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...