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Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

First of all, today is the first day in a really long time that I got off work before dark. AND I didn't work a 12 hour Saturday. YAY Me!!

Second, I finished our taxes!!! You what they say about the kind of car the mechanic's wife drives? Well, the tax preparer almost never has her taxes done before April. And mine are DONE!! And we're getting a bigger refund than I'd anticipated. I'm so glad we had to pay points when we bought our house. :)

Third, my coughing is much more manageable and I'm actually *gasp* starting to feel better.

All in all, it's been a banner day. How about yours?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #39: Naptime

Thirteen Things about Naptime

Yes, my friends, it's naptime... and all the reasons why...

1. I'm tired.
2. I have a cold.
3. The kiddos are home for spring break and driving me nuts.
4. It's an overcast day.
5. I just finished reading some contest entries for a friend.
6. My couch is comfy.
7. So's my bed.
8. And my house is a mess.
9. My dog is snuggly.
10. I don't have time to do anything else before going to work.
11. I need my strength to work tonight.
12. I can't stop yawning.
13. And really, I just feel like taking a nap.

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, March 25, 2008

I promise I'm not dead

I just have the sort of virus that makes you wonder if you have any tissue remaining in your lungs or if it's all now on its way to the dump with the rest of the 500 boxes of tissues you've used in the past few days. I must also confess to wondering if parts of my brain might have exited via my nose.

The good news is I'm on the mend.

The bad news is a lot of other things have happened since I last blogged and I will be unable to tell you about any of it. And I think some of it might have been entertaining.

Oh well. That's life I suppose.

Hope you all had a good Easter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #38: Things I found while unpacking my office

Thirteen Things found in my office

As many of you know, we bought a new house in August. Yay us! However, in all the moving/packing/etc, I was mostly an observer, as I'd just had surgery and was on restriction. Which means I have dozens of boxes labeled "Danica" and have no idea what's in them. So, as we moved into the new house, and as we're (STILL) getting things out of storage, those boxes get shoved into my office. I'm trying to get our taxes done but am missing a bunch of stuff, so thought I'd dig in and see what I could find.

And here it is...

1. Love notes from an old boyfriend... this was at the start of my internet years, so they're a whole bunch of printed emails. Some of them are pretty interesting. I should probably get rid of them, except that a few had some things that would make a pretty good book. Guess we'll see what That Man (who does read my blog daily) thinks.

2. My first breakup poem. Written in 9th grade. Or maybe 10th. Had rather creative descriptions, like "your ugly stork legs" ending with "I HATE YOU" written in very large letters. I should frame it.

3. Copies of the literary journals from middle school and high school featuring my work... man, I was so proud they accepted my writing. Some things never change, I guess.

4. A notebook one of my writing teachers gave me to fill up with all of my writing. I think I unpacked about 20 more like it tonight. I'm definitely prolific.

5. Copies of the articles I wrote for the school paper. I had a humor column. Maybe I'll post some on my blog. They're mostly funny because they're so bad.

6. My high school AP history binder with all my notes. No idea why I kept it, of all things. Maybe it's because of my love for history. Or maybe it's because Mr. Shepherd was one of my all-time favorite teachers.

7. A card that came with some flowers I got when I had my youngest. It was with some random papers.

8. My old checkbooks from high school and college. I'm thinking I need to buy a shredder.

9. A wrapped present. No idea what it is or who it's to.

10. A book I thought I sent my grandma. Oops.

11. Another binder with some papers I wrote in college. Hmmm... are we seeing a theme here?

12. Some letters from one of the most negative influences in my life during one of the darkest points in my life. I'd thought I burned everything from this person. Anyone want to come over for another bonfire?

13. The receipt from my first "official" date with That Man. (Which was ten years ago in April) I can't decide if I'm going to do a cool frame collage thing or put it in a scrapbook. First, I have to find a picture of us from when we were dating.

So there it is.. a glimpse into the mess known as my office. I emptied five boxes, and shoved about five more into a closet because I didn't have the energy to sort through all those papers. Most of it will probably end up in a landfill somewhere, but given that I'm finding weird things in random boxes, I need to go through it all. I'm STILL missing receipts I need for my taxes. Oh well, if I don't find them, I'll leave it off the return, and if I get audited, I'll just have extra deductions to show them. Or something.

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, March 18, 2008

Making time for the important things

One of the most important things that came out of the retreat was a renewed focus on God. After spending forty hours of doing nothing other than contemplating the Lord, it's hard not to think about priorities. We watched a Rob Bell video on noise, and the thing that struck me was one of the questions he asked about what we're filling our time with.

I've been frustrated lately because I haven't had time for Bible study. I'd planned for my evenings, after everyone's in bed, to spend that time with the Lord. But I get home, and I'm so tired from everything else I have going on that the words on the page start to run together. But I'm so wired that I can't sleep. So I sit up and play computer games. I find it relaxing. Except then I never find time to spend with the Lord.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

If I say God is the most important thing in my life, why haven't I fit Him in?

The truth is, I fill my life with a lot of noise.

I started to examine a lot of the things in my life, a lot of my priorities. I had to ask myself the tough questions, like: "Does the time I spend playing computer games add to my relationship with God? Does it further the purpose He has in my life? Does it accomplish anything useful in my life?"

Now, before I get folks flaming me for attacking computer games, let me just say that I don't think there's anything wrong with them. Given the right time and place. But when I use them to fill up my "God time" that's a huge problem.

So I'm choosing to give up computer games. Not entirely. But rather than being my means to unwind, they are a reward. Something I get to do after everything else that's important, everything that adds to my life, is done. I'm giving up a lot of other things, too. Some of them I'm not able to share completely, but I do want to share one piece... the part where I'm examining and making decisions.

I keep coming back to the question... while I enjoy it, and it's something that makes me happy, how does it add to my relationship with Christ? How does it add to the ministry He's given me?

The Bible talks about being double-minded. Never in a good way. When we have so much going on, we can't help but become double-minded. Even though all the things I have in my life are good things, and certainly all have served the Lord, they don't allow me to keep my focus where it should be.

I've given myself a year... time to figure out and cut out the things that are taking away from what's really important. It means saying no to things I used to say yes to. It means disappointing people who are counting on me. It means giving up things I really enjoy. But it also means gaining precious time for the things that really matter to me.

So the question for those of you who are eagerly looking to my journey in hopes you can glean wisdom for your own is...

What's the noise you need to cut out of your life?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sweet Joy...

The silent retreat was the most amazing experience ever.


I'll be sharing some of my thoughts over the next um... rest of my life, because truly, it was life-changing.

Honestly, I miss it already. I miss the silence. I miss having nothing better to do than enjoy God's presence. I miss sitting with Him and just... sitting.

It's been a few hours since I've read the Bible, and I crave it. I hunger. I need the sweet joy of his words.

One of the things that came out of a weekend of intentional silence and focus on the Lord is the necessity for greater intentionality in my life. And I'll be honest. It means making some decisions that are going to be hard at first. It means giving up things that have filled my life for a long time. Meaningless things. Bad habits. Changing patterns of behavior that have been with me as long as I can remember.

I'm actually looking forward to it.

I'm giving up so much, and yet the joy of what I'm gaining... I can't even measure.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How well they know me...

Yesterday, I put a request on the ACFW loop for some research assistance in victim notification. I got a lot of great responses, but the best one was from my CP.

It said:

Who'd you kill this time?


How well she knows me.

In my defense, I did NOT kill anyone. Merely severely injured, possibly in a coma, but not dead. He's the hero, after all. I understand it's bad form to kill the hero, especially in the first 1/4 of the book. I'm cooking along on the book, #3 in the series, since I expect I'll be getting some edits back next week on #1, which means I'll be back in edit-blah-dom, and out of creative land. Ugh.

Tomorrow, I head up the mountain for a much-anticipated retreat. Our church is having a silent retreat as part of Lent. As I tell people how excited I am about it, they all have the same response: "You're going to be silent for an entire weekend?"


I admit, it may be a challenge, but I'm also soooo excited to have an entire weekend without, "Mom! Come wipe my butt!" It's going to be great to have forty hours to focus on the Lord. And maybe get a little more writing done before I'm slung back into edit mode.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #37: In honor of That Man's Birthday

Thirteen Things about That Man

Since I still haven't found a gift for him other than my presence (which really, should be present enough), this week's Thursday Thirteen is in honor of his birthday.

1. He's a brilliant designer... if you need something built, he can figure it out and create it.
2. One of the things I found attractive in him was his motto: Why be normal?
3. He's addicted to James Bond.
4. We have a don't ask/don't tell policy... don't ask about his tools, I don't tell about my books.
5. I also found the fact that he's a doting father attractive.
6. He's a history nerd like me- we spent our honeymoon on a road trip examining historical sites of interest.
7. He's got the second most gorgeous blue eyes I've ever seen. The first belong to our daughter, whose beautiful blues are an answered prayer.
8. He's really cute in his pajama pants.
9. His mission statement, even though it's not totally accurate for today, completely inspires me. We're talking Jerry Maguire here.
10. He thinks I'm the sexiest woman alive, which makes him the sexiest man alive.
11. He gets a cheesecake every year for his birthday. I still owe him this year's.
12. He's only got one facial expression. After ten years, I'm starting to be able to decipher it.
13. He loves me more than any other human being I've ever met. And isn't that just the best thing about anyone?

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, March 11, 2008

The only deadly sin

I haven't been feeling well lately. The doctors are mystified. So today, as I tried to drag myself out of bed to go to WFTJ, I decided not to. I took the kiddo to school and plopped my exhausted self back in bed. I spent most of the day sleeping.

And then, horror struck. My doorbell rang. Now, my house has a very firm "No Solicitors" sign pasted near the bell. My assumption: the person ringing the bell has a very important reason for doing so. Twice. You all know where this story is headed, don't you?

I opened the door to find a very perky couple identifying themselves as being from some organization. I firmly told them I wasn't interested. Perky woman tries to step into my house. My House. I told them I wasn't interested again and shut the door.

Now, here's what future solicitors need to know about showing up at MY HOUSE. The sign says "No Solicitors." As a courtesy, allow me to share the definition of solicitor from my beloved Dictionary.com, "One that solicits, especially one that seeks trade or contributions." And, in case you don't know what the word "solicits" means, here it is: "To seek to obtain by persuasion, entreaty, or formal application" and my favorite "To petition persistently; importune."

So here it is: broken down in plain English. If you ring my doorbell and want to tell me about whatever it is that you're selling or seeking donations for, DON'T. The sign says not to. If you can't read, then I don't want to entrust my money with your organization. As a writer, I think literacy is important. If you can read and are choosing not to respect my sign, then I'm choosing not to support an organization who chooses not to respect ME.

How does all of this relate to the only deadly sin? Ask my husband. In our home, waking me is punishable by death. Particularly when I don't feel well. Particularly when I'm ignoring all items of importance to spend my precious day sleeping. Particularly when said interruption leaves me unable to go back to sleep. Particularly when said interrupter is perky. Have I mentioned that I hate perky people? Especially upon waking.

I was hoping to leave my state of hibernation to tell you I feel much better, am much happier, and am back to my old self. Now, all I have to say is that I'm still tired, grouchier, and now I have a headache. I can still hear the doorbell echoing against my throbbing skull.

And then, I had a horrible thought. Given that I wasn't wearing my glasses, and I very well could have just slammed the door in my own mother's face, what if I just slammed the door in Jesus' face?

Sometimes, being an old grouch does not pay.

Worst of all, I still haven't gone out and bought the hubby a birthday present. Yep, it's his birthday. So make it up to him and post a great big happy birthday to That Man. I would, but I have a headache.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

How many posts can I attempt in one night?

I've been trying to blog all night. But I get about ten sentences into it and realize it's snoozably boring.

I tried blogging about my latest book. It's tres faboo. I'm absolutely loving working on something brand new. This is my favorite part of writing, getting to know a new set of characters, seeing where they take me, and enjoying the journey. And that's about where I started to get boring.

So I decided to blog about this funny story from work. And then I realized it's only funny if you have the visual, and since I didn't think to take a picture, no one would get the joke.

Then, I thought I'd blog about a special moment I had with the littlest one. But again, it requires photographic evidence, and again, I didn't take a picture.

I could tell you about my exceedingly busy day, but that's certainly not very interesting.

Exceedingly. And that, my friends, is yet another possible blog topic. I'm watching Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightly version) right now. I'm pretty sure I counted the use of that word ten times in a five minute period. Exceedingly exceeding, I'm sure. I've decided this is my least favorite Jane Austen movie. And I think I might like the Colin Firth version better. Exceedingly. But I think perhaps I should watch it again to be sure.

So there you have it. All the thoughts running through my brain. And one other little happy thought I'm not quite ready to share yet, although I will be exceedingly happy when I do so.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Soldier's Family by Cheryl Wyatt

The thing that's hard about promo-ing my friends' books is that it tends to sound like, "great writer, great friend, go buy the book." But truth is, all of those things are true. Cheryl's a great writer with a great voice. You know how you'll read a book by an author, think, "wow, this is fabulous, I want the rest of this author's books," and discover it's a New York Times bestseller with a huge backlist? Well, that'll be Cheryl in a few years.

Cheryl's got a love for military heroes, and I love her glimpse into the world of pararescue jumpers. I had no idea what a PJ was until I met Cheryl and read her stories. They are true heroes, and not just in Cheryl's books. If you like a good romance with a military hero, then definitely check out her Wings of Refuge series. If you missed her first book, it's still on sale on the eHarlequin.com website. You don't want to miss a single story.

About the book:

On A Crash Course With Love

She was the woman of pararescue jumper Manny Péna's dreams. But he'd stuck his foot in his mouth the last time he met Celia Munez. Now, grounded after a parachuting accident, he was desperate to make amends with the beautiful widow. But Celia wasn't having it. The last thing she needed was another man with a dangerous job—even if he had given his life to God. Yet Manny's growing commitment to her and her troubled son began to convince her that perhaps she should take her own leap of faith.

About the Author:

Cheryl Wyatt's closest friends would never dream the mayhem she plots during announcements at church. An RN-turned-SAHM, joyful chaos rules her home, and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She's convinced that having been born on a Naval base on Valentine's Day destined her to write military romance. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. Both of her debut novels (Books 1 and 2 in her Wings of Refuge Series from Steeple Hill) have received Romantic Times Top Picks.
Visit Cheryl Wyatt on the Web : www.CherylWyatt.com
Or her blog www.Scrollsquirrel.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #36: Vacation Edition

Thirteen Things about Vacation!!

Last week, I posted a happy blog about Spring. And then March, the snowiest month in Colorado, arrived. I can no longer see my backyard. I am depressed. So I thought what better way to forget the depressing weather that awaits than to blog about going on Vacation!!! Starting with planned vacations and ending with hoped-for vacations...

1. Silent Retreat. In just one more week, I'll be up in the mountains, enjoying a retreat with our church. Sadly, it won't involve sun, warm weather, massages, or anything remotely tropical, but it'll be a nice break.
2. Writer's Retreat. Our local ACFW chapter is planning a retreat for the end of April. Very much hoping to attend. That one's in the mountains, too.
3. May writer's conferences. Actually, I'm undecided on this. I want to go, but not sure I have the $$. There's a couple I'm looking at, so we'll see.
4. South Dakota. One of my dear friends lives up there and I'm thinking about going up for a long weekend with the family in July.
5. Illinois. Another trip I'd like to take to visit some friends- we've talked about this summer, but haven't set a date.
6. RWA San Francisco. End of July, first of August. That one's already reserved and mostly paid for. Just need the plane tickets.
7. ACFW Minneapolis. End of September.
8. Florida. Going to see my dad in January.
9. CRUISE!! January. It's a writer's conference. I'm teaching.

Huh... most of this is work-related, isn't it? Not a lot of vacationing going on. But that's what's on my calendar already. So here's what I'd like to put on my calendar.

10. Pennsylvania. I really want (and need!) to visit my grandma. It'd also be a good chance to catch up with other family I haven't seen in a long time.
11. Someplace warm and sunny. Like NOW. At least I'll be doing that next January when it's super cold and yucky here.
12. Mexico. I've been there once, to build a church in a dusty town far away from anything resembling a beach. Some friends are there now, doing mission work in Puerta Vallarta, and I think I'd like to check it out.
13. Israel. Totally not happening this year, or probably any time real soon, but wanted to get it on my list, since I keep running into folks who are going in the near future. I miss that place. I lived there for a summer and loved it. Missed a lot of things I'm learning about now and need to go back and reconnect.

So where are you escaping to this year? Or where would you like to escape to?

** Special thanks this week goes out to Hootin' Anni for her lovely header.

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!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Guest blogger: Camy Tang

Today, we've got a special guest blogger, my good friend, Camy Tang. And really, there's no better way to introduce her and her latest book, Only Uni, than her post about our friendship. I love Camy's books and their wonderful glimpses into ties that bond friends together. As a friend, she's got the formula figured out, and it definitely comes through in her writing.


I’m really excited to be guest blogging for Danica today. She was one of the first people to welcome me to the world of writing.

I’m totally serious (for once). When I first started writing again, I ended up on the Steeple Hill discussion boards because Steeple Hill was the first publisher I thought of when I thought of Christian romances. I’ve enjoyed Love Inspired romances for years and years.

The discussion boards were fabulously new to me. Suddenly there were all these Christian romance readers, writers, and even better, published authors chatting away. I lurked for a few days, then registered and introduced myself.

Danica is the board hostess and immediately made me feel welcome. So did everyone else, but Danica was the one who explained things to me (techno-ignorant as I was) and told me about discussion board etiquette.

I can’t begin to count the number of friends I made and the immense amount of information about writing that I learned. I would not be published today if not for those boards and those ladies and Danica.

I got to know her better when I went to Denver for ICRS a couple years ago. We had a BLAST hanging out with other friends late one night, singing bad karaoke in an almost unbelievably seedy bar and eating bland Mexican food.

(Yes, women can bond even over bland Mexican food.)

What was more, she actually seemed to LIKE me after spending several hours in my company. Imagine that! And her husband didn’t run screaming in the other direction when she introduced us (he obviously thought I was some OTHER Camy who was infinitely nicer and more sane than that loud, weird Camy who was on Danica’s online boards).

We have gotten closer in the past year (proven by her letting me run amok on her blog, here), and I hope we will always be good friends. She knows my bad habits and likes me anyway. And isn’t that the best sort of friend?


Danica again...

Yes friends, that is the best sort of friend. And I'm so thankful that I've got a friend like Camy, especially given that I was a total airhead friend today.
Insert embarrassed grin here... Got busy with work and stuff (had to work all day, you know!), and was just toodling along, checking email and realized... I'm a bad friend!! Camy was scheduled to blog today, and I forgot. Technically, it's still March 1st, but I'd hoped to get it up sooner. Maybe that's why we're such good friends. That whole, loving each other anyway. Love her, love her books, so do take the time to pick them up. You won't regret it.

Also, she's got a great contest going on right now, so stop by her website and check it out!