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

Thursday, November 29, 2012

In which I celebrate a win and cry over my checkbook...

I did not do a lot of things this month that I had planned. (See: Life is what happens while I'm busy making plans) However, I did accomplish two amazing things - not counting the fact that I and the kids managed to not kill each other this month. That's a huge win... :)

Anyway, the first WIN was my National Novel Writing Challenge. I actually WON! :) It was not really a for sure thing until I got to the 28th. Then, with the AMAZING help of a good friend and writing buddy, I managed to crank out the last of my words. The Novel(s) aren't quite done (See: Last time I EVER try to write five novels in one month) but I've gotten a rhythm going. I think it might stick. (See: Cosmic Joke/Murphy's Law)

The second WIN was the balancing of my checkbook - well, OUR checkbook as it's the hubby who brings in the funds and me who ends up making sure I know where it all went that month.

I have a confession to make. This is the first time in my life that the checkbook has balanced out TO THE PENNY...

In the past, I've always missed SOMETHING and spent a whole lot of frustrating time trying to find the mistakes. Most of the time, I just said, 'Screw it' and quit balancing it.

Now, I think I've FINALLY gotten the hang of it. (See: Bloody, hellish math was never my strong suit) Don't laugh. I can add and subtract. I just can't stand the fact that it's actually a necessity in life. Most of the time, I love things that don't seem to make much sense. (See: Dear Husband)

For now, I'm enjoying my WINS and thanking God that I have a whole year to prepare for another NaNo challenge...I'm also having it out with Him that in order to steward HIS finances, I have to balance a checkbook every month...(See: weekly if I actually want it done right)

Whoever said life was fair, never balanced a checkbook...

Why did I choose to be the nerd in the family again?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

In which I realize there's a lesson we are still learning...

I'm thankful for my family. :)

I'm thankful for the friends and support structure we have around us. We may have roots here in the Midwest, but the people in our lives give us wings as well.

Without going into exhaustive detail, my husband and I have been struggling (See: wrestling) with a decision. As we seem to do when life-changing decisions happen in our family, we pray (See: desperation, need, dependence on God), we sometimes fast, and we ask for wise counsel.

We also test God. (See: Malachi) Our whole desire as a couple, as individuals, as parents...is to do God's Will. We don't always do it right and we are far from perfect. However, we want so desperately to stick to His plan. So we call on His promises and we surrender our Tithe (the firstfruits of everything we have...not just money).

Then we wait and see how He provides - answers, abundance, life.

So this decision. We put up the test. Called on His promises...

And he decided to teach us something (See: Reteach, because we are kind of sort of stubborn and thick-headed)

Without going into exhaustive detail, the lesson that keeps coming back to us is this: That WE may plan our way. But the Lord God directs our footsteps. (See: Proverbs 16:9)

I haven't learned yet to Never say Never...

I get why God asks us not to make promises, but just yes and no. Because the promises often come back to bite me in the rear. Yes and No seem to be a bit more flexible for some reason. It leaves us open to God's Will as we are not held to obligations or guilt from broken promises.

It's an interesting idea this planning of our way. I love dreaming up the future and thinking over the big picture. It's just not always smart to keep those as expectations, not just dreams. Disappointment comes when I cling too tightly to my dreams.

All that to say, I think we are the semi-proud owners of a cat...

More details on THAT situation later... :-D

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In which I reflect on the state of the union...

I'm going to go on record and say that if you are not married or you are under the age of eighteen, I would strongly advise not reading past this point. This contains adult material and is not age appropriate for children, though I don't belive there is anything morally wrong with what I say here.

I am a normal, healthy girl with a bit of an above average, highly enjoyable sex life. And that is all I will ever expound upon regarding personal intimacy with my husband. However, for the purposes of this blog post, I wanted to make it clear that I have experience in this topic - not as one who spends her time in erotic novels wishing for ideas to spice up her marriage bed, but as one who realizes that all the erotic fiction in the world isn't going to do squat for me or my husband. In fact, it just may end up damaging our relationship when expectations and objectionable values drive a wedge between spouses who vowed before God to love, honor, and cherish one another for as long as we both live.

I'm sorry. Comparing one's spouse to a sadistic, abusive, controlling, psychopathic freak to "spice" up one's bedroom life is not my idea of a healthy romance.

I will halt my commentary by prefacing something. I have not actually read the 50 Shades trilogy save for the opening chapter of each book. (honestly, even if the sexual aspect of the books hadn't been such a strong turn-off, the poor grammar and context would have had me burning the atrocities) I have read commentaries, news articles, and heard secondhand reports from the readers of "mommy-porn" as to its general storyline. I have perused both the secular and Christian insights into this novelty (yes, pun intended) and have formed my conclusions based on that.

One other preface. I have read both Christian and secular novels with tasteful love scenes. I have nothing against the implications of sex in a fictional work because it is just that - fictional. However, I do take high offense to an author who's made millions on trashy, raunchy porn all because our society clamors for immature, poorly written material to fulfill their sexual fantasies.

It's no better than the pornographic websites we in the Christian world speak out against, and yet many God-honoring people justify it. Why?

An article I recently read is what set me off today. Author of 50 Shades of Grey, E.L. James stated that her novels were meant to be a holiday for ladies from their husbands. In the same article, a woman filed for divorce because her husband refused to pretend to be the novel's main character - Christian Grey. Apparently, her marital bed wasn't spicy or satisfying enough and her fantasies had dissolved into lust for a fictional character whose main goal in life was controlling every last move and thought of his naive and petty girlfriend/wife.


The husband in the newstory was actually hoping to expedite the divorce process for a variety of reasons. I will never condone divorce as an option, but in the husband's case, I almost wish him godspeed in getting out of THAT unhealthy, damaging relationship.

A HOLIDAY FROM ONE'S HUSBAND? Are you kidding me? I have choice words running through my head and none of them are pleasant or "Christ-like". Instead I will say this...

Sorry E.L. James. I don't need a holiday from my husband. Especially to fantasize about an abusive, controlling psychopath in a crappy work of fiction based on another ALMOST equally crappy work of fiction.

My husband is worth a THOUSAND of your stupid, immature fantasies. I will take one night with him over hundreds with the supposed dream guy in your novels. Nothing about that man you wrote is a dream - I'd call it a nightmare of hellish proportions.

I've also seen several commentaries on what the authors called "true BDSM" as opposed to the fudged version in Jame's work. I won't judge another's lifestyle, but I will say this.

My husband was my first and only partner. I have no need of the kinky and pain-filled fetishes and practices of that particular brand of sex to satisfy either of us. We don't need to watch porn or read erotica or participate in bondage and domination to find a spicy, satisfying intimate relationship. And I can tell you 100% that the relationship we have is healthy and pure. We are open and honest with one another, we love each other as unconditionally as two humans can, and our family life proves it.

Are we perfect? No. Are we always lovey-dovey and romantic? Not at all.

But I can tell you that we honor God when we come together and we serve one another before meeting our own needs.

This trend towards fantasy, fiction, and play-acting disturbs me. Mainly because if you can't find satisfaction with your lover alone, if you cannot be content with one another and give to one another without the assistance of a fantasy world - and a dark, disturbing one at that - what else are you unsatisfied with in life? What else drives your discontent and leads you to seek out alternate means of happiness or fulfillment?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

In which I reflect on a thousand words...

My dear daughter has spunk, attitude, and humor. Some would call her contrary (including me when the mood fits) and others would call her a free spirit.

My son is fearless, (except when he turns the vacuum cleaner on and freaks himself out - gets himself EVERY time...) fresh, and flirtatious. Some would call him stubborn (including me when I've had enough) and others call him determined.

I love them. And I love capturing their personalities on camera! So much is forgotten or missed when I don't. All the cute captions and smiles.

They tell stories with their whole heart.

And they both have BIG hearts. :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

In which I change up the routine just a bit...

All right. I have to wonder how many of my 'readers' are actually human beings and not cyberdroids pinging this site whenever key words pop up on their radars.

So I'm going to ask a question to see if I'm just flapping my jaws in the wind - or whatever that phrase is - or if my readers actually care what I write about.

Question: Are you human?

I feel like one of those weird scientist people asking if there's life on Mars and if so, is it humanoid or some other unknown?

In other news, I'm gearing up for NaNoWriMo2012 and if you're a writer and you don't get your hands dirty with this challenge, you ain't worth your salt. :)

No, I'm kidding. I did read on another blog post just yesterday by an editor acquaintance of mine - Jamie Chavez - that some published authors are a bit snobbish when it comes to NaNo. Apparently, it's not worth the time of day or it's an insult to all the hard work they do to think that just ANYONE can write 50,000 words in a month.

I'd say I was insulted, but as an unpublished writer, it just made me laugh really hard. Why on earth would I care what a published author thought about my taking up a writing challenge? To me, it's a great excuse for family members when I ask for more childcare. Plus, I get to mingle with other writers and budding writers on their path to self-fulfillment (See: publication, bucket list completion, general socialization with intelligent life after being stuck in the house with babbling toddlers all day long)


Yeah, that last one is me...so is the first example.

Anyway, I'm doing a half-rebel, half-NaNoer thing this November. I will be working on a new manuscript, but I'm also in the process of completely revamping my fairy tale. I'll hopefully be adding updates and insights into my experiences this month. If not daily then weekly at the least. (because I am human and have other obligations)

I'm going to be participating in some write-ins (See: a bunch of adults and teens/preadolescents getting together to stare at their respective computer screens/notebooks and attempt to create word art.), brainstorming with my long-suffering husband, and looking for childcare in exchange for good homecooking (See: blog post about budgeting/debt free challenge)

Along the way, I'll be looking for support in the form of love, prayers, money (See: start-up costs to publishing), and a lot of laughter. This should be great fun and a whole new adventure. I'd love it if I had company along the way (See: as long as you don't expect me to actually be social while my nose is stuck in my computer)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

In which I discover that being a parenting pantser is an epic fail...

My daughter's preschool teacher just informed me that DD is rather contrary. As in, she likes to take the position of Devil's Advocate in most of the daily activities.

She's four years old.

In no way am I being disrespectful when I say that she is her father's daughter. Exasperated, yes. Disrespectful, no. I try to laugh when I discover the arguments between my DH and I are all because he decided he wanted to shake things up by taking the opposing side. Even though he agreed that I was right...


So I can call my little darling a free thinker, or I can get panicked that she's got a stubborn streak a mile wide and it's mostly my fault.

For one, I've got the same stubborn streak - and it sucks.

Two, I have discovered recently that I've been parenting the same way I do pretty much everything else in life.

By the seat of my pants.

The funny thing is, pantsing parenthood just doesn't seem to work all that well. I mean, who'd have thought that quick reactions, too much flexibilty, and a lack of consistency in routine and disciplien would have such a hugely detrimental effect on a child?

Thing is, we started out pretty good. I remember, I didn't lose my temper with DD in the first two years of her life. Not once. I was calm, cool, collected, and I even did the consistency thing.

Then we stopped moving around the country and settled down in a small midwestern town. I'm amused at the irony of that statement. The instant we get into a stable environment, my carefully planned parenting goes OUT the window.

Of course, it might have had something to do with the arrival of the second child. He did manage to shake our world up a bit.

I'm a writer. I don't really follow a schedule, outlines screw me up (unless I outline after the manuscript is written), every day my writing looks a little different. I'm not one to follow the norm, and I love being flexible with my time and resources. (Hence the getting out of debt so we CAN be more flexible with resources)...

The point is, I'm a pantser. I like not having a plan. Sure, a to-do list once in a while is okay and I don't mind having a vague schedule - especially if there are non-negotiables in the calendar. However, most of these issues are - strangely enough - negotiable, and more like guidelines anyway.

I injured myself recently and don't like the limitations that puts on me. However, I much prefer socializing, writing, playing, and reading to cleaning, appointments, and structure.

I agree, I can take it to the extreme of laziness. For the most part, however, it's just the way I thrive the most. Lost in a sort of offbeat rhythm, each day a different song to sing and dance to. I'm okay with the unknown and I love the excitement of spontaneity.

Parenting, therefore, is a huge weak spot for me. I'm not ashamed to admit it, but it does land like a cold dose of reality in my gut. I wanted to be a mom my whole life, and I don't think I'm doing that good a job at it. In part because of the epic failure of pantsing it and in part because I just didn't have realistic expectations of what my mommyhood was going to look like.

I'm Sarah, and I'm a pantser parent.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

In which I lament the forced laziness and wonder why I'm lamenting...

As a person whose natural tendencies sway toward laziness, you'd think a two week hiatus from heavy lifting, exertion, and work would sound like heaven.
Note to self: When the desire to be lazy gets overwhelming, remember not to injure myself in such a debilitating way. It's NOT WORTH IT...
I fell in the beginning of October. Some of my readers may already know the story, but I will not be sharing the embarrassing details on this blog. I'm just not that masochistic. The only thing you need to know about this story is that I fell. The resulting impact left me with a bruised and swollen left arm and a bruised and swollen right knee. And some major skin wounds that bled more when the scabs rubbed off on my clothing than the initial period of wounding.
Now they just itch like crazy.
But my arm and leg both still hurt - a LOT.
I'm okay with pain. I just did Tough Mudder last month, I've birthed two almost nine pound babies without the help of drugs, and I was in the ROTC for a short stint in college. I'm not a victim when it comes to pain and I usually don't let it slow me down.
Except of course when it gives me no other choice because it's screaming that its presence is necessary to remind me of the healing process taking place in some important joints and muscles.
Who'd a thunk it?
The first few days I thought, cool! Now DH can't complain that nothing is getting done around the house, because I have a darn good excuse.
Day four rolled around and I was starting to miss sleep. My arm and leg still hurt like crazy and do you know how difficult it is to chase a two year old around when you're crippled? I don't recommend it.
Day seven rolled by and I wanted to tear my hair out with the pain, insomnia, children who take advantage of their poor, injured mother's limitations, and a husband who left thinly veiled rebukes about the dirtiness of the house. Even though he said he understood.
It's day eleven. And I want to go into my garden and rip up all the old vines and plants by their roots...with BOTH hands.
In the realm of human limitations, I can't.
I have never felt so lazy, nor have I felt so powerless and incompetent than I have for the last eleven days...
Did I mention my kids have been sick throughout this whole ordeal? And my DH is working a lot of overtime.
God, if you keep me from EVER harming myself like that again, I promise I will never be lazy or use laziness as an excuse for why my house is not clean.
And I will clean my house on a regular basis too...just to sweeten the deal.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Love Letter to My Husband...

How do I love you? Let me count the ways...
I love that even though you work 50-70 hours a week, you still come home in the evening and play with our kids - who have been missing you like crazy all day long and loudly proclaim it.
I love that you unload AND load the dishwasher when I ask you out of desperation as I'm frantically trying to finish dinner in time for us to eat BEFORE the kids have to go to bed.
I love that you don't say a word when your work pants haven't been washed for two weeks and you still manage to wear them two or three times before I get to the lingering piles of laundry - that you trip over when you come home late from work.
I love that you have been patient with my mood swings, hormonal changes, and depressive phases - and you still want to have more babies with me even knowing what pregnancy does to said hormones and mood swings.
I love that you experiment with making food - and you don't give up until you actually make me something that's edible.
I love that you decided to shave your face until we got out of debt - even though you know I like you better with the facial hair.
I love that you are okay with me staying home and writing instead of using the degree I got into debt to get - so that some day in the future, I might actually bring in an income from the career of my dreams. Even though said debt is being paid off by your 50-70 hours a week.
I love that you said amen at the end of your speech at our wedding. Regardless of how much it made me laugh, it was SO apropos. So let it be...
I love that you are so desperate to be a good father to your daughter and son that you are willing to bend over backwards for them - even when you are tired and worn out.
I love that you don't care whether the housework is done as long as our kids are taken care of and loved - and my writing gets done...
I love that you read my stories - or force me to read them to you. It's good practice.
I love you for your off the wall humor and your visionary, questing spirit.
I love you.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's Official...

I am now a Tough Mudder. I completed an 11.5 mile course of obstacles - some built for speed, stamina, endurance, and strength. Others were built JUST for the sake of torture and pain. I did it. I accomplished what I once imagined to be an impossible feat - for me - and I conquered my fears. By God's amazing Grace.

Electric wires harnessing 10,000 volts of pure energy just waiting for an unsuspecting fool to waltz through?

Not a problem...in fact, my lower back hasn't experienced any pain or discomfort since. That was almost three weeks ago.

Running straight up a 20 foot tall half pipe that's been drenched in mud and sweat?

Easy. You just keep running and DON'T - under any circumstance - stop.

15 foot drop into a muddy pool of icy water?

After an initial wig out, you just jump and make sure your eyes are closed when you hit the water - which feels like a cold block of marble.

Miles of slogging through dark, smelly mud, some of it up to your waist? Fording a river whose bottom is either not touchable or so slimy you wonder if you're going to get some sort of disease from the muck - so you don't touch it anyway? Jumping into a literal ice bath and actually having to dunk your head under to get past a wooden board? Running uphill in a zigzag fashion as you bake in the sun or shiver in the cool breeze, hoping that you'll lose the five pounds of mud you gained along the way? Choking and hacking through a field of burning hay when your eyes are stinging and your lungs feel like they're being flame-broiled?

Yup. I CAN and DID do that! :)

And I loved every exhausting, exhilarating minute of it.

The only thing I could come close to describing that sensation of accomplishment and triumph was wrapped up in the emotional high I got right after delivering our two beautiful children into the world.

On top of the world. :-)

The best part about this run though?

I contributed to an amazing and rewarding organization dedicated to ministering to Wounded Warriors. Tough Mudder supports fallen soldiers and veterans whose lives have been forever altered by war. Having MANY family members who've served in our military, I can say that this was deeply personal for me. While I may never fight in the frontlines, I wanted this run to be my memorial to the family and friends who HAVE. I actually wrote a poem in honor of my veterans, though for purposes of publication, I cannot publish it on here until after November. I hope to be able to share it with my readers once the rights have reverted back to me!

To my family and friends who've given their all to fight for my freedoms, I honor your sacrifice.

I hope to run again next year! And every year after that for as long as my body allows.

Friday, August 31, 2012

In which the waiting is the hardest part

In exactly 24 minutes I will be taking my place among the 3Day Novelists furiously pounding away on their keyboards, writing in their notebooks, or voicing the story to a computer program. It's a rush, let me tell you!

This is my third year and I am proud of my last two years work. I am hoping to crank out an even better story this year. I have a plan, but as the last two year have proved, plans kind of go to pot at the end of the line.

So I will be on a partial radio silence for all of you readers, family and friends. Don't worry. I still love you. I will just have my mind focused completely on a new tale to spin. Someday, you might even get to read it! :)


Good luck to those of you who are participating with me! We can do this. I'm excited to be a part of such a fun and exciting group. Much love and well-wishes.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

In which I address all of our dear, loved ones in pursuit of vulnerability

Proverbs 6:5

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

This is the theme verse for the Total Money Makeover.

If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else. ~ Dave Ramsey

This is the motto for the Total Money Makeover.


These are our mission statements for the next year. I will explain what I mean and then give an altar call of sorts - or a reverse altar call actually.

When Jake and I got married six years ago, we had debt. It's pretty normal right? Student loans, credit cards, car loans. It's the American Dream right?

Wrong. It's not OUR American Dream anyway.

By all accounts, we are living pretty well. We have a home (with a mortgage of course), two cars, really good degrees with the promise of jobs no matter where we move, and money left over at the end of the month.

And in five of our six years, we were living from month to month. Why? Because we were spending money we didn't have to get things we didn't need. Instead of tackling our debt and using our finances wisely (See: Stewarding God's resources), we did what every normal American couple/individual/family does.

So in our sixth year of marriage, we are stressed out. Not because we can't make ends meet. But because most of our money goes to pay off creditors instead of being used for the things we have long desired to give our money to.

Jake and I want to open our home as a ministry for those in need. We want to mentor other couples in their marriage and family and life issues. We want to take our kids on vacations to see exotic and new locations. We want our kids to go to college debt free. We want a MINIVAN so we can finally take uncramped vacations. We want to go out to eat once in a while. We WANT all these things.

We COULD have them guilt free but for one thing: the overwhelming amount of debt we owe to others. Our money is not ours to spend/save/give - because technically, it belongs to the ones we owe.

Proverbs 22:7, "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave of the lender" (NRSV).

Slaves - according to my estimation - aren't free to do much of anything except work and toil.

Frankly, Jake and I are sick to death of being slaves. We want to be free. And we want to pass down a legacy of freedom to our children and their children and their children and so on...


In the winter of 2010/2011, we took our first Financial Peace University class at our church. And in the first few months after the class, we paid off a HUGE amount of debt in our gazelle intensity. Several miracles occurred along the way to help encourage our enthusiasm. But as spring hit and the novelty wore off, something happened.


We lost the momentum. We lost our place and forgot our ultimate destination.
Until this month actually. August 2012. I finished my third straight zero-based budget and realized something.
We can actually do this. We could potentially be out of debt in one year's time, free from our masters and free to serve Christ alone. It's going to be hard and rice and beans will become a byword in our household.
But we are SICK of being slaves and sick of the cheetah catching us unaware.

So now we are making it public.

We have about $70,000 in debt (not counting our mortgage, which is baby step 6 in Dave Ramsey's plan so we won't worry about it yet) We will be scrimping and saving EVERY last penny until we get rid of our shackles and we need the help of our loved ones to do it.

Which brings me to our reverse altar call ~

We are planning on being a bit like hermits for this coming year. We will not be taking any trips save for the ones that have already been budgeted this month - before the gazelle intensity kicked in. We will not be dining out, we will not be attending theaters, plays, concerts, or anything that costs money purely for entertainment purposes. We will not be traveling to see family and friends (again, save for the couple weekends we already had etched in our budget i.e. my brother-in-law's wedding etc.) We will not be purchasing gifts - homemade ones will be the best we can give including food at this juncture. We will even be giving up our annual Christmas tree (my sacrifice) to save that $40 toward debt. We will be living ultra-frugally (coupons are WELCOME if you have reserves)

This is NOT because we don't like you or are isolating ourselves from the world. In a year's time, you will probably see so much of us that you will be sick of our faces. :-P *just kidding*

A year from now, we are already dreaming up our trip to Tennessee where Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Plaza is to scream out our debt free status on the radio. (Times and dates will be given later so you can listen in)

We want you guys and gals to celebrate with us a year from now, so the celebrations for this year are put on hold in order to get there.

For those of you who like to give us gifts for our birthdays and holidays, we (Jake and I) are requesting nothing unless it's cash toward our debt or a hot meal once in a while. And THAT is not a plea for help. Just a preference.  :-)

If you wish to see us during this intense time, feel free to drop by (let us know in advance so we can add some veggies or homemade ice cream to our rice and beans meal...) :-P

Just know that Jake will more than likely be working late and I will be keeping the home fires burning (and doing whatever odd jobs come my way). I tutor, babysit, walk dogs, garden, edit papers/manuscripts, and clean houses - let me know what you need and we can talk pricing.

Jake and I take great joy in this endeavor of ours and I also weep many tears knowing that our stupidity for the last few years has gotten us here in the first place. But we are not going to continue down that path.

Prayers and your understanding of our goal are the best things you can give at this time. We love you all and we WANT so desperately to be involved in your lives and friendships - but we want to do it without the weight of debt hanging over us.

Feel free to call or write during this time with encouragement, prayers, or questions. We are completely open and will not be offended if you think we're crazy...

(See: Dave Ramsey for further information about our journey)

Thank you for your support and love during this time! We love you all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

3Day Novel Survival Guide (Thanks to Pam L Smith)

The 3Day website has its own writer's survival guide for this coming weekend, but I was tickled pink to be directed to another blogger's website last Monday. I love this and with her permission, I am able to repost it for my own readers! :) Who knows? Maybe some of you are 3Day Novelists.





For The Writer

  1. Make an Outline! Some people can write without one, most will fail. When you are under pressure and you can’t get the words to flow, your outline will save you.  If you don’t have an outline you’ll spend FAR too much time thinking and not enough time writing.  Either your word count or your story will suffer…possibly both. I know this from experience. Further, an outline will give you the freedom to write scenes out of sequence if you get stuck. This can help free up the creative flow.
  2. Do your research BEFORE you start writing: If you have an outline, you should know what research you need to do before you start.  The same thing goes for characters.  Know them and their motivations before you sit down to write.
  3. Get into the writing and stay there! Don’t stop to look up the spelling of a word or to search for a synonym in your thesaurus.  Highlight the word, or underline it, and come back to it after the story is done. Once you are finished, you can back track and fix it. Trust me, every time you leave the story, it will be harder to get your flow back.  Stay with the characters as much as you possibly can.  At the end of the weekend, if all goes well, you won’t remember what happened on twitter, or on-line, or in your house, or with your friends.  You’ll still be immersed in the story.
  4. Shut off the Internet! Set yourself goals of specific periods of time that you will write without stopping. Some set a goal of 5 hours, others as little as 1 hour at a stretch. My magic number is 3 hours.  I set an alarm and write without stopping until it goes off. I then allow myself 30 minutes for a break to eat, pee, check twitter, and do research (if something has come up that I didn’t catch in the outline)
  5. Sleep! Try to get at least 5 hours of sleep each night or you will crash and burn on Day 3.  There may be times where you keep going into the night because the muse is with you and it must be written. That’s fine…go for it!  However, if you stay awake for 72 hours, what you write in the last 24 hours will be ridiculous and incoherent.  Yes, I know this from experience too.
  6. Stop half way through your sentence when you take a break! When you return to your work, it will be easier to get the flow going again. For some reason, a period is like a stop sign to me. If I come back and try to start writing, it’s almost as bad as starting with the first sentence all over again.
  7. Eat! In particular, have quick easy meals that can be cooked in under 10 minutes.  My favorites were of the frozen bagged meals in minutes kind. Easy and quick to heat up. That doesn’t mean you have to eat crap.  I had meals like portobello mushroom and asparagus tortellini and they were both delicious and nutritious.  For snacks, keep some high energy low glycemic snacks close by and eat every 2 hours or so…even if it’s just a small handful of almonds.  Bananas…another great food.  Sweet and full of potassium!
  8. Have a private space to write!  This is critical.  If you are in the living room with your family, there will be too many distractions.  I have an office at home with a door I can close. On Labour Day weekend when I’m writing, they are only allowed to come into that room to bring me food and water. That’s it.  It’s not important where you write…just that you be alone and relatively comfortable when you do it.
  9. Set goals! The 3 Day Novel Contest has a great breakdown of where you should be at the end of each day.  Read it. Then set reasonable goals for yourself.  Set a minimum goal and a maximum goal.  Shoot for the maximum goal but be happy if you can only get to the minimum. Submissions for this contest can run from 12,000 words to 50,000 words.  The average submission is 100 pages or about 25,000 words. Your minimum goal should be close to that…though 20,000 words will get you that 100 pages if you write lots  of dialogue.  I recommend setting your low goal at 8,000 words per day and your high goal at 15,000 words per day based on what was being tweeted during the contest.  This seems to be a reasonable target.  Don’t give up if you miss a target, either keep writing until you hit it or get some sleep and increase your goal for the next day. Set a goal to finish by 6pm on Sunday.  You will want some editing time to go back and fix those highlighted words and re-read for plot holes before midnight if you can.
  10. Do what works for you!  If all else fails, throw all these tips out of the window and just do what works for you.

For Friends and Spouses

  1. Please don’t make plans or invite people over to visit.  Please also divert any well-wishers who show up unexpectedly. Time is precious while we are writing and every interruption will make it exponentially harder for us to finish.
  2. Please slip food under the door on a regular basis so we don’t starve.
  3. Please don’t comment on how bad we smell. We don’t have time to shower (see point #1 above)
  4. Please don’t come in to kiss us, hug us, or otherwise tell us how proud you are that we are doing something so amazing (see point #1).  We’ll be happy to accept your accolades after the contest is over.
  5. When we wander aimlessly about the house looking for something we’ve lost but don’t recall what it was…just put us to bed and set the alarm for say…4am. Also, please put us to bed if we start talking to inanimate objects…even more important if they start to talk back.
  6. Please don’t plan any activity for yourself between 6pm and 10pm on Day 3. We need you to read the manuscript and point out an gaping plot holes, spelling mistakes and so forth.
  7. Please remember that this is a first draft written in 3 days. Be nice. Do not say ANYTHING other than how wonderful the manuscript is.  You can of course, provide us with the information requested (see point #6)…just be REALLY nice about it. The manuscript is supposed to be crappy. That’s what re-writes and edits are for.
  8. Don’t ask us if we think we will win. We don’t have a magic 8 ball. However, it goes without saying that we WANT to win.
  9. Spouses: don’t ask where the children’s (socks, pants, books, toys, games, cell phones, etc) are.  Keep looking, you’ll find them. Refer to point #1.
  10. Understand that we truly appreciate everything you do for us while we sequester ourselves over the weekend.  We’ll thank you afterwards (refer to point #1)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In which the 3 Day Novel Contest sneaks up on me and I find myself wholly unprepared

*Many thanks to Writertopia for their COOL graphic/widget/html code thingy that I use for my word count progress report. Seriously. For all the 3day-ers and NaNoWriMos out there, you HAVE to check it out. So fun and easy enough for a lay person to code. :)

It's time for the 3Day Novel contest again and I will once again join the insanity with a horde of other insane people. For a long, zombiefied weekend retreat into madness that is my writing career.

I love it. This year, I am terrified of it.

I am so unprepared for the weekend, it's not even funny. Getting out of debt, a child entering preschool, another child with a crazy, weird immune system, and the impending doom of the Tough Mudder NEXT weekend all converging to drive the contest cowering into a corner. My muse is shot, drawn, and quartered. My meal plan - isn't. I have no idea what I'm writing - which honestly isn't a first for me in this contest. Least of my worries really.

I'm strangely calm about this whole thing too. Whatever happens, happens. I will be writing this weekend, no matter what. Don't have a muse, a plot, or even a main character sketched out...

Could be worse really.

In which slow writing becomes a movement

I've just recently discovered Cathy Yardley's blog - Rock Your Writing: Selling A Lot Without Selling Out. Her latest post was inspiring and convicting - with a little dash of humor.

I've been impatient all my life. The plight of many redblooded human beings is their blatant disregard for time. More specifically, the redeeming of said time.

I am a time waster and not proud to admit it. I procrastinate on all the important things in life, like family and time with God and yes, cleaning my house. When it comes to wanting time to work for me without any sacrifice or compromise on my part, I forget that my clock calls the shots.

I'm never going to get a book published if I don't write it.

Okay, already wrote several manuscripts.


I'm never going to get an agent to look at it if I don't edit it.

Editing is difficult, impossible, and overwhelming. I did the best I could.


I'm never going to put the finishing touches on my manuscript if my editor doesn't return it to me with her comments and critique.

Yeah, that half-adzed job I did on the self-editing before I sent it off to my editor? She's trying to actually get it into a working, publishable material. Not a dime store novelists short-lived dream to write the next best erotic fiction.


I'm moving along in my writing. I really am, though you couldn't tell to look at me. Think about it. I have several working manuscripts and more in progress. That's more than 3/4 of the budding writer population can say they accomplished. I have edited and re-edited even though it takes forever and can honestly be the most tedious job on the planet. (I actually do love hacking and slashing my works. Just not when I want to see it in print and making me a multi-million dollar deal overnight. I dream big - sue me.)

I love writing. I love the feel of the keys beneath my fingers and the endless paper cuts from equally endless note taking. My head is full of stories and my mind (let's call it my somewhat hyperactive, slightly sarcastic muse) rampages at odd hours of the day and night. If I could remember half my dreams enough to write them down the next morning, I could probably make money just on dream interpretation alone. Most of my stories start out as fragmented dreams.

All this to say that I like Cathy's view on the writing process. I'm an artist yes, I'm a businesswoman to a degree, and I love gardening and I have many talents I could use toward a moneymaking venture to meet a need in my community.

However, I am a writer above all. My art is my craft and sometimes it's slower than molasses. But it's going to be good, once it hits the shelves.



Monday, August 20, 2012

In which guacamole is eaten and repetition is the sincerest form of love

I made guacamole from the last avacodo in my fridge this morning. Can't stand the store bought stuff; it just doesn't taste the same. I'm looking forward to harvesting my garden for the same reason. The salsa I make beats Tostitos ANYDAY.

My daughter wanted chips, but she refused to eat the guacamole. Keep in mind that she LOVED it when she was one year old and food was still a novelty.

So I told her if she ate ONE chip with guacamole, she could have a whole handful of chips without it. Would you believe she ate that chip and dipped the rest of her reward handful in the guacamole until I had to fight for my own portion.

In the meantime, dear son is 18 months and a bundle of mischief. No, really. He's silent which makes it worse.

He's been climbing up on the table to reach things - his sister's workbook, the markers, guacamole, chips, his nuk, and anything else that draws his attention. I've been lax in catching him and making him get down, but he recently fell midway through his journey to the top. I realized I needed to take drastic action.

So I watched for his move and dragged him down with a stern talking to. He cried and cried and cried like I had just murdered his best friend (the nuk). Then I hugged him and held him and let him calm until he asked to get down.

Thirty seconds later, he was back up on the table. We did the whole process again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

I wanted to cry by the twentieth time (NOT exaggerating) but he probably would have laughed at me.

By the thirty-first time, I think he got it. Of course, it could have just been that his sister was done eating my guacamole and wanted to play with him. Being the good younger brother, he kindly left me in peace until the next time the kitchen table becomes his Mount Everest.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In which I analyze my recent experiment in isolationsim...

Successful? Unsuccessful?

Can I be forgiven if I practice a little indecision?

I don't really know. But I can lay out the facts of my weekend and let YOU decide.

Fact One: I missed my family as soon as they walked out the door. Okay, I missed them so much, I refused to help Jake pack that morning to leave. At first...I relented after a while knowing that I was going to enjoy my weekend alone.

Fact Two: I ate less, not having to make sure little mouths were fed. So my time with meal preparation was drastically reduced - hence the lack of my own need for sustenance. Seriously...mothers gain most of their extra calories because of their kid's need to eat. (That's fact.)

Fact Three: I got some major exercise in, which is great seeing as I have only one more MONTH to prepare for Tough Mudder...for which I am drastically underprepared. My muscles hurt, but boy do I feel good.

Fact Four: I wrote 7070 words this weekend...not counting this post of course. Some of those words were facebook posts and messages to the outside world - which really don't count toward anything but my NaNoWriMo goal. (Okay, and building relationship with people even in the midst of my isolation.) As to the novel writing, I managed a whopping 3283 words toward its completion. Yep...that is an epic fail for a weekend retreat where writing was my main goal...


Fact Five: I slept a lot more than I have in weeks which is an EPIC success. When my family returns from their weekend away, I will be rested enough to deal with the crazy goodness. :)

Fact Six: I cleaned, FINALLY put away laundry, and managed to get the house looking a little less lived in - which will last all of five minutes after the kids get home. So I'd say that was successful.

Fact Seven: My writing inspiration dropped considerably when my family left. I can plug out a good 3500 words in 2-3 hours when they are home...seeing as that is the collective total of my novel writing progress this weekend (72 hours to be precise) I think I need them around to inspire me to write.

Go figure...

So did I succeed? Did I fail? Not sure...that it really matters! I enjoyed my weekend time to myself and THAT matters to me...

I missed my family enough to want them back. That seems like a good conclusion to my experiment.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

In which some perspective is gained...sort of

If You Give A Mom A Muffin
by Kathy Fictorie
If you give a mom a muffin,
She’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She’ll pour herself some.
Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.
She’ll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she’ll find dirty socks.
She’ll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She’ll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan for supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She’ll look for her cookbook (“101 Things To Do With a Pound of Hamburger”).
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The check book is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She’ll smell something funny.
She’ll change the two year old’s diaper.
While she is changing the diaper, the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She’ll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
And chances are…
If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

I am impressed by her creativity...and spot on assessment.

I didn't have a whole lot to say today, but I realized something in the middle of an exhausted haze. (see: random midnight poopy diaper and corresponding wide awake son for the rest of the night)
(see also: any and all grammar, spelling, or punctuation issues are results of said exhausted haze)
Other than the absolutely brainy lightbulb moment when I realized, "Oh wow. I guess I'm just really tired," I also concluded that it's okay to need time and space for myself. As long as that is not my biggest focus - i.e. my children and husband are number two and three respectively. If you don't know my number one priority, I am not shouting it loud enough.

I get that I am a wife and mother. I understand I am a woman of faith and responsible for maintaining my priorities in the correct order.

I also get that I'm human. And it's okay for me to be - for lack of a better word - human. I'm not going to get lightning striking me when I have a selfish moment. I won't be chastised or rebuked for liking my silence and solitude - especially since I don't have much of it nowadays.

I know that when I'm well-rested and refreshed from my quiet times, I respond with greater positivity to the situations and circumstances that surround me.

One of my aunts and I talked today for a little while. I liked what she told me, because I need to remember it more often. I may respond better in the rested times, but I also need to know that those times are not always available - especially in this phase of life. (see: zombie mom with smalls) However, it is my reaction during those exhausted, zombie-like times of life that are the true measure of my character and selflessness.

I will never be a mom who sends her kids to day care and spends all week long on manicures, book clubs, and living it up. Don't get me wrong; those things are not bad at all. I just know that for me, those things are not going to mean much in the light of my eternal perspective. And I need to remember that the eternal perspective is SO much bigger.

That's why I still love my kids and my husband after a long and exhausting day. That's why my housework fades into the background while I read the wonderful adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh - for the 5 millionth time. That's why my exhaustion may make me lose perspective - and well, everything else along the way - but it will not be permanent and it WILL pass.

Hey, I had time to write this blog didn't I?

Maybe I just need a refresher course on time management.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In which I lament a good cup of coffee gone cold...

I'm awake in the stillness that occurs only in the rare moments when my beautiful children sleep. I argued with myself this morning about the benefits versus the problems involving a few extra moments of rest. Instead of shutting my eyes again, I decided to listen to a sermon while drinking a cup of coffee. I made extra this morning, thinking the husband might need an energy boost. He left the extra.

It must be God.

So I cuddled down in my blankets and turned on iTunes where my podcasts are all stored. Instead of cupping my coffee in my hands like I usually do, I put it up on the shelf behind my head to get comfortably situated.

I then promptly forgot about it...

I know. I know. My readers are probably wondering just how you can forget about a good, hot cup of coffee...

My only excuse is that I'm still tired. Five hours of sleep will do that to a person, especially when they are not restful hours.

The coffee still tastes good...sort of. It's just like an iced coffee with no ice and nothing to sweeten the bitter flavor after a cup sits and cools for a while.

So not really an iced coffee.

My life kind of gets like that iced/not-iced coffee sometimes. The flavor is still there, hidden beneath bitter and cooling layers. Those bitter and cooling layers could be anything from a serious need for attitude adjustments (both me AND my kids) to lack of sleep (which is mostly my fault and can lead to the whole adjustment of my attitude) to a cold cup of coffee when I get too busy or distracted to remember it. At the risk of sounding shallow, I hate cold coffee.

At the risk of sounding cliched and cheesy, I hate when my life gets cold and bitter.

Fortunately, I usually know the why, what, and how of the situation. In spite of my uncanny knack of returning to that place of stupidity, God did give me enough brains to figure out how to get out of the mess I got myself into in the first place. He's funny that way. I can almost picture Him chuckling in a sort of exasperated way (kind of like I do when I see my kids make the same, brain-farted choice over and over and over again). I can hear Him say something to the effect of...

"Really? We're going through THIS again? Well, I've got the roadmap and the shovel. Do you need a ladder or should I just help you dig yourself out again? You really should be able to see that hole by NOW, Sarah. After all, you dug it in the first place." Then He'll smile and chuckle again. "I love you anyway. You know that, right?"

I wrote a post a while back talking about ruts and digging holes. I'm almost tempted to put that picture on here again...

I think I've kind of gotten to the top of the rut again. My attitude has been crazy wicked lately and my kids (and my poor husband) seem to suffer the most.

I've realized that having kids and being married just seemed to make me MORE selfish than usual. I know that's not technically true. Having kids and being married just reminded me of how selfish and self-centered I really am.

Terminal. That's the word. I'm terminal. But for the grace of God, I wouldn't even know THAT. But for the Grace of God, I actually have a shovel and a cure should I choose to take them.

I hear the son waking up. Time to start my day!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In which I multitask and end up with several half finished jobs...

Only one of the jobs is actually half finished. The others are either complete or in a state of perpetual unfinishment...Dear son is bathed, dear daughter's room just needs a vacuum to run over the filthy carpet. I don't know why I thought giving her a snack in her room would be any better than the mess she makes at the table...

The point is, I DID work today. For some readers, I'm going to get the typical, "If you DIDN'T accomplish something today, you wasted your time and you won't get it back. In the light of eternity, what did you do that had purpose today?"

To those beautiful people I will respond with, "I kept my children fed, dressed (okay half-dressed - it is the summer after all), schooled (un-schooled approach counts), and safe from fatal accidents. "No DS. You cannot stick your head in the toilet while your sister is flushing it."

I also cooked, did dishes, made granola, gave a bath, changed four poopy diapers (FOUR - all from one smallish child), wrote a blog post, chatted with facebook friends, wrote/edited my manuscript, and cleaned the house(half-finished job I talked about earlier. In my defense, it's a rather daunting task when dealing with a preschooler and a toddler - their both little hellions in their own right. They make me so proud...)

Technically, I could place the housecleaning under a state of perpetual unfinishment too. (Yes, I'm making up words. Bite me.)

The laundry's almost done too. I just have to fold it and put it away.

God, when you said we'd sweat and toil and all was vanity...you meant it, didn't you? I know life has purpose and fulfillment and wholeness in your plan and all that. Right now, the mundane toil in my life is weighing me down too much to really care or look for it. Yes, I'm going through a mire of discouragement.

And when I am a published author someday, I WILL be hiring a housekeeper. Some woman who absolutely LOVES to clean and organize. Because you know what? That's not me.

Mom? I will PAY you to keep house for me. What's the rate for the job you are at? I'll triple it!

Just let me sell my book first...

For those of you who still think I was purposeless today, Here's proof of my hard work.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In which I lament the loss of quality readers in this world

Until I can actually say I've published a novel and my name is in neon lights, I will refrain from bashing successful authors...


However, I have a bone to pick with the readers of my generation and after. Since I am a reader myself, I feel I have a bit of artistic license to pick bones with authors. All in the name of saving readers from themselve of course.


THIS is good fiction.

Harry Potter is GOOD fiction.

Chronicles of Narnia, Emma, I'll even give you Jane Eyre even though she's not really my favorite character. These are works of fiction, recognized for their beauty and intelligence and creativity.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  Loved it. The Help? Great read even if it was a little difficult to follow. I loved The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. My tastes are pretty eclectic, though right now I'm on a fantasy kick. It kind of trends that way when I'm writing in a particular genre. I've heard that's a normal symptom for writers.

I will not name any names to protect the people damaged by the crappy writing, but a certain knock-off fanfiction for a particular vampire series is NOT good reading. It's not even close to good literature. I read the first chapter of each book. That was as far as I could go. Some people might say that was farther than I should have gone. (Sorry mom. I'm a writer AND I read - A LOT) I see words and just can't help myself.

Regardless, I wanted to have at least a minor idea of what the fuss was about. I regretted it as soon as it happened though.

You know those accidents on the freeway? The ones that cause MORE accidents because people's eyes just can't look away. Or train wrecks - pick your analogy.

I'm not one of those people who do the deer in the headlights thing with accidents - or train wrecks.

Reasons why said knock-off is not literature worthy of human perusal:

  • The grammar, spelling, and format is atrocious. I am not perfect when it comes to grammatical issues. I'm pretty sure even editors can't claim that trait. However, whatever editor passed that work of fiction off to the printers ought to be ostracized. Give me their name. I don't want it on any of my future published works.
  • The story was...oh who am I kidding? There WAS no story. What agent read the first ten pages of the manuscript and said, "Oh wow. This story is so riveting. I MUST get it published for my client." There is a rule of thumb that says a story must be gripping in the first pages or agents won't even look at it. Publishers and editors will send an instant rejection letter. That's what I was told anyway.
  • I read the original work this story plagiarized. After the second time through THAT novel, I gagged down the poor grammar and editing. It was STILL better than the knock-off.
  • I have NEVER read a protaganist I hated more than the protaganist whose name was changed to make it look like the story wasn't a knock off. The false humility in the first few pages just made her an unpleasant person - it also made her completely unbelievable.
  • I'm all for romance and whirlwind fairy tale one at that. THIS novel is NOT romantic nor is it a fairy tale. I'm married, a romantic at heart, and pretty openminded about what goes on in our bedroom. What happens time and again in that novel is abuse. Plain and simple. As another author wrote here, the red flags are undeniable. (*note for my conservative readers: I do not agree with everything the author of this particular blog says regarding sexual relationships and if you are squeamish about language, etc., don't click the link. I AM agreeing with her take on the abusive nature of the novel in question)

The readers who went out and actually purchased copies of this novel - and its subsequent sequels - are condoning and encouraging the epidemic that seems to be plaguing our society. We are giving a crummy author millions of dollars - and putting her on the bestseller lists - for work that wasn't even hers and does NOTHING to add to our lives in any positive ways.

When my daughter and son grow up, I want them to read quality works of art. Books that educate and inspire, books that give hope or ask tough questions. I want books that will make them laugh and cry and get angry and dream. I don't want them to read books that will twist and distort a beautiful aspect of life and call it art.

It's like the artist who uses bodily fluids in their work. (Names not mentioned for GOOD reasons)

At the end of the day, what the artist calls ART, is just a pile of crap and other bodily fluids. We call it waste for a reason.

I am a reader. I know the value of words. I also know the limits I will go before the words have lost all value for me.

Shame on us for not demanding better of our authors, for discouraging quality in favor of...what? I still don't see the appeal.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

In which I discover a creative way to eat lunch and play with it too...

I made homemade, edible Play Dough. It's quick, it's simple, and you can incorporate it into a very fun lunch time experience.
The best part is that it contains a natural sweetener, dairy, and protein. Great huh? Just add some fruit, a veggie or two, and you've got a pretty well-rounded lunch. Plus, what kid DOESN'T like playing with his or her food?
Recipe: (courtesy of The Little Big Book for Moms)
2 cups powdered milk
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup honey
  1. Combine ingredients in a bowl and stir until well blended.
  2. Shape, admire, and eat! :)
It's also fun for an afternoon snack. Cut up a variety of veggies and fruit so the kids can create a fun, animal farm with their lunch. Use raisins, apples, celery, carrots, and many others.
My kids loved it. So did I! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In which I do my first official giveaway...

I am giving away 5 copies of my book! That's right FIVE. All I ask for is that you go to this link here to write a review for me when you've finished reading.

If you REALLY like it, tell your friends and family. You can get the book here and here as well. If you are one of the FIVE lucky winners, I will send a signed copy to you. All you have to do is comment on this post or private message me on my facebook page. You can find that here.

I will post again when the contest is complete. Winner's names will be shown! Don't worry if you aren't a winner this time. It's not the last contest I will hold.



In which I realize that the heat is not the problem

I walked outside after the rain, smelling the fresh, earthy aromas while the breeze cooled my heated skin. I'd gone out for a few reasons. I had to get out of the house after being voluntarily cooped up due to our incredible heat wave. It really isn't the heat, it's the humidity that is going to kill me. I don't really like breathing water.

I also had to get my son bare bottomed for a little while. Poor guy just got off the antibiotics and - predictably - he acquired a yeast infection. I SWEAR, I stopped just short of pumping yogurt and probiotics into him with an IV. He was covered. It's kind of poetic justice though. I keep telling myself I'm going to try more natural treatments on his delicate constitution. Then I go ahead and follow the slightly misguided advice of my physicians and pediatricians. They can't help it that the pharmaceutical companies have brainwashed them.

Another story.

Anyway, I also needed to check on my poor garden. It's been neglected a bit. I am NOT a green thumb. An ex of mine gave me this beautiful (hot pink) plant for Valentine's Day one year. I kid you not - within three days, that thing had passed on to plant heaven. Or so I thought. I gave it to my aunt who seemed sure there was a little green left in its poor branches.

Three YEARS later, it finally expired - and it wasn't even her fault.

I kill things. It's just in my blood I guess.

So I checked on my neglected garden to assess the damage.

Lo and behold, I find a beautiful red tomato, just ready for picking. There was a small hole at the top where it might have given an insect a midmorning snack. Otherwise, it looked wonderful. It tasted amazing. And it gave me hope. My garden might actually make it through the summer in spite of my best (worst) efforts to kill it.

Because believe me. The heat is NOT the problem.

It's all me.

Day 20: Book you’ve read the most number of times

Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas


I want Gary Thomas to adopt me as his little sister. He has such a beautiful and loving way with words. His encouragement and wisdom forces me to investigate my failings in my marriage. But it does so in such a way, that I am made joyful in the successes God grants me when I do his will.

I also use this book as my shield. So that means I hold on to it tightly. If you want to be an excellent wife, get your own copy. :) I don't share. Hey, it's all right to be selfish about this book. Really...

I read and re-read and re-read...because despite my amazing abilities to retain information from any book I read, this one eludes me often. Poor Jake. It's a good thing I re-read this book a lot. He needs all the help he can get for dealing with his crazy, moody, often-witchy, rarely-loving wife...

Of course, he told Gary Thomas that this book was HIS favorite book too - even though he's never cracked it open. So maybe that means I'm not the hopeless mess I thought I was.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 19: Book that turned you on

Can I list this one under the most embarrassing book to admit I like?

Kevin Leman is what? 50 years old or something? Good gracious though. His descriptions and depictions of sexual intimacy was difficult to read as a couple. I can't imagine what a single person would do with all that information...

It's definitely not a boring documentary on the act of sex. This is in some sense, a step by step guide on how to have a Christ-centered, worshipful, intimate sex experience with your marriage partner!

And boy, do I get all warm and tingly thinking about THAT...

Married six years in eleven days and I can still blush. That's a good thing, right?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 18: Book you’re most embarrassed to say you like

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

IS a series and YES. It's kind of embarrassing to admit that I still like and read even now...

But come on! A nice grandmotherly sort of woman who lives in an upside down house with pets galore and warm chocolate chip cookies all the time and magical cures for childhood ailments like Never-Go-To-Bedder and Pet-Forgetter and Tiny-Bite-Taker.

It's a classic.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 17: Shortest book you’ve read

Don't laugh at me...

I have two kids, under the age of four. And I read to them. Regularly.

This one is Bella's all time favorite...I believe.

Because we've read it.

And read it.

And read it.

And read it.

And read it.

And...you get the picture. :)


It's hilarious. I would have put her other favorite books by Sandra Boynton - It's Pajama Time and Fifteen Animals, but they are a couple pages bigger. :)

Either way, you should definitely check them out. Especially if you are a mother (or father) of young children.

That way, when people ask you what you're currently reading, you can have a really good excuse for the answer. :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 16: Longest book you’ve read

I would say the Encyclopedia Britannica circa the early 1990's, but they were in several volumes. So I won't count those.

Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes rings in at a whopping 1104 pages - hardcover style.

Yes, I did read all 1104 pages. No, I cannot remember the entire story. Yes, I liked the musical MUCH better. No, I did not get to see it on Broadway - yet...

Don Quixote is a man of old-fashioned - some would call it archaic - values. He desires knighthood, the love of a fair lady, and a battle to fight - not necessarily in that order. So he sets off on a quest to find all of these impossible dreams with only his trusty nag and a long-suffering servant named Pancho - who loves his master like only a long-suffering servant can.

Along the way to knighthood, Quixote jousts with windmills, saves a fair maiden - who's about as pure as the final snow of the winter season - and battles uncouth mule drivers - who REALLY like the fair - unpure - maiden Don Quixote saves.

Okay, have I mentioned that this whole story is being narrated by Miguel de Cervantes to a bunch of rag-tag jury of prisoners awaiting trial - or execution - before the Spanish Inquisition? He was forced to finish his unfinished work in order to save himself from the prison's own version of an Inquisition...

And he's supposed to finish this all before the Spanish conquistadors retrieve him for his life or death trial before godless pharisees hell bent on stamping out heretics...

Can we say, "No pressure, Miguel?"


While the musical is much easier to understand and a lot shorter, I love the classics and would greatly recommend this one. Keep in mind it is translated, so there might have been something lost along the way.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

In which I've completed the first draft of a manuscript...Now what?

I signed The End to the bottom of my last page. It was late last night, so all I really remember in the haze was a feeling of euphoria and a bit of panic.

Now what? I've had a couple editors tell me they would like to see more of my work, but for editing purposes. Which means breaking the budget to polish and perfect my work in order to even get to the point where it is submission worthy...

I could pay those same editors to write my query letter, synopsis, outline, and everything...pretty much do all the hard work for me.

Again, we run into the money problem. Here I am trying - with my husband - to get us out of debt. This writing thing was supposed to help us at one point or another. I'm not seeing how putting more money into it up front is going to help in the long run. But I also don't see myself stopping the art and craft of writing either. So my dilemma is...


I could pray that a fairy godeditor decides to take pity on me and edit my work for free, knowing that they have a winner of a story to sell once they've done the difficult part. I have actually signed up for a couple of contests that would give me thousands of dollars worth of editing packages for free. That's IF I actually win it. Knowing my luck lately, that is highly unlikely.

I could self edit, put it through the critique group ringer, and let all my friends and family have a go at chopping it to little bits. Then I could risk a free self-publishing site which would take away the costs, but only return me as much as I am able to market myself...

I am not a salesperson, but I better start learning I think. :(


It all boils down to my own impatience and need for the world to see that I CAN and DO write better than Stephenie Meyer. I definitely don't rank close to J.K. Rowling, but I love telling my stories and I know I've got something publishable.

Even if it is just a diamond in the rough right now.

Which begs the question again...


PS Donations toward my poor, starving artist fund would be appreciated. Check, cash, or money order please. :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

In which words are found and I eat them...

Your words were found and I ate them,

And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;

For I have been called by Your name,

O Lord God of hosts.

~ Jeremiah 15:16

I recently completed the B90X challenge (though I fell just short of completing it in the 90 day goal). I actually am starting over in the hopes of making it this time.

The first time I went through this challenge, I confess I don't remember this verse in Jeremiah. At that point in the challenge, I was behind and pushing to get done on time...things fell through the cracks.

I was listening to James McDonald's Walk in the Word broadcast this morning and this verse stood up and shouted at me. Your words were found and I ate them...

More importantly, God's word became a joy and delight for Jeremiah. Now I don't know if you know this, but Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. His task was pretty much to warn Israel of its doomed path and weep over Jerusalem's fallen state. Not really a job I would ever covet. But God told him to do it. He wrote Lamentations as his addendum to the other doom and gloom prophecies in the first book.

There is hope in those pages, but you have to squint REALLY hard to see it.

All this to say, Jeremiah STILL found joy and delight in God's word. It was a comfort and sustenance for him as he carried out God's less-than-happy work.

I love that. I want that. I need that.

I will not by any means compare myself to Jeremiah. He had a job no one else wanted or appreciated.

Right now though, I am a wife and mother. And there are days when those jobs are far from glamorous - right up there with uncoveted and unappreciated. I still have the roles even when I am sick and tired and wanting to be off by myself somewhere where no one else can reach me. I do not lose the task God has set before me just because I say I quit...and I've only said those words in jest, so don't get your undies in a bundle.

I love motherhood. I love being a wife. Sometimes, I just love myself more. What I want more than ever is to love God and God's Word SO much, that loving myself doesn't even cross my mind. That my joy and delight with His word will make my task seem like the LEAST I can do to please Him.

I DO love God's Word. I still love me more. I long for the day when that is no longer true.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

In which I discuss freefalling and the detrimental effects of late (early) mornings...

I am freefalling right now. It's scary and exciting, and I was never much of a risk taker. That's definitely changing.

So what's happening with me lately?

I'm kind of at a strange time right now. It's good and bad. Good because I am definitely in pursuit of my dream of writing.

Bad, because I feel like several other areas of my life are taking a hit - namely, my family and my sleep.

How does one juggle all the dreams and goals in life? I am not expecting to be a superstar and win fame and fortune on this endeavor. It would be wonderful, but I also am realistic. I may never make it past the first few royalty checks, if that. But gosh darn it, I'm going to keep trying.

The problem is that I don't know if I can do it all. Work part time as a registered nurse in a job that feels more like a full time one - with all the stress and daily grind. (As I write this, I realize I need to be up in four hours for another turn at the grinding wheel. Grrr...)

Believe me, the positive attitude and faith has been top priority lately. I've spent time daily in the Word, listed the things I'm grateful for time and again, and even spent time nursing my sick children and loving on my husband.

It doesn't stop me from feeling utterly devoid of life and drained. I want the world to stop spinning for just one day - just so I can find my bearings again. I'm truly freefalling, and I want to fly.

This blog post is a fine example. I'm supposed to be maintaining my blog and building a support structure/fan base for my writing. Instead, I find myself going months or weeks without writing only to shove a bunch of words onto the blank screen in the hopes that people won't notice I was gone.

Where did the consistency go? Or did I ever have it to begin with?

Okay, in light of my mercurial mood and the lateness (earliness) of the hour...I must say goodnight. Perhaps my outlook with be a little better come morning.

Yes, and four hours of sleep is totally refreshing when I've gone the last four or five days on about six hours all together.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In which I find the phrase, "the blind leading the blind" apropos...

Lemmings. (See: mindless,hairy rodents who follow their rodent leader off a cliff with no thought to self-preservation or self-thought)

Truth: Lemmings follow mass-migratory patterns over, under, and through many obstacles when their population grows too rapidly for their habitat. This means that the little mammals - who are usually great swimmers - can sometimes miscalculate their own abilities and drown in the rivers they are attempting to ford.

The misconception of mass suicide has been encouraged over the years by the media.

Truth: that's one thing lemmings DO have in common with the American people...mass media says something and we believe every word that's spoken.

(See: Mass media would have the Republican faithful believe that Mitt Romney has the election in the bag...certain sources outside of the mainstream seem to think Mitt Romney is panicking because his lead isn't NEARLY as solid as Fox, NBC, and other major news corporations affirm. In fact, if these outliers have any spark of truth, Ron Paul is closer to the White House by quite a few delegates...)

I don't care really. I know who I am voting for and I am not here to talk about my political beliefs. Heck, I'm not even going to rave about my "religious" views - much...

No, my rant has more to do with how any American Citizen - educated or not - can look at the government and say with complete confidence,

"I love the way the government is being run. In fact, I love it so very much, I am willing to sell my SOUL to believe everything our faithful leaders promise. And I don't mind taking every handout they give me either...because as long as it's not coming from my own pocket, I don't care what hard-working citizen gets taxed to pay for my lazy, greedy lifestyle."

Frankly, these people make me feel extremely unChrist-like. I admit it. I'm human, I'm a sinner by nature of my old self, and being redeemed by God doesn't actually MAKE me perfect. His grace through me and in me are working on that part of the covenant...

My own sinful nature creeps up still to ruin the image in which I was created. I've been struggling it out with my Creator; it's a process that won't speed up or slam to a halt on the views of others who read this post. You don't like what I say here, that's fine. You are free to own opinions and world views. Just don't screw with my worldview when I speak up.

My husband and I went into debt to get our degrees. We fought through years of hard work and meaningless, mundane jobs to get to where we are. We are not independently wealthy by ANY stretch of the imagination, but we work for everything we have. Someday we hope to have that hard work pay off when our children and our children's children can be secure in the knowledge that we stewarded God's abundance well and we've left a legacy of security because of it...

We made mistakes and we lost money and respect for some of our choices. It's part of being human. But we are trying to do God's will as best we can. And we are seeing the rewards of living in that will. It doesn't take care of the consequences automatically, but it does give us hope that our future will be all the better for our surrender.

We help others in need. At some point in our life, we want to expand our abilities to give with open hands to the poor, the widows, and the orphans of this world. It's our God-given responsibility and it's also our responsibility as citizens of this universe. We reach out because we WANT to. We are two people. Hopefully, if our children catch on we will carry on that legacy of servanthood to them as well.

I am not boasting about our successes; just stating fact. We DO what we can with what we have to bring heaven to earth. We want to do more.

You don't like being stolen from right? No one does. It's a violation of our rights as human beings to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have someone rob you; you are going to feel the pain and violation of that act.

So why is it that by and large the American people - at least the lower class ones - seem to feel it's all right to steal? Don't believe me?

Our healthcare sucks - royally. The insurance companies are out for blood money and they aren't afraid to exploit their customers to get every last drop. Meanwhile health care costs skyrocket, pharmaceutical companies ram more and more drugs down our throats, and the government lobbyists tuck away a pretty penny as well. All the while our taxes go up and we are forced to pay money toward whatever new whims the government decides will benefit us. And we don't ask questions...

Trillions of dollars in debt...with more added to that heavy burden every day. Where does it all go? Because I'm sorry, but I don't really see an improvement in our healthcare, our education, our roads, our security...

Meanwhile our president has taken numerous vacations in the four years he's been in office. I am not counting, nor am I going to give any actual numbers regarding just how many days he's been outside of the White House enjoying himself. As the President of a massive nation, I do not begrudge the man a break to rest and recuperate. Every president that I know of in recent years has golfed, vacationed, and enjoyed luxuries I can only imagine. I don't begrudge a few perks for the Commander in Chief of our nation.

But $4,000,000 vacations? Are you kidding me? The taxpayers are footing the bill for vacations they will NEVER see in their lifetimes and we're okay with this just because he's the President?

Not a chance. $4,000,000 could have fed a nation of starving children for life...and the next couple generations at that...

I take care of the family budget. Sometimes I do a poor job of it, but I have to BUDGET every penny for months or weeks in advance just to pay for a $400 vacation. And I feel the harshness when those dollar bills leave my hand, thinking of what good it could have done for someone else. Does this mean I hem and haw and fuss over that money after all's said and done? No. I DO however, know the value of every dollar that I've spent on pleasure.

Now tell me, because this is the argument I hear regularly from the Obama health care supporters...

If Obama was such a SAINT for helping redistribute the wealth to the poor with his policies and laws, why on earth are you not charging him with hypocrisy? Because I'm not even going to mention that HIS healthcare insurance is completely paid for and will be his for life even after his term runs out - and it's a hell of a lot better insurance than any normal American citizen is ever going to get, Obamacare or not...

He just spent $4,000,000 of your hard working dollars on a VACATION...and you think he's going to save you money on insurance costs by ramming his own version of nationalized healthcare down our throats.

$4,000,000 could definitely give the poor in our country some decent health care. So why are you  so willing to argue that the rich in this country should be redistributing their wealth more equally among the lower classes - like the wealthy don't deserve what they've worked for - and yet you do not see how Obama IS exactly what he complains the top 1% of our nation are - a greedy, undeserving, money-hungry miser.

And don't even get me started on the argument that this whole screwed up mess is a racial issue. I find it fascinating that the Obama worshippers are the most vocal about all the racial issues...

Obama is not even a full blooded African American. He's a mutt. Just like I'm a mutt. I have a bit of Native American in me...it doesn't mean I'm gungho to start scalping people or start throwing all the blame of my money problems on the government because they shoved my ancestors onto tiny little reservations. I have Irish in me. I have Polish in me. I am French and English, and a bunch of other strange and wonderful and awful and beautiful ethnicities...I wish I did have a little African in me...maybe some Chinese and Japanese just to round myself out a bit. Each one of these ethnic groups has seen both good and bad in their history.

Unfortunately, they all seem terribly adept at repeating the bad in their history and not quite so good at learning from their mistakes...Caucasians included.

I don't give a flying fart about what percentage of melanin is in my President's skin. He can be black, white, yellow, red, orange, green or blue. Heck, I like the color purple even. I don't care if the leader of our country is male, female, young or old, married or single. She can be the most beautiful woman in the world, or she can be an ugly hag...He can be charming and charismatic or he can shock the pants off the people with his vulgar, backcountry hick speech.


What I do care about is that our President represent the people he leads. That means - in my book - servanthood, sacrifice, understanding, unconditional love, and selfless service that transcends ALL boundaries. I want to follow a man who represents the greatest and best parts of being human. I want a man who is not apologetic about the freedoms and standards that our country should - and once did - stand for. I want a man (or woman) who is the first to lead the charge against tyranny and oppression and the last to retreat in the face of other's bigotry and prejudice.  I want a President who shows by his character and moral uprightness that he will not be overcome by corruption and bribery and scandal. I want a leader that I can be PROUD to follow, not one I'm ashamed to even look at.

I want a leader who is more concerned about setting an example of service and sacrifice than a leader who feels ENTITLED to $4,000,000 vacations and other's hard-earned paychecks. I want a leader who lives with his/her hands OPEN as an expression of just how much he or she is willing to give to others without expecting anything in return. I want other nations to look at ours as a beacon of hope and humanity, a small piece of heaven on earth when all other countries struggle with hopelessness and despair, war and hate and death and disease. I want a President who is the first to eat meager rations during war time and the last to enjoy the luxuries of hot water and health care and fine clothing. I want him or her to be the first to donate the firstfruits of their wealth to meeting the needs of the poverty-stricken.

I know that whoever leads this country will be far from perfect. It's inevitable, unless we've decided that God's going to take over the kingship again, we will get an imperfect human being in office.

I just want that human being to stop playing God. Stop thinking with his wallet and start thinking with the heart that God gave him or her. I want them to stop seeking the power for their own gain and start seeking how best to use the power they've been given to meet the needs of the people they lead.