isn't so high at that hour. Haha.

I am digging deeper into my story's life, though. It turns out Molly and Caleb haven't always just hated each other. They dated in high school until he saw an incriminating picture. Hmmm...but as you know, things aren't always what they seem. I know who he was and what happened. Caleb doesn't. I also know it ruined a dance for her (I'm pretty sure it was Homecoming). And Caleb, well, he's in the know about a secret that affects his family and hers. She hasn't learned of it just yet, but it will explain some of his jaded attitude...

Seeing that they're each other's "perfect match" is both ludicrous and curious...


You're turn. If you were reading a story like this, what would YOU want to see? What would be surprising and enticing and what would lure you in deeper?

07 November 2013

thankful thursday

I missed last week (and apparently I was a day early hitting publish on this one...hmmm), but life goes on, right? Here are some things I'm especially thankful for right now:

  1. Here in Georgia, we're having a most delightful Autumn. The past few days some trees are turning a deeper golden, others are fire-tipped, slowly spreading. Leaves now crunch under my feet as I walk, especially on our small back deck. And the weather--it's made for sweaters and jeans and boots. Perfection!
  2. Just over a week ago, I had a girls get-away. One of my close friends and I went to Asheville, NC for two nights. We stayed up talking every night (between us, it's hard to get a word in edgewise), and had yummy meals like grassfed burgers and brick fire pizzas. The highlights were visiting the Biltmore Estate (what an amazing place--if you ever go, you must take the audio tour!), and arriving deliberately hungry at French Broad Chocolate Lounge (I need to go back and soon).
  3. Frozen waffles--yes, that sounds trite, but these are special. With all the food allergies in our house, finding easy foods like frozen waffles is a challenge. These are safe for everyone: no wheat, no milk, no nuts, not too pricey and they taste good to everyone in our house. Definitely a winner in our house!
  4. I've got some deeper stuff on my new story and what makes Molly and Caleb tick, why they're so tense with each other (tense? ha! loathing perhaps...). I'm soooo excited to see this unfold!

You're turn! Tell me what you're thankful for this week!

05 November 2013

nanowrimo update!

I had a bit of a slow start with this writing a novel in a moth thing (real life keeps interrupting!)--but it IS plugging along! I've had to get to know my characters and what makes them tick. Understanding the reason they so strongly dislike each other has gone a long way toward writing progress. It's starting to come together a little faster now and I'm super excited! I confess, I love causing trouble like kitchen floods...

31 October 2013

NaNoWriMo

I decided to take the plunge along with thousands of others--and write a novel in a month!
And it starts tomorrow! I think I'm just a little bit crazy for doing this...mostly because I'll be writing a story I've just come up with in the past two days.

I've named her.
I know what he looks like.
They've known each other for years.
From a distance...

He thinks she's a prissy prima donna.
She thinks he's a gun-totin' bike-ridin' redneck.
Talk about a nemesis--and the feeling is mutual.
They habitually stay out of each other's way.

But one joins a dating website.
The other is put on there by a friend.
They both see they're a match before profiles start to vanish.

And then the awkward really starts...

Molly and what's-his-name have a lot to learn about first impressions--and the heart.

I cannot wait to see how this story unfolds.
I plan to post on here how I'm doing--word count, progress, something or other....
Your job? CHEER ME ON (that means lots of comments)! I need the support and encouragement. It goes a long, long way!

And even more fun--feel free to toss me some tension I could add to their mix! I'd love to see your ideas!

29 October 2013

First Impressions

First Impressions is a contest for the unpublished among us...
And it's closing this week!

All you need are the first five pages of your manuscript (which doesn't even have to be finished!). You'll get feedback from multiple judges and agents will be judging the final round.

This year there are TEN categories:

  • Contemporary
  • Historical
  • Historical Romance
  • Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
  • Novella
  • Romance
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Short Novel
  • Speculative
  • Young Adult

If you're an ACFW member, it's a meager $15 to enter. If you're not a member, it's $25.

But like I said, the deadline is looming...Friday, Nov 1 at 4pm (EST) is when this contest closes. There's still plenty of room for entries, so polish your five pages and take the leap.

If you enter sooner rather than later, you'll be given opportunities to fix any formatting issues you might have. Below are a few link to help you out. We follow the same rules as the Genesis Contest, only a smaller scale, so I've included some of their specifics. 





Hurry, hurry! Time's awasting!


17 October 2013

thankful thursday

The unpleasant moments in life are included in the verses that tell us to give thanks always, in everything give thanks, always rejoice...not just the lovely things that come our way.

So...I think I'll practice some of that today:

  • sickness--Sinus infections, chest congestion, whatever it is that's lingering in our house, I'm glad. I can't call in a sub for my homeschooled kids, so we've been forced to take a little break. Mama just can't keep up this week. And sometimes a break is just in order. (Next time I'll schedule a break before we're sick, how's that?) I'm also grateful it's not the flu or something more serious that has attacked our immune system. 
  • more rain--Georgia has seen crazy amounts of rain this year. And we've got more today. Most people are pretty over it. But I love the way it's created a true fall for us this year. My favorite season.
  • rats--Do I even want to admit this? Sigh...yeah, we've had a rat in our house recently. And he avoided every single trap we set--like, moved the snapping ones out of his way and even took a sticky trap back home, presumably stuck to his fur (the others were scattered around more than once). I'm hard pressed to be thankful for that, but I'm trying. Let's see...this might deserve a sub-list: 
    • we think it was only one (I will keep believing that for my own sanity)
    • my husband and daughter saw it first hand, but I didn't (whew!)
    • all possible entry holes are now filled in with that spray foam stuff, something long overdue anyway
    • and the best part: haven't seen hair nor tale of him in 3 or more days (maybe the poison in the crawl space helped?)

So tell me what unpleasant thing you're thankful for this week...I want to know!

10 October 2013

thankful thursday

I'm in a bit of a hurry to just get off the computer, so I'm keeping today's thankfuls a little shorter. Well, I'm trying to anyway. 


  1. Dishwashers--because every time my sink is overflowing with dirty dishes, I'm so grateful I don't need to wash every one of them by hand. Yes, it occurs to me often. Seriously thankful.
  2. Friends--the ones who somehow sense something is just a little amiss and text to check in, to encourage to uplift. Those are precious treasures.
  3. Books--the really spectacular ones that keep you up at night until you're finished reading, tired or not.
  4. Homeschooling--in spite of all the days I wish my God wasn't asking me to homeshcool (yes, I'm human...there are more of those than I will tell you), I am eternally grateful that I can sleep longer, not rush to catch a bus or meet a bus, not fight the homework battle, skip a chapter that bores us, let my kids pursue a subject they're passionate about...the list goes on. 
  5. Feedback--the honest words of a critique that tells you exactly what needs doing, so you can make the story right. Even when it feels like an overwhelming amount of work ahead.

Tell me what you're thankful for today...I want to hear!

04 October 2013

(belated) thankful thursday

Oh no! I missed Thankful Thursday again...
I will start by being thankful it's Friday and that my personal deadlines can be extended for posting this! 

And then I'll keep today simple:
I'm thankful for sixteen years married to my husband. We've danced (figuratively) and trudged our way through this crazy life we live, but every day I'm so glad he chose me to have by his side day in and day out.

26 September 2013

thankful thursday

"In everything give thanks..."
1 Thessalonians 5:18a RV

Thankful Thursday is a chance for me to stop and reflect on a few things I'm thankful for each week. I'm not attempting to make or meet a criteria, but I'd love it if you would join me! Share what you're thankful for in the comments, or leave a link if you want to do this on your own blog, so I can visit...


Quiet days
I've had some quiet days of reflection and reading and time to ponder the next book I want to write. I'm so very thankful for the peaceful days, the decreased bickering in my house, the school work and chores that get down a little faster this week. I'll take it. 

Little Critters
When I prayed about finding a critique group for my writing, the Lord was waiting with an answer. Suddenly I have three amazing women I can call crit partners (or "Little Critters" which I love!). As we work on each our writing together, I see a reflection of something significant. We refine one another's stories, sharpening them, just as we should refine and sharpen one another in our lives, with our speaking, and with the Word of God. I find it especially lovely that the four of us are believers and our writing is intended to express Him.

Dark Chocolate.
Yes. It's worthy of being thankful for. I'll post about it's wonderfulness another day, however. Just because I want to talk about it. (Be ready to tell me your favorite chocolate!)


What are you thankful for today? Please share!

23 September 2013

book love

I finally found a few minutes to update my "book love" page. (You can find it on the tabs above.) I listed the authors I've most enjoyed in the past few years, and my plan is to keep adding to that. (Oh dear! I just remembered some I've missed...) Most likely, I'll keep a running list from here on out. We'll see, but it could be a lot for someone to dig through otherwise.

Now I have a favor to ask of you!
Would you comment on that page and let me know your favorite authors and/or books? If they're the same as some I've listed--I want to know who else shares the my interests. And I'd love to add to my growing list of books to read. I'll dabble in most genres at least a little, but my favorite is Christian contemporary fiction, plus I enjoy a good suspense and will enjoy a good historical or Amish occasionally as well.

So tell me your favorites, please! Click over there now--the tab above or this link: book love.

19 September 2013

thankful thursday

"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18 RV

Thankful Thursday is a chance for me to stop and reflect on a few things I'm thankful for each week. I'm not attempting to make or meet a criteria. I'd love it if you would join me! Share what you're thankful for in the comments, or leave a link if you want to do this on your own blog...


I've already talked about the amazing conference I had the privilege to attend this past week. There is no doubt I'm deeply thankful for that opportunity. But today I want to dig a little deeper into those experiences and what I'm thankful for in them:

Friends
I've gone through incredibly lonely seasons in my life. In those times, the Lord heard my pleas and brought precious friends to my side. In abundance, I realized as I looked back later. This is not such a season, so I did not give much thought to the people I would meet and befriend this past weekend. And YET...there were friendships that deepened me at every turn. I found the warmest group of people at this conference than any place I've gone before. Did everyone become my new best friend? Well, no, of course not. But I did find such friends in the midst of it all. In four or five days, I came away a much richer woman for the friendships I formed (you can read more about two of them in my last post).

God-Moments
Every attendee was given a card with a topic to pray for throughout the conference. I still have my card tucked away--to pray for peace and joy. I loved this opportunity. I found myself touching the throne of God as I prayed for peace to overcome the jitters of appointments, for joy in the midst of stress. For His heart in each attendee as they pursued a dream He placed within them, desiring to follow His will.

Printer
I discovered a series of typos from too-late-at-night editing and printing hours before I headed to the airport. Really, I must not edit when I'm tired. I've learned my lesson after seeing that first agent's face immediately after saying my first two pages were good. (Sigh...) So I did some more late night editing (ha!), then headed to the hotel's business office to print 28 pages of my story (think nearly $20!) early the next morning. As my free 15 minutes ticked by, I saw a few more errors and began to panic. At that moment, a woman with the conference walked by telling her husband that she hadn't needed to use those printers because someone had brought one for the purpose of freely sharing with others. She gave me the room number of that lady and I logged off then headed upstairs. Just in time--I knocked and she and her roommate, upon seeing my uncertainty and unfamiliar face, ushered me in and asked my needs, then set me up. I had the honor of praying for as she headed to an appointment, afraid to walk out until she knew the printer was behaving for me. I was blessed by her outpouring, her heart, her care.

Family
As much wonder and excitement as my time in Indianapolis was, coming home to the kids who love me was the cherry on top. And knowing my husband believes in my dreams enough to single parent for nearly 6 full days--he's a total keeper. That's no easy task. 


What are you thankful for today? Please share!

17 September 2013

home

I'm home from one of the most amazing trips I've ever taken. But there is no let-down in returning to "real life" this week. I'm happy to have the snuggles of my kids, my old-fashioned percolator to brew my coffee, and all the gems of friendship and information and experiences from my weekend to sit and ponder.

First, I made new friends. Amazing, incredible friends. Friends of my heart.


My roommate was Jaye Bright, who happens to live 40 minutes from me, and we laughed until we cried every single night. Somehow, the guards were down and our true selves just flowed out.

We also met Dana Romanin--and laughed and talked even more. It's already decided: Dana will be the face you see (in a wig) if I ever receive an award in front of 600 people. Or 50 people. (If she bails, I'll have a huge, frilly fan to hide my blushing face behind.)

The friendships just melded in a natural way. These women filled me up. My heart was on high. God knew who to put in my path. Along with one other woman I have not met, we've formed a critique group--one of those things I'd asked the Lord about and He promptly arranged. (I'm always awed by those instant confirmations that I'm in the direction He wants me to go.)

I met so many other people as well, authors and pre-published novelists (like myself). The atmosphere was encouraging and welcoming everywhere I turned. They are the most down to earth, loving group I've experienced in a long time.

We had classes that expounded on all that I've been learning, and I'm glad I have the notes to look back on for some of those.

Two agent appointments were assigned to me (I expected only one). The first was nerve-wracking, which was no surprise (I couldn't really see it like a job interview as someone suggested). The second was much more comfortable, such a relief. In between the two, I had a mentor appointment. Those are offered for easing anxiety, practicing pitches, answering questions, commenting on writing. I chose a lady who would do any of that, but also said she loved "organic" appointments, so I went with that attitude. We talked without pause for the entire 15 minutes. When I was supposed to get up and walk out (very strict appointment times!), she stopped me and prayed. I came away feeling so blessed, so much that I was following God's heart with this dream to write.

And I met my favorite author of all time: Robin Jones Gunn. Her books have whispered to my heart through different stages of my life for 20 years. It was such a sweet honor to meet her and hug this lovely lady. The fragrance of Christ is all around her. That moment alone would have been enough to call my conference complete.

Yet, I came away with so much more. My dreams are richer, my confidence is stronger, my heart is overflowing. And I'm ready to dive into my next story with reckless abandon.


If I met you at the conference, too...please say hello!

12 September 2013

thankful thursday

I'm leeeeaving
On a jet plane.

Today!

I'm so, so thankful that God has provided a way for me to follow this dream He embedded in my heart long ago. It far exceeds my expectations...

He provided the desire to write, the story that got written, the heart to consider the conference (which I immediately assumed was way out of my league), then the funds to go. But he had even more in store: when I prayed for a roommate, he had one picked out already. When I prayed about a ride to the airport, well, turns out my roommate lives close enough to catch a ride with.

Just wow.
I'm still in awe over the entire thing.

So today, I'm thankful for the opportunity ahead of me this weekend.
And for the husband who supports me.
And those four kids who say they'll miss me.

What are you thankful for today?

11 September 2013

one-sheet

I got one comment...and so I will share my one-sheet today. I can't figure out the *right* way to post a pdf document here, so I took a picture of the screen with it on my camera then loaded it...hence the extra gray margins. Oh well.
(I'm a blogger dunce--feel free to tell me how to do it right!)




If you click here, it will take you to a copy that you can actually read, (though the quality is not as high as in real life).

Be sure to let me know what you think!


I would like to add one more thought: my story has a pivotal twist related to 9/11. It is only irony that I am posting this today. However, it serves to me as a reminder that there are many still hurting and healing from the tragedy our country suffered twelve years ago. May the Lord be their peace and rest.

I remember. 


10 September 2013

2 days...

...but who's counting, right?

My checklist is almost complete, in spite of growing:
  1. Pick nail polish color. (deep purple if you were curious)
  2. Paint my toes. (and added a pretty decal on the big toe...cause I know you were curious)
  3. Pray.
  4. Make sure all my outfits have the right jewelry.
  5. Set out my travel outfit (ie, make sure it's clean).
  6. Pack my shoes.
  7. Pack alternative outfits (apparently, this was in progress anyway).
  8. Pack my make up/shampoo/toothbrush, etc.
  9. Pray some more.
  10. Smash my pillow into the outside pocket (yes, it fits; I tried already).
  11. Print a dozen "One-Sheets".
    If you want to see my One-Sheet, LEAVE ME A COMMENT BELOW.
    With a little love, I will gladly post it here...come on, you can do it!
    (And if you think you know what it looks like, think again. It got a makeover.)
  12. Make sure I have plenty of business cards to take along.
  13. Add extra business cards.
  14. Polish my proposal.
  15. Finish my synopsis.
  16. Print two copies of my proposal and synopsis--just in case I'm asked. Better to go prepared!
  17. Polish those first five chapters until they sparkle. (Not sure it's ever done...)
  18. Print copies of the various chapters my potential agent appointments are asking for.
  19. Pray and pray and pray. He is sending me, and I want to be in His presence!
  20. Create a different style proposal and synopsis for one of the potential agents 
  21. Print the new style proposal and synopsis before I forget!

    (see--told you I had to add things to my list!)

06 September 2013

to do list

I love lists. LOVE them. 

Just in case I wasn't clear--lists make my day! I might even be known to add things to the grocery list for the sake of cross them off. Though really this is helpful for not grabbing something twice. It has a purpose.
Stop laughing.

Since I'm wiggle-worm excited to be leaving in less than a week for my writer's conference, I'm going to make a list of things I still need to pack or do before I can leave...


  1. Paint my toes. that requires picking the color...excuse me while I start over...
  1. Pick nail polish color.
  2. Paint my toes.
  3. Pray.
  4. Make sure all my outfits have the right jewelry.
  5. Set out my travel outfit.
  6. Pack my shoes.
  7. Pack alternative outfits (apparently, this was in progress anyway).
  8. Pack my make up/shampoo/toothbrush, etc.
  9. Pray some more.
  10. Smash my pillow into the outside pocket (yes, it fits; I tried already).
  11. Print a dozen "One-Sheets"--I'll post it here next week so you can see what I've been writing!
  12. Make sure I have plenty of business cards to take along.
  13. Add extra business cards.
  14. Polish my proposal.
  15. Finish my synopsis.
  16. Print two copies of my proposal and synopsis--just in case I'm asked. Better to go prepared!
  17. Polish those first five chapters until they sparkle.
  18. Print copies of the various chapters my potential agent appointments are asking for.
  19. Pray and pray and pray. He is sending me, and I want to be in His presence!

(By the way, my suitcase already holds my gala dress and most of the outfits I've chosen to take...)

What do you always make sure you take on trips?
Anything you think I'm forgetting? 
Tell me what it is so I won't forget!

05 September 2013

thankful thursday

"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18 RV

Thankful Thursday is a chance for me to stop and reflect on a few things I'm thankful for each week. I'm not attempting to make or meet a criteria. I'd love it if you would join me! Share what you're thankful for in the comments, or leave a link if you want to do this on your own blog...



Brenda
The friend who had back surgery last Thursday? That surgery lasted 14 hours. Not the 7 originally predicted. She has a rod in her back and will "never bend or twist again." But yesterday she sat up on her own. And took her first steps. Our God is truly amazing. Thank You, Lord. Even more, He uses these downfalls in our human body to draw us ever closer to Himself. This sweet sister praises Him, thanks Him, sings her love for Him. It feeds my spirit to hear of this.

One Week!
My suitcase is half-packed, my jewelry in a questionable state of what works (and matches!) and what doesn't. I simply cannot believe I'm leaving on a jet plane in one week! I'm so thankful God's plans are bigger than ours. When I first began writing my story, it poured out of me--FOR me. I had no aspirations beyond finishing a novel. But slowly the Lord placed a desire to pursue more, learn more about my craft. He placed in me the desire to attend the conference, then he placed the money in my mailbox. Now I'm finishing up the final touches to have my manuscript as presentable as I know how to make it. Just one more week!

Scrivener
Okay. I'm not sure how thankful I am for this one yet. It's a learning curve. But yesterday I thought I'd lost my entire rewritten sub-plot. Then I tried to open my back up. I don't think it worked. But I did find my current work again--I'm pretty sure it was there all along and I was looking in the trash pile. Oops! (Please don't tell anyone!) I do like the slews of note cards I can use to summarize each scene and each chapter...it might be addictive. I figure it's good for digging into my synopsis. The formatting is simpler, too. Well, mostly. Like I said, it's a learning curve. But I'm extra thankful I didn't lose all that re-writing!


What are you thankful for today? Please share!

29 August 2013

thankful thursday

"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18 RV

Thankful Thursday is a chance for me to stop and reflect on a few things I'm thankful for each week. I'm not attempting to make or meet a criteria. I'd love it if you would join me! Share what you're thankful for in the comments, or leave a link if you want to do this on your own blog...


tennis balls
I've had a doozy of a migraine this past week, coupled with the end of a cold/sinus infection (my entire FACE hurt, people--that is outside the realm of my migraines). I was texting a friend from another state who happens to be a massage therapist. I explained how awful this migraine was. I was "having migraine hangovers" a couple days later. That's where my original headache was so bad that it's better but still lingering. So fun. Anyhow, she gave me the best tip: a tennis ball in a sock. Throw it over your shoulder (like a continental soldier?) and lean against a wall, massaging your own back. I had to borrow a tennis ball from my neighbor, but I was willing to try anything. I tell you what: I love my husband, but he just cannot find the knots that my migraines cause. This tennis ball brought much relief! I have every intention of buying a can of them to keep stashed in my room, with a one in the car (and a sock, of course) for migraines on the go. LOL.

T minus two weeks and counting...
I leave for my very first writer's conference two weeks from today! (Ecstatic almost touches how I'm feeling.) I've decided it's finally close enough for me to begin the packing of my bags. I've had the outfits carefully under selection (set aside in my closet and rarely worn for a month now), and need to make attempts at pairing them up with the right jewelry, make sure I have minimal shoes to pack. I can expound my packing list, too. I do love a good list. And somewhere in there I need to heartily rewrite my subplot before getting on a plane! 

Brenda
I have a very dear friend (a sister to me), whose mother is having back surgery today. The one after her car accident a few years ago didn't last. Tomorrow's outlook: "At least 2 surgeons, 7ish hours, replacing all the rods, hooks, and screws, and extending the hardware from the base of her neck to lower back." I will be praying for Brenda today, and in the coming days, as undergoes this delicate operation and the long recovery after. I am so deeply thankful for this woman with a deep faith, a strong love for her Lord Jesus. And I'm also thankful for the Great Physician who will be in charge, the Healing One who will stay by her, the Living God who is life to her! 


What are you thankful for today?

23 August 2013

thankful thursday

"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18 RV

Thankful Thursday is a chance for me to stop and reflect on a few things I'm thankful for each week. I'm not attempting to make or meet a criteria. I'd love it if you would join me! Share what you're thankful for in the comments, or leave a link if you want to do this on your own blog...



critique partner!
I found a roommate a few weeks ago for the conference. This past week we decided to swap books and make comments for each other. I’m ecstatic! I've needed this exact thing for months. (And she has a good story that’s intriguing me.)

wi-fi
My poor laptop (and my husband’s, actually), are having wi-fi issues in our house. Our phones and mini-iPad are just fine with it, though. Having to take my laptop to the router and plug it in for blogging and sending documents, etc.,  makes me thankful for the technology it’s easy to take for granted. (Oh, sweet wi-fi, please come back!)

readers
Because of the lack of ease with blogging thanks to the above, I failed to post this yesterday. Or write it for that matter. I thought about it but… yeah, didn't go plug in to get it done. (Yes, I know I could do this from my phone—I’m not ready to try that yet!) This morning I woke to a text that was sad I hadn't posted. I’m so thankful someone reads it!

Friday
(Since it's Friday now:) I'm always thankful when Friday comes. No school in our house, so less whining in general and the weekend is knocking on the door...Happy Friday everyone!


What are you thankful for today?

19 August 2013

candy dish

You know how easy it is to partake of a candy dish?
The kind left sitting out and full of your favorite treats?
Very easy.

A touch of honesty: I have been struggling with reading the Word of God. First thing in the morning is an issue because I need coffee to process deep thoughts. (I can talk to the Lord in that groggy state just fine though, and I definitely have no problem filling His ear throughout my day.) But even my children ask if I've had enough coffee before they begin plying me with questions, requests and dire needs. I do not process incoming information before coffee. End of discussion.

Then my day rapidly becomes a constant state of chaos, some days more than others. Homeschooling is often just the tip of the iceberg in our life. Even reading a good book doesn't happen as fast or often as it once did (my kids expect me to wake up in the morning, not sleep in with a book hang-over), though since that's a lighter read, it's a little easier to squeeze in.

The Bible, though--I recently found myself desperate to eat the Word of God. I was hungry for it, but if I carved out time I frantically wondered where I'd read last or what I could just jump to for the few minutes I had. The truth is, ANY verse is God-breathed. And I could taste His life any where in the Bible if I chose to. But I didn't just want to pray over a random verse. I needed something to meet my heart.

I began leaving our larger Bible on the table. If I have to move it for a bigger meal, I keep it close by and replace it as soon as I can. It's easier to nibble a few verses as I wake up with my coffee. And I can sneak a little more at lunch.

I also unearthed my small New Testament for my upcoming trip. It's full of notes and underlinings--now, that was what I really needed! My favorite candies already unwrapped and ready to pop in my watering mouth. I happily skim through and partake of the tasty offerings.

"Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by your name, O Lord God of hosts."
Jeremiah 15:16


What helps you find time to read the Bible? 

15 August 2013

thankful thursday

"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18 RV

Thankful Thursday is a chance for me to stop and reflect on a few things I'm thankful for each week. I'm not attempting to make or meet a criteria. I'd love it if you would join me! Share what you're thankful for in the comments, or leave a link if you want to do this on your own blog...


critiques and edits
I'm in crunch-mode. I leave for the ACFW Conference four weeks from today (yippee!). And I have so much I need to finish still. Loads and loads of editing. My One-Sheet needs some blurb enhancement. I've barely scratched the surface with creating a pitch. And changes to a side story needs brain-storming before I can polish up my proposal. I'm so thankful I chose to get a partial critique by someone who knows way more than me. I feel confidence I never imagined. I may be a newbie, but I am ready to wrangle this story into readiness!

toddler love
My silky-skinned toddler, Bitsy, is growing up so fast. I seize every snuggle I can get from her. Soft arms around my neck, legs longer by the day, tiny sweet voice coming from a spitfire of a girl. I love it!! 

peaceful days and august rush
Our days have recently become more peaceful than they have been in a long time. It's been lovely. And August is our most productive school month of the year, so my kids have been knocking it out of the park most days. Whew. (That gives me better editing and conference prep time, too.)

old friends
This weekend, we have plans to meet up with one of my oldest friends. She lives states away and we rarely get to see each other (though a girl-trip to Hawaii is on our bucket list!). On her way home from a family vacation, she'll be a mere three hours from us, and we have plans to make the drive so our kids can meet, and we can see each other for the first time in six years! I love friends like this. Friends that last a life-time...


What are you thankful for today?

12 August 2013

exceedingly more

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." 
Ephesians 3:20-21

I have an amazing, artsy, animal-loving eight year old daughter, "Charlie".
She is riddled with food allergies. Little ones, big ones, and life-threatening ones. In total, she has 14 foods she cannot eat. They control much of our existence because we must be diligent in our care of her. To keep her safe. To keep her alive.

Educating the people in our lives is an ongoing, uphill battle. 

There are those who respect it out of necessity for the most part, making an attempt to follow protocol. But they have no real understanding or awareness. Their silent faces scream at me that I am an over-protective, alarmist mom who inconveniences them and their easy-going lives. Causing them to understand the life-threatening urgency of our requests feels impossible. They make my job difficult. They keep me praying. 

There are those who may not fully grasp it, but they embrace it, they join us in trying hard to protect her in spite of what they do or do not understand. It occurs to them to check with me when in doubt. I am grateful for these people. They make my life easier more than words can say. 

There are also those who run as hard as we do with it, taking on the same diligence and passion for her safety that we must have. These people are dear to my heart because they love us as the Word says they should: "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Galatians 5:14.

For some time, there were a lot of people we needed to trust with Charlie's care who fell into that first group. It caused me no small amount of stress. I spent much time praying. My daughter did have a few minor reactions during that time, but thankfully her life was never compromised, nor was it from being fed unsafe food, only from external contact (I made sure she was provided what she needed for eating).

Recently, the matter arose again as new people would be in the position of caring for her in that setting. My prayers increased, desperate to be understood. For someone to listen a little closer. Then it came to the attention of a man everyone there knew, who happened to be an ER doctor. Familiar with food allergies from a medical viewpoint, he stepped in for us.

At a pivotal meeting he thoroughly educated a room full of people. People who were shocked and sobered by the stories he told. Stories from the news, stories from his own emergency room. Stories of rapid death because the wrong food was eaten or inhaled. 

And suddenly, plans were in place for the protection of any person who entered that environment and might have a food allergy. Plans far better than I could have hoped or expected. Awareness that went deeper than I could have imagined.

My God is great. He heard and far exceeded our cries for intervention. 


God gave me charge of my specific children, and I am reminded at times that it is not a mistake. It is deliberate. I am honored to be the mom who fights for their needs, prays for their beings, loves their amazing selves. 

01 August 2013

thankful thursday

Thankful Thursday is a chance for me to stop and reflect on a few things I'm thankful for each week. I'm not attempting to make or meet a criteria. I'd love it if you would join me! Share what you're thankful for in the comments, or leave a link if you want to do this on your own blog...


friendships
I mentioned my son's recent experience in my last post. It wasn't his first experience with bullying, but in the past he was younger and it was a blend of teasing and physical (think of a second grader in a head-lock in the bathroom - who was taken to task for trying to get out of it). In the past, it didn't come from kids he believed to be his friends. He was deeply shaken this week, humiliated in a new way that his history didn't touch. Middle School kids can be cruel. 
But the next day, his best buddy had plans to come visit. They got lost in Lego's (yes, rising 7th and 8th grade boys who are still passionate about Lego's - what a wonderful thing!), they played DS, they hung out.  It was a sweet balm to my son's hurting heart. Friendships are a precious and powerful thing.

sunshine
We've had so much rain here this summer; it has been a bit Seattle-like. The dark days were a struggle for us and I asked the Lord about some reprieve (I've been trying not to complain about the rain - I know our turn for a drought will come again). We have a God who cares about the details - He shifted the rain to nights only so we could enjoy some sunshine during the day. And our temperatures milder than our usual Georgia heat because of the night rain. It's been a lovely change this week.

coffee
I went to bed too late. 
I woke too early.
It's been a long morning. 
But I have had coffee!


What are you thankful for this week?

29 July 2013

crushed

My heart is crushed by the senseless teasing of kids.

I know - I really, really know - that kids don't always "get it" and typically don't know what on earth to do or say to the other kid when they seem different. But it saddens every single fiber of my being when children lack compassion, kindness, tact. Effort to be nice.

My 12 year old son has Asperger's. His social skills are clumsy and random, yet he craves friendships. Adults find him amazing because he talks on their level comfortably, then often don't understand that this makes life more difficult, particularly at his age. They easily fail to see that his needs and struggles are far deeper than the awkwardness that shows on the surface. You have to know him to understand it. You have to care to see it. And in doing so, you might easily love him. But unless you try - you're just one of the many who skim the surface.

Like the kids up the street.
The kids who teased my son today.
The same kids who invited him out to play 30 minutes earlier.

I was hesitant because they haven't asked him to come out in a long while. When they see him, they often look away - awkward and unsocial in their own right. But they have played with him nicely in the past. They had a basketball - something my son can enjoy. It seemed common ground.

So I was willing to give it a shot, in spite of my hesitation. Instead, I felt the sharp sting of rejection almost as much as he did.

But you know what? 
As my mother and I prayed for my son this evening, and for the kids up the street, we prayed that my son would see and experience The One who never rejects us, who loves and accepts us unconditionally.
And my own heart was comforted by that all-encompassing love. He eased the hurts a mama feels for her child. I love my son so much. But how much more does my God loves my son!

25 July 2013

thankful thursday

Thankful Thursday is simply a chance for me to stop and reflect on a few things I'm thankful for each week. I'm not attempting to make or meet a criteria. If you would like to join me, I'd love it! Feel free to share what you're thankful for in the comments, or leave a link to your own blog if you want to copy Thankful Thursday there...

1. Change
I hate change -  and more so as I get older, apparently! But sometimes change is a good things, be it a change in atmosphere, a change in jobs, or just a change of clothes (haha!). A few small changes the past week have brought about new peace for one of my children, and in turn for the rest of us. Grateful barely skims the surface of how I'm feeling.

2. New Friends
Along with change, meeting new people can be tough. Again, the older I get the more introverted I feel (my husband disagrees, but perhaps circumstance and stress have played into it). This week, I stepped out of my comfort zone to go to a writer's meeting. My heart was fully blessed to be among these praying, God-loving women. I came away encouraged and happy at the end of a day that was dark and exhausting. 

3. Old Friends
Saturday I had a lovely, long breakfast visit (that runs through lunch, without fail) with someone who was a new friend a few short years ago. Now she's an old friend I love dearly and always look forward to seeing. She's good for my heart; I hope I'm good for hers. Plus, she loaned me some pretty dresses for some upcoming occasions - an added perk in our friendship!