Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday to Monday

Going to take a break until November 30th. Happy Thanksgiving and may God be present this week!

Friday, November 20, 2015

What I've Discovered on my Writer far

If you checked out my post on Monday at the Writer's Alley (click below), you'll understand a bit
more about my self-proclaimed writer sabbatical. It's been about a week now since I put my characters on hold. And I've had two rejections in that time, which funny enough, hardly affected my emotions like they used writer's brain has literally checked out for the time being.

There are three descriptives that might best illustrate my break so far:

Lately, I have gone to sleep around 10pm. That is CRAZY for me. I am usually striving into the wee
hours, trying to get word count or build my social media presence. But since I've "checked out" I've heard my body more clearly, it's tired and ready for sleep. And I let it. This is the greatest word I will attribute to my writer's break: REST.
...Not that being a writer causes me to not live abundantly. Actually, I have found great joy in living and writing and enjoying the blessing of story. But, my own self-destruct of unbalanced effort between writing and living made the writing a drain. I have actually enjoyed investing my whole attention to my kids, my friends, my free time. There is no nagging of the story in the back of my mind telling me I really need to get to work. I can't believe what a slave driver I was. LOL. I really did chain myself to publication, and would not allow myself to enjoy the simple leisures of life like a board game, a T.V. series, a song. Can I even say... cleaning my house? Yeah, weird. But seriously, when I let something consume me so thoroughly, I turn my back on so much living. I didn't realize how much I neglected my desire to LIVE ABUNDANTLY. 

The other day, I considered my next step once this break is over. And, if I had considered it before, it would have driven my itch, my anxiousness to get it done, my hurry to press "send". But now, in this state of rest, it seems like a good goal for a time in the near future. Not something to waste mental energy on right now. Just something to ponder until my writer's heart is back in full beat, and my mental energy is restored. This break is most definitely feeding my need to RESTORE.

I have no idea what my segment will be on Fridays since NaNoWriMo is out the window. If you have any suggests, I'd love to hear. I might just do something different each time. For now, I am going to get ready to host a neighborhood girl's night. Have a great weekend!

Here's my Writer's Alley post: What if I Am The Faint of Heart?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Evil in The Deep: Psalm 23 challenge

How easy it would be to cling to evil in the deep darkness of a valley. To cling to anything that might
satisfy or relieve?

How easy it would be to cower in fear of all the evil that surrounds, to crumble and crawl and live in the pit.

The valley is a black gloom, a deep darkness, a seemingly godless path.

Sometimes, I wonder if He can even see me and guide me in such a dark place. And I see others who have gone astray, and allowed the darkness to consume them, to break them, to force them to relinquish their hearts.

I will stay the path in my blindness, because, I know,  that He is with me, He is my Shepherd, and guides me.

And I am safe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Open your arms, America

I have seen a person grown on American soil, with good roots, good family, and loving environment, and end up turning against every American ideal, every moral concept, and cling to an extreme that kills, destroys, and alienates.

And, I have seen a non-American come to this country, and discover Freedom, Liberty, and Hope, when they used to cling to the SAME extreme of the person above.

Let's not group a whole country of people into an extreme when all they seek is Freedom, Liberty, and Hope.

And the ones who do not seek that...perhaps, just perhaps, our God is big enough to change their hearts...and our government is strong enough to find the bad seeds.

It is a complete hypocrisy to turn them away because of fear. We are called to embrace because of Love. Are we so quick to forget history? To see what happened to the Japanese in this country when fear ran the American people?

The refugee crisis is truly a crisis if we turn our backs on women and children and men who just want to survive. There are plenty who live within our borders that think in "extremes", and every day, a potential new "extremist" is born. There are careful, intelligence measures that must take place, of course. And that should be the question to debate. What steps can we take...not what doors can we shut.

How can we live in the "what ifs"and fear? It will only put blood on our own hands if we let news networks and politicians scare us out of compassion.

Shame on America for trying to close its arms. We cannot live in fear. And we cannot surrender Christ's compassion because of it.

Matthew 25:35-40
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Monday, November 16, 2015

Faint of Heart...Mama-Writer Drama

Check out my post over at the Alley today. Maybe I am too transparent, but that's just me. But, it might be something you can relate to, whether you are a writer or not.

Friday, November 13, 2015

From the Trenches: NaNoWriMo Newbie




My story is slipping away from me...or at least my desire to write it! I didn't realize how much of my love for writing is caught up in the sculpting of the words, not the over-production of them!

But, what I have discovered, that I will hold close to my writer's heart, is that I am too attached to my initial words. I think they have to be pretty, and perfect, and ready to go at The End.

Edits await...LOTS of EDITS!

And that is ok. I would have had them anyway, but they just would have been more difficult cutting the stuff I thought was pretty.

What I have so far? Not so attractive. And I need about six thousand more to cross the finish line! Weekend here I come...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I shall not want.

It's when I get in those funks of wanting to consume my time with writing, or job hunting, or blogging, or Facebook arguments, or....yeah, anything that distracts me from the here and now moment of motherhood, marriage, and household management, that I realize I am trying to replace my needs with my wants.

Suddenly, I am squeezing real life in these mini-breaks from my wannas, maybes, and only ifs. There's something inside me that opens up like a great big chasm, reminding me that I am not satisfied or adequate. I go around in a veil of gloom, stepping toward an edge that might doom me into broken relationship because of my shameful words or actions that dismiss the most important parts of life right now--motherhood, marriage, and household management.

Yeah, you might tell that I am not in the mood for eloquence in this post.

It's because I just feel so... annoyed with myself.

Today, I arrived at my daughter's preschool early, parked, and decided to take a walk in the nearby neighborhood. Not many days left where that is even appealing. But today was decent, cool, and not too uncomfortable out. I am on Day 3 of my pastor's challenge to stay in Psalm 23, so I looked up the next part of the Psalm on my out-dated iPhone 5.

And the next part was,

"I shall not want."

No kidding.

Perfect timing huh? I mean within minutes of me telling my husband I was disappointed with the way things are going in my pursuit of my dreams, potential work, and overall purpose.

But, the Guy doing the shepherding is not very subtle in His job of "guiding me" as He should. And in that fifteen minute walk, He led me...maybe not through a valley, but away from the edge.

The Lord is my Shepherd, even when I am not listening or when I am throwing a fit. If I just stop and listen, I might just not want for anything...but Him.

 He sits at the proverbial gate of my pen, protecting me, the stupid sheep trying my darndest to carve my own path. Pretty hard when my carving always leads to Him. He's not easily ignored. And He certainly knows exactly what I need.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mama-Writer Drama Monday

On Friday night, I went to my first NaNoWriMo Write In.

Let's just say...I had plenty of action going on in my head like the Disney movie, Inside Out. I think I experienced the full gamut of emotions that night.

What I learned from the experience:

1. I have no ability in speed-writing. I barely reached the half-way mark of each goal set. If they said 1200 words in 26 minutes, I got a little less than 600. Really, how could I write anything worth reading again in that ratio?? For me, I just couldn't. And I am not one to slash thousands of words at the editing stage. I might as well start over. So after hour three, I stopped trying to write fast and just get my story out as best as possible. I like the process of applying meaning to every scene, thinking a bit and deciding what my character's motive is and how to get her from point a to b. I can't flesh that out in twenty minutes. Give me a two hour bench mark, and I'll show you something, but 20 minutes? No bueno for Miss. Slow-Pantster.

2. I've missed out on the writing community in my area. I had NO IDEA that so many people in my area were working on a novel. Wow, I get most of my writing encouragement online, but to get it face to face? That's pretty cool. It's always good to be in community.

3. Time is precious to a Mama-Writer. If I am going to step away from family life to write for five hours, then I expect to do just that...write. And for a NaNoWriMo Write In? I better not expect to do just that. It really is a social-spurring on, a snack attack, and a race against the clock--in small spurts. I could've left after the first race, and found a quiet nook in the empty library to hash out a few chapters on my own, but I chose to stick it out in the group. And while I didn't get as much written as I hope, I don't feel like I really wasted my time. I got a sense of inspiration--a glimpse that others out there cared about getting their stories out--and I am a slow, methodical writer when I often call myself a pantster. Nope. Not me. I need it planned out to get going. Learn something new every day.

Happy NaNoWriMo to you if you're writing! I hope you beat the clock tonight and get more word count...and a few more!

Friday, November 6, 2015

NaNoWriMo Newbie Notes, Week 1

[Going to try and make up for lost time tonight. Dedicating at least 5 hours to writing today! Woohoo! TGIF!]

My Notes: 

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? What are your notes? Please share!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

(Pre)Mean Girls: Cliques in Pre-K

The cutest thing I've ever seen...well, one of the cutest things, anyway... is the social extravaganza when I drop my daughter off at preschool. All the little girls run up and give big hugs to the latest student arriving...some of them, anyway.

How would you like to be the girl that is greeted by four or five others with arms opened wide and hearing your name squealed by tiny voices all around?

And how would you like to be the little girl, standing beside her daddy who nobody even gave a second glance to?

This is the seed of drama being planted by preschoolers, before the mean-girl scenarios truly bloom.

And my daughter is in the middle of it.

I didn't notice it really, until today. I mean they have been in school for two months now...and this has been the common greeting method, for SOME of the girls in the over-abundant, girl-dominating class. Maybe it's obvious to me now because I am dealing with middle school drama with my oldest, or maybe it's because I am constantly feeling torn between being an extrovert and chatting away, and reverting to my introvert tendencies to be an "observer".

Regardless, today it struck me as almost disturbing. My little girl was part of the "haves", and the others were the "have nots". Haves being those who "have" the "in" with the girls in the class, and those who "have not" so impressed themselves as acceptable friends.

Hate to be a gossip, but I even saw one girl go up to a "have not" and declare she could not play with them...RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CHILD'S MOM. UGH.

So, I summoned my daughter over as we waited for her teacher to arrive, and whispered, "You should greet all the girls in your class. Be kind to everyone."

And when I pointed to one who missed the welcoming party, my little girl suddenly became shy and whiney and then ran up to the "haves".

Double ugh!

All I can do is keep reminding her. Keep telling her that kindness is one of the most important things. And explain exactly what kindness is...and that it isn't on special reserve for certain people.

Cliques start early don't they? They are part of human nature, I suppose. But that's no excuse for ignoring the chances to cross those invisible lines. And like I wrote about adult cliques in a post geared toward adulthood it still remains true:  

"Even if it’s unintentional, even if it’s “normal”, clique-ing is an inevitable force to be reckoned with…or to stand against and try and strengthen your heart for the blast."

Gotta start early in making those hearts good and strong.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fictitious Friday GiveAway Winner & My Newest Work

I have had so much fun sharing a bit of intrigue about my book, Lady Jane Lives. Thank you so much for all who participated in the Fictitious Friday series!

All my time in the 16th century has spurred on a whole new idea for my first ever NaNoWriMo project! It's actually a contemporary with historic flare! Come over to The Writer's Alley tomorrow to get a taste for the place(s) that inspired this new story!

Ok, no more waiting...

Thank you so much for participating Deane! I will send you a Starbucks gift card and the great book, Lady In Waiting by Susan Meissner very soon!

Stay tuned for my next Friday series....

Notes from A NaNoWriMo Newbie

See you soon!

Happy All Saints Day!

I once had a gal dismiss All Saints Day as an alternative to Halloween because, she claimed, "It didn't work (to take the focus off the evil that Halloween celebrates)."

But you know what?

I don't agree with her.

I have been able to share this holiday's meaning with my children since they were little, and they know the difference of good vs. evil. This day is just another illustration of redemption, love, and all people good!

Later, I will announce the winner of Fictitious Fridays...AND....kickoff my own NaNoWriMo journey!! Woohoo!

Happy All Saints Day! For a quick overview of this day, click here