Monday, August 31, 2009

No Free Rides

Put me in your pocket. Really, I’ll find a way to shrink down. I won’t say much. I can be vewy vewy quiet. I just need one moment, one golden moment to spring from your pocket to present my pitch. Okay, clearly I’m being facetious and a tad silly. I’m not going to the upcoming conferences that my blogging friends are so joyfully writing about. However, I refuse to pout.

Instead I’m going to do everything in my financial power to further my writing career. I’ll give you two examples of things I did this weekend.

  1. I conducted research at the fair. One of the books I wrote, Beautiful Bovine called for me to describe oh, maybe a cow or two. At the fair I had dozens of cows to take pictures of and dozens of owners to answer my questions. The smells, sounds and sights surrounded me and I 100% took advantage of my location (so much so my husband had to come find me at one point and my daughter wondered why I’d been taking so many pictures of cows).

  2. I attended a book reading/signing. Jacqueline Sheehan, New York Times Bestselling author of Lost & Found and Now & Then, visited a local bookstore (I actually drove an hour) and graciously answered questions, read from her latest book and in the process couldn’t have been more cordial and kind. This outing meant a lot to me for several reasons. One, I escaped my house for a little while, leaving my husband with the girls. Two, I love books. Even more, I love people who are as in love with writing as I am. Hearing Jacqueline describe one of her characters as having “not a whisper of a callous on his hands” stuck with me. I left feeling encouraged and inspired, having connected with an intelligent writer.

Will I attend a conference someday? It’s likely. But for now, at this point in my life, I’m doing what I can to grow as a writer. I’m reading books on writing and well-written books, I’m researching, I’m studying agent blogs, I’m game for attending other book readings, but most of all I’m doing the one thing that will push me ahead most on this writing track—I’m writing.

There are no free rides. Much as I’d like to hop in your pocket and head to a conference, I really don’t have the ability to shrink. Why would I want to anyway? Quiet has never really been my thing. So, I’m investing in the resources I have.

I’m hoping to hear wonderful success stories of newly agented friends. I’ll celebrate with them.

One final thought: Upon entering the fair you pay to park, you pay to get in and you pay for tickets to ride the rides. Writing isn’t much different. In order to ride the ride, there’s a cost.

Are you doing all you can to grow as a writer? And is writing the most exciting ride for you? For me writing is the Ferris Wheel.

*photos by flickr
**I’m over at
Live Beautiful later today.

Friday, August 28, 2009

One Question Friday

Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It is my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

Question Time:

Justice or Mercy?

*photos by flickr

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Triumphant Hibiscus

I have this in my front yard. Gorgeous, isn’t it? I noticed something particularly fascinating about our hibiscus this year. The Japanese beetles attacked. Do you see the leaves laced with miniature holes? That’s the damage they did. What I like, what shouts triumph to me is how beautiful the hibiscus flowers blossomed. They weren’t touched, unaffected.

This could be us. We can endure hardships and trials that leave holes us, that worm through our lives damaging our state of being. But God, in His infinite grace and mercy desires to turn us into the enormous tissue-like petals fanning the sun. And it’s only because of Him and His Spirit that we could ever look anything like the picture I posted. In fact, it’s the crimson-colored center of the flower that reminds me most of His Spirit in us and the blood He shed. The eye immediately is drawn to the center, the part that looks like a tower of ethereal needles. Notice how that part seems to be naturally reaching out?

As we prepare to say farewell to our flowers, do you have one in your yard that resonates with you?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What's God Looking At?

My blogging friend, Nicole Baart posted this video on her blog yesterday. It’s powerful enough to watch and think about. I already showed it to my three young girls, explaining things aren’t always what they seem. I love that God focuses in on the heart.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance of his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

~ 1 Samuel 16: 7

For any woman reading this (and of course, man too), we have a responsibility to our children to inform them of Truth. And part of that responsibility begins with how we view ourselves.

What does this video say to you?

*By the way, Nicole’s blog is excellent. She’s an author of four highly esteemed books and handles life and relationships with such grace and integrity. Katie Ganshert (of equal integrity) led me to her. Thanks to both ladies for how you live out your lives.

**Thanks Dove!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Backyard Faith

Last spring a stunning bushy-tailed fox bounded across our backyard, making a brief appearance, then ducked into the woods behind our home. The sighting stirred me. And since that fox trotted I’ve been thinking about something. Backyard Faith. Think for a moment about all the potential animals you come across in the backyard. There’s the obvious squirrels to the not so obvious moles. Well, if you’ve gotten to know me at all through this blog, you know I didn’t just spend my time coming up with various backyard critters. I made a connection and I’m hoping to make the same connection for you.

What kind of faith do you want to exude? Do you have backyard faith and if so which animal has the most desirable faith traits?

The squirrel? They scurry, they race up trees, they dart, and they often go unnoticed or annoy others. They blend in. Every now and again you’ll see an old couple amused by one, feeding it at a park. But we’re not talking park faith today. If you had a squirrel faith you’d believe, but would you be making an impact? Would you annoy people with your tracts and your proclamations? A squirrel mostly just wants to get a nut (pretty self-focused if you ask me).

The groundhog? Here’s an unusual one, but he’s so unusual he really only shows up when he feels like it, 95% of the time leaving people disappointed. They want to see the groundhog, they hope to see him, and it’s all part of a mysterious tradition. So to apply—do you have groundhog faith where you “act Christian” at church. You lead people to believe you live holy and responsibly, but at home behind closed doors there’s no hiding you’re a mess just like the rest of us. You’re more comfortable to be yourself in hiding than among people. You risk nothing.

The rabbit? What sweet creatures, right? But it isn’t often you get a good look and when you do get a good look and the rabbit’s not darting away, dear rabbit friend is chomping away at your lovingly planted vegetable garden. Rabbit faith looks good on the outside. You say the right things. You might even read your Bible, but you take from others freely and there’s a clear disconnect between what you say and how you live. I know, I must be mean to make the rabbit the example of the hypocrite (Guess what? We all struggle w/ squirrel, groundhog and rabbit faith at times).

The mole? Mole faith actually has some potential. Hear me out on this one. Moles leave traces of evidence they’ve been in the backyard tunneling underground. Often the grass pops up where they’ve traveled and this can trigger a Caddyshack (or maybe that was a gopher) anger. But when do you ever really see a mole? They’re not around, unavailable, distant and have found a way to not let people in. You couldn’t fit into their world anyway.

The bird? The starlings, tree swallows, sparrows, robins, orioles, meadowlarks, mourning doves, mockingbirds and bluebirds to name a few. What do birds do? They sing! And they fly! How do people respond to birds? People watch birds. They even buy bird feeders to summon the birds to come around more often. People admire birds as they soar skyward, free and beautiful as they spread their wings.

Hands down, I know what kind of backyard faith I want. I want to be the bird. It’s my hope that as I share my faith it invites others to want to know more, to watch and delight in my “singing” (it’s a metaphor people, my vocal chords don’t know what they’re doing). Also, have you ever noticed how very many different kinds of birds there are? It reminds me of how God gifts all us uniquely. I’m telling you…Bird Faith—it’s where it’s at!

How about you? Can you think of another backyard animal faith you’d like to have or are you a bird too?

*photos by flickr
**I’m over at
Exemplify today with a piece about fellowship.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Things We Know Thanks to the Movies

  1. The human head weighs 8lbs
  2. Horse heads make bad bedfellows
  3. Blue faces aren’t only for Smurfs
  4. Haphazardly eating escargot at fancy restaurants can be an endearing quality
  5. Upside spider kisses actually end up looking somewhat romantic
  6. Somebody is not a fan of wire hangers
  7. Paris will always be had
  8. There’s no place like home
  9. Wax on, wax off
  10. Love means never having to say you’re sorry (what?)
  11. Who Luke’s father is
  12. What James’ last name is
  13. Life is like a box of chocolates
  14. God will be the witness when she never goes hungry again
  15. Witches and aliens don’t like water
  16. Mrs. Robinson was a bit of a cougar
  17. Aliens busting out of the gut look eerily like a miniature olive-colored boxing glove
  18. Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings
  19. Rose will never let go
  20. Captain Jack Sparrow’s been in the sun a little too long
  21. Some aliens like bike rides
  22. It didn’t stay Hakuna Matata forever—Simba chose to fight
  23. Some hobbits have unbelievable endurance
  24. Tatonka means buffalo in Sioux
  25. Maverick and Goose sometimes feel the need for speed
  26. Truman reaches the end of his “world” and keeps going

  27. Have fun decrypting the above by revealing which movies these are from. What do you know thanks to the movies?

    *photos by flickr
    **Stop by to see what I wrote at
    Live Beautiful later today.

Friday, August 21, 2009

One Question Friday

Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It is my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

And now...the question:




*photos by flickr

**come read what I wrote over at 5 Minutes for Faith today.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Elephant Vs: Mosquito

We’ve all heard of the pink elephant. Some of us know that elephant so well it’s a garish and bright red in some family settings. You know, you’re all sitting around making polite friendly conversation dodging that one particular topic with such effort and care. You’ve been there. I’ve been there. Fun, isn’t it? Not so healthy though.

Have you heard of the mosquito? While driving my kids to a play date the other day I heard of it and didn’t stop hearing about it the whole way there. Apparently there was a vicious twelve tooth mosquito on the loose in our car, ready to take down the nearest child it saw. I had to turn the music up a little louder than normal in order to drown out the cacophony of squeals and yells that the mosquito was getting them. I heard about that mosquito the entire way! No reprieve. (Actually, I pulled over at some point and clobbered the twelve toothed monster).

Okay, what’s the tie in? We all know people who avoid topics at all costs. Well, we also all know people who go there and then go there again and then swing back by one to twenty more times. They’re quite simply skilled at talking about something until it becomes road kill. No question about whether or not the topic is dead—it is road kill! Whether they’re “venting” about the annoying family member, the friend that stabbed them in the back or the cruel thing their child said to them…they go on and on and on and there is no closure on the horizon. The venting is endless.

We’ve all been hurt; most of us have been hurt badly (that’s the hard part about living). And I think talking is a positive and beneficial way to process hurt. But, there comes a point when we’re called to move on, to shuffle on down the road. If you’re stuck on something and you find yourself addressing the topic over and over with your friends or loved ones, the topic is likely road kill and YOU’VE BECOME THE MOSQUITO. It’s okay, I’ve been the mosquito. We all have. But now that you know you are…you can’t stay that way. It’s not allowed. You need to turn into some midsized animal because you can’t go back to being a pink elephant.

I’m partial to dogs.

*photos by flickr

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Interrupt This Program

*You’ll need to turn off my playlist for this:

What are you trying to do with your writing? What is anyone trying to do when they write? Say something, right? We write to communicate a message, a moment, a story, a character or a legend. We write as a form of expression.

About once every five years a commercial is aired that nails it, a commercial that’s able to tell a beautiful or compelling story in less than two minutes. The Levi’s one I’ve chosen to post is just over a minute long and it rates as my favorite commercial of all time. And I consider myself somewhat of a commercial connoisseur. I used to turn on the TV as a kid and if nothing else was on, I’d be content and satisfied to watch commercials for hours. I’ve always enjoyed deciphering “what works” and what’s insulting in commercials.

Maybe it’s the music that entices me with this one, but if you watch it you’ll see there’s a story there (I love when the guy slows down for a moment behind the elderly couple).

What does this commercial say to you? And what is your favorite commercial of all time?

*commercial thanks to YouTube and Levi's

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D. Wilson

Phenomenal. There’s a word to describe Wilson’s examination of who we are and why we are here in Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl. Every single page of this book captivated me with whirring thought-provoking questions, stirring commentary on nature and poignant expressions of our role on this tilt-a-whirl (aka: the globe).

In his book, a witty Wilson inspires laugh out loud moments, pokes at well-known philosophers, and illustrates poetic observations and unique impressions of the play we all have a part in. The stream of consciousness style complements the ever-changing simple then convoluted subject matter addressed in the book. Wilson injects the reader into changing seasons and is unafraid to challenge readers to take a closer look at the surrounding world.

I found this book to be refreshing. At many places in the book I felt as if Wilson and I had momentarily traded seats on the “Tilt-A-Whirl” and I could visually imagine the points he was making. His thoughts resemble so many of my thoughts. Notes is a wonderfully satisfying portrayal of a markedly studied humanity. Simply put, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl is now on the top of my list of favorites.

It’s a ride not to be missed. It was an honor to read this book as a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

To quote Wilson, “I fill my lungs with the world, with this life, with this gift beyond containing. There is only one thing I can say.
Thank you. And I must say it with my life. Through my life.
To the end of my life
And after."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Missing Post & Family Picture

I believe my last post might be lost in cyberspace somewhere. It’s about as off the radar as you can get, but I hope you’ll find it. It’s the one from yesterday titled Writing Evolution.

Also, I’m going to ask for a prayer request. I'm dealing with a sick family member and daily my heart breaks, though I know I need to face the whole thing a little more head on. Please pray that my time with God gives me wisdom and a refreshed Spirit.

Finally, here is a picture of my family. I always enjoy seeing more of my blogging friend's lives so I thought I’d share a picture of the most important people in my life.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Writing Evolution

My evolution as a writer began in quiet moments as I scratched out short stories in my butterfly journal. This fascination with writing morphed into making my friends write poetry or screenplays with me in junior high and high school.

Once I learned the value and malleable nature of words I found more comfort in writing rather than speaking. As an art of expression, I was better at the former. When teachers responded to my work and encouraged my writing I knew I had something akin to a gift. This gift equaled that of clay given to a potter. There was an unspoken expectation or even demand that I knead, sculpt and create something out of what I’d been given.

I graduated from college with a degree in English, Creative Writing. If I wasn’t in love with reading and writing as of yet, the affair began in earnest at this point of my life.

Then as I entered the work force all turned business. I wrote press releases, marketing pamphlets about things that bored me and I wrote newsletters, so very many newsletters. I submerged into a colder world of writing, one that I would have gladly turned my back on at any given moment. This style of writing held no dazzle and enthrallment for me. I ached to be enthralled. Instead, ache came from another source. It was as if I’d dropped an anvil in the lap of my writing dreams.

It wasn’t until I returned to the state I grew up in that my writing snapped back to life. My mind turned into a swizzle stick for stories to churn and pour on the page with deliberate effervescence. Characters barged through my routine days of mothering and I found myself at a crossroads where I needed to either entertain them and kindly invite them in or I could belligerently and begrudgingly slam the door in their faces. I’ve never been a supporter of rudeness. I flung wide the doors. And as doors so often do one led to another, then to another. A corridor of doors and stories swept ajar in my brain, intentional words racing on the computer screen, now waiting to be published.

My short stories, devotionals, inspirational essays, how-to articles, book reviews, blog posts and poems have had their day in the sun. They are tan and content, though in all likelihood they’ll continue to take in the heat. They’ve seen the glowing rewards, the buttery crisp afterglow of being on the page. But now it’s time for the characters, those identifiable, lovable, though at times scratchy as a Brillo Pad men, women and children to rub the sleep from their eyes, walk into the light of day and be startled by all that’s out there. It’s time for my characters to be singed, while simultaneously deliciously enticed by the kiss of sun on their faces as they sprawl out in a book waiting to be read. Waiting for you to read them.

It is time…

*photos by flickr
** I'll be over at Live Beautiful later today.

Friday, August 14, 2009

One Question Friday

Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It is my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

Ready for your question?

Kindle or book in hand?

*photos by flickr

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Code Mode

It's been awhile! I'm glad to be blogging again. It's good to be back in my thoughts.
Decode the word picture and then let me know how you'd answer it.
*photos by flickr

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

One Question Friday (on Wednesday)

I’m going to be on a blog hiatus during the next week, so I wanted to post my One Question Friday early.

Every Friday (or Wednesday in this case) I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.
It is my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

Ready for your question?

Land or Water?

Meet me at
5 Minutes for Faith this Friday and Exemplify Online on Tuesday.

*photos by flickr

Taking Time

college applications                 homecoming                            flag football                basketball             SATs   ...