Monday, May 30, 2016

My Biggest Inspiration on Memorial Day

You walk by them in the grocery store, annoyed that they are oblivious to you. You drive behind them on the way to work, and pass them with furious acceleration. They may engage in small talk with you in the check out line, and you smile and nod.
There is a generation who once held the future of our country on their shoulders, who once felt the sting of war nearly every day...the generation of our grandparents. And yet, we don't always give them the respect they deserve.
There are men and women walking their final years on this earth, who didn't look at war with disgust and as an option, but knew it was a necessity to maintain the freedom of our people, and the oppressed of Europe.
And I had the pleasure of hearing about that time long ago, from my grandfather, the war hero.
He earned purple hearts and medals of honor during WWII. His service at that time was amazing. He was one of the soldiers to free a concentration camp outside of Munich, Dachau (which I visited decades later as a college student). He raided Hitler's summer home and tread on the same ground as many, many soldiers and defenders of humanity.
 He has been one of my biggest inspirations in life...first, as an architect, I followed his footsteps from the time I was 11 years old to college where I studied Landscape Architecture. Second, every time I look at the American Flag, or see images of soldiers who have fought, or proud men like my father who is a retired colonel, I think of Papou (grandfather in Greek).
Even now, I write a book set in his birthplace of Carbon County, Utah, where he lived in a tent with his coal miner immigrant father, mother, and four sisters, to follow the American Dream at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Papou is the ultimate inspiration.
Today, take the time to reflect on the men and women who have died for your freedoms, and thank a veteran if you encounter them. It's the least we can do.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The dance between dreaming and waiting

I wrote this post last week for The Writer's Alley. Thought I would share.

Today, my five year old had her ballet recital. The venue was magical as it is an old historic theatre that once hosted speakers such as Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, Grant Wood, and now includes several modern-day celebrities as guests on its stage.

But, my five year old didn't know any of that, of course (only her kooky historic writing mama). She just knew that she was there to dance--her favorite thing to do. I snapped this shot as she waited for"Act 2"-- her turn. In the part of the red curtain, she spied the older dancers on the stage, and the lights, and the audience, and the shine.

As I look back through the pictures tonight, I wonder, was she waiting or was she dreaming? Because if you know my daughter, she is a dreamer. Make-believe is her specialty and life is all about the dream we make it. Pretty coincidental for the child of a fiction writing mama, huh? Nah.

Once upon a time, I was just like her. I used to be content with dreaming. I would drive about town and imagine the wonderful scenes I could write, and dream about the stories that might be told one day from my computer keyboard. It was a crazy little secret I held, one that fluttered around in the pit of my belly, that would give me joy and hope and inspiration to create characters and life outside my own.

But then, once the secret urged me to share in the magic of the writing show and it became known that I wrote, and I was measured up next to all the writers before me and with me, that's when the dreaming turned to waiting.

Don't get me wrong, I still dream along this aisle toward center stage, but, I'll admit that I wait more than I dream. And sometimes, the waiting makes the dreaming seem like a waste of time.

As I trek into the thick of this ten year road to publication, I begin to long for the dreaming again. I see my daughter's potential and her patience for the dream. She's happy where she is at on stage, forgetting her twirls and positions and never making it through the routine without a glance into the wings where her teacher dances about to reminds her. Yet, she feels like a ballerina. She looks like a ballerina. She is a ballerina with a dream.

And she's happy there. For now.

I want to be happy here, for now. Where my dream fills my heart and the waiting is not a burden. Do I daresay that writing is more waiting than dreaming? No. It's a dance. We wait, and while we wait, we dream. And we should never stop dreaming. Writers, we should always dream in the wait.

At the end of the recital, one of the older girls had a solo on point. Her beautiful slender legs didn't wobble as she danced on her toes, wearing a wonderfully rich red tutu. (My daughter's been known to sit and admire the point dancers after practice, unwinding those ribbons attached to the magical point shoes that are certainly a far off dream at this time.)

While we watched this seasoned ballerina, I didn't hear my daughter say, "I can't wait until I do that", or "Mama, when can I have point shoes?". She didn't say anything at all, but smiled and watched. I sat with her in admiration for the prima ballerina wondering what dreaming was going on in that little head of my girl, and a bit envious that she didn't care about the wait, just enjoyed watching those before her live a dream. Maybe her dream, but that's the beauty of the dance.

Maybe it's the same for writers. For me.

How about you? Do you wait more than you dream? Or are you enjoying the dance of the two?

Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written six historical novels and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one-sheets and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check her personal blog at and connect at:
Twitter: @angiedicken

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Mighty Good Man?

I have chosen to stay clear of social media these days.
It's been a breeding ground for hatred, debate, and opinion flying about as fact. And I am guilty too.

But there is one thing that needs to be said, and said LOUD AND CLEAR. We show compassion to those who are different than us, and share the love of Christ to ALL.


I am not going to spout my opinions here about politics or hot issues right now. But what I am going to say is:


Thanks for ruining that song, Chase Bank.

Does that even make sense? Are you saying that the only way to be part of a little girl's life is to dress like her? SO WEIRD!

Thanks for offending EVERYONE...both transgender, straight, good fathers, young daughters, and mothers who are praying their daughters have good MALE role models in their lives.


And that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hiding From The World

It's a scary world out there.

And our kids are living in it.

But because it's scary, we get the chance to teach our kids important lessons...lessons they would never learn unless they are faced with it...while we are near them to guide them. If we wait to send them out in the scary world as adults, then they won't have us beside them to guide them. And frankly, it might be too late.

We don't want to raise gullible, naive adults, do we?

We don't want to raise outspoken, judgmental people who think there is only one way to do something, and who can't handle if someone shows them a different way?

Our kids need to be raised in a way that they cling to what they know is fruitful and abundant, and have a heart to share that with the world. They'll never have a chance if they are hidden from the world. They will never be credible if they come to the "game" too late.

It's time we raise up strong, passionate human beings who are not scared of the world, but who know the world and choose to make it better.

Christ sat at the table with sinners. He didn't tell his apostles to hide in the corner and wait for him to return. He sent them OUT.

I want my kids to live in this world, discover the good, the bad, and the ugly...and know that the good is the path to take. I don't want to hide the bad and the ugly so they don't even recognize it, or they run from it and miss the opportunity to make a difference.

They need to know. They need to be equipped now, so they can stand out later.

Hiding from the world never did anyone any good. And it's not what Christ commands of us. We need to be in it...not of it...but in it, so we can make a difference.

Monday, May 9, 2016

My Son's Advocate: Mama Drama Monday

What do you do when your child is crushed by life? Every turn you see him struggle, you see him deal with emotions way too big for his life's predicaments. You see the glow of childhood snuffed out with the blink of a school semester.

I pray, and beg, and cry.

I seek answers, and solutions, and negotiations.

What I've come to find out is, getting him help starts with me. There's nobody so in-tuned to the heart of a child than his mother (except God, of course). And if I was unaware of his coming and going, his failures and struggles, then I think, he'd truly be tossed to the wayside to deal with life on his own.

And that can lead to a whole slew of problems down the way.

I write this today, to all the mamas out there. If you sense your child is clouded with gloom, speak up. If he's overwhelmed at school, set up that meeting with the counselor...the teacher...the principal. You are your child's ONLY advocate. You are the one who is attached to him not only by responsibility, but by love. And Love is definitely a powerful weapon.

I didn't realize how easy it would be for my child to get lost in the crowd, and I didn't expect his school's resources to be so willing to help. But I had to ask.

I had to be the squeaky wheel...for the sake of my child.

Lights were turned on, paths are being carved, and I see hope in my child's stance again. I see relief flow down upon his shoulders like cool waters, and he smiles and he anticipates and he is eager. He's found joy, or at least, the promise of it in the weeks ahead.

 I sit here, on this Mama Drama monday, the day after Mother's Day, and think, wow, what horrible drama might have occurred if I didn't listen to my God-given instinct to raise up my child through the muck.

Listen to your hearts, listen to your child, and step out as their advocate.

You are the only one.