Quotable Quotes

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”
~ E.L. Doctorow

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

- Oscar Wilde

Month of November

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

Tried it last year. Got to 3500 words and stopped. Don't really know why. It might have been pregnancy, or the moving cross-country thing, or maybe I just didn't care much about it at that point.

Sorry. I should probably explain why I am rambling on about something that happened this time last year.

National Novel Writing Month in November. Say that three times fast..


I know what you're thinking. "You just DID a novel writing weekend. Are you insane?"

Either that or, "A novel in a month should be a breeze for someone who just clocked 27,000 words in three days. Right?"

Yes and no...respectively.

I am insane. That has already been proven. One of my favorite quotes is from E.L. Doctorow. He says that,

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.

I am a writer; therefore, I am schizophrenic. See? Easy. I listen to voices in my head all the time. Sometimes they tell me to kill people...sometimes they tell me to maim and seriously disable someone...sometimes they tell me that I need to seriously get a life...

Sometimes they tell me to change the world.

It's a good thing the voices only allow this stuff on paper isn't it? Okay, minus the changing the world thing...

So I am competing in another contest and since the question about my sanity has been answered, I will address your other concern.

I had a weekend of no kids, no (okay very little) husband, no meal making, cleaning, laundry, yard work, or other distractions of any kind...

This contest is all about writing when life is still going on all around you. Making the words flow when babies are crying, husbands are bellowing for dinner, and that leaning tower of laundry in your room is about to perform a successful coup of your supposed bedroom sanctuary.

I am not doing a fundraiser this year. My body, brain, and life are too massively uncoordinated right now. I blame my smalls and my husband...mostly. :0)

I am writing 50,000+ words in November - starting at 12:01am on the 1st and ending at 11:59pm on the 30th. No prize money is being doled out, but a whole heck of a lot of satisfaction at my accomplishment will be felt.

So if you all want to support me in this endeavor, send me flowers, chocolate, HUGS, chocolate, did I say flowers, offers of babysitting (always welcome, though payment would be in the form of a meal or three...), a bottle of champagne to celebrate, PRAYER (mandatory if nothing else is), and did I say chocolate and flowers? Oh, oh. And hugs...

I will be updating sporadically whether by video or blog (or both) and you will get to see a glimpse into my craziness as a hopeful writer/author!

See you!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 13: Book whose main character is most like you


Labyrinth: A Novel by A.C.H. Smith


I am not ashamed to admit this. This day was kind of a cheat day. I will explain why in a moment.

First, I would like to apologize for not sticking to the "30 Day" plan like I promised. It's been a rough few weeks and anyone who's a mom of sick kids can totally understand when I say that sleepless nights does not begin to cover it...

Anyhow. So I cheated just a bit. This was not originally a book at all. It was a movie. The Labyrinth with David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. Jim Henson's genius and Brian Froud's imagination created a cult classic; which in turn, spawned a book that is completely unlike the movie in many ways.

The one thing they both share in common?

A heroine named Sarah whose stormy teenage years, fraught with drama and imaginary worlds, created an escapist/victimized adolescent who needed for once to be the heroine in her story.

Read the book; watch the movie.

Sarah Williams was me fifteen years ago. Not Kidding.

I had the imagination, creativity, and drama to fit the bill. I could have BEEN Sarah Williams in a past life (not too distant past though since we are nearly contemporaries.)

The only difference between her and I? (okay aside from the fact that my parents are still happily married and the siblings I wished away weren't half-siblings)

She actually had a real life Goblin King to come sweep her off her feet - AND play the villain in her story all at the same time.

My "Goblin King"/Knight in shining armor, didn't exist except within my own mind.

I have read the book and seen the movie. I LOVE both. Even David Bowie...only guy I know who can actually look somewhat attractive in a mullet and makeup.

But you did NOT hear that from me...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

On celebrating life...

My daughter turned three years old today. At 1:56am this morning, she was born. You know I can't remember much about what kind of a day it was. I couldn't tell you if it was sunny or cold and cloudy. But I remember - in a hazy sort of way - everything about her amazing birth. Wow! That's all I have to say.

Bella - my beautifully and wonderfully handmade by God princess - made me a mommy. Her entry into my life has been rewarding. Often painful, sometimes sorrowful, and 100% JOYFUL! She's light and energy and full of life. Made in the image of God and a wonderful gift that I am so thankful for.

We celebrated with many family and friends today. She wore her fairy princess costume that her Oma made for her. She flitted about with excitement as she passed out party favors to the guests and eagerly enjoyed opening her own gifts. It was harvest themed so pulled pork sandwiches, roasted autumn veggies, and pumpkin cake were on the menu. YUMMY!

It's challenging raising children. Many readers can probably attest to that. Not only are their physical, emotional, and mental needs a high priority, but we parents have the heart of our children in our hands. Their souls are given to us on loan so that we can raise them and train them up in the way of the Lord. Such a short period of time to get it right - and so often we fail magnificently.

Yet the joy and satisfaction we get when they realize an important truth for the first time or they finally make that right choice when they've fought it through repeated attempts at training. I do NOT want to break my children's spirits. EVER.

I do want to see that they have the best chance at standing firm in their faith and convictions in a world that is bent on destroying everything innocent and good about them. Bella is my first child - she is not and will not be my last. And I so want to get it right.

I also want her to know that I make mistakes - I screw up royally. But I am just as much - if not more - in need of a Savior than she is. That she doesn't have to fear me as a judging, vindictive monster only out for my own agenda. I want her to know unconditional love, consistency, and joy! Pure joy...

She makes me proud - and even when she chooses to make wrong choices, I love her dearly and revel in seeing her choose to step back onto the right path. :-)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

On Creativity and Taking Life as it Comes

"The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own,” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”

~ C.S. Lewis ~

My life lately seems to have taken an exhaustingly fast pace, and I keep feeling like I am missing out on a whole heck of a lot. Mainly because I cannot seem to breathe (or sleep for that matter) in between all the "interruptions."

I got ticked off at Jake last night. Poor guy's doing everything he can to provide for his family and get us out of debt and I have to haul him over the coals when he gets home from a late nighter at work.

You know, a part of me says to hell with him. (And yes, I am being completely honest. These words do slip into my mental vocabulary a lot more than they should. Forgive me for the lack of Christ-centeredness, but hear me out.) I want to throw in the towel and rant and rave. My "job" doesn't stop at five or six when he gets home. I don't have the luxury of turning off my "momma" career when I am too stressed or worn out by it.

I have lousy hours, very little time for myself, no sleep (I'm talking "quality"), very little appreciation, and I don't get bloody paid for it either.

So Jake comes home and tells me that our (apparently only my) weekend plans are shot to pieces because he volunteered to work a full 8 hour day on Saturday (that would be today). Garden is still not winterized, garage not swept, meal not planned for Bella's birthday party next weekend, house not cleaned, MOPS stuff not finished for Thursday, and laundry far from over.

To be fair, I did get bread made, my writing assignment finished, and applesauce cooked up, though I have another quarter bushel of apples left to finish. I cannot help but realize the glass is still three-quarters full of all the other things I had wanted to do this weekend, but really needed Jake's help to do it.

Actually, I really should be napping right now. I'm beyond tired and my body is protesting every action I take to stay awake. I am fearful of another bout with the cold or flu because my immune system is taking a continous beating. Unfortunately one of my two little angels has decided she doesn't need naps anymore. So I tossed her into her room for at least forty-five minutes so I could shut my eyes. It's difficult to accomplish a nap though, when I have fifty-million other things that need doing.

On the downside, I've pretty much already mentioned it all. It sucks sometimes, especially when dear hubby's been snoring away all night long, gets up and goes to work, and leaves exhausted me at home with two energetic and dependent children...then he comes home and falls a sleep in his meal and I'm left to wonder why my head won't shut up when my eyes are trying to close at eleven o'clock at night.

On the upside? Well, on the really good days that means a cup of hot tea (or coffee) and a book that I am either reading or writing while the kids (finally) take a good, simultaneous, two-hour nap. It means dear hubby comes home, takes one look at the sparkling house, hustles the kids off to bed, and gives me some "special" attention as a reward for all my hard labor. It means I've got someone (three someones) else to fight for and live for and dream for while I enjoy the laughter, tears, and craziness that life throws our way.

So here I go trying one more creative way to keep awake while popping multivitamins and vitamin C to boost the immunity. It's about time for that cup of tea and...oh look at that. A pleasantly clean mound of laundry about a mile high that needs folding.

Looks like the nap is a no-go again today. Maybe tomorrow...if it's a really good day! :-)

Day 12: Book that is most like your life

Okay, so I am not doing such a good job at posting once a day. Believe me, I would save for the utter lack of sleep, mounds of neglected housework due to said utter lack of sleep, and two children who still need me a lot despite said utter lack of sleep and mounds of neglected housework.

Being a mother of two, I am quickly realizing that making promises regarding anything at this time in my life is rather useless and disappointing.

So...book that is most like my life.


Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey

There are Christians in the world who seem to have it all together and get through the craziness of life with serenity, patience, and long-suffering.

That would definitely not describe my faith walk.

Pits and valleys, interspersed with crazy-good mountain-top experiences. But the mountain tops always come after a whole lot of pain, disappointment, and doubt. I do not doubt my choice to have a personal relationship with God.

Like Job however, I DO doubt and question all the different aspects of that relationship. Especially when it sometimes seems as if God loves just being quiet and detached from said relationship. There is too much pain and suffering and despair in this world for me to NOT doubt and question.

There is also too much pain, suffering, and despair for me NOT to cling desperately to God regardless of my feelings in the moments of darkness.

I make no illusions that I am strong, steady, and firmly set on the rock of faith. More often than not I feel the weight of shifting sand as it pulls at my feet. I struggle against it and by God's grace alone, I prevail.

It does not make me any less doubtful when the quick sand continues to pull. I just know that God has his hand on the other end of my rope. And He refuses to let go of me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 11: Book from your favorite author

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

Lewis was married for a brief time to a divorcee named Joy Gresham. They spent four very happy years together, always overshadowed by Joy's terminal illness until she passed away in 1960. C.S. Lewis, so moved by the precious mortality of life, penned his doubts, fears, and overwhelming grief in a private collection of notebooks found around his home. Later on his step-son would ask him to publish those thoughts and ponderings.

Madeleine L'Engle wrote in her introduction to a newer edition: "I am grateful to Lewis for having the courage to yell, to doubt, to kick at God in angry violence. This is a part of a healthy grief which is not often encouraged. It is helpful indeed that C. S. Lewis, who has been such a successful apologist for Christianity, should have the courage to admit doubt about what he has so superbly proclaimed. It gives us permission to admit our own doubts, our own angers and anguishes, and to know that they are part of the soul's growth."

I have read so very many of his works and wish to read many more before I am finished. However, none of the works I've read by the Christian apologist and very intelligent man ever comes close to reminding me just how human C.S. Lewis really was. His work Mere Christianity alone was enough to intimidate me a bit. I loved it, but I wondered if Lewis EVER doubted anything about the Christian life. His words were so complex and yet so simple,  I thought surely he had never questioned his faith at all.

While I never would have wished him the grief he suffered in the death of his young wife, I definitely am glad that I could see the heart of this great man of faith and know that even he had his Job moments.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 10: Book that changed your life

Created to be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl

There are several books that have changed my life and one I even wanted to put here over Created. However, the other book has a different place in this list.

So I read this kind of against my will.

I hate the word "helpmeet" with a passion. Ask anyone who knew me growing up. The word "helpmeet" would conjure up horrifying images of a door mat, a meek and mild pushover of a wife with no say in anything related to her marriage and a timidity that would rival a mouse.

Yeah. So not me. Ask Jake, my amazing and surprisingly tolerant husband, and he will tell you that I am anything but timid or compliant.

If I don't have the last word in an argument I choose deadly silence instead. Anything to make sure he knows my displeasure. Respect is a virtue I struggle to attain when it comes to Jake. He deserves my respect; I just don't want to give it to him.

I read this and despised the woman who wrote it. I wanted to burn it a few times a long the way. Notice though. She uses the words "help meet" and not just the one word. Believe me. That makes ALL the difference for me.

See, Debi Pearl was (and is) by no means a pushover. She is married to a commanding often arrogant man who did not always deserve her respect and submission as a wife. She struggled for years to find answers like "How do I love a man who does not seem to care at all about MY needs" or "Why should I care about my husband's needs when he won't even take out the blasted trash?"

The other side of the coin? I LOVED this book. Debi takes the Scriptures and prayerfully (and lovingly) lays out the biblical model of a Christian wife. And that kind of wife is NO pushover.

What she is, is a strong, confident woman whose fulfillment comes from the Lord and whose unconditional love for her husband (with all his faults and failings) can lead her man to Christ without ONE word. By her example, she can show others just what it means to be the bride of Christ.

So powerful, so amazingly simple, and soul surgery inducing.

WARNING: Do NOT read if you have no desire to be a Christ-centered wife in a loving, beautiful, HEAVENLY marriage. :-)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 9: Book that makes you sick

The Inheritance Cycle


Okay. No offense to Christopher Paolini or Stephenie Meyers. I actually liked these books on first glance. But it was a toss-up as to which series made me more "sick" and I will explain before a million Eragon/Twilight fans start sending me death threats.

I excelled in spelling/grammar/anything to do with the English language in high school and college. Granted, it's been several years since I have actively taken part in a continuing education course on any of these subjects. As a writer/reader however, I must indeed reflect on the travesty that both of these book series have become in my point of view.

I feel bad for both authors because their editors botched it - badly. The grammar and structure of their stories are atrocious. While it may not (and did not) deter a first read through, I have read and re-read these books over and over again in order to pick out just what they did wrong.

That being said, I am focusing on the Inheritance Cycle because there is more at stake here than the poor grammar usage.

Has ANYONE else caught the not-so-subtle references to the Lord of the Rings?


I cannot be the only one.




The whole relationship between Aragorn...I'm sorry...Eragon and Arwen...oops...Arya?

Granted there are subtle differences. I just cannot shake the feeling that I am reading a badly rewritten Lord of the Rings trilogy whenever I pick up the books.

I was home schooled. So I find it insulting that a home schooled boy would try to skive off a classic (and epic) tale to rework it into his own fantasy series. Now, I am certain he did not do it intentionally; he's a creative mind influenced by the works of others.

I just don't appreciate his work like I did the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien was epic.

Paolini? I have a feeling he was/is a Larper.

Just a guess.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 8: Book that scares you

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

No other book has scared me quite so much and I am not talking in a "horror-close-close-my-eyes-at-each-scene" kind of a scared.

I am talking about a - Brown writes exceptionally well and he's bound to convince a good number of people that this story and the beliefs behind it are all true - kind of afraid.

I loved and hated this book more than any other book I've read so far in my life (well, we aren't counting the Bible...)

He weaves a tale of conspiracy and cult and murder and lies and subtle truth that scares me silly. I know it's a novel. I am intelligent enough to figure that out even without his disclaimer at the beginning of the book.

But there is just enough truth amidst all the "mythology" that could make for a very believable true story.


Of course, watching the movie, I completely realized just how absurd the whole thing was... ;-)

Day 7: Book that you can quote/recite

Pride and Prejudice

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?

Good opinion once lost, is lost forever.

Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing after all.

Can it get ANY better than that? Pride and Prejudice helped me figure out life and relationships and all the intricacies of conflict between man and woman. ;-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 6: Favorite young adult book


The Hunger Games Trilogy

So yeah. It's a series again; but in my defense, you cannot have one without the other two.

Dystopian society, government that is not as benevolent as they would like you to believe, gladiator style games to commemorate a "failed" rebellion so many years ago no one even remembers the truth, love triangle that doesn't completely overwhelm the story itself, and a kick-ass heroine who struggles with her forceful introduction to the position of revolutionary icon.

Yeah. This is a GREAT story.

I will also say - without giving away any of it, because I really want my readers to read the story for themselves - that I have never met a protagonist so unlikable and yet so incredibly appealing to me. Katniss Everdeen, on first glance, is hard, cold, and completely emotionally detached from the world around her. But read between the lines (she narrates the entire story) and you find a character who resonates with every wound you've ever borne in life. She truly is the epitome of sacrificial...okay, not counting Jesus of course. I am talking about the completely human version. She is self-deprecating and often annoyingly cynical/apathetic/morbid. Yet she still manages to draw you into what's really at stake and how incredibly strong she is as a woman, a warrior, and a heroine.



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

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 5: Book you wish you could live in



The World of Harry Potter by JK Rowling

I wanted to be a good girl and say The Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia. Heck, I could have chosen any one of CS Lewis' worlds or George McDonald. It might even have been understandable for a conservative girl to choose the childlike world of L Frank Baum.

But who am I kidding. This was the first thought that popped into my mind and I am striving for honesty here.

No other fantasy world has ever grabbed my attention quite so strongly as the world of Harry Potter. I would have loved to be in Hermione's shoes or even the female version of Harry. I'd take Ginny Weasley if it came down to it. After all, she gets to kiss our remarkable hero and I have rooted for her from the beginning. :)

Such a magical, fantastical world can only be dreamed about and dream I did. Every step of Harry's journey was riveting and beautiful; I was drawn into the battle between good and evil from the beginning. This story will always be one I could revisit over and over and over again. Each time I do, I learn something completely new to draw me in a little more.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day 4: Book that makes you cry

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

There are MANY books that have brought tears to my eyes and many more that reduce me to fits of weeping so that I cannot even read the words on the page.
This is one of the second group.
It's a thesis...an up close and personal analysis of the journey to life's final adventure - death. It the final class for Morrie and the first of a new set of life lessons for Mitch Albom as he listens to his college professor's last words of wisdom.
It's poignant, moving, and heart-wrenching. It's about love and life and all the things that get in the way of those greatest lessons we can ever learn.
Watch out, those of you who dare crack open the pages of this brief, but powerful read. You'll need a Kleenex box - or TWO - handy. :)