Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Many Faces of Jealousy (Part Two)

Growing up, my older sister’s soccer skills put mine to shame. I spent a good deal of my elementary and middle school years silently jealous of her talent and the attention she received because of it. That is until I finally learned the best way to manhandle the emerald-eyed beast.

Time after time I’ve come to understand the best way for me to deal with jealous feelings is to grow even thicker inside my own skin. What the heck does that mean? I’m all about the Gotta Be Me Grin. Whenever I feel even the slightest hint of envy bubbling up from within, I go into power drive to fight it, and I remind myself to stay the course on my own unique path.

You might be wondering what I did…about the whole soccer deal. Ashley was All-American numerous times, earning a full scholarship to college. She met Pele (see doohickey over last e). She even played against Mia Hamm in a final four college tournament. She shined. I quit. After eighth grade I decided to stop following in her shadow and I tried dance instead. Well folks, let me just tell you I move to my own rhythm. And because of this I was positioned back row, corner. Dance wasn’t it for me. But I kept searching to find my niche. In the search I discovered I’m one determined mother (well, that came later) with a predilection toward resiliency.

I get jealous in this industry sometimes, too. But I took notes from my youth. I fight it with the grin—The Gotta Be Me Grin.

Here are some other faces of jealousy without its mask:

Pity Me Pout
This one is so easy to fall prey to. The whole woe is me mentality. “I’m not as good as Perfect Patty.” Newsflash…Patty ain’t perfect and no, you’re not as good as her. Because, Pity Me, you aren’t meant to be Patty.

I Gotta Be Me Grin
This one is my favorite face to form to combat jealousy’s jaundiced glow. This is when we decide to celebrate others while growing in confidence in who we are, where we are, what we are doing, and why we’re here.

Protective Possum Pose
Shut down mode. Possum buries the treasures, the extraordinarily traits and talents meant to be offered only because PPP believes the lie that she doesn’t measure up. How can she measure up to anything when she flings herself under the dirt to hide?

Copycat Calculated Wink
It’s a detriment to ourselves and others when we wink away copycat style. We aren’t meant to be them. They aren’t meant to be us. Emulating to a point of copying insults both the copied and the copier.

Blabbering Blubberer
The Blabbering Blubberer runs his mouth desperate for attention, be it positive or negative. In a fitful and desperate cry to be noticed, BB flails and squawks in attempt to avert focus from the jealous party. More often than not BB ends up looking like a bumbling peacock with a cockatoo bleat.

Bitter Overbite
Unaddressed, jealousy festers. It can turn your heart cold, altering the climate of your affection and generosity. Unexplored, thoughts of this nature can crowd and tangle like an impassable jungle. This massive overbite of bitterness is bound to bite you back.

Self-doubting Shy Guy
Seesaw brain. So subtle this one is (so Yoda I love to be). Waffle and waver. Stew and simmer. The gumption is gone. Risk-taking extinguished, the light in Shy Guy’s eyes has dimmed. He’s allowed the beast to win, claiming the landscape of his face—of his whole demeanor.

Sneering Slanderer
This is the “I can’t win, so I’ll just bring ‘em down with me” mentality. It reveals great weakness of character and a gaping lack of humility. Bad mouth the person I’m jealous of and maybe I can tarnish their reputation. Odds are Sneering is the one who’ll feel the hurt on this one.

How do you unmask and fight some of the faces above? Can you think of any other faces that have helped you slay the emerald-eyed beast?

*photo by flickr
**Oh, and I’m still dancing to my own rhythm!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Many Faces of Jealousy (Part One)

Jealousy. We all feel it. The writing industry is ripe with opportunities to become jealous. I’ve bumped into plenty of posts that have addressed ol’ emerald eyes, but I plan to shed light on something I haven’t come across—jealousy sprung to action. Jealousy without its mask.

In a two part exploration, I intend to delve right into the heart (or should I say face?) of this prevalent beast. I’m going to detail common ways people behave when jealousy has got their tongue.

Pity Me Pout
I Gotta Be Me Grin
Protective Possum Pose
Copycat Calculated Wink
Blabbering Blubberer
Bitter Overbite
Self-doubting Shy Guy
Sneering Slanderer

On Wednesday, I’ll decode the eight faces above. We’ll unmask this beast together. I hope you’ll join me.

(As a side, I discuss topics like this not only because human behavior fascinates me to no end, but because such knowledge helps me better understand my characters…and let’s be honest here, myself better.)

*Excited to share who All “I”s are on today! (mid-morning)
**photo by flickr

Friday, November 18, 2011

Moving Thoughts 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’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

This is my 500th post!

In honor of that I’d like you to finish this…

I’d like to be surrounded by 500 ____________________.

*photos by flickr
**I will be offline during most of next week. Happy Thanksgiving!

***I’m loving the dialogue so far on my Facebook writer page. Please come join the conversation!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lisa Jordan's Time to Shine

When I was a new writer dabbling in fiction, the most common bit of advice I heard was “Write what you know.” So what did I know?

Small towns…check.


Marine Corps…check.


Fear…check check.

When I married my husband, he was a military policeman in the U.S.M.C. Upon his discharge, he wanted to be a civilian cop like his dad. At first I thought it was really cool. But closer to his discharge date, anxiety gripped my windpipe. The thought of something happening to him made my blood run cold. I did something I’ve regretted ever since—I begged him to give up his dream.

All of those elements planted a seed for my first novel idea.

As a beginning writer, my novel grew out of control with head hopping, telling instead of showing, passive sentences—it needed to be weeded and pruned.

One major change I had to make was to give my hero a flaw. Stephen was too perfect. So I gave him a past. Something was still missing. I asked My Book Therapy dynamic duo Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck to help me brainstorm. After our two-hour phone call, my characters had roots and branched out into a story with depth.


I’m holding a scavenger hunt and lakeside photo contest to promote my Lakeside Reunion release. Plus, blog commenters on my blog hop will be put in a drawing for fun prizes—breakfast basket, Love Inspired Authors basket, autographed copies of Lakeside Reunion. Visit my Lakeside Reunion Contest page for more information.

The token for this blog is a lakefront.

Bio: Heart, home and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories that feature both comes naturally to her. She has been writing contemporary Christian romance for more than a decade. Her debut novel, Lakeside Reunion, will be released in November by Love Inspired, followed by her second novel, Lakeside Family, in August 2012 by Love Inspired. Happily married for twenty-two years, Lisa and her husband have two young adult sons. When she isn’t writing or caring for children in her in-home childcare business, Lisa enjoys family time, romantic comedies, good books, crafting with friends and feeding her NCIS addiction. Visit her here to learn more about her writing.

Lakeside Reunion: Bed-and-breakfast owner Lindsey Porter prays she won’t run into Stephen Chase when she returns to Shelby Lake. Five years ago, the cop jilted her to marry another woman, and Lindsey fled town. But no sooner does she hit city limits than Stephen pulls her over for a broken taillight. Despite the past, he’s still able to stir up Lindsey’s old feelings for him. Now a widower and single dad, Stephen recognizes a second chance when he sees one. And he’ll do anything to make Lindsey trust in God and take a risk for love—again.

I’m honored to host Lisa Jordan here today. She’s a kindhearted woman and it’s thrilling to celebrate her in her time to shine. Originally this post should have been published weeks ago, but with the power outage and the craziness that followed, Lisa was generous to adjust to the publish date. I hope you check out Lisa’s site and her book!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Whittling a Story Idea

Where do you get your ideas? I’ve been asked that dozens of times. I’ve given it some thought and I’ve decided the best way to answer that query is with an image.

My brain is landscaped with a forest of ideas. (Think Germany’s Black Forest.) Novel sparks branch out on a weekly and sometimes, daily basis. Clearly, I can’t tackle writing fifty books a year, so I’m required to seek out the best sticks—the ones that will endure. The ones that will aid me in telling the best stories.

I gather handfuls of twigs, surveying them for their durability and shape. I examine them, estimating how they’ll turn out after I begin the whittling process. I tune in, as I meander through my thoughts, listening for crackling under my feet or watching until a bird ascends from a branch, triggering a gentle bounce. This process is akin to identifying a glimpse of a character, a snatch of conversation, or a compelling plot concept. I take notes. I pay attention.

Then I put my ideas to the test by cutting them. It takes me months and sometimes as long as a year to slice off the outer bark as I determine what about this particular stick will endure or even if it will endure once it’s been stripped to the core. I’m patient. I’m disciplined. I’m intent on shedding off all the extraneous in order to discover, as I write, the beauty beneath the bark.

And the fresh wooded scent grows more pungent as I work the stick into a story.

Where do you get your ideas?

*Come see who All “I”s are on today here!
**photo by flickr

Friday, November 11, 2011

Moving Thoughts 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’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

Ode to Neil Young…Hey Hey, My My, is it better to burn out or fade away?

*photos by flickr

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blogging Basics (As Told from a 50s Mom)

I thought I’d have a little fun with you this I 8 Wednesday. Many of you are experienced bloggers, but I find I still learn tidbits here and there to improve ~ thoughts that move~ and I tweak my website based on my findings. The following might be review for you, but have fun reading, and ingest it as a review with a twist (thanks Chub). Even if you’ve been around this block, swing around one more time as I flashback to the 50s.

50s Mom says:

A little soap and water never killed anyone
I make mistakes. Commas will be the end of me, that’s for sure. But I invest a concerted effort when it comes to checking my spelling and grammar in my posts. I’m a professional, so I work hard to come across that way, even if I’m churning something out the day after I’ve been up all night with a sick kid (like now). I write all my posts in Word and read them over multiple times before posting. I miss a few snafus here and there, but I work hard to offer clean and shiny content.

Turn down that rock ‘n roll
Automatic playlists: Switch them to optional or get rid of them altogether. This one was difficult for me to adjust. I love music. I kept my playlist (bottom right) because music is most certainly a form of expression, however, I’d read one too many posts discouraging the automatic noise when someone clicks on my site. I sucked it up and made the change. All for professionalism.

Wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident
I’ve seen it and I know you’ve come across it. Bitter Betsy feels the right to spew on her blog about Needling Nancy. Watch it. I’m all for vulnerability and authenticity (you’d know that if you’ve hung around this block) but impulsivity can bite you back. What goes online stays online. No take backs. And I know I don’t need to remind you just how powerful words are.

You’ll poke your eye (or somebody’s eye out)
Minimize flashy or distracting images. Tidy up. Keep a clean room. You know the drill.

As long as you live under my roof, you’ll do as I say (someday you’ll thank me for this)
Don’t forget your audience. It benefits you to write with an interactive approach, asking questions, engaging the people you most want to reach. And for Pete’s sakes, get out there and comment on other blogs.

What are you, Elvis? Quit your gyrating.
Content is king. Go somewhere with your blog posts. Think them through. Don’t just oscillate or ramble with your words.

Your face will freeze that way
Get creative with your blog topics. No one says you have to be stuck writing about one thing. But should you choose a single topic, remember there are hundreds of ways to write about…say flowers (currently reading The Language of Flowers where the author proves this. I also know because in one of my novels, The Flower Girls, I had a blast depicting varying aspects of flowers.) Don’t stay frozen and feel stuck with your content.

Watch your hem (this is the one to rebel against)
Moms want it long, but I suggest shooting for 500 words or less (give or take). If you care about your readers, you care about their attention spans and it’s likely they’re reading many other blogs. Rebel and write those short shorts or classy it up with a hoop skirt.

Can you think of anything else 50s mom might say regarding blogging basics?

*photo by flickr

Monday, November 7, 2011

Giving Up to Receive

~ What Eight Days Without Power Taught Me ~

Have you ever been driving and lost all concept of how you got from mile one to mile two? You stay in the zone, eyes focused on the road, but you lack aesthetic (or any) appreciation for the view you’ve just passed.

I feel like I’ve been driving through my life like that lately.

And with the recent snowstorm, my brakes failed and spun my car directly in front of a wooden sign with the words: Scenic View (time to pay attention).

Was the last eight days without power bouncing from a hotel to our house to a dear friend’s home back to our house stressful? Sure it was. But I gained something back in that time. I was reintroduced to a refined sense of my role as a mother, wife, caretaker, and even as a writer.
This forced break was exactly what I needed and I’m not sure I would have taken the time had I not been stripped of power (heat and electricity included).

Here are some comical (and chaotic) ways the storm impacted us:
~I learned that toothpaste can freeze.
~Steve was traveling for four days during the outage so I took action with getting the girls to warm places.
~I now understand the description “swampy eyes” Zusak used for the Standover Man in The Book Thief after spending five nights sleeping in the basement with the temperature reading 45 degrees inside the house.
~Each morning, I sat up anxiously waiting for the pipes to click and churn to life as though the house was in a coma and I willed it to snap out of it.
~My girls played a nice round of musical coughs.
I started my first fire and kept it going for hours. (I will not stop you if you are now clapping.)
~We looked stylish wearing our scarves and hats 24/7.
~All sense of the date and time got entirely whacked out inside my head just in time for Daylight Savings.
~I kept the kids busy and content even as their school was cancelled for the week and they were hopped up on Halloween candy we never did get to hand out.
~Did I mention our downstairs toilet is broken and at night when we had to go to the bathroom (which sadly I have a habit of doing) we had to hike up to the Arctic with a flashlight.
~I know I haven’t mentioned the way I fell in love with the way my kids laugh, how my husband kisses, and how great our neighbors and dear friends were during this time. We were blessed to have neighbors help in small ways and longtime family friends host us for a few nights. We turned those days into a vacation, sightseeing and fine dining on the coast. I was entirely too close to jumping onboard a sailboat (excursions were reasonable in the town we visited) and sailing away with my kiddos.

So what’s the takeaway here—the big shebang?

I can’t tell you how many times I about lost it over the course of the last eight days. But every time I was on the verge, something snared my attention, bringing me back to the beauty of the moment—the blessing of simplicity. And I learned that sometimes we need to lose it to gain it back again. Gain it back with more heft and promise.

Ever been forced to slow down? Tell me about it.

Check out who All “I”s are on today on my FB writer page (should be there by 9:00)!
*photo by flickr

Taking Time

college applications                 homecoming                            flag football                basketball             SATs   ...