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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cross-eyed

YIKES! I can't believe it's been over a week since I've blogged. Did not mean for that one, but hey that's been what my life has been like the past week. I flew home from Chicago, got home late, woke up early the next morning to head to my mom's for Christmas, got back here in time for a snowstorm, jumped back into teaching, and the rest of the life I left behind.

You know the funny thing about taking a vacation from life? It's still waiting when you get back, with the added bonus of everything you didn't do all piled up.

Which is why I'm cross-eyed.

I did all the hard copy edits on the book on my trip. Yes, yes I did. I put my flight time and layovers to good use, tyvm. Now, of course, I have to put it into the computer, which is a slightly daunting task because I think I may have edited myself into a corner. Yes, my friends, these are the days when I understand why many of the literary greats ended up alcoholics. And, no, I didn't actually drink. I just understand why one would want to.

Then there are the boards, which are crazy... with the upcoming changeover and a couple of events I have launching at the same time, I've got a million and one things to finish and have ready ASAP. I've spent the past two hours trying to get some html right and figure out why I couldn't get one stinking paragraph to format correctly.

And of course, I have teaching. We did a marathon session today. I love it when the course material says it's slated for an hour more than the class time you're given. Along with all of that, I've got to do all the end of year/beginning of new year paperwork. ICK.

So that, dear people, is what I've been doing. Roaming the country, leaving havoc in my trail, and actually trying to be productive. Just in time for tax season to start. I got a glimpse of my schedule, and frankly, I'm not ready to face it yet, so I don't remember when I'm working. My boss said she's being nice to me and giving me some time off. *insert skeptical look*

And I've really got to get started on my own taxes. That Man and his HR person did not understand my instructions for his withholding and I didn't catch it until too late. Which means we're going to owe. I think. Unless I can pull a few more deductions out of my hat. Speaking of, I need to get new glasses tomorrow. The silver lining of the cloud that's been my health problems this year is I'm going to have a ton of medical expenses to deduct. The new glasses will be total icing.

Or at least that's the hope. I think I'm starting to ramble. I am so tired. Too tired to move. Can I stay here forever? Of course then the stuff will just pile up around me, won't it? Ah... my life... gotta love it.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friends, Fun, and YAY!!!

Honestly, I don't have anything specific to blog about, but I know folks know I'm on the road, so I wanted to do a general "I'm safe, alive, and happy" post. There's six of us in this suite in the hotel and we are having a ball. Last night, we attended the final show for the Christmas Promise tour with Todd Agnew, Newsong, Matthew West, Nate Sallie, and Britt Nicole. It was wonderful.

Last year, we did a retreat with the Christmas Hope tour with Todd and Newsong, and it was also wonderful. I meant it when I said it's going to be a tradition. So praying already for next year.

The hardest thing about the connections and friendships I have with people all over the world is that we don't get to see each other often enough. Of course, we're already planning the next get-together. I admit, I hope we do something sooner than what we're looking at. I love these girls. They are some of the most amazing women I've met.

And now we've got four others stopped by to say goodbye, so I guess I'll sign off for now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Reason #98798 why Mommies need vacations

Because after spending over an hour in the car looking for the place that has our pictures, said place can't find them amidst three year old throwing a temper tantrum in the store. In fact, no record of us seems to exist. Funny, they seemed eager enough to charge my credit card, for which there IS a record. Fortunately, the guy was nice and said if I called them with the info, rather than having to make another trip out there, they'll mail them to me for free. Yippee for me.

We pile back into the car, said monster child begs for her chocolate milk.

I should have known better.

I do know better.

But when she promises to be really careful and not spill, I *sigh* trust her.

Surely you know what's coming.

Yep.

Two blocks later, she dumps the entire bottle of chocolate milk all over her and the interior of my car. And thinks it's funny.

Needless to say, I did not get to the store, or run any of my other errands. Unfortunately, the "I can parent better than you police" don't look kindly to dragging around a dripping wet with chocolate milk child in the middle of winter. Been there, done that, got the lecture.

So we drove home, I put the little rat in bed, and I am now wondering how I can get all of my errands run before I head to the airport at 9 a.m. I imagine it'll look something like Mommy ends up at the grocery store in the middle of the night and I stay up all night packing and doing all the other miscellaneous things I have to do. I can sleep on the plane, right?

Which means I'll end up sitting between two linebackers who think they can take up my share of my seat because I'm such a cute little thing and I won't mind.

Oh well. I'm going to be spending the next few days with some of my bestest girlfriends, sans children, and life will be GRAND. *happy sigh*

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Kingdom

Not the one you're thinking of. :)

I just finished watching The Kingdom. A friend of mine works for Blockbuster, so he gets to preview a lot of the movies about to come out. Anyway, we all went over and watched it.

Wow.

I should say that again.

Wow.

I come into it from a different perspective. In college, my primary field of study was the Middle East. I'd actually hoped to go into foreign affairs, work for the State Department, make the world a better place. Yeah. You see where I'm going with this, right? I spent a summer living in Israel and realized that foreign policy in the Middle East has very little to do with what's right and everything to do with power. I couldn't live with that. And frankly, as much as I am a rebel, I'm not into being a one-woman fight against the machine.

I watched this movie with a lot of sadness. I'm going to ruin the ending, so if you're one of those who can't deal with it, I apologize. Each side ended with the notion that "we're going to kill them all." There was this little boy, and that was the thought planted in his head. You want to know where the terrorists come from? Those little boys. And probably, little girls.

The next generation of terrorists are going to be even more ruthless. We think it's bad now, but I believe it will be even worse. The younger generation sits back and watches as their loved ones die horrible deaths. All the blame is placed on the Americans. Or, if you live here, on the Muslims. And so we learn to hate. When we hate, it's easier to kill. They aren't one of us. They are the enemy.

If you want to know the truth about what's going on over there, you need to know that we're all in the wrong. All sides. We aren't the good guys. But we aren't the bad guys, either.

I gave up my Middle East dreams because I didn't know what to do about it. There are some in this country who would think I'm unpatriotic or wrong or worse, a terrorist myself because I feel this way. And the thing is, I'm none of those things. I love my country. But I love other people too. And I think all people have the same inalienable rights. Rights that we deny a lot of others because they believe different things, live a different way, and look a little different from us.

I say this as an American. I say this as a Christian. I say this as a mother.

I used to laugh about the bumper sticker that says, "Who would Jesus bomb?" I keep thinking about it, though. Who WOULD Jesus bomb? He came so that all might be saved. Not everyone except the people we don't like. Abram became Abraham, the father of many nations, so that all the peoples of the world would be blessed. The fulfillment of all the law is love. I'm a bit confused as to how any of our actions are in line with the law. But apparently I follow the wrong law. At least in human terms.

So maybe I did blog about The Kingdom, after all. And not the movie.

If you want to change the situation in the Middle East, if we want to win the war on terror, it's not going to come by going in, guns blazing. I used to work with an organization that's figured that out. Seeking Common Ground- Building Bridges for Peace brings together young women from Israel, Palestine, and the U.S. to learn about one another and break the cycle of hatred. I was privileged enough to work with a number of the girls, get to know them, and fall in love with each and every one of them. It's groups like SCG, working to change the hearts of the next generation, one person at a time, that's going to make a difference.

I encourage all of you to take the time, step into the shoes of your enemy, and truly consider what Jesus would really do. Perhaps, if we started to figure that out, we wouldn't be damning the next generation to hell on earth.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #28: Things I've learned recently about eating healthy


Thirteen Things about eating healthy


1. Healthy food tastes pretty good.
2. Some of it is still gross, though.
3. Soy is one of the worst things you can put into your body (and here I thought it was good for me)
4. If you plan right, it's also not as expensive as I thought.
5. Homemade food doesn’t take as much time as I’d thought (and it’s much better for you!)
6. You’re not supposed to sauté the garlic with the onions (and guess how I learned how to cook)
7. I can get my kiddo to eat anything if I tell her its medicine (and she likes it)
8. How to make Kefir (and what Kefir is)
9. That when you roast a chicken, you’re supposed to do it with the right side up (I still can’t tell which end is which)
10. My house will not burn down if I simmer homemade broth for the full 24 hours recommended by the recipe (and the broth turns out really nice)
11. Homemade Bread is really yummy and not so hard to make.
12. My family is not as fond of eating healthy as I am.
13. I still crave junk! (especially hot dogs!)





Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

An open letter to those in the universe conspiring against me

STOP IT ALREADY!!!!!!!

There. I feel much better.

As some of you know, this is crazy season for me. I wish I could *just* have Christmas to deal with. Frankly, it gets scaled back every year, and I'm fine with that. But it's a busy time for those of us gearing up for tax season, and somehow I ended up teaching two classes. UGH. And then, we are moving our boards to a new platform, which is great, but again, more work! Add in all my regular stuff, and I'm going crazy.

So today, on a day with lots of icky white stuff falling, when I have no place to go except to teach tonight, the only day I have in my schedule to sleep in, WHY WHY WHY won't people leave me alone?

No one ever calls. I kinda like it that way. Silence is golden. Today, the phone has not stopped ringing. Is it anyone I'd want to talk to? No. In fact, if you know whoever has the number 818-456-1234, could you please tell them to stop calling? So far, they've called three times today, and that's after I politely told them yesterday to never call here again. In case you're wondering, I screen my calls. If I don't recognize the number on caller ID, and you don't leave a message, I don't answer the phone. Anyway, all day long, from the moment I got up long enough to bundle kiddo up, kiss her goodbye, and send her to school, it's been a zoo here.

Not by my choosing, mind you.

My only peaceful day this week, and it's being disturbed.

Oh well, maybe I'll go bake something and feel better. :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #27: Things I've done since I last blogged

Yeah, I know. Long time no blog. I'm pretty shocked myself. Life's been... crazy to say the least. But rather than bore you with my petty excuses, here's my list:



Thirteen Things I've done since I last blogged


1. Slept.
Let's let that one sink in for just one more blissful moment.
2. Mailed off that pesky manuscript.
3. Cleaned my kitchen. I am no longer worried about the Health Department.
4. Visited 5 medical supply type places and called about a dozen more to find a sling for my 7 year old who fell off the trampoline and sprained her arm. Apparently, my children are the only ones who ever need slings. I am also, according to those medical people, a very bad mom for letting my kiddos have a trampoline.
5. Fell off the nutritional supplement bandwagon. I deeply regret it.
6. Spent a blissful day with my bestest best friend.
7. Attended one out of the four holiday parties scheduled for this week. Three more to go.
8. Rediscovered the joy of Neopets with my children.
9. Made an Advent Wreath.
10. Unpacked 10 boxes.
11. Paid the bills. Wahoo!! Our electricity won't be shut off because I forgot!
12. Re-bonded with hubby, children, and dog.
13. Worked on next major project for the boards.






Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Friday, November 30, 2007

Finally!!

At 2:35 p.m. this afternoon, I finished the rewrite of the book.

Let's all cheer.

However, I had to go back and revise the partial and synopsis to put in the mail tomorrow. Which I finished at 11:30 p.m. I had to cut 8 pages, make the grandfather less of a jerk, and make my hero less wishy-washy. Pages are cut. I think I succeeded with the grandfather and hero.

So tomorrow, I'm off to Kinkos to print and mail. Then, I can find my life again.

I'm pretty proud of myself. I set a difficult goal and met it. More importantly, I learned that my family can pull around me and work together to make it happen. Hubby very generously kicked me out of the house so I could get some work done. He kept the kiddos fed, the house semi picked up, and accomplished the crazy tasks I absolutely had to have done to stay sane.

As I prepared the very gourmet meal of hot dogs, the first I'd done all week, with the exception of a lasagna I'd frozen a couple months ago, I thought about a speech I saw a famous author give when she received an award for one of her books.

She got up and said that while everyone else thanked their family, she wasn't going to, because her family didn't write the book. Maybe the family didn't write the book. But at least in my house, my family plays an important role in my writing. They eat cereal on the nights I'm too preoccupied to cook without burning the house down. My husband works hard and sometimes extra hours so I have enough money for whatever I need- whether it be paper, ink, or conference expenses. They put up with me asking them weird questions like, "If you were in this situation, how would you react?" And they pitch in to do chores that I don't quite get around to. The seven year old informed me that she loooooooves to do laundry.

So to my family, thank you. I still have a lot of work to do, but without your help, I would not have reached this goal

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Santa and Jesus

I realized why I hadn't posted the entries in the Unposted Blog Entry file. ACK! So much for the magic file.

I broke my little girl's heart today. We were talking about Christmas, and she told me about this toy she wanted. I'm sorry, but I think it's inappropriate to spend $300 for a toy horse for a child for Christmas. Frankly, I think people are going waaaay too overboard with Christmas spending. Which is why we're scaling down.

So, we had to have a talk. I finally explained to her that the horse she wanted was too expensive, and there was absolutely no way she'd get it. In a tearful voice, she asked, "But Mom, what about Santa? Can't he bring it?"

Now see, we do Santa in our house. But for us, Santa is a fun tradition, and the focus is Jesus. Santa is not a miracle worker. And my kids certainly aren't getting things from Santa that we'd never buy.

I told her again, "it's too expensive. We can't afford it."

My daughter said, "you have to PAY Santa?"

"Yes."

She spent a good hour crying. But when she finished, we talked about other gifts she might like. And we talked about what's important about Christmas.

On one hand, I feel bad for making her cry. But I also know that if that horse isn't under the tree on Christmas, it'll completely ruin her day. It's best she understands now.

A friend of mine and I talked recently about how God isn't Santa. He doesn't give us the nice gifts on our wish list just because we're good or because we really want them. But I'd like to add something. Santa isn't God. We shouldn't be looking for him to do things for our families that we can't. Our kids shouldn't be looking for him to give miraculous presents mom and dad have already said no to.

I'm not one of those anti-Santa Christians. I think Santa is a nice story and a nice tradition. Just like any one of the other stories I grew up reading. And I think it's okay to play pretend and play Santa. But I also think we need to keep Santa in perspective and make sure his importance isn't at the center of our holiday. He's not a miracle. The miracle is in Jesus, and that's where we need to keep our focus.

So this Christmas season, rather than wondering about what Santa can do, ask yourself how you can be Jesus to someone else. It's a whole lot better than Santa.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Struggling, but getting by

Okay, so promised post from yesterday didn't materialize until today. Sorry about that.

It's been a long, hard day, with pretty much nothing going as planned. And that's been a real bummer, to say the least. And at the risk of sounding like a big, whiny, cry baby, no one's given me a whole lot of sympathy over it.

Anyway, I'm on a major deadline so I'll be hit and miss the rest of the week. I think my posts will be coming from that magic file of stuff I meant to post a long time ago but never got around to posting. It should be interesting. Or not. I don't know.

I'd post more tonight, but it's been such a bad day that I'm afraid to say or do anything else. My computer will probably blow up or something. So send me chocolate, hugs, tea, and I'll catch you here real soon.

Unless my house blows up. I wish I were kidding.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Free Book Monday: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

This is a real-quick-like post, just letting you know what the book is. I'll be back later to fill in details, but I figured some folks were expecting it, so I'd at least share that much. I'll be back later with some kind of post. :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Updates

Well, if you're a sidebar watcher, you'll see that I've FINALLY!! updated my sidebar and links. If you're not on there and want to be, or are there and don't want to be, let me know and I'll make the change. :)

The winner of last week's Free Book Monday is... Heather! Congratulations!! Email me with your info and I'll get the book out to you.

Hearing God

Happy Sunday! Last Sunday, as part of our small group, we took an assessment of our spiritual gifts. In the past, I've always scored pretty high on discernment. Yet, with this assessment, as I looked at the questions about discernment, I started to wonder. The questions made me realize how little discernment I have. I'm not really good at picking out people's motivations. My judgment tends to be clouded by my experience. My experience is that people aren't as good as they say, or as they'd like to think. But is it the truth? Or is it just my experience?

Lately, I've had a number of folks in my life playing the "God said" card. They'll be saying something about their life and ultimately, that phrase gets thrown out. However, as I watch the things happening in their lives, I hear the words that come out of their mouths, and the attitudes they have, I have to wonder... did God really say?

These people say they have a lot of discernment. It scares me because they are a couple of the meanest people I know. I don't hear a lot of nice things coming out of their mouths. But they think they have God's will all figured out. Is God's will about sarcasm? Is God's will about putting self above others? Is God's will about condemnation? Is God's will self-righteous?

Maybe I have a different version of the Bible. Maybe I don't understand God the way I'm supposed to. The truth is, the more I learn about God, the more I read my Bible, the more I think I don't have discernment at all. I still do and say a lot of bad things. I'd like to say the level of sin in my life continues to go down as I grow spiritually, but the truth is, all that's happened is that I'm more aware of how sinful I am.

Do I hear from God? I'd like to think so. But I'm also painfully aware of the fact that my hearing is distorted by my human experience, my human failings, my human desires, my human hurts, my human fears. It's easy to find a verse or interpret a verse to say what we think we want God to be saying. But is it what God meant by those words? And do they really justify our position?

I don't know. Like I said, as I've aged, discernment hasn't been my strong suit. Instead of answers, I only have more questions. Fortunately, as those of you who read my blog know, that's all part of the journey.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It came to me on page 198

Yep, that's where I am on this rewrite. And I need to kick it into higher gear to get it done in time. However, I had to take a quick break to celebrate this major epiphany.

For those of you new to my writing angst, you should know that I can't summarize to save my life. As a reader of my blog, you've hopefully figured that out by now. I get to my points. Eventually.

I usually start a book with a vague idea of what it's about. Except if you ask, "what's your book about," I will typically stammer for a good ten minutes until something resembling a story idea pops out of my mouth. I can tell you all sorts of things about my books. But to be able to crystallize it in any intelligent form? Nope.

So here I am, typing away, fighting with this latest chapter because it's so stinking hard, and it comes to me: a one sentence crystallization of my book.

My book is about finding who you are in Christ.

You may all now applaud.

Do not ask me to put that in a logline. Yet.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #26: Verses for Thanksgiving.

As promised, this week, it's all about the meaningful verses. My friend Tonya emailed me with one of my favorite verses today, and I couldn't help but think of the story behind it: a Thanksgiving story.

I did not grow up in a Christian home. Most of my family members break out in hives if I mention Jesus or God in their presence. But I've always loved God. I've always been curious. When I was eight years old, as we prepared to celebrate Thanksgiving, I got into an argument with my mom. I told her Thanksgiving was a God holiday because all holidays are about God. She told me no, it was about the Pilgrims. I've always been an argumentative little stinker, so I decided to prove her wrong. I grabbed the only Bible we had in the house, my aunt's old King James version. I came up with the first verse in my list. It had the word "thanksgiving" in it, which to me was the ultimate proof. Thanksgiving is all about God. Then again, so should be every other day. Although I was a lot older than eight before I figured out that one. Ooops. Still working on it. However, now that I'm older and know how to use a concordance, here's a few more "proofs" of Thanksgiving in the Bible.



Thirteen Verses about Thanksgiving



1. Psalm 100 (sorry, have to use KJV on this one... it's how I learned it, and nothing sounds as good. The rest is NIV)
1Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.2Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

2. Leviticus 7:12-14 (See, we should EAT for Thanksgiving!)
12 " 'If he offers it as an expression of thankfulness, then along with this thank offering he is to offer cakes of bread made without yeast and mixed with oil, wafers made without yeast and spread with oil, and cakes of fine flour well-kneaded and mixed with oil. 13 Along with his fellowship offering of thanksgiving he is to present an offering with cakes of bread made with yeast. 14 He is to bring one of each kind as an offering, a contribution to the LORD; it belongs to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the fellowship offerings.

3. Ezra 3:10-11
10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD :
"He is good;
his love to Israel endures forever."
And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

4. Nehemiah 12:24 (Didn't I recently blog about needing Thanksgiving carols?)
And the leaders of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, Jeshua son of Kadmiel, and their associates, who stood opposite them to give praise and thanksgiving, one section responding to the other, as prescribed by David the man of God.

5. Psalm 69:30
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

6. Isaiah 51:3
The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

7. Jeremiah 30:19
From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.

8. Jonah 2:9
But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.

9. I Corinthians 10:15-17
15I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

10. 2 Corinthians 4:14-16 (Wow! Isn't this the ultimate thing to be thankful for?)
14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

11. 2 Corinthians 9:10-12
10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

12. Ephesians 5:4
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

13. Philippians 4:6-7
6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.






Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The things our characters teach us...

Sunday morning, I woke up after having a series of bizarre dreams. As I showered and thought about them, I realized something pretty interesting about my writing. My characters, as much as I try to separate them from my real life, are taking a journey similar to one I'm on or have been on. I honestly never mean for it to happen, but there it is.

My heroine is at a crossroads. She's learned that someone she cares deeply about isn't the person she thought he was. And now she's got to decide how to handle it.

The cool thing about fiction is that characters learn a lot faster than we do. They can make the right choices because the great, wise writer can make it so. The funny thing is, as much as I can right the wrongs in my heroine's life, I have a much harder time doing it with my own.

As I examined my heroine's dilemma, it brought to mind a time I sat at a similar crossroads. My best friend had just betrayed me, and I was so hurt. I remember standing in the quad at school, and she tried to talk to me. But I walked away. I refused to listen, refused to talk. Granted, we'd been down that road before, and I was tired of having the same conversation only to have the same thing happen again. I used to be really proud of my decision to finally stop being walked on by this girl. With maturity and age, though, I've realized how unfair I was to not give her the chance to say her piece.

The truth is, I miss her. I wish I had the chance to tell her that I'm sorry for not giving her a chance. I've looked for her on the Internet, and haven't found her. Maybe some day. And maybe, because she used to love reading romance as much as I do, she'll read one of my books and we can find each other again. Or maybe, she'll find my blog and know that I am deeply and truly sorry. I am sorry, Sherry.

As I picture the look on my character's face at the moment of betrayal, I wonder, is that how she felt when I repaid my friend for injuring me by turning my back on her?

I am so glad my characters are a million times smarter than I am.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Free Book Monday: The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.

Wahooo!!! Free book Monday!!

Today's been a rough day for me. Long story. Now that I've told it about a hundred times, it doesn't seem so bad. However, what got me through were some good friends who listened and didn't say, "you are such a pyscho!" Or worse, "aww, PMS again?" Nope, they just loved on me. And I truly appreciate it.

Anyway, as I pondered which book to give away, I decided on this gem: The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. For me, writing books are old friends. Particularly old writing books. As a history nut, I find it fascinating to read books from another time period. The cool thing about this book, though, is that much of its contents are still applicable today.

So check it out! Post a comment here this week and I'll draw a winner this weekend.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Weekend Update with... me!

Did any of you ever watch Saturday Night Live? I used to love it, but then life got in the way, and I'm afraid I don't understand half the jokes anymore. However, one of my favorite parts was Weekend Update. Which has absolutely nothing to do with this post except that the theme song from Weekend Update went through my head as I typed it.

So there you are. Randomness with me.

I don't have anything in particular to share about the weekend, except to let you all know that the winner of the Liz Fielding book is Patricia! Congratulations!!

Tomorrow I'll have a new book up for grabs. Huh. That's just a few hours away. Guess I'd better get digging. :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...



This is the abomination as viewed from my back porch. Last week, some enterprising neighbors hired a lift to decorate the huge tree in their front yard. I remember driving by, thinking, I feel sorry for that guy's neighbors. Uh, that would be me. D'OH!

Actually, it is kinda pretty, and I imagine I'll sit here, drinking a cup of tea, watching the snowflakes fall, thinking something deeply spiritual with that lovely tree in the background.

However, we have not even hit Thanksgiving yet! For that matter, what happened to Veteran's Day? I'm not ready to have a Holly Jolly Christmas (which some idiotic radio station played the other day). I haven't even had my turkey. What about decking the halls with Pilgrims and Indians? Falalalalalalalala

Have we gotten so busy spending our money on junk we don't really need, but feel obligated to give that we've neglected taking the time to be still and think about how thankful we are for the money in the first place? We have to race out for the latest tacky singing Christmas blow up lawn ornament without stopping to take a look at the flags honoring the men and women who've served our country, making it a safe place for us to live, giving us the right to place those tacky lawn ornaments out there. Unless, of course, you've got an HOA. And then, my friends, you signed away that freedom. But for the rest of us, like my neighbor across the way, we can get as in your face as we want to show our pride in the holiday season.

God bless America.

May He have mercy on us all.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #25: Thanksgiving


Thirteen Things about Thanksgiving


Since Jan and Tonya are doing Thanksgiving this week and have another theme this week, and I got the email to join them, we're doing Thanksgiving a week early. Hopefully, as we begin to think what we're thankful for before the big day, before we get into all the preparations, we can make our preparations and celebrations with thankful hearts.

1. My new house. People keep asking me how I like it, and all I can say is I love it. I am so happy here. God really blessed us with this one.
2. My little Kiki. We call her the terrorist, and she is so much work. But you know, she brings us more joy than I ever imagined possible.
3. My little Bebo. She just amazes me with the things that come out of her mouth which began in her heart.
4. That Man. He's given me so much unconditional love. I don't know where I'd be without him.
5. Modern medicine. Even though I'm working to get back to more natural things in our family, with all the health challenges I've had this past year, I've gained a great respect for all the things modern medicine can do.
6. My Sara. She's one of the few people on this earth who really "gets" me.
7. Suffragettes. Maybe that's a weird thing to think of on Thanksgiving, but when I think of the first Thanksgiving and the praise they gave for God's bounty in a new land where they could have freedom to practice their religion, I realize that for many of the people coming over, freedom did not come for centuries. Because of the women fighting for our right to our opinions, I have the right to post on my blog, share my opinion, and when it comes time to vote, exercise that right.
8. Religious freedom. Let's be honest here. Some of the attacks on Christianity here suck. And sometimes it stinks to see so many things contrary to our values running rampant in our country. But it is such a blessing to live in a country where we can pray to our God, read our Bible, and worship as we feel led without fear of being arrested or jailed.
9. Good friends. This year, I've had some amazing people come alongside me. They've blessed me in more ways than I can count.
10. The Dog. Because he's The Dog.
11. Heavenly Provision. The past few years have been tough for us in a lot of ways. If you look at it on paper, there's no way we should have made it. But we did. God provided for us in so many wonderful ways.
12. A good cup of tea. Tea fixes just about everything. It makes me really happy. :)
13. God. Well, that's just a given, isn't it? Except it really shouldn't be. I think a lot of times, it comes out as rote, and we don't really stop to consider what an amazing God we really have. We kind of get used to Him, like a piece of furniture in the room. But what if we move that furniture? Suddenly, it's a big deal if the lamp isn't in the right place. Totally messes everything up. Yet, we don't walk around singing praises to the lamp. Maybe we should. Or at least we should take God out of the furniture department and keep Him on center stage. Huh. Didn't exactly mean to go there, but that's where my heart is. Being thankful that even though sometimes God is a lamp, and not in the psalmist sense, He still loves me, He still desires me, and He chases after me with an eager heart.

What are you thankful for?





Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Locks of Love









As many of you know, I usually have really long hair. What some of you don't know is the reason I have long hair. I've always had long hair, but when I went to college, my act of rebellion was cutting off my hair. I found out that my long hair could be used for an organization called Locks of Love. They use the hair to make hairpieces for children who lose their hair for medical reasons. Since I have fast-growing hair, I grew it out again, cut it again, and so on. I've sent a lot of hair to locks of love. If you've seen me with short hair, it's generally right after I've donated. This spring, I had a debate with myself about it. I'm starting to get gray, and with folks pointing it out, I've been self-conscious. I thought about coloring it, and then I realized, I wouldn't be able to donate any more. So I'm sticking with the gray. I've always felt that if I had something to give, then I ought to give it.










Now, please don't misunderstand and think I'm some super-spiritual being. HA! We went bowling after the haircuts, and my daughter said, "Mom! I'm kicking your @ss!" Guess who she heard that one from? Yep. Me. So I've still got a long way to go. But I figure, if I can share something that might encourage others to give even just a little something to help someone else, then I've done a good thing.

Maybe you don't have hair to give. But maybe it's something else. My daughter's school is doing a canned food drive. Do you have anything extra in your pantry? There's probably someone near you having a canned food drive. Or maybe it's a blanket drive like my friend Jan is having. I bet there's a homeless shelter near you that would appreciate it.

We tend to think of giving and changing the world as a really hard, really big thing. But really, if we all did what we could, even if it was just a little, we could make a huge difference. We'd change the world without realizing it.

Oh, and because they got haircuts too and they're so darn cute, here's one of the girlies. :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Free Book Monday: Reunited: Marriage in a Million by Liz Fielding

Funny story about this one...
Liz Fielding
is one of my favorite authors (and a wonderful woman. I just love her! I wish she'd come stateside more often). So, of course, if I see her books, I buy them. I typically try to buy them as they come out, but sometimes I miss one.

So there I was, looking in a thrift store for something totally unrelated (I needed a mason jar, ONE mason jar, not the twelve pack you see in stores), and of course, you know me, I can't pass by the book section without stopping to take a peek. Well, since I *do* buy by author, and I couldn't risk missing out on one of her books, I bought it. Fortunately for you guys, I already have it. And if I'm really honest, I'll admit that I was pretty sure I had it when I bought it, because the story sounded familiar. Having re-read it, I can assure you that I love this book.

My shaky memory is your gain. Post a comment this week about things you look for when browsing for books and what makes you buy one. Winner will be drawn this weekend.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The end of the sagging middle....

Is to do lots and lots of crunches.

Or, if you're a writer, to plug through it, even though you're positive it's the worst garbage you've ever written and would rather chuck the whole thing.

I am at the dead middle of this rewrite. The trouble is that when I started the rewrite, this guy who was firmly dead in other versions of the book is now ALIVE. And a part of the story. Well, he was part of the story before, but he was a dead guy, so he didn't take up a whole lot of my precious white space. But here he is. Alive. The trouble with fiction is that when you kill people, they don't always stay dead.

Anyway, I have been working on this chapter since Friday, and it's been piecemeal, trying to get decent words out of me. I finally gave up, wrote a summary paragraph of the rest of the conversation and got her out of Dodge. End of paragraph. End of chapter. We're now at the place that needs to happen next.

And maybe that's been my problem. This whole mess of struggling with the words happened Friday at Panera when I was happily typing along and realized, um, there's two scenes that have to happen first. Crap. I put on the brakes and went back to write those two scenes. I should have kept plugging forward. But no... I was too afraid I'd forget. Well, I paid for it. Two days of writing and all I can show for myself is one measly chapter.

Now on to the next. But I think this one's going to be fun, because I'm about to blow up part of my heroine's universe and I really love doing that...

Anyone have any good tips for getting through it without violence?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tattling on That Man

This morning, after reading last night's blog, That Man says to me, "wow, when you said she was snuggled with the dog, you weren't kidding." Nope.

I took all those pictures this past week. The dog picture happened Tuesday night when That Man had to work late. Little one was asleep and her big sister was playing a computer game, so I decided to take a bath. I promised B that when I got done, we'd have some "mommy time" and read a book. While she waited, she fell asleep on my bed in the dog's spot. So the dog went to bed on top of her. I had to take a picture because it was too cute. Plus, the dog spends so much time running from her, I figured it would be nice to have some photographic evidence that they do get along. When That Man came home, I told him the story, and he smiled and nodded like he always does.

So now I have to give him a hard time. I wonder... was it the case that he's seen how she traumatizes the dog so much that he couldn't possibly believe that the dog would willingly get within ten feet of her? Or was it that when I talk to him, all he hears is "blah blah blah..." and ends it with, "that's nice dear."

Men! Gotta love 'em.

Actually, even though I'm picking on him, I have to say, today was a good day. We celebrated our 8th anniversary this summer. In January, we'll have known each other for ten years. One of the first books we read together was The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. From the beginning, he knew what my love language was. From the beginning, he knew that the thing that makes me feel the most loved is to pay attention to the specific thing I want and deliver. For me, specificity is key. So for years, I've explained specific things around the house that if he did, I'd feel loved. He typically does everything but, and so I can never be mad at him, since he does SOMETHING, but he never does THE thing. Today... He did THE thing.

I came home after being at a writer's group, and not only was he working on the project I specifically asked him to do, but he'd also done it exactly how I asked, AND he'd cleaned the kitchen. The house was in better shape than when I'd left it, which is another thing I've been asking. I LOVE it!! I love him!

Now, lest you think I get too cocky over my wonderful man, I'll probably go up to bed and he'll ruin it all by being too gassy. Fortunately for him, I love him anyway. Or maybe it's fortunate for me. He did listen to all of my weird, anal instructions and follow them more than completely. He's listened to my nagging for all these years. He hasn't killed me for some of the crazy things I say and do. He lets me threaten to kill him, then smiles and tells me he loves me.

I think I'll keep him.

(But don't tell him...)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Moments I love


With my hectic schedule, I usually get home after the kiddos are supposed to be in bed. I say supposed to because some nights, I get home, That Man is in a fetal position, holding his head, crying, "please, make them stop." Okay, not really. But close. Lately, though, with the time change, B has been falling asleep right around 8:30. Which means, I come home to a little girl sleeping in some odd place because she dozed off waiting for her momma.

I'll sit for the longest time, watching her. Who'd have thought that watching a child sleep would be the best form of entertainment? It amazes me. She amazes me. I wonder how something so incredible, something so beautiful, came from me. I don't know why God picked me to be their mom, but wow... I am so lucky.

I watch them and I think what miracles they are. How perfectly their bodies were formed. Every little mark, every cell, carefully placed by God. How can anyone set eyes on such a perfect creation and not believe in God? They are such little miracles. Beautiful, lovely miracles.

I love hearing them breathe, even when they snore. Their little bodies move. And occasionally, you see signs of their dreams, and wonder what thoughts might be going on in those amazing brains.

I love being a mom.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #24: Cold remedies

I've been fighting this bizarre headache/cold thing, and I've tried just about everything... so far, no dice. Here's what I've tried. If you've got any other ideas, do add them!


Thirteen Things about Cold Remedies


1. Positive self-talk: I feel great!!
2. Extra sleep.
3. Sudafed and Tylenol
4. Multivitamins and fish oil.
5. Garlic.
6. Semi-positive self-talk: Okay, fine, I'm not feeling good, but I'll be better in no time!!
7. Apple Cider Vinegar.
8. A tea made with garlic, apple cider vinegar, and honey.
9. Cleaning my sinuses with salt water.
10. Visiting the chiropractor.
11. Drinking lots of water and tea.
12. Taking hot showers and baths.
13. Emergen C






Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Excuse #567 for missing church and being slow on the blog

Okay, I don't actually know what number it is. But bear with me, okay?

Ummm... I missed Free Book Monday. We'll give it a short hiatus. Last week's winner was Tamie!! Tamie, email me with your contact info and I'll get it to you.

I've been fighting a headache that I'll loosely call a migraine, because it doesn't have all the characteristics, but it's enough to be annoying, for over a week now. Sunday night, I broke down and took migraine meds because I thought, gee, nothing else is working, so why not? I felt great Sunday night, all day Monday, and then this afternoon, WHAM! It's back. This time, once I picked up the little monster from daycare, I did not pass go and I took the very last of my migraine meds, which means I'll have another trip to the Dr. soon. But that means I can't drive tonight. Which is actually fine, because the lights at church are HUGE migraine triggers for me, so no way, no how, are you getting me there tonight.

But I'm really depressed, because I've taught so much lately that I've missed church, and next month, I'm slammed again. Podcasts just aren't the same. Which reminds me, I need to download again.

Huh. I totally forget what I had to blog about, because I actually did have a point. I should just not post this, except I know there are folks who worry when they don't read a recent post. So there you have it. Me, whining about the fact that my body is not cooperating again, and unable to carry on a coherent discussion. But I think that's the meds talking, or not talking, whatever the case may be.

Anyway, I really promise I will catch up soon. I know there's quite a few blogs out there I'd like to catch up on because I know you're posting good stuff.

So to help me out in my catching up when the haze goes away, what are some of the can't miss blogs I need to make sure I read?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Confessing my deep, dark secrets...

You'd better get the popcorn out for this one. Really.

I spent the evening watching cheesy teenage romantic comedies. Can I just say that they are my very favorite kind of movie? Really. I would rather watch a shallow movie with a simple plot and a guaranteed happy ending than anything else. I don't watch movies to think. I watch movies to escape.

High School Musical 1 & 2? Loved them. Hilary Duff movies. Ditto. I also, am ashamed to say, adore Lindsey Lohan movies when she was in her pre-skank phase. I watch them with a mixture of bliss and disgust. Bliss because they have the simple plotline and satisfying ending I crave, but disgust at how I'm sucked in to watch the latest and greatest teen movie. And yes, I also loved Not Another Teen Movie.

I'm sick, I tell you, sick.

Which is why, I'm sitting on my ever-widening rear, watching Bend it Like Beckham, wondering what snacks I've got hanging around.

So now that I've confessed... it's your turn...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #23: Halloween Candies in the Trick or Treat Bag


Thirteen Things in the Trick or Treat Bag


1. KitKat
2. Crunch
3. Smarties
4. Endangered Species Chocolate
5. Runts
6. Tootsie Rolls
7. Caramels
8. Laffy Taffy
9. Jolly Rancher
10. Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups
11. Bottle Caps
12. Hot Tamales
13. Three Musketeers

I thought I'd have a hard time coming up with thirteen, but now I think I'm having a harder time with just thirteen! Is anyone else drowning in candy?






Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Crack Smokers and Repentance

What do they have to do with my day? Everything!!

Tonight, I did my taxes for writers talk at Words for the Journey, which was awesome. Beforehand, Sharen and I went out for dinner. I arrived at the restaurant early, and while I was waiting, I noticed an interesting sign on the door: "No crack smoking allowed." I, of course, had a heart attack, because those of you who know me know that I frequently accuse people of smoking crack. I rummaged through my bag to take a picture, because you all know I was going to blog about it. And then the light changed and I realized the sign said, "no CIGAR smoking allowed." Oops.

Today was an interesting, but odd day for me. You need to know that I began my day mired in sin. You know the day is not a good one when you wake up knowing your thought life is full of sin and you just don't have the strength do anything about it. I finally kicked myself in the butt around 1, realizing that I had too much to do to be doing the stupid stuff I was doing and I had to get into gear. So I put my day back on track, did what I had to do, and moved on.

God ended up really blessing me tonight. So many prayers were answered, and yet... I had a sense of unease. On the way home, I cranked the worship music and just worshipped my little heart out. Then, this song came on, Sorry by Paul Wright. Wow. It brought me to my knees. Not a very good thing when you're driving. Fortunately, I ended up in my driveway in time. God spoke to me so clearly about my need for repentance. We just sat there in my driveway talking, and I felt so awful for a day gone so wrong.

His words of love whispered back... my day had been redeemed and ended with incredible blessings. Not because of anything I'd done, but because of His incredible love for me. Wow.

Tomorrow is a new day. I'm going to mess up. Not because I want to. Not because I mean to. But because I'm me. It reminds me of a couple Joy Whitlock songs: Don't Look Down and Testify. And yet, God is so amazing, because He's here, supporting me as I continue down the road. I just have to keep looking ahead. At Him.

Oddly enough, tonight's journey with God made me think back to when I thought the sign said "crack smoking" instead of "cigar smoking." We misread a lot of things. My original sin today began with misreading something in my day. I kept misreading until I found myself mired in something that only God could rescue me from. As we look out and read the signs in our life, we need to focus on an important fact I forgot about until late tonight: God's character. If everything reads contrary to God's character, we're not reading correctly. Like tonight's sign... of course a restaurant isn't going to have a sign about crack smoking. That's just silly. I should have known better.

I'm so thankful for a God who's patient with my illiteracy.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I am sooo happy!!!

No, none of the things I had to do fell off the face of the earth. Darn the bad luck. But....

I had a wonderful talk with my beloved Squirly aka fabulous author Cheryl Wyatt about a retreat she'd like me to attend. Sadly, as much as I'd love to spend time with my adoring public, just ain't no way I can a.) afford it b.) find someone to watch my kiddos and c.) get the requisite time off work. However, we did agree that we need to do another writing retreat together, and wowie zowie did I find one. I emailed her to see if she wants to go, thought about calling her, but figured they're all in bed by now. So here I am, blogging about it, and hoping it'll work out for us to go.

I also went to Starbucks after work. Got TONS of writing done. The meat market wasn't so bad. I found a GREAT seat next to the fireplace, had me a big 'ole cup of Zen tea (my favorite: Venti Zen with three honeys), and I FINALLY figured out the point of them going to the silly Super Buffet. I've spent the past two days with them going to the Super Buffet and really irritated with them because the Super Buffet has NOTHING to do with my story, and FINALLY, they told me. I am so happy. If my battery hadn't been close to dead and I hadn't been about ready to explode from all the tea I drank, I could've stayed all night.

However, it's really late, and I'm really tired, and I really need to go to bed because I have a lot to do tomorrow. Except I'm so hyped right now, I can't even think about resting. The worst part is, I'm too tired to think or do anything else. Oh, the trials of being me. But I'm terribly happy being me.

Tonight, I realized something super cool. I love writing. I mean, I really love it. As I sat in Starbucks, by the fire, sipping my green tea and tapping at the keys, I thought, this is exactly where God meant me to be. This is my life. And I love it.

Oh, and tonight was super cool, too. I went to go finish my hiring paperwork for the new season and found out I got a raise. Yay me! Then, I found out I was getting paid to do something I didn't think was paid. Yay me again! Then, my students were effervescent in their praise. They love me. One of them apparently spent a lot of time telling my boss how great I am, which is always nice to hear. Good to build up my confidence given that the next session I teach starting next month is going to really challenge my abilities and kick my tail.

Also, the Harvest Fest went so well. It exceeded my expectations and that makes me really happy too. I've been working on it for so long that I'm sort of sad to see it end, but also really glad because that pressure's off for a while and I can relax until the next thing. *insert hysterical laughter* Seriously, though, I got a lot of really sweet emails from folks who reminded me why I love that job.

I think I'm pretty darn lucky. I have three jobs. I love all three. Writing is my favorite, but it's the other two that pay the bills. Well, maybe I have four or five. I didn't count Mommy in there, which is also pretty wonderful, except for when the terrorist gets out, roams the neighborhood in her jammies, and the elderly neighbor has to drag her home with a disapproving look like, why aren't you watching your kid. Um, because she's a terrorist with supernatural powers that allow her to do stuff like escape while you're using the restroom, thinking she's downstairs playing. And I didn't count wife, which is also pretty good, except that my poor man is feeling down because he had a rough day and I wasn't so nice to him. But I had a rough day too, even though now I'm feeling pretty darn happy. It's all in the perspective, I guess. I left the house this evening feeling overwhelmed and discouraged because I juggle so many balls and most of the time, I'm inches from dropping it all. But somehow, God always finds ways to remind me that as much as I think I'm failing, I'm doing a pretty good job. Not perfect. But not bad.

Yoiks, I need sleep. Life would be super perfect if I could make that one happen.

Free Book Monday: Leather and Lace by DiAnn Mills


I figured I'd better post this one before I head out to class, because I think I have a date with Starbucks or Denny's tonight.

Anyway, this week's free book is Leather and Lace by DiAnn Mills. It's signed, even, so you get a double bonus.

I have a couple of good rants cooking, but honestly, I don't have the time or the energy to get into them. Maybe tomorrow or later tonight. It's only Monday and I'm already exhausted. Hopefully, I'll make it out alive. Tonight, I teach my regular class, tomorrow night I teach a writer's group, plus I have to have posters made for our church carnival, Wednesday is Halloween, Thursday I teach again, and in between, I somehow was dumb enough to volunteer for the school book fair, going on all week. If I'm still breathing on Friday, it will be only by the grace of God.

So what fun do you have planned this week? Anything exciting?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The things that escape my mind...

Like today's blog post.

I distinctly remember thinking about something earlier today and telling myself I needed to blog about it.

Do I remember?

No.

We did, however, have a wonderful family day.

Speaking of things that escaped my mind, the Free Book Monday winner is..... Jan.

Congrats, Jan!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'll catch up soon, I promise!!

Please forgive me for being a bad blogger and a bad blog friend. The SH Harvest Festival has kept me running. The good news is that it's exceeded expectations, and I'm hoping that in the debriefing chat with the boss lady, we'll be making it an annual event. The bad news is that I've been busier than expected, and well, I'm one tired gal.

Last night, we went to my neighbor/friend/adopted brother's house and watched Spiderman 3. WOW. Can I take back everything I've said about the Spiderman movies until now. Everyone says I don't get it because I don't read the comics. Um, no, it's because Danica is formulaic and boring when it comes to movies she likes. Here it is: Characters, in flawed state, meet. Characters go through long, sometimes painful journey to realize new truths about themselves and each other. Characters, in evolved state, live happily ever after. Bittersweet endings piss me off. Hence the fact that hubby had to physically restrain me from hurling TV out window after movie #1. Movie #2 somewhat satisfied me because I figured at least the couple would get together even if the friendship was over. Movie #3.... OMG!!!! The character arcs finally came full circle, and even though I liked the one who died, it was all done so excellently, I couldn't imagine a better ending. YES!!! It took three movies, but they got it.

We also shared an amazing Gewurztraminer... let me tell you... yum-my! I'm not much of a drinker, and you could put what I know of wine in a mouse's thimble. However, when big bro (aka the wine expert) said he's never had Gewurztraminer, I knew lil sis had to teach him something. Despite the fact that many of the liquor stores here have no idea what this fabulous wine is, I did find some, and the wine did not disappoint. Even hubby (who does not like wine) enjoyed it.

That sweet Man also brought more things out of storage last night, so I'm now unpacking more stuff, and feeling more at home. Although I'm more overwhelmed because I don't have places for all my stuff. It may be a bigger house, but we have much less room than we did at the other house. Still, I love my house.

Today, I had to get up early and go to a music rating thing. More on that in another post, because I have a HUGE rant building. We got done early, so I called hubby to find out what I could do between that and my next event since I didn't have time to go home. He knows me too well, and he's so smart, he suggested I try to meet up with my Sara.

What can I say about my beloved Sara? I love her. I miss her. I almost cried when we saw each other. She was standing in an aisle, instructing her minions. I waited patiently for her to finish, but she noticed me, dropped what she was doing and ran over to give me a big bear hug. And she's not much of a bear, so that makes it an even more impressive hug. I almost cried. She's also in a new house, also blissfully happy with the situation, and we've set a no-excuse date. The first Wednesday of every month is ours, ours, ours!!! I am so excited. My FIL brought me chocolate tea from France, and so on our special day, she's coming over, we'll have tea, our little girls will play, and I will FINALLY get some time with the dear sister of my heart and soul.

I am so happy.

Speaking of being happy, the best thing about the Harvest Festival was how happy it made others. I have a whole inbox full of emails from people whose day I made with games they enjoyed and prizes they won. The funny thing is, I didn't really do anything but coordinate it all. I have so many fabulous authors who stepped up to the plate to make this such a wonderful time, and I'm so honored and thrilled that I got to be the lucky person to tell someone that they won. I know that sounds really weird, but it's so thrilling to know that this job that I do, especially after all this time, can make a difference in a person's life, even if it is just to give them a smile or a bright spot in a gloomy day. That, to me, is a mark of success.

I had other stuff to say, but here it is, an hour later (and yes, I've been multitasking), and I forget what it was. Just that I'm much more tired than I've been in a long while, and much happier, and well, life is ducky. Oh, and I promise to get caught back up and visiting friends soon.

Yup, yup, yup.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #22: New things I've tried lately


Thirteen ThingsI've tried recently


1. Making pea soup. It was super yummy!
2. Making Shepherd's Pie. It was also super yummy!
3. Harlech Cheese. OMG!! It was super super yummy!
4. Cotswold Cheese. Again, yummy! I've decided English cheeses rock!
5. Reading Chesterton's Orthodoxy... the jury's out on that one. He talks in circles so I get confused. I'm about halfway through.
6. Entertaining guests for dinner. My cooking hasn't killed them and they think I'm a good cook.
7. A new foam topper mattress. Hubby doesn't like it. I think we're taking it back.
8. A regular yoga schedule. I can't stick to it.
9. Chocolate chip pumpkin cookies. I must learn to make these, they're sooooo good!
10. Making the kids help me clean. So far, it's working.
11. Putting myself on a set schedule. It's so-so.
12. Spending regular writing time at Denny's, Panera, and Starbucks. Loving it, although I don't recommend Starbucks in the late evening, as it's the high school meat market.
13. Praying according to a new formula I learned. I focus too much on the formula, so I'll just keep doing it my way.

What about you? What have you tried lately?





Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A domestic goddess sort of day

Today, I did all sorts of domestic-y type things. I ran the children around on their various errands, to schools, etc. I worked. I went grocery shopping. I did laundry. I cleaned the kitchen. I dusted. I found a couple of other boxes to unpack. I unpacked the boxes. I washed the walls (had to, kiddo managed to make a grape juice fountain at dinner). I sat on the back porch swing and read. I enjoyed a cup of tea and smiled. I helped my daughter with her homework. I supervised the children cleaning their rooms. I made my children popcorn and hot chocolate for a snack. I picked up the house. I picked up the back yard. I played with the dog. I played with the kids. I bathed the three year old. I had one of our neighbors over for dinner. I made a nice dinner. I took a walk. I made dessert.

I'm exhausted.

But strangely, I feel really good.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

When it all comes crashing down, there's something to hold on to.

It's been a hard day. A really hard day. Can I explain it? No. I tried to tell That Man about it, but he just gave me that, "you're such a loon, but I love you," look. Even when I try to retell it to others, it doesn't sound so bad. Maybe I'm being a drama queen. Maybe I'm being hormonal. And maybe I'm just off my rocker.

Last night, instead of my beloved Denny's, I tried the open-late Starbucks by my house. Wow. I guess Starbucks is the new high school meat market. I have to say, it was a bit horrifying. I don't think I'm old enough to overhear most of what I overheard. I'm not even sure what to do with it. My heart is so sad that these kids are dealing with such adult issues. We need to pray for the teenagers out there. They're so lost. I didn't get much writing done, because it seemed like every few minutes, God put something else on my heart to pray for. One of the girls in particular reminded me of myself at her age. This slick, older guy, drawing her in with his knowledge of just enough to sound smart, but in reality, he was just a big loser trying to score. Today's teens, though, it seems like there's so much more pressure. So many more things on their plates. I see how it's changed from my teen years to now. And I wonder, and worry, about what it's going to be like for my little girls. I want them to be little girls, not these children playing at being grown ups.

Today, as part of my really bad day, I had a couple of rays of sunshine. My two little girls are amazing. My terrible three year old really came through for me as I walked the streets, lost, trying to figure out where were supposed to be, trying so hard not to cry because of all the bad things that had led to that moment. She hates holding my hand when we walk. She usually runs like a maniac and I end up frustrated at trying to corral her. But today, she walked beside me, her little hand never leaving mine, chattering about this and that, and making me realize that I have the very great honor of being her mommy. Then, when I picked up her sister, I had another amazing mommy moment. We walked home, hand in hand, and she told me about art and how they drew emotions. I asked her what emotion she drew, and she gave me this weird smile. I asked her what it meant, and she said, "it means I'm sooo happy because I have you for a mom." And I knew she meant it with all of her heart.

I pray for these little girls. Because I don't want them to deal with the hard realities that these older girls deal with in their lives. Some days, I don't even want them to deal with the hard realities in my own life. As I dealt with today's challenge, God and I went a few rounds. I kept telling Him I didn't understand, because it's just so hard. I asked him for a few little things, which He very graciously delivered. And I don't know that we ever really accomplished anything or resolved anything because I still feel... I don't know. I can't explain it, which makes it really hard to blog about.

I ended up spending a lot of alone time today after I got the little one to where she needed to go. The song going through my head was Todd Agnew's Can I be with you from his Better Questions CD. You do have it, right? Because you really should. Anyway, as it ran through my head, I kept asking God, "Can I be with you?" I wanted to rest my head on his shoulder and just know that it was all going to be okay. But as I examined all the junk from today, all the junk that had been building up, I don't know that I could find any pieces that were pure and true (if you listened to the song, you'd know what I meant). I can't describe how much it hurt. Does He really want me? Can He use someone so broken? Someone who is failing miserably at so many things right now?

And then I thought about my little girls. How they so trustingly held my hand today. I realized that the reason the baby almost never holds my hand is that I've given her the confidence she needs to do things on her own. She can run like a maniac because she knows I'm there. Today, as we walked through unfamiliar territory, she held my hand because she knew she needed me to keep her safe. The rest of the time, she's equipped to do it on her own. Her sister said something to me the other day at the store, walking through the parking lot hand in hand. "Mom, I know that you think I'm a big enough girl to go by myself. But you just like holding my hand, don't you?" She squeezed my hand and said, "And that's good, because I like holding yours too."

I'm not failing. I have two amazing little girls who know the power of holding hands. And, as I thought about this tonight, I remembered yet another good song from Todd's album, Still Has a Hold. It's about holding hands with God. I love the line in the chorus, "when my hand is weak and tired, your hand still has a hold." So I've been listening to it, realizing that I'm trying so hard to do all of this on my own, and honestly, I don't even know how to give it up. But the cool thing is that even as I'm stumbling and fumbling around, He's still got me by the hand.

I'm not through this storm. And maybe it'll be a while. But maybe it won't be so long. Either way, it won't be the only one. I just have to remember that even as I trudge through the leaves, feeling lost and alone, someone's got my hand. And when my little girls face their storms, even if they're worse than the ones I see these other girls go through, I know that they've learned, as the great Robert Fulghum said, "when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together." But the best thing is, they know whose hand to hold.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Free Book Monday: The Practice of the Presence of God

I know, I'm slow in posting today. Today is the start of the Steeple Hill Harvest Festival, and it's got me running. Do stop by and join us. We've got fun games and lots of prizes.

But what you've all been waiting for... this week's free book!

I chose The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, because it's a phenomenal, yet simple look on faith from a seventeenth century monk who was able to use simple every day activities to deepen his relationship with God.

For me, a busy crazy mom with a lot on her plate, it's a great reminder of using even the mundane tasks like washing dishes to honor God.

And because I took so long in getting this up and it's going to be a crazy week, you've got all week to enter. I'll draw the winner on Friday.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Come play at the Steeple Hill Harvest Festival!

I don't usually talk about my online job, but I'm going to do some shameless promoting. We have a fun-filled week with some of my favorite authors. We've got all sorts of games and author appearances. So join us at the Steeple Hill Harvest Festival.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

When is enough, enough?

B had a soccer game today. One of the interesting things about her team is that half of the players are playing at an elite level, the other half play at a beginner's level. Since they are divided on to two fields, the better players play on one side, the others play on the other. I keep thinking about this arrangement, because it's such an odd situation. The parents on the other teams think it's horrible that six and seven year olds are already being divided up on "A" teams and "B" teams. And I can sort of understand that. Our so-called "A" team is undefeated, to the point that they slaughter anything that comes their way. The "B" team consistently gets slaughtered.

For the record, my daughter mostly plays on the "B" team. I don't mind so much, because I know she's learning, and when she plays on the "A" team, she's intimidated by the better players and lets them do it all while she hangs back. On the "B" team, she's confident and plays like a champ.

Today, though, she played on both sides, and I got to hear comments from parents on both sides. And now I'm so torn I don't know what to think. The parents of the girls on the "A" team resent the kids on the "B" team. One parent was so insensitive as to comment to another that she didn't know why this one little girl was even on the team, she's so bad. (It's a rec league, open to any child.) I felt bad for the little girl (who didn't hear the comment). Maybe it's because I was that little girl.

I've always been the nerdy kid who preferred to sit in a corner, reading a book. I'm the "smart one." School came easy for me. Athletics did not. After my disastrous cheerleading tryout at the end of eighth grade, I completely gave up even trying to play any sort of sport. It hurt too much to be laughed at. Since then, I haven't even attempted to participate, even in just a "fun" game. I like yoga, because it's an individual thing, and every instructor I've had always emphasized personal growth. That, I can handle. And I have to admit, that when I work on it regularly, I'm pretty good at yoga. I also like swing dancing, and am thinking of expanding to other ballroom dances. It takes me a while to get the steps, but again, once I figure it out, I'm pretty good.

I look at these little girls, and I wonder, how long will it take for the mean comments of these competitive people to steal their joy? I love watching the "bad" girls. They're learning, they're figuring it out, and when people aren't rubbing in their faces that they're losing, they have a lot of fun. I don't really like watching the "good" girls. For them, it's all about winning. I've heard their parents pull them aside and tell them what they're doing wrong, how they need to fix it, and what they need to do to be champions. I see how the "good" girls treat the ones who aren't so good. I can't believe how early the snobbery starts. And I wonder, is it naturally a part of us, or do they learn it from their parents?

They're six and seven years old. When do they get to be kids? When do they get to have fun and enjoy life? The trouble with growing up is that the competitiveness just gets worse. Everyone wants a bigger house, a better car, the promotion, the contest win, the notch on their belt, the recognition. I admit, I'm guilty of it too. Although, if I haven't mentioned it recently, I am soooooooooo happy in my new house.

I wonder, how do we get ourselves to the place Paul wrote about in his letter to the Philippians? To be content in all things. Some friends and I were talking about this recently, in terms of being at the place where God is enough. It's easy to say, "God's enough for me," but what does it look like to mean it? When can we let go of the competitive streak? How can we let go of the need to be the best and just be content to run the race to the best of our abilities? To do so in a way that honors God? More importantly, how do we teach our children to do the same in a world that does the reverse?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I heart Denny's

They seriously need to pay me some endorsement bucks.

When I go on Thursday nights, I have a really nice waitress named Kelly who always refills my tea and brings me lots of honey and lemon. I don't get that kind of service at home, let me tell you.

So anyway, I've figured that my two hours of battery time is just about perfect, because I start to get tired as my battery winds down. And tonight, I wrote... 20 pages!!!

I almost went to VI, because they have better desserts. But I think I'll stick to Denny's. I seem to do well with Moons Over My Hammy and tea. After listening to a nutritionist speak at MOPS today, I probably am doing well to avoid all that processed sugar. Not that Moons Over My Hammy is any better for me, with all the fat. Although... the nutritionist said that our brains are largely fat, and we actually do need fat for our brains. So maybe my choice isn't so bad after all. Yeah. At least that'll be the story I stick to.

Or at least until I can't fit into these pants anymore.

Tomorrow, I'm off to critique. More importantly, we'll be celebrating because my dear friend Daniele, FINALLY finished her book. I know, none of you know Daniele. But she's a great gal, and I'm super proud of her for finishing. If she had a website or blog, I'd send you all there to congratulate her. After that, it's a girls night out at Johnny C's for Italian Nachos and Bellinis. Yum, yum, yum. Those are almost as inspiring as Denny's.

So what mundane things inspire you? Do you heart Denny's like I do?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #21: Thirteen words I've played on Scrabulous


Thirteen wordsI've played on Scrabulous


I recently discovered Facebook and was sucked into the world of Scrabulous. Since I have Scrabulous fever, here's thirteen words I've played recently:

1. Tepid
2. Manga
3. Jow
4. Fest
5. Equate
6. Poetic
7. Farer
8. Fiend
9. Hexad
10. Wheel
11. Nobles
12. Router
13. Zoned

So if you're a word nerd like me and enjoy Scrabulous, find me on Facebook, and let's play!






Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Tuesday, October 16, 2007

That's IT!!!

Why do I bother watching TV? Seriously. Why? I've been quite happy that the hinted romance between Grissom and Sarah is finally out and we can finally openly explore that theme. And now... Jorja Fox is leaving the show.

This is what I hate about television, and why I prefer books. Particularly ROMANCE. Because the stupid TV people ALWAYS have to mess up a good thing. Veronica Mars? Probably one of the best character arcs I've seen on television. But because the writers weren't happy with a satisfying romance, the writers had to obliterate it and the show out of existence. Every show I've ever loved is ruined by idiotic writers who can't seem to maintain a good character arc to save their lives. I wonder if it's some sort of self-destruct thing. Just as soon as they nail an arc, they demolish it with all the precision of a wrecking ball.

And now they're ruining CSI.

Is there anything good on TV these days?

The winner of Free Book Monday is: Julie!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Free Book Monday: Better Questions Tour CD



I tried taking a picture, but it didn't work. So, I'll just tell you about it. :) As some of you know, I've gone to a few of the shows for Todd Agnew's Better Questions tour with Rush of Fools and Joy Whitlock. Great shows. If you haven't gone, and I do believe I've already told you to go, then GO!

At many of the shows, everyone who prepurchased a ticket gets a free CD with music by Todd Agnew, Joy Whitlock, Rush of Fools, Caedmon's Call, Skillet, Sara Groves, Phil Wickham, and Jessie Daniels. Because I went to more than one show, I have more than one CD. Funny how that works. So, once again, I'm sharing with you all. Post a comment, and I'll draw a winner out of the comments.

And because I finally got a new downloady-thing for my pictures, I can finally share some pics. :)


Me, Tad, Tess, Mo.


Cody, Me, Joy.

I love these people!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

So proud of my little boy...

Dog, that is.

He's spent the past 7+ years of his life chasing squirrels. They taunt him. They torment him. And now that we're in the new house, they live above our porch and eat his food. He's been going nuts. Taking us with him.

But this fine, rainy morning, as I let him out to do his business so I could get back to bed, I watch a new scenario unfold. The dumb dog, running in circles, barking. The even dumber squirrel, sitting under the picnic table. I know what the stupid creature was thinking: when is that dumb dog going to shut up, and when is that even dumber human going to bring me my food? And I was thinking, that silly squirrel deserves to die, just sitting there. Except my dog was running the wrong way. Just as I was getting ready to open the door and tell the dog to get inside, he pounced. He came out of nowhere to land on the squirrel and WHAM!



I'm such a proud mommy. Really. My sweet baby finally achieved his lifelong dream. However, just as I always seem to be doing, I had a mess to clean up. Carcass disposal. I was afraid he'd eat it, or worse, bury it and then the kiddos would find it. And YUCK. So yeah, I spent a rainy morning picking up a dead animal.

Now that our doggie has made his first kill, he's very excited about a follow up. He hates rain and he really hates getting wet. But he spent all morning, outside, waiting for his chance at another. As happy as I am for the little guy, I'm really hoping it'll be at least another seven years.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hope no one barfs...

Probably the sweetest sentiment anyone's ever given me. And the most appropriate. I was chatting with my friend Mo about my new bed, getting the lowdown on what I need to do to make it perfect. Her goodbye to me was "enjoy your clean sheets. Hope no one barfs."

That should be how everyone says goodbye. Clean sheets are the best thing in the world, hands down. I looooooooove sleeping on freshly laundered sheets. I'll be appreciating it even more now after sleeping in skunk smell. So yes, for someone to tell me to enjoy them...

But really, the best part, the part that says she knows and loves me, is that she hopes no one barfs. She obviously knows Mommy's Law of Clean Sheets: When the sheets are clean, someone will barf.

So tonight, as I spend quality mommy time with my girls and enjoy my nice clean bed, I wish you all clean sheets and no barf.

Friday, October 12, 2007

De-Stinkyfying

I made that word up, so don't steal it without crediting me. :)

A week ago, our dog met up with the neighborhood wildlife. And now, everything in our house smells like skunk. It's getting better, but every once and a while, we get a quick whiff of mega stink.

Last night, Christmas came early and my FIL bought us the mattress pad I'd been wanting. Mo has that kind of mattress pad, and I fell in love with her bed while I visited. I'd intended to buy it myself, but he asked if he could buy it for us for Christmas. Who was I to say no? I love presents like this. For me, the value of a gift is giving someone exactly what they want or need. Specificity is really important to me. So when I get exactly what I want, I'm REALLY happy.

The only trouble is, I haven't been able to enjoy my present because my room still smells like skunk. Worse, The Dog, who sleeps with us, still smells like skunk. If I re-make my bed with the new mattress pad, my beautiful bed will just end up stinking too. So I have to wait. And wait. And someday, my lovely house will no longer stink. And I will finally get to sleep in bliss.

Speaking of de-stinkyfying, my lovely CP sent back my synopsis. It's not as bad as I'd thought. But it never is. Anyway, after looking over her comments, rewriting, pondering, and talking to her, I think I finally have a usable synopsis. Yay me!

At least that's one thing I was able to de-stinkyfy today.