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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?


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


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.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #20: The Truth about working from home

Thirteen Things about Working from Home

I got the funniest email last night. Spam, even. The subject was: Do you spend too much time at work? The body of the email says: Let us show you how you can work from home. I just started laughing hysterically. I couldn't help it. Given that one of my jobs is done from home, I thought, these guys really want to paint a perfect picture of something that's soooo not. So today's TT is all about the downside of working from home. Just in case that guy's ad might be tempting...

1. Your meetings with the boss are often interrupted with shouts from children wanting to tell you about their latest bathroom experience, including size, consistency, quantity, whether or not they wiped, and worse, whether or not it ended up in the toilet.
2. You often find yourself working to the tune of Backyardigans, Dora, Diego, Mickey Mouse, and other childish creations, so that when you are talking to another adult, the best you can come up with is, "Uh, Boobah?"
3. Your business lunches consist of PB&J while tapping furiously at the laptop and screaming at the kids to stop wiping it on the dog.
4. When the kids give you a moment of peace to work alone, the dog will invariably join you. A nice change, except PB&J gives the dog gas.
5. People see your messy house and think you're a lazy you-know-what because all you do during the day is sit on the computer yelling at your kids.
6. While you CAN take a day off to go on the school field trip, work WILL be waiting when you get home. Teachers have a sixth sense about field trip planning. It's always going to be when you're on deadline.
7. Another caution about deadlines. The closer you are to a deadline, the more likely it is for the following to happen: your dog is sprayed by a skunk, the furnace will go out, the sewer will back up, someone will end up in the ER, or, as seems to happen with one of my dear friends, someone will die. Because you work from home, you have to deal with them AND your work.
8. Your boss WILL read your blog. So if you're behind on anything, and you've blogged, your boss will start asking questions.
9. Because you're used to working in your jammies, you will not own decent clothes so that when you do have to leave home to work, you'll have no idea what to wear.
10. People think that since you work from home, you don't have a real job, and thus, no real time commitment, so you are free to run at their beck and call.
11. Your lap is not big enough to hold a laptop, a dog, and your children.
12. The refrigerator is close. Too close. The good news is that if you give in to temptation often enough, your lap will expand so #11 won't be a problem much longer.
13. While you have the freedom to work when and how you choose, so long as you meet your obligations, you have the freedom to choose. So on the days when taking the kiddos to the park sounds like a lot more fun than doing real work, it's a lot harder to stay focused on the task at hand. Work first, play later.

That said, I do enjoy my job. Even though it definitely has its challenges, I don't think you could pay me enough to fight rush hour traffic, wear panty hose, and have to get up before the sun. Just be sure you know what you're really getting yourself into before choosing to work from home.

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 10, 2007

Happy Birthday to two very special people

Actually, today is my FIL's birthday, and tomorrow is my daughter's birthday. Although she came pretty close to being born on his birthday. She has the coolest birthdate/time: 0101 on 101100. I love that girl. She's one special character, that's for sure.

But really, this post is about my father in law. He's an inspirational character. At 71, he just came back from bicycling through France. He spent his 70th birthday cycling through Sicily. Nothing slows him down.

When I think about what I want to be when I grow up, my answer is him. He's a caring, compassionate man who's active in just about everything. My kids adore him. I'm so glad that they get to grow up spending time with him. He's got a positive attitude that often makes me ashamed of what an old grouch I am. I admit to being secretly pleased the first time I heard him curse in traffic. HA!

He's supported That Man and I through a lot of things. If you ask That Man who his best friend is, he'll say his dad. I want that relationship for my kids.

So here's to one fantastic guy. Happy Birthday. I thank God you were born. (Plus, if you weren't, I wouldn't have a hubby or some really great kids, so that's a triple bonus.)

I interrupt this blog for a very special announcement...

The synopsis is finished!!!!!!

And it stinks. Fortunately, it's been sent to CPs who can rip it to shreds and I can fix it.

I think I'll go to bed now.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mostly because I'm working too hard to be interesting

I know. Work. Blech. It's like a virus, only no one seems to catch it from me. They just send it my way. "Here you go... have some more work."

Actually, it's more that this week is crazy with exploding stuff all over the place and I'm still wrestling the synopsis to the ground. Those buggers are strong.

Anywhoo, one of the projects on my to do list is that I need to update links. Many of them are old, expired, and blogs I don't read anymore. Worse, the ones I do read aren't listed. Soooo... if you're on the list and want to stay there, let me know. If you're not on the list and want to be there, let me know that too. As soon as the old synopsis is done, I'm sending it out for round next of critique, and while I wait to hear back, I'll be in updating heaven. In fact, I just may pop over to my bro's house and get his help. When I tell people he's a rocket scientist computer geek, I mean it. But I adore him, so I forgive him for being so smart.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Blah Blech

I keep starting and not finishing posts. I think it means I'm tired. And I am. What a wearying day. And yet, I accomplished a lot, so I can't complain too loudly. Then again, the pile of everything else keeps beckoning.

You know how I know I'm writing a boring blog? I keep falling asleep typing it. Hence the above line about starting and not finishing posts. So maybe I'll give up trying to say something intelligent tonight, and we'll be back up and running tomorrow.

And the winner of Free Book Monday was Kay. But don't worry, I've got lots more free stuff to give away in the coming Mondays.

So for next Monday, do you want to win another book or a CD? I could do either or.

Free Book Monday

Yes, I really did say free book. One of my favorite days on eHarlequin is Friday, because it's Free Book Friday. With every order of two or more books, you get a free book. Pretty neat-o, eh?

As you all know, with the big move, I'm finally getting my books organized. My biggest problem with books is that I have so many that I often forget which ones I have, so I end up buying multiple copies of the same book. In my alphabetizing spree, I started uncovering the extra books. Hence, the big book giveaway.

I thought about copying my favorite book giveaway day, but then I thought that was silly. Since you already have the chance to get a free book on Friday, I should pick another day. And since everybody hates Mondays, I thought, why not brighten someone's day by giving them a free book?

So there it is. Free Book Monday. Although I think some Mondays, I might give away other things. It just depends on what I decide to give away.

This week's free book is:

I chose this one because yes, I have two copies. But also because I love Judy Baer's books. If you like a nice laugh-out-loud read, then she's your girl.

Just post a comment and you'll be entered to win. Please note: I post this blog on several different blogging platforms and will draw winners out of comments on all of them. So if you don't recognize the winner's name, it's probably because the person posted on a different blog. Confusing, yes, but this gives a chance for everyone to win.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The process of perfectionism

Yesterday (which was Friday, even though I'm reasonably sure this will post on Sunday... another late night, go figure!) I made a decision about my writing. Well, I make lots of decisions about my writing, but this one had to do with setting a particular goal and sticking to it. And, just to give me a swift kick in the behind, I called Squirly and told her my plans.

Now, because I'm lousy at suspense, let me ruin the story. I didn't get it done. I was supposed to write my synopsis last night and I got bogged down on some details with the story and well, here I am. Synopsis-less. But... that's not the point. So ha-ha, I didn't ruin the story.

As I re-read the book, I realized some important things about my writing. First, I'm really not as bad of a writer as I claim to be. Some days, with my whining, you'd think I was a total hack. Not true. I found myself getting involved with the story and really enjoying it. Even though I wrote it about three years ago, it didn't suck. What? I wrote it three years ago and I'm just now submitting?

Yep. It's sort of a long story, but here's the gist. I realized that this is an important learning book for me. Some of you who know me are asking, "Um, what about the other ten books you've written? Weren't they learning books for you?" Yes and no. I have a pattern. I write a book. Submit. Collect the rejection. Shelve it. Move on. I can write. But I haven't learned how to improve a book. So that's what this book is. Figure out how to improve a good book and turn it into a great book. To change it from, "We love your writing and your voice, but..." to "We love your writing and your voice, AND we want to offer you a contract."

If I can fix this book, I can fix any book. I can fix the other ten and turn them into something sellable. Well, maybe not all ten. There's two that will probably never been seen or heard from again, they're that bad. But they were learning books, so that's okay.

The part I have to learn, and the part I'm still learning, is how to balance my perfectionism. As I read the book last night, trying to pull out something resembling a synopsis, I saw the good points. But I also saw the crap. The things that I realized will never work, that have to change, blah, blah, blah. I didn't finish my synopsis last night because I had no idea how I could ever make it good enough. That, and as I tried to puzzle it out, my dog was sprayed by a skunk and I ended up spending the rest of the night trying to get my house to smell better. It does, but I can still smell the skunk.

Today was the big family fun day of getting the house in order. Important work, you know. I did get all the boxes we have in the house unpacked finally. We won't discuss what's still in storage. A couple of times, I thought, I should work on my synopsis. But really, sorting socks sounded like a lot more fun. Besides, I had no idea how to fix the things I knew needed fixing.

Then, I checked my email to find a message from a friend and started to reply. In my reply, I almost made a comment about how, if I ended up with a contract this year, certain plans would change. Um, that's nice, and how exactly did I think that was going to happen when I did everything including alphabetizing my books (but they really did need it, you know) to avoid facing this synopsis?

And you'd think that would have been enough of a wake up call. Except as we all know, I'm really not as smart as I let on. God needs to whack me with a two by four several times before the light goes on. I read my ACFW email, was intrigued by someone talking about a blog, and ended up reading this post on laying down your burden. Um, yeah. Okay. I get it. I let my worries over this silly book mess with my head and I end up being my own worst enemy.

The good news is that if I just give it over to God, He can fix it. The key is letting Him. My intent with this book was truly for it to be my learning book. Yes, I want to publish it. But I want to publish it having gained the knowledge to be able to publish more.

Lay down those burdens. Every book should be a learning book. Learning how to get a little bit better so that the next book shines even more. I don't want to be one of those authors who, after a while, their books are just the same old, same old. I want to be like some of my author friends, who I'm constantly telling, "wow, your books just get better and better." And I hope, for those of you who also write, that you feel the same way. If you are that sort of writer, then I want to read your books. And I'll keep reading.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Are you my breast friend?

Stop by my friend Jan's blog to learn about being someone's breast friend. I'm not old enough or at the risk level to have one sooner, so I don't do mammograms yet, but I do know that I don't do the monthly exams the way I should.

What about you? Are you getting checked the way you should?

Will you be my breast friend?

Report here to let me know you're taking care of you. I'd like to have you around for a while longer.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #19: Reasons why I got nothing done today

Thirteen ReasonsI got nothing done today

1. I've got a migraine, the first in months, so it's thrown me for a loop.
2. I was out late last night at a Todd Agnew concert
3. My eyeballs feel like they're going to pop out of their sockets.
4. God and I have been chatting about things.
5. I occasionally see spots.
6. My friends wanted to chat.
7. My sinuses have doubled in size.
8. The three year old is in a mood.
9. Medication knocks me out.
10. My dog needed to snuggle.
11. The size of the mess overwhelms me.
12. Some people needed encouraging.
13. I just didn't feel like it.

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 02, 2007

I am officially dedicating this book to Denny's

As in the restaurant. Really.

With my commitment to get this book out the door ASAP since there are actually people who want to read it, so too has life gotten in the way. ICK. Do people not realize I am driven? Of course they do, which is why they keep piling stuff on my plate. However, since I gave the "if you want to be a writer, then you need to treat this like a business" lecture, I need to practice what I preach. Lately, that's meant that my writing time has to happen after work. Did I mention that I got "nominated" to teach yet another round of classes? Which is fine, because I do enjoy it, I was just hoping to have my life back. HA!

Anyway, as I look at my schedule filling in, I realized very quickly I needed to take control of my writing time. That's ended up being Denny's after work. Since my class doesn't get out until 9, I'm limited as to where I can write. Starbucks, those dastardly fools, closes at 10 near me (what is WRONG with them?). I could go to the mothership, er Barnes and Noble, but they close at 11, and by the time I get there from work, it's going to be closer to 10. And then I thought about Denny's. I'm usually hungry when I'm done teaching, and who can write without a cup of tea? Since they're always open, it's a perfect choice.

The good thing about Denny's is that when you go late at night, the waitstaff pretty well leaves you alone, except to refill the tea cup. Yeah baby. You don't get THAT at Starbucks.

So I've gone once a week to Denny's. I wish I could afford to go more, but I already feel guilty for spending the money I do. I get so much done at Denny's. Tonight, I ended up adding almost 20 pages. Yes. 20. In two hours. I'd have gone longer, except they didn't have a place to plug in. Maybe I'll try Village Inn next time to see if they have one. Or not. I kinda like Denny's. The waitress is really nice. She keeps the hot water coming. I give her big tips. Maybe I'll dedicate the book to her.

Nah. I think it has to be Denny's. Yeah. Denny's.

Monday, October 01, 2007

And after the great malfunction...

Well, my laptop power source was acting up again, so I've only been online off and on to do work. I haven't been able to do much on the computer lately because of the silly power thing. But hubby fixed it for me, so now I'm tres happy.

Before the great computer malfunction, I'd intended to blog about B, and how lucky I am to have such an amazing daughter. Do you ever just watch your kids and think, "WOW! I can't believe that child came from me!" Well, okay, I do constantly, but it's usually when they're doing something disgusting like trying to drink from the toilet bowl because they're pretending to be dogs. Oh, I wish I were joking. Seriously, though. B just has this amazing loving heart, and I sometimes just watch her and marvel at how she came to be as she is. Yesterday, we walked to the grocery store, and she found a series of about 15 pennies on the ground. The first thing that came to her mind was, "Wow, look at how cool these are! I'm going to share them with my whole family!" She couldn't wait to get home to share these pennies she'd found.

K is the same way. Which is pretty funny, because she's a mean little bugger. She'll accidentally hurt you, and when you tell her it hurts, she'll laugh hysterically and do it again. And yet... there's this amazing kindness that I can't even describe. It's been two months since my surgery and every couple of days, she'll ask me how my boo-boos are. She makes me show them to her, then asks if they hurt, then kisses them, and then rubs them gently. I see her with her dolls, and she totally loves on them. She's the kind of mom to her babies that I wish I were with her. Sometimes I watch her take care of her babies and I am ashamed of the kind of mom I am- short-tempered, impatient, angry, and too tired to do much of anything. Peach, Sallick, and Toby (her babies) are lucky little girls.

Yesterday, because I couldn't use my computer except to do the must-get-done-today updates, I decided to take the kiddos on a nature walk. Part of it was for B's homework, and part of it was that I wanted to do something special with them. We had so much fun. We did all sorts of projects, and when we ran out of things on the homework list, the kiddos were begging to do more. They WANTED to work. What I realized is that they really just enjoyed the time with me.

I thought the great malfunction was losing all the work time on my computer. I've realized that the real malfunction is how lately, I haven't enjoyed those beautiful little girls nearly as much as I should have. They're pretty cool kids. Just don't turn your back on them, because they might tie you up.

So if you're lucky enough to know a couple of kiddos, take the time to enjoy them. Really enjoy them. I think back to the stepkids, and when they were B's age. Neat kids. I used to love watching them and listening to the games they played. Now that they're teenagers, I'm lucky to get a grunt out of them now and then. I miss their childhood. Don't miss out on the childhood of the children in your life.