Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We Are the Champions, My Friends . . .

Ok, I had this post all planned out about dancing, but when I received my NaNoWriMo Winner certificate, and thought of Sommer Leigh's writing support group for NaNoWriMo . . . and I couldn't get this song out of my head.

For all those who participated in NaNoWriMo - We Are the Champions, My Friends!!!

LAST DAY OF NaNoWriMo - The End

Here I sit, at the brink of finishing NaNoWriMo 2011. As I write this post, my word count rests fitfully at 49,881 words.

Why did I stop there?

Because my husband asked me an everyday question, and I took that as a wonderful excuse to step back from the PC for 20 minutes.

Because the last 1,200 words I wrote totally sucked.

Because even though I've stuffed my inner editor away for 29 days, she's back and she's monstrously huge.


Because I always have this amazing, beautiful, glorous finale scene in my head when I begin my stories, and when I get to the end, it fizzles. The fireworks backfire, and the smoke rises around the flames on the ground that slowly die into smoking embers. And I'm left choking in the cloudy haze.

So, I have 119 words to cross the finish line, and I want those last steps to rise from the embers and fly like a phoenix into a golden horizon of storytelling.

So, now that I've taken a break, worked on a few old metaphors about writing, and given my husband a big squeezy hug as he goes out the door for work, I can get back to writing the finish, the finale, the end . . .

Thanks for stopping by and listening to me rant for a moment. It actually cheered me up . . . it's odd how that works.

I hope that all of you NaNoWriMo Champions out there have an awesome last day.

May your endings be golden!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanks for Thanksgiving Participants, and NaNoWriMo Last Days Reflections

Many, many thanks to my sweet and wonderful particpants in the A to Z Thanksgiving Challenge.

I admit, it was a last minute challenge, and one that I realized belatedly I would even have a tough time posting on in the midst of two Thanksgiving dinner extravaganzas and the inner drive to finish NaNoWriMo.

These two wonderful ladies made my Thanksgiving week by participating in the A To Z Challenge and writing beautiful posts:

Pam at 2Encourage wrote two amazing posts splitting the alphabet over two days: Thanksgiving Challenge Part 1 and Thanksgiving Challenge Part 2


Jasmine Walt at An Author's Ramblings wrote it all in one A-Z Thanksgiving Challenge

Their thankfulness, and full participation in this tiny little challenge warmed my heart completely, and I feel encouraged by their attitudes of gratitude. Thank you Pam and Jasmine!

In NaNoWriMo news . . . these are the last days, and I am thankful for the writing drive that compelled me to write hard and long hours over my word count, and to struggle with my plot, seeing the horizon line coming closer each day. To meet the minimum NaNoWriMo word count goal, I still have a little over 1,500 words to write. To meet "The End" of my story, I have about 5,000 words to write. I am very happy with my progress, both in word count and in story.

Last year, during my first NaNoWriMo, I was at least 8,000 words behind at this point, and sweated my way through the last day, giving my kids only a half day of homeschool lessons, and telling my family to eat "whatever they found in the fridge." I did a mad, crazed dash to the end of the word count goal and the end of my story. I finished, but celebrated with dazed contentment.

This year, I hope to celebrate with vigor, enthusiasm and dancing. Even if I have a sore foot, there will be dancing. I just might have to dance while leaning primarily on one foot. It will work.

And I plan on dancing to Superchick, Newsboys, Toby Mac, and a new family favorite: Icon For Hire.

Off With Her Head by Icon for Hire

Make a Move by Icon For Hire

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A to Z Thanksgiving with Randomness

A - Anna, Amanda, Annette, apple pie

B - bears, burgers, belugas

C - courage, C.S. Lewis, Christmas

D - Dads

E - Easter, eagles

F - Friends, Family and Fellowship, Faith

G - God, grandparents

H - Hope, Husband-of-mine

I - Inspiration and Imagination

J - Jesus, Joy, John, Jessica, Jacob

K - Kathleen, Katie, Kites

L - Lynn, Lambs, Lions, Lilies

M - Mary, Moms, marriage

N - Noel, Neverland

O - Owls

P - Piglet (from Winne-the-Pooh)

Q - Quilts, quiet (at the right moments)

R - Ronald, rainbows

S - Stephanie, snow, skiing, snowboarding

T - Trisha, Terry, Tigger

U - umbrellas, undines (I just like the word)

V - Violins and violas

W - Water, waterfalls

X - xylophones

Y - Yaks, Yellow

Z - Zoologists

Please join in the A to Z Thanksgiving Challenge!

Here's how it works:

1. Add your name to the linky list.

2. Write down all the letters of the alphabet and for each letter, name at least one person, place, thing, or idea that you are giving thanks for this year. You can name more than one if you have more than one you want to mention.

3. Post your list on your blog between 11/23 and 11/27.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A to Z Thanksgiving Challenge Pt 2

Thanksgiving Challenge Invite #2
We are all swamped with NaNo, family, feasting, and various real life activities, and yet I still think there is time to give thanks!

Maybe my Challenge sounds too tough, but I think it's very possible. You see, you can make your Thanksgiving list silly - A to Z animal thanks - aardvark, butterflies, cats, dogs; or serious - Alpha and Omega, Beautiful One, Christ the Lord. You can make it into any kind of Thanksgiving list you want . . . it doesn't have to take all day. It can take less than five minutes. Really. I gave it to all my students in my homeschool co-op classes on Monday and most of them finished it in under five minutes. Just try it, you might even find it addictive.

So, I invite you to join me in the A to Z Thanksgiving Challenge!

Here's how it works:

1. Add your name to the linky list.

2. Write down all the letters of the alphabet and for each letter, name at least one person, place, thing, or idea that you are giving thanks for this year. You can name more than one if you have more than one you want to mention.

3. Post your list on your blog between 11/23 and 11/27.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankfulness and A To Z Thanksgiving Challenge

Thankfulness is a gift, a good habit, and a way of life.

Whether or not you enjoy the American holiday of Thanksgiving, the act of Thanksgiving is worthwhile. It can give you joy, peace, comfort, and strength.

So, I invite you to join me in the A to Z Thanksgiving Challenge!

Here's how it works:

1. Add your name to the linky list.

2. Write down all the letters of the alphabet and for each letter, name at least one person, place, thing, or idea that you are giving thanks for this year. You can name more than one if you have more than one you want to mention.

3. Post your list on your blog between 11/23 and 11/27.

For Example, here's part of my list for this year:

A to Z Thanksgiving Challenge:
A - Anna, Amanda, Annette, apple pie

B - burgers

C - courage, C.S. Lewis, Christmas

So, now the A to Z Thanksgiving Challenge has been passed to you. Will you join me in giving thanks?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Longing For Poetry PT 2 and Random Thanksgiving!

NaNoWriMo is my priority this month, but as I shared in an earlier post, Longing For Poetry, I am longing for poetry, for other projects, for the haziness of random writing. At the same time, I really want to finish NaNo, and then go back and finishing revising my last NaNo novel, and then . . . and then . . .well, I have lots of plans.

So, today I NaNO, and I plan for next month.

Through Sommer Leigh's awesome NaNoWriMo Champions Support Group, I have met many awesome blogger-writers, like Aimee Jodoin of A Portrait of the Artist
Aimee is hosting a Shakespeare Sonnet Writing Contest, which is awesome! The deadline is December 4th, and I already have a few notes about subjects and word choices for mine, but I'll write it between December 1st and December 4th . . . after NaNo. So, my longing for poetry will be fulfilled soon.
Here are the rules for the Shakespeare Sonnet Writing Contest from the link:

"For this contest, write a Shakespearean sonnet. For those who need a refresher, here are the parameters:
1. Shakespearean sonnets are 14 lines long.

2. Shakespearean sonnets follow the a,b,a,b, c,d,c,d, e,f,e,f, g,g rhyme scheme.

3. Shakespearean sonnets are in iambic pentameter, meaning there are ten syllables per line.

Please send your sonnet to by Sunday 4 December 2011."

1. Red robins running covert operations among the fall leaves, blending into the red, browns and yellows in listening and watchful poses as my old dog sits with her ears alert.

2. The wiggly happiness of our beagle, as he rubs his back all over the carpet with is legs and ears flopping everywhere.

3. My daughters dance at church tomorrow! I'm excited for that for them, for our amazing friend who is an amazing dancer/director/teacher and for our church.

4. Christmas Rehearsal Take 3, tomorrow, and I am almost ready.

5. Four adult men from our church who will be acting as the Three Wise Guys and their Camel for the Christmas Pageant.

6. My cat stayed calm for the car ride to the vet because she could see her friend, the beagle, the whole time.

7. Thanksgiving plans . . . two dinners coming our way, but thankfully split over three days, not two dinners in one day.

8. Looking forward to sitting at the "mega" table at my Aunt's house with 20-30 family members. There is always laughter, always the mock arguments over the turkey skin and the last olives.

9. Looking forward to sitting at my in-laws beautiful expanded dining room table with 20 family members, and then joking our way through dinner. I love the humor of my husband's family, and the stories we all tell.

10. My husband is getting over the sniffling sneezing "bug" that he had this last week, and I know he will be back to his usual energetic self soon.

And, I have a few prayer requests:
1. My sister-in-law had carpal tunnel surgery yesterday, and her husband is completely immobile with MS, so they both need prayers for healing and strength for this post-op time.

2. Our sweet friends' daughter has been home and recovering from her big surgery since mid-October, but she still needs prayers for continued healing and pain management.

"Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise." James 5:13

Friday, November 18, 2011

Treasures, Shoeboxes, and Operation Christmas Child

What would you keep in a treasure chest, if you had one?

What would your character keep in a treasure chest, if they had one?

Jewels? Lazer Blasters that will help them defeat the giant space monster? Gold? A Bible? Light that is brighter than the sun? Love? Truth? Justice? A billion dollars? A gold crown? A wedding dress? A bag of seashells? An old baseball and glove?

I invite you to write that into your story somehow.

And I invite you to think about the treasure of giving.

Every year at this time, my children, my mom and I go out and fill a shoebox with simple gifts for Operation Christmas Child. Some of the shoeboxes go to kids in the United States who don't have anything for Christmas. Most of the shoeboxes go to other countries all around the world.

The kids that receive them usually receive them for Christmas, but depending on shipping, political problems in war-torn countries, or simply bad weather, they may receive them on just for a regular day. I trust the organization, Samaritan's Purse, to get these gifts to children who need them most and in the timing that works best.

I highly recommend filling a shoebox for the sheer joy of filling it with treasures. It's like a mini-treasure box that we get to fill with love in the form of scarves, books, balls, dolls, fancy hair clips, toothbrushes, combs, drawing and writing paper, pencils and erasers. Plus, you can send letters and cards too.

There are only a few days left to fill a shoebox treasure chest this year for National Collection Week, go to Pack a Shoe Box to learn more.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Longing for Poetry But Still NaNoing

Just over half of my way through NaNoWriMo, and my heart is longing for poetry, for the concise sweetness of sounds capturing a single, simple moment.

Last week, I longed for three other fiction writing projects, and even spent some time writing some notes for them, either notes for writing, or notes for revising. I dreamt of other stories and woke, longing to write them and not my NaNoWriMo novel.

This week, it’s poetry: rhythm, language, haunting soul-binding moments of perfect clarity. That's what I have been longing to write. Never mind that when I actually write poetry I fight for every nuance and word choice to come close to the image in my heart.

So, I write notes for five to ten minutes on my distractions, and then force myself to write the next sentence and the next sentence of my current WIP, and after four or five sentences the story begins to flow again . . . at least for a while.

Sometimes, however, allowing myself even a few moments with my distractions adds up to a major problem.

I fell behind over last weekend with NaNo and had two mega writing days to make up for it. Yesterday I wrote 4,000 words over the course of the day - and whenever I felt distracted, I closed my eyes for a few moments, thought about my novel and plugged myself back into the writing. I couldn't afford those few sentences here or there.

So, my advice for all my fellow writers: just keep writing.

1. 4,000 words in one day!!!

2. Getting my word count in this morning already!

3. Finally, a fight scene. (It took my 25,000 words to warm up to it this year)

4. I "get" my characters better in this year's NaNo novel.

5. Writing is on my mind, and I am fully immersed in my novel writing.

6. Many cups of caffeinated tea.

7. Writing through the "junk" moments and finding a good writing rythm again.

8. My cat, who often tries to grab my attention with all claws while I'm trying to write, let me play with my PC instead yesterday. Then after I finished she demanded a game of pounce, chase, claw, and scrabble. (This involves hands, string, and her favorite washcloth or sock)

9. My kids have their own NaNo goals to fulfill, and they are working at it every day. Their work, plus the work of the students at our co-op totally inspires me to keep writing.

10. This crazy little hamster toy that we purchased at Target a few years ago. He is just this silly little singing toy that waves a set of nunchuks and sings "Everbody was Kung Fu Fighting" in a high pitched voice. He moves from our house to my husband's office and back on a regular basis, and currently he is sitting by my PC. Don't ask me why this helps me keep writing, but it does. He is the mascot of anyone in our house who needs a laugh, or an extra push in the right direction.

11. An extra dance rehearsal last night for my daughters . . . for a dance for our church.

12. Having a wonderful friend who is passionate about faith and dance, and who is one of my daughters' teachers this year.

13. Toby Mac's new Christmas CD - yes, I said, Christmas.

14. Listening to Christmas music for the sole purpose of planning the Kids Christmas Pageant and some of the Music for our worship services for the next month. Really, I don't like the canned stuff they are already playing in retail stores - that kind of Christmas music before Thanksgiving is just wrong.

15. Thanksgiving is one week from today! Wow!

16. Looking forward to seeing friends and family over Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving weekend!

17. Awesome homeschool friends.

18. Seashells on the windowsill.

19. A ceramic rabbit painted by my oldest daughter. It's sitting on the windowsill, looking out towards the green grass.

20. My youngest daughter's drawing of a young woman with an expression of determination. She thinks she's "not that good" at drawing, but I am impressed by how she captures the personality of her characters.

21. My husband is awesome. He brings home chocolate. (and he's just awesome anyway)

22. My daughters, my mom, and I all filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, and we love doing that each year - it is a source of joy for us. (and I'll write more about it tomorrow. There's a few more days left to take part in that project)

23. The convicting scriptures in the book of James.

Scripture Blessing:

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." James 4:10

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Humor and Thankfulness

I admit I'm not great with jokes. I have a tendency to tell the punchline too early, and I only remember the super short jokes like:

Why did the girl mushroom date the boy mushroom?
Because he was a fungi (fun guy).

It makes me smile every time . . . so you know the humor bar is pretty low with me.

Despite that, I love to laugh, and often find it a great way to warm up to writing and life.

Today I went meandering from Every Day Poets to Christie Isler's blog Letters Home (she was the featured poet today), and found this postPomegranate Season that had me laughing and thinking about writing. Trust me, her humourous diatribe about fruit carrying "how-to" labels when Halloween candy doesn't is way funnier than my favorite mushroom joke.

So, check out that post, and laugh today.

Today I'm full of thankfulness for:

1. Christie Isler's post, Pomegranate Season.

2. Laughter.

3. Jokes that make me smile.

4. My husband's smirk, and his full out smile.

5. My cat's determination to pull me away from the computer with a brush of fur, and a swipe of playful claw at the power cord.

6. The wonderful enthusiasm of my students at our homeschool co-operative.

7. One of my students has finished her NaNoWriMo already - she wrote a 45,000 word novel for the young writers' program. (young writers make their own goals)

8. All of my teen students have unique, in depth worlds that they are writing about, with some interesting characters.

9. My younger writing class likes to tell stories on the board together.

10. My C.S. Lewis class wrote their own "blurb" length stories, and were trying to press them on me at lunch-time because they were so excited about them . . . which was really cool, except I was really hungry.

And now, I have to return to NaNoWriMo, or P90X with my husband (before he goes to work) . . . lifting weights might help spur my NaNo, right?

"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow." James 1:17 (NLT)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Campaigner Challenges 2011 Book! and Thankfulness

found at Amazon and Smashwords

Amazon Blurb:

All proceeds go to Harry Moseley's charity "Help Harry Help Others". Harry single handedly raised over 85,000BP (roughly 137,000USD) for cancer Research. He died October 8th aged 11.

This eBook contains 176 flash fiction stories, poems, and essays from 81 participants of Rachael Harrie's Blog Building Campaign 2011. Everyone donated their stories freely and willingly for this worthy course.

During the Blog Building Campaign, participants were challenged to write posts containing specific words or themes of no more than 200 (or 300) words. Despite the same premise, the stories contained in this anthology couldn't be more different.


Today I'm thankful for these blessings:

1. My story, "Butterfly Imago" making it into The Campaigner Challenges 2011 Book.

2. Katharina Gerlach of always try a little harder who edited The Campaigner Challenges 2011 book, and made this project awesome!

3. Rachael Harrie from Rache Writes for organizing an awesome campaign!

4. Amazing fall leaves of red, gold, yellow, and brown.

5. Evergreen trees that make a striking backdrop for the fall deciduous leaves.

6. Wading through piles of leaves with friends.

7. My daughter's comment yesterday, "I think the leaves are where people got the idea for confetti". I just think kids see the world in a wondrous and unique way.

8. Singing praises to the King of Creation, Savior of my life, and Spirit that guides my path with a fun group of people on my church praise team.

9. Preparing for the kids Christmas pageant at my church which will take place in early December.

10. Thanksgiving - the act, and the holiday.

11. Wood chopped for an elderly couple in our church, and a yard mowed, trimmed and fixed up for a family that's not of our church . . .I love our church family's determination to be the hands and feet of Christ in our world.

12. A new church name!!! Our new church has been a church with an awkward name, a name that served for getting our paperwork done with the state so we could receive and give offerings within taxation laws as a church and not a business. It was a name thought up in a moment of indecision, and we often called ourselves a church with no name. But now, we have a name: One Hope Church! Christ is our one hope, and our one foundation.

"There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you weree called - one Lord, one faith, on baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:4-6

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thanks for Tiny Blessings

Today I'm giving thanks for some tiny blessings:

1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumbs

2. Grains of salt

3. A small match for lighting a candle

4. A votive flame in the dark

5. The tip of white on my beagle dog's tail

6. The brush of softness from my cat

7. The tiny sparkle in my older dog's eyes

8. A drop of dew on the grass

9. A sprinkle of cinnamon in a mug of apple cider

10. A tiny leaf fluttering in the wind

11. Each word that I write for NaNoWriMo.

Do you you have any tiny blessings to share today?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Call to Give Thanks

In the spring of 2010, I felt called to count my blessings, to give thanks in all circumstances, and to post it here. I considered it my own 365 Days of Blessings Challenge.

It opened my eyes to the amazing number of blessings I have in my life . . . things that I often take for granted too regularly.

It opened my eyes to my own sinful inclination to be crabby, doubtful, and full of worry . . . that was a bit uncomfortable. There were far too many days during my blessings challenge when I struggled to get beyond counting four blessings, and my challenge was to find ten new ones each day.

Lately, through prayer, study, and life circumstance (God's providence), I have realized that just because my personal challenge year ended I am still not done learning about the need for giving thanks.

So, I'll be giving thanks every day for the rest of this month for at least ten blessings each day, and every time I post on my blog, I'll add them on at the end of my posts.

On December 1st, I'll be revealing a new challenge for 12/1/11 through 12/1/12 - and welcoming any who would like to join with me on a year long challenge . . . anyone interested?

Today I'm giving thanks for:
1. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8

2. Laughter with friends and family in an interactive theatre experience. I love laughter, and laughter with friends is sweet. Laughter with friends we haven't seen in a few months is even sweeter. I can't quite describe it, but I hope you know what I mean.

3. Seeing three actors and one actress show off their amazing talent while they performed various roles for a re-telling/showing Robin Hood. 12 roles, 4 people, theatre in the square kind of performance but done at Seattle Childrens' Theatre by professionally trained actors.

4. Reading the playbill, and coming across this job: Fight Director. I knew they had fight directors for movies, but for a Childrens' theatre production? Wow. I had been extremely impressed by the smooth exchange of pretend blows by the cast, and wowed by some of the more extreme stunts, but I didn't know that they hired a fight director. It made sense. (oh, and on the "kid" side of things - they did a great job of having intense fight scenes and yet making sure the audience knew that no one was "really" hurt)

5. Eating at the Crab Pot on the Seattle waterfront and having a great time, even if no one in my family eats seafood. They make awesome burgers too, and we enjoyed watching our friends crack open their crab, mussels, and clams with wooden mallets and giant bibs.

6. After weeks of beautiful, flame colored leaves flickering against a blue sky, we had a Northwest rain and wind storm that didn't cause many power outages, and now is gone with the new dawn.

7. Days and days of no clouds on the horizon, one day with them, and another without . . . I am so thankful for that. I love rain. I just don't like the overhang of gray from horizon to horizon that made up our winter last year. Rain is a good relief, and even better when followed by clear skies.

8. Scented candles that smell like apple pie.

9. Three types of chocolate chip cookies: Otis Spunkmeyer (from pre-made dough) for my sweet husband, bean and sorghum flour with no egg and little dairy for my daughters and I - split into dark chocolate and white chocolate varieties. Seriously sweet and yummy.

10. Celebrating my youngest daughters' tenth baptismal birthday. Her faith, which faltered last year in the midst of too much dance competition pressure, has been renewed by rest, hope, and time to just be her beautiful self. We learned a lesson together about the hype of competition that neither of us is likely to forget. She loves to dance, but competition just isn't her style. (and I am thankful for that)

11. My oldest daughter is taller than me (finally, she says), and although I miss the warm bundle of sweetness that she was as a baby, I love the tall lengthy sweetness that she is now. She is growing into a thoughtful young woman, who still loves to be silly and laugh.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Slice of Life: Veteran's Day, Birthdays, Movie Reviews . . .

Veterans' Day is a day when we honor those who have served our country.

Some of the veterans I honor today: Grandpa Schneider, my uncle Buddy (my Dad's brother that I never met), John Martinson Sr, John Martinson Jr, my cousin Myron, my cousin Duane, my uncle Lloyd, my old neighbhorhood friends Bob and Mike Hougham, and men and women from my church (past and present).

Thank you Veterans!

I am also thankful for the lives of our friends, Kevin and Ron. Their birthdays are today, and my husband I have been blessed with years of their friendship. Kevin is a tough-talking guy with a heart of gold that we met in college, and Ron has been John's good friend and fellow tech guy since childhood. They both have a unique way of looking at the world, and dry humor that gets them through life's hard moments. (and they don't even hang out together, they just share the same birthday) Happy Birthday Dear Friends!

We also celebrate our youngest daughter's baptismal birthday today! Happy 10th Baptism Day to Trisha! We're going to light the her baptism candle at breakfast and sing Jesus Loves You (just Jesus Loves Me, with a few different lyrics)

And now for the movie reviews. My husband I were kidless for two Friday nights in a row, and we went all out for "grown up" movies that we wouldn't normally let our kids see, and these are our thoughts:

The Three Musketeers – Swashbuckling swordplay, moments of praiseworthy acting, but with some stale lines and a new element taken to overblown heights. Wait until it comes out on Netflix, or Redbox. I’ve seen several versions of Dumas’ books, and this one has good moments, but it isn’t worth $14 for a ticket and a pair of 3D glasses. (However, our kids could have seen this one, and probably would have enjoyed it)

Tower Heights – superb characterization, talented actors, hilarious unexpected plot twists, and a sweet but surprise ending. Warning: 10-15 minutes of screen time wasted on extremely crude humor scattered throughout the movie.

On Netflix: The Warrior’s Way – A surreal fantasy in full blown cinematography, The Warrior’s Way shows depths of love in the midst of gritty violence creating a haunting dichotomy between life-giving and life-taking ways of life. Warning: Full out bloody violence. Despite this, I really liked the message given. The protagonist is redeemed, but there are still consequences for his actions.
(I kept thinking about King David after I watched this movie, although there were no Christian themes presented and it is seriously violent - but then the Old Testament is seriously violent)

Today, we plan to see Robin Hood at a Children's Theatre, and visit with some sweet friends who moved away a few months ago. We will be flying our flag, and remembering those who gave us our freedom. Again, thank you Veterans!

Here's hoping you all have an awesome weekend, filled with the blessings of freedom!

"Therefore since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:28-29

p.s. for NaNoWriMos - I am just barely keeping up these days with my WC, making it over the top of the requirement each day by checking the word count. How's your word count going?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dancing on the Ceiling

Over 15,000 words into NaNoWriMo, and I'm feeling in the need for some whimsy:

What I love about this video is that it shows some of how the scene was created, and it reminds me that for every bit of magical storytelling, there are hours of hard work behind the scenes.

So, here's to those magical moments of film and writing that take hours of sweat and concentration to pull off . . . just like National Novel Writing Month.

Just keep writing, writers!

Hebrews 12:12-13 "Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be diabled, but rather healed."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fly Away Synchronicity

Yesterday at my church, we ended worship with this song:

I came home, went to blogland and the first post I read was this one: Fly Away

And yesterday afternoon I wrote about my characters taking off in flight – two literally, and one figuratively. Tonight I’ll start with the flying scene and see where it goes from there.

This afternoon I came across this awesome post by Ali Cross: Reach about stretching ourselves as writers. (BTW Ali Cross’s book is out – go and read, or plan to read when NaNo is done)

So has anyone else been flying lately?

Or have you stretched yourself?

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40: 31

Sunday, November 6, 2011

When The Furnace Breaks, Let's Give Thanks?

Our furnace broke, just when we started feeling a need for it, and just when our lives reached a high peak of stress with work and volunteer commitments. My husband, with all of his mechanical and tech skills, confirmed that the furnace had indeed kicked the bucket completely.

When we are home, we want to feel snuggly warmth, and restful comfort.

Instead we felt cold.

For a few hours, we (my husband and I) were crabby about it.

Then some friends of ours called my husband (Mr. Fix It Engineer Tech Guy) and told him that their furnace was "acting up." They told him that they were all right for the moment because their gas fireplace still worked, but they just wanted his opinion on whether it was fixable.

For a moment after that, my husband and I were even crabbier - our gas fireplace stopped working about three years ago, and we never got around to fixing it or replacing it. But something about their thankfulness sank into our hearts, and we stopped crabbing and started thanking God for what we have.

We have warm blankets. We have electricity, and hot water. We have friends and family who offered us their homes for warmth. My parents gave us all of their space heaters (they actually own four).

We are also thankful for the things we did to stay warm while our house was cold.

We took hot showers, drank extra hot beverages, cuddled together in big piles of blankets, wore warm sweatshirts, and sat next to space heaters. The dogs sat on our feet, and we piled them with blankets too. The cat cuddled more than usual, and kept us warmer at night.

We are thankful that the time of cold is past us, and went past us easily.

My husband found two furnace companies who gave us two different bids, and he did research on the net, and after five days two wonderful furnace guys came to our house and replaced our furnace for a decent price. We are thankful that we can afford to replace our furnace in a time when our country's economy is troubled.

There are people in our country and people all over the world that experience far worse situations than the inconvenience of a broken furnace.

Our heat is back on, and we are so thankful for the steadiness of our furnace's warmth. But we are also thankful for the lessons learned and re-learned in the cold.

We need to give thanks even when the furnace breaks.

We need to look beyond our lives to the lives of others, and see what we can do to warm their lives with the blessings that we have been given to share.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." Philippians 4:4-8

Have you learned anything about thankfulness lately?

Have any unexpected blessings to share?

Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNoWriMo on Pointe and Random Awesomeness

While my daughters earned their first blisters from going on pointe at the ballet barre,
I wrote 1,431 words in the midst of distractions.

All three of us persevered in pursuit of our dreams.

I love writing.
They both love dance.
We are all willing to work hard for our dreams.

When I asked them if dance was really worth the blisters, they said yes. (Trust me, as a parent, I've asked them many times if they truly want to pursue something so painful, and they keep saying yes)

When I ask myself if the craziness of NaNoWriMo is worth it, I know my answer is yes.

Thankfully, my daughters have amazing dance instructors, and fellow dancers who know the strength and stamina it takes. They encourage one another.

Thankfully, writers like us have fellow writers who know the stamina and mental strength it takes to succeed at NaNoWriMo, and we can encourage one another.

Check out Sommer Leigh's awesome NaNoWriMo Support Group for a list of awesome NaNoWriMo supporters!

And since I'm mentioning awesomeness, I think it's time for more:

Catch Fire with Alex J. Cavanaugh’s release party for Cassafire on February 28th Catch Fire

Spread the Word, Arlee Bird has the A to Z Challenge Blogfest site up and running here A To Z 2012

Do you have any awesomeness to share?

Are you involved with NaNo this year?

Are you willing to get blisters for your dreams?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Liebster Award and NaNo update

Many thanks to Cassie Mae at Reading, Writing, and Loving It for giving me the Liebster Award!

So, in accepting the Liebster Blog Award, the recipient agrees to:
- Thank the person that gave the award and link back to their blog
- Copy and paste the award to your blog
- Reveal the 5 blogs you have chosen to award and let them know by commenting on their blog
- Hope they pay it forward by accepting and awarding it to bloggers they would like to honor

This award is for anyone with under 200 followers. :)

Picking 5 blogs is tough with so many awesome blogs to choose from, but here are the five I chose:

Kate Coursey of Weaving Colors is an aspiring author, who works as an editor with Teen Eyes, which she co-owns and operates with another young, aspiring author. Check out her blog for tips on writing YA, and writing tips in general.

Pocketful of Playdough by Brianna is a brilliantly written blog with posts that transport me to coffee shops and football games, and always in the midst of them, give some helpful writing advice. Brianna's post on NaNo filled my nose with the scent of hot cocoa. Check it out here

Charissa Weaks blogs about the journey to publication at A Day In The Life of An Aspiring Author with honest posts, humorous posts, and interviews.

Katie Mitchell's blog I Write, Therefore I am is a poetry place that I love, and when her posts aren't poetry, they remind me of Winnie-The-Pooh's Thoughtful Spot, where I can rest and have a place to think.

2 Encourage by Pam, is an awesome place to find encouragement and devotions based on real, every day life events and places.

So, check those blogs out, and follow them. They deserve your support and love, and big hugs!!!

As far as NaNo goes . . . I had one awesome day, one day that thickened the plot, and now, I have spent too much time in blogland and will have to write in the evening to up my word count . . . which is dangerous for me. My brain shuts off at 8p.m. . . . unless I drink enough caffeine to keep me up all night.
But wait, I just remembered, I can type while my daughters dance tonight . . . I'll just find a corner in the dance studio, post a sign on my chair that says "Beware: NaNoWriMo Mad Writer" and type furiously.
I'm at 4700 word so far, and have a long ways to go . . .

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Insecure Writers' Support Group: Just Keep Swimming

In the midst of NaNoWriMo, typing like I've never typed before (see the keys smoking?), I have just two pieces of advice for insecure writers everywhere (including myself):

Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing . . .


"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Hebrews 10:24

NaNoWriMo 1

Day 1 of NaNoWriMo . . . . 1,803 words so far, and may have a chance to write more later today!!! Would love to get ahead.

Anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo?