Thursday, September 29, 2011


Awed by the amazing writing I've read through Rachael Harrie's Second Campaigner Challenge I feel inspired to write with clarity, and expanded vocabulary.

Instead of simply woolgathering before writing my stories, perhaps I should check out for a new word or two before I start. (today's word of the day: woolgathering)

Seriously, I am surprised at the amazing ways that the words oscitate, lacuna, miasma, sychronicity, and imago could fit into so many different stories, some of which went further with the additional challenge of using the word mirror. I highly recommend reading as many entries as you can. It's inspiring to see the quick wit of writers in action.

In addition to all that inspiration going on with the Second Campaigner Challenge, my family has been super supportive of me. My youngest drew two different possible covers for my novel in progress. My parents are reading my current rewrite and giving me feedback. My husband says any day now I'll get published and he can retire. (I chuckle but appreciate the encouragement) My oldest daughter wants to know when I'll have it fully polished, so she can read that copy first (before my parents) and says that she likes this second version far better than the first. (honesty and enthusiasm mixed). My daughters are both glad that I've taken out most of the "awful romance".

So, another day, another page or three, and I feel up to the challenge of polishing my novel for concise clarity.

Scripture Blessings:

Hebrews is one of my favorite books of the Bible. There are so many verses bursting with meaning that I have to pray over to unpack fully. So, it's hard for me to pick just one, or even two during my daily readings.

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joinst and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:14-16

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monarch Imago: Second Campaigner Challenge

In the midst of life, I completely spaced the first campaigner challenge. Big oops!

The Challenge is:

Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. The blog post should:
include the word "imago" in the title
include the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity,"

Monarch Imago

After months of cancer treatments that left her too weak to clean out the miasma that lurked around her fridge, Jane finally had the strength to look around her.
She opened her studio to the sea breeze, and found herself oscitating at the splendor of spring.

She had so much to do inside, so much work to fill in the lacuna of her life: people to call, and her book series still left with a gap between the prequel trilogy and the present trilogy. She wanted, at that moment, only to fly free of it all.

As she stood there, torn between duty and the promise of a spring day, the cocoon she had watched on her windowsill opened, and a beautiful Monarch stretched its way out, flapping its wings slowly in the sunlight. The sweet synchronicity of the butterfly's life and her own showed her exactly what to do.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just One More Blessing . . . Maybe

Well, I would wait until tomorrow to post . . . but it so happens that I'm sitting in a Starbucks while my kids are in ballet class at the barre (double rr being the important part of that particular word when kids are involved), and behold, they have internet access.

Now, I should be typing my revision to my novel to the sweet sounds of the old fashioned jazz music behind me, but the reality is . . . it just makes me want to dance, and I get distracted picturing tap dancing and swing dancing to the music . . . think stuff that could fit somewhere between the Astaire and Rogers, and the Singin' in the Rain era, maybe moving up to the big band - like say "In the Mood" by Glen Miller that just started playing . . .ok, enough said there. Some of you are probably gagging, but I happen to like all kinds of music, as long as I can dance, jump, or sing to it, and I happen to like the tune . . . personal choice not one genre.

But, since I'm digressing, I'll finally get back to the point.

I have one more blessing to share.
This awesome lady I know from my co-op, who happened to run a half marathon just last Sunday while I walked/jogged a 10k, is also a short term missionary who will soon be a long term missionary with her husband and their four kids. They are amazing people, and the really cool thing is, they are just like you and me, like she states in her blog, NOT "super-christians" with wings and halos.

So I consider knowing this fine lady and some of her family to be a huge blessing.

If you would like to meet her, or help their family get the funds they need for their mission trip, check out her/their blog at robandjennifer

Jennifer is usually the writer, but the support goes for the whole family's efforts to go to Swaziland.

Do you have "just one more blessing" to share?

Or more?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Accounts

Ever had your e-mail attached to a virus? Not fun.

I just deleted my hotmail account, changed settings on various platforms I use to private, and created a new account. If you have received something awful that somehow reached you through my e-mail, I apologize. My blog e-mail should now be private . . . I hope. If you need to e-mail me, please leave a comment in the comment section, and we'll figure it out.

Sunday Blackberry Blessings

Blackberries - sweet, wonderful fruit found on extremely thorny vines.
Blessings - sweet, wonderful, undeserved, and random awesomeness found both in the good moments and the thorny moments of our lives.

Blessings (some of the Blackberry variety):

1. On October 30th, Christine Tyler will host a piece of my grandmother's story, "The Horse in the Well". She picked a handful of authors to interview or host at her blog during Sparkfest, and being picked for that encouraged me and wowed me at just the right moment. Thanks Christine! Sparkfest Interviewees

2. Anticipating my poem "here or there" being published on-line at Every Day Poets on October 5th.

3. Just received an e-mail acceptance yesterday from Susan May James who is publishing my story "Bridge Snap" in the Sunday Snaps: The Stories anthology.

4. We watched our daughters dance at the fair on Friday night. They did great! And I think it is their last time tap dancing with a tricycle and jumpropes.

5. We enjoyed hanging out with dance friends at the fair, eating curly fries (cooked in the right oil for us), drinking all fruit smoothies, eating baked potatoes and cotton candy. My husband had a piroshky. Five girls rode on the Tilt-A-Whirl together. My family went on the big wooden roller coaster twice. We packed tons of fun in just 6 hours.

6. Our friends’ daughter had a day out from the walls of the hospital with her family yesterday. They didn’t get to go very far, but they were able to be someplace different, in the sunshine, together.

7. We visited with them yesterday, and the girls played a highly competitive game of Sorry.

8. Time together as a family, at home and out and about.

9. The last of the blackberries at the turn of the seasons.

10. The book of Hebrews.

Have you eaten any blackberries lately? Experienced any blackberry blessings?

Scripture Blessings:

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such great salvation?” Hebrews 2:1-3a

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 2:9

“For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:17-18

Thursday, September 22, 2011

85 to 60

Praying for 85 to 60!!!

Want to know why and what I'm talking about, check out this link:

Jessica's Journal

If Jessica's spine improves from 85 to 60 degrees in curvature, she gets to have the safest, easiest surgery. So, pray with me. 85 to 60.


Social Causes: What Can I Do?

I've been reading lately - ok that's not new - but I've happened upon a couple of books in the last six months that have made me realize just how blessed I am due to an "accident" of birth . . . I live in the United States, one of the wealthiest countries on Earth, even in the midst of our economic crisis.

I could have died at birth, but instead doctors and nurses whisked me away to a special unit and pumped oxygen in my lungs, and kept me in an incubator for nearly two weeks of my life. Right there, that is a sign of wealth. And no, I'm not saying my parents were rich. I'm just saying I live in a country with accessible medical care. Due to medical help, I think of my life as a miracle. I'm living on borrowed, undeserved time.

Everything around me, as I sit in my house, screams wealth, and I don't live in the fanciest neighborhood or the fanciest house. Just having a house, furniture, a laptop, spices for cooking, food in the fridge and cupboards, books, a home entertainment system (tv, radio, speakers), clothes, and clean water - all this puts me, and mostly liked you if you are reading this on a computer screen in your home, in the top 10% in the world.

We are often tempted to look "up" the chain of success at our wealthier neighbors. So and so has a 2 million dollar mansion (ok, I don't know anyone in that category, but it's the kind of thing that gets splashed around in the media), and so and so has a new car, new kitchen, new, new, new . . . you get the idea.

When we look down the chain of wealth, we see that not everyone has a house, or stuff, or a change of clothes, or even clean water. Not everyone lives in safety.

In fact, when I look at the world's needs, and not at my wealthier neighbors, I see such an overwhelming need that I want to close my eyes against all that pain. What can I do for millions of children who have been forcibly trafficked into the sex trade? What can I do for millions without clean water? Without safety? Without food? Without a house? Without an education or any medical care? Without any hope in an eternal Savior?

Well, I can pray. I can hope. I can give. I can look for ways to reduce my spending on myself to give money to organizations that help. I can blog about it, and try to create awareness. I can pray again, and ask for the answers to those questions.

What can I do?

I can do what I'm doing now, and hope that tomorrow I have an even better answer.

If you want to know more about the needs of women and children in our world, check out these two books:
Half the Sky by Kristof and WuDunn
No Longer a Slumdog by K.P. Yohanan

If you want to know more about the general needs of people in our world, check out these websites:
World Vision

Compassion International

Samaritan's Purse

And there are more organizations that help those in need. These are just a good place to start.

Scripture Blessings:
"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." Hebrews 1:3a

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Giving Thanks!

Today I just want to say THANKS because I'm just feeling so thankful for life,

family, friends, good health (ok, I still have weight to lose, but otherwise I'm healthy),

writing, books, homeschooling, homeschool co-op, my dogs, my cat,

the beautiful blue sky day we're having here after a week of gray.

I am so thankful for all of that, and for everything I see around me . . . salt, pepper, glue sticks, pens, a green sweatshirt, table, chairs, pc - ok this is mundane, but you get the idea, I am thankful for everything in my life, even the mess.

Praise God from whom All blessings flow!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

I admit when I saw the rocking Alex J. Cavanaugh's invitation for the Worst Movie Ever Blogfest, I thought it would be easy. Who hasn’t seen an awful movie and wished they hadn’t even spent the money for a movie rental/matinee show/Netflix fee?

The reality is, I've either forgotten most of the really awful ones, or purposely blocked them from my mind to protect myself. There were really only 3 or 4 that stood out that met the qualifications for this blogfest - had to a be a movie released on screen or DVD first, and not made for TV. I know there have been other perfectly awful movies over the years that I have seen, but these are the ones that stand out over time as being the worst ever, can't-believe-I wasted-my time-or-money watching them.

King Kong (the classic) – in short summary: scream and faint, scream and faint, and some Freudian references about men, women, and great apes.

Watching this movie as a teen, late at night, trying to figure out why it was so loved or considered a classic, I realized that I NEVER wanted to write a heroine that weak, or hero that dumb. Lesson learned. The only scene I like from the movie is where King Kong hangs from the Empire State Building, you know the one that most people know without ever torturing themselves by watching the whole movie.
Oh, and I hate the new King Kong too. It didn't get any better with a facelift.

Bonfire of the Vanities – a literary comedy about shallow, selfish people that was stilted, boring, and anything but funny.

Based on a literary book that was based on Ecclesiastes, the statement “all is meaningless, a chasing after the wind” gives you an idea of what it feels like to sit through this movie. I almost didn’t make it, but a friend of mine wanted to see if it got better. It didn’t. I’ve had people tell me that if I didn’t enjoy it, it’s because I just didn’t get the rich, literary irony. Sorry. I did get the attempts at literary irony. They sucked. It had great actors going through the motions of attempting to show the shallow lives of their characters, but they just came off stilted and ineffectual.

Expendables – an action movie with too many tired action heroes.

I thought having Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenagger, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, and Terry Crews in one action-packed movie would be fun. I was wrong. The movie should have been made into a comedy, but instead it tried to be serious. The torture of the General’s daughter was icky to watch, and made the tears that the heroes shed over their own lost souls seem shallow. I know they were supposed to be crying over the loss of innocence, but it felt like they were just crying over themselves. And they looked like they had to use onion juice to get the tears. It just didn’t work for me, and most of the lines seemed stilted. Statham and Jet Li were still great in their roles, but even they couldn’t make this movie worthwhile.

Speed 2 - do I really have to explain?

Sandra is one of my favorite actresses, but this movie ... well, I barely made it past the first 10 minutes. Once you know the set up, you know the movie. There are no interesting quirks, turns, or sparks to make this movie entertaining.

Almost any horror movie with Bruce Campbell – he’s funny, the movies he’s in are just plain dumb.

And, actually almost any horror movie makes into this category for me anyway. Horror usually equals dumb. And when it doesn't, I have nightmares. So either way, I generally don't watch them any more.

And there are many other awful movies, but I'm trying really hard to forget them, if I haven't already.

Scripture Blessings:
"I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind." Ecclesiastes 1:14

"There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve. This too I say is meaningless." Ecclesiastes 8:14

So, shall we chase after the wind, or should we chase after the Lord? (for me that's the pointed question of Ecclesiastes.)

Life Blessings:
Walked/Ran a 10K Yesterday!

Visited a sweet angel in the hospital!

Made more progress on my WIP revision this weekend than I have in a week (mixed blessing)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Slipping Through My Fingers Like Grains of Sand

In my last post I mentioned that there would be/might be something special today . . . and I had my dates wrong. This has been an all too common occurance this last week. I've forgotten a myriad of details like:

sending a fax to a friend, sending a mailing and a fax of my homeschool intent form to the school district (remembered on the last possible legal day), purchasing ski/snowboard season passes before they turned expensive (the passes were $20 less yesterday but I forgot until today), sending an important e-mail to the worship team at my church, and getting to the grocery store for dog food.

And . . . last but not least (although not of first importance to my dogs), not knowing the date that my story of my grandma's story "The Horse and the Well" will be featured on Christine Tyler's blog. That's the something special I thought might be today - I'm just getting a little ahead of things. September 30th, Christine Tyler is hosting half of that story on her blog, and the rest will be found here. This will take place thanks to Christine's awesome Sparkfest, and her sweet invitation.

So, have you ever let details slip through your fingers like grains of sand into a tide of forgetfulness?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sailing, Powerboat, and Seadoo Writing + Blessings

My post was inspired by a boating trip a few weeks ago with my family, and my writing life. I am in the midst of powering through activities and life with my kids and writing, and I apologize if I haven't been a good blog visitor lately. Tomorrow, I'll dedicate some time to visit, and on Friday . . . I just might have something exciting to share. 

Drifting, Sailing, or Powering Through Plot?

I used to think I could jump onto the Dawn Writer, and flourish my pen to fill my sail-pages without using a compass, or a chart. I thought I would have clear sailing into the horizon . . . which would naturally land me in Published Author’s Port.

I didn’t count on the Storm of Doubt, or the misguided winds of Unexpected Characters who seemed better than my protaganist, or the Lazy Channel that sent my Dawn Writer drifting into the Island of Unrelenting Fog. The horizon line went missing, the Dawn Writer hit a dead calm, and I abandoned my first novel-ship.

At that point, I decided I only had the strength and stamina to write poetry and short stories. Basically I went from a sailing vessel to a seadoo.

 I tried to turn all my ideas into shorter pieces. It didn’t really work. I kept taking seadoo-stories onto the open ocean, and then stalling them. I often received this feedback from magazine editors when they rejected my stories: “This is not a short story, seems like a piece from a longer work.”

So, I went from reading books about sailing into the horizon line without a compass or a timeline, and started reading books about outlines, charts, compasses, and travel timetables. I checked books out from the library that normally would make me cringe. First Draft in 30 Days by Karen S. Wiesner went from being a “not-sure-if-I-want-to-check-it-out” book to a book I checked out and re-checked out until I received a notice from the library stating politely that they really wanted their book back, NOW. So, I politely turned it back in, and then joined NANOWRIMO 2010. I wrote my second novel in 30 days.

It was smooth sailing.

Well, until I sailed out on Dawn Revision with a compass that blew overboard during the Storm of Busy Life. A few months ago, I finally went back to port, made myself a Map of Revision Crevasse, and decided to take the power boat Dawn Revision II out for the trip. I gave myself a deadline, and I’m keeping it. Daily, I check my compass and my charts of the troubled waters, powering through the safe passages, heading straight for the bustling Port of Query.

So, do you like to drift with the tides, sail with a full set of charts, or drive your novel like a powerboat?

This is a link I recently enjoyed that gives a good snapshot of plotting for the reluctant plotter.
Provost Sentence - Shelly Brown's great post on writing a provost sentence, which I like to call a basic plot sentence.

Scripture Blessings:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 (yes this one again)

Other awesome blessings from my life:
1. My Dad's upper G.I. test results showed no cancer or internal bleeding in that part of his digestive system. Praise God! He has more tests coming, but with some iron supplements to fight the anemia, he is feeling much more energetic.

2. Our dear friends' daugther who is the hospital continues to amaze her doctors and nurses with her joy, her peace, and her health progress. Her brother has been shining his light with the other patients at the children's hospital too. Their family has been a blessing to us, and now they are blessing others!
Thanks for all your prayers and kind thoughts!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blessed by Sacrifice

Today we rememberd those whom have blessed us with their sacrifice:
 1. Jesus, who showed us how to lay down a life for the sake of others.
 2. Firefighters.
3. Police Officers.
4. EMS.
5. Those who serve, and have served in our military.
6. All the chaplains, and workers who worked at the ground zero site for months, uncovering wreckage, finding remains, and encouraging one another through one of the darkest valleys our nation has ever faced.
7. The FBI
8. The Secret Service
9. The CIA
10. Those who died on 9/11 just going about their daily lives, being every day heroes.
11. All the families of those who serve, and have served our country.

Thank you.

John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Do Engineering and Latin and Greek Root Vocabulary Mix?

So, it is an amazingly hot September night in our household. We've been swimming, grilled chicken for dinner, and worked our way through a few science experiments. My husband asks our daughters what else they did while homeschooling today. Somehow we ended up discussing my youngest daughter's vocabulary lesson in which she is learning words rooted on the word "cycle" and "circ." My husband, being the kind of guy he is, started thinking about how this vocabulary related to his life and work.

 So . . . what do you get when you mix Latin and Greek Root Vocabulary with an Electrical Engineer? And then have a snarky secondary education major/English major commenting on the sidelines?

 Bad jokes like this one.

Cycle means one wheel or one revolution.

Bicycle means two wheels.

Unicycle means one wheel.

Hertz is the name of one electrical cycle.

What happens to an electrical engineer on a unicycle?

He hertz - he hurts.

It has nothing to do with writing, unless you want to create a character with an individual sense of humor . . .

My oldest daughter has also been helping me warm up my writing with riddles.

What is set on the table, is cut on the table, but never gets eaten?
A deck of cards.

What goes in the house, around the house, but never touches the house?
The sun's rays.

With all this warm up help, I'll soon be writing some kind of riddling quest fantasy book - watch out Bilbo!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Fear of the Unfinished

Alex J. Cavanaugh, in his usual encouraging way, has blessed the blog-world with the Insecure Writer's Support group. To find out more check out his Insecure Writers Support Group main page, and his first post Insecure Writers Support Group Post and Tips

My post today is based on one of my biggest fears, and the best way I've found to fight it.

FEAR OF THE UNFINISHED WORK! It just doesn't have the same ring to it as "Shark Survivor 3" but the reality is I find the thought that I might not finish my novel to be far more frightening than any horror movie. I've had other projects that haven't been finished, so I have a foundation of failure that builds up this particular fear.

I know I'm supposed to view those past novel projects as learning step stones. I feel more like they are ugly skeletons that threaten to pour out of my closet in the dark of the night when I wonder if I will ever finish the revision of my current WIP.

So there, I admitted it, my biggest fear. So now what? How do I keep from panicking?

1. I sit down and write. Every Day. Just write.

2. I pray.

3. I visit other writers' blogs, and find encouragement.

4. I read the first novels of other writers, and find encouragement in knowing that they've been where I am now, and they made it.

5. Then I teach writing to my kids, and to kids at our homeschool co-operative.

6. Then I write, and pray.

7. And write.

What's your biggest writing fear, and how do you overcome it?

Scripture Blessing:
"For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?" 1 Thessalonians 3:9-10

Monday, September 5, 2011

Blessings and Blackberries Again

Awesome Blessings from the last 7 days:

1. Bike-riding over 20 miles with my family and my hubby. (Girls rode about 13 of that)

2. Tubing behind the boat at Sun Lakes State Park in Eastern Washington (the sunny side of the state).

3. Remembering how to drive the boat while my husband either tubed with the girls, or water-skied.

4. Relaxation time.

5. Making three way allergy free chocolate chip cookies - one third regular, one third white chocolate, and one third regular and white chocolate chip with Macadamia nuts! Love making it work for everyone.

6. Staying in a little cabin while on vacation in EW. (The wind would have blown a tent down easily at night)

7. An awesome church family.

8. God's Word Sunday.

9. The Heart of Worship song, and the Heart of Worship story . . . have to find that link one of these days.

10. Watching my girls get horse-riding lessons from my sister-in-law.

11. Visiting with my sister-in-law and her husband.

12. All the prayer support for our friends and their daughter. She is doing "the best that the nurses have ever seen for someone her age in a halo" and she is going without any pain medication and playing every day. So, thank you, and keep it up!

The Blackberries are still ripe, and ready to be picked again! We will be out there with our hands among the thorns tonight, pulling off the juicy sweet fruit and getting a few scratches along the way.

And in life, well, the blackberries are still at large. Our friends still need prayers, and my Dad is undergoing multiple medical tests. I know he's 73, but I'm not ready for him to be ill in any way yet.

Homeschool starts here tomorrow.

My book is still under revision and I wonder when I'm going to carve out time - less sleep? Not giving up family time.

Our new church is always an adventure.

Keeping this scripture blessing close at the moment:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13.