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It Snowed Through The Night

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Nevermore….

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IMG_9631It’s been a busy few weeks with homeschool and family. I haven’t had the extra creative over flow lately, so my blog has been neglected. After receiving a few rejections and suggestions about my ‘book’, I just lost heart. These rejections of voice and suggestions of a few more hundred hours of work made me feel inadequate to even write my own name. I slipped into a bad case of small heart syndrome. But this is just a season and this too shall pass.

Winter is being pushed out by the spring time weather. It’s been beautiful and I have not wanted to sit behind this computer. The ground has been birthing new plants and we are learning about the character of this new property. I’m told it’s very lovely in the summer time.

Then again, it’s spring time in the Rockies.

I’ve been watching a Tulip plant sprout leaves and a red flower was beginning to push up into bloom. The bunnies must have been watching it too. The bloom was gone this morning. The sun didn’t shine and the Tulip’s wounds were dressed in snow. My excited anticipation of seeing this Tulip bloom are chewed away and frozen.


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Just Hanging Around

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My Jeans, My Love

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I wore my favorite jeans today as I worked in the garden. I’d prefer them over most any other piece of clothing. I wear them all the time.

My love for my jeans could no longer be contained. It busted clean out. The new vent is in the shape of a heart.

Alas, they love me back.

Choose Your Words With Much Thought

wordsWords have consequences. Depending on the word and how it is used, the consequences can be for good or for bad.

Words are powerful tools that we can used to build each other up or tear each other down. Words can bring a bright ray of sun shine to a dark and stormy day. Words can break hearts or provide material that someone will play back over and over in their mind.

Words are so important that the bible uses the word “word” over 750 times and the word “mouth” over 450 times. The actual numbers depend on the bible translation and language used, but the amount of times the words are used tells me something. How we use words and our mouths is important.

I can be compared to a sheep or a lamb and I would not feel offended. I know how thick my skull is when it comes to listening to correction or authority. I can be so stubborn that maybe I would be better represented as a willful mule. (Laugh here if you can relate.) I need many words.

My stubborn nature is sever enough that I have to be told things over and over again. More and more words are needed. Sometimes I need to be told things ten times before I comprehend and some times it takes years for the simplest morsel of words to sink in. So with that knowledge of my stubborn nature, I am thankful for the repetitive life lessons. Same words, different times.

Words are so important to our existence that even God hung out with the Word (John 1:1-2) when the beginning of our time started. Words are power. In Genesis 1, the Lord spoke and everything we know and still desire to know was created. With just a few Words. Words create life.

What happens when we misuse words? Consequences?

Even if “I’m sorry” can lead two hearts back into a relationship reconciliation, there are usually consequences to deal with. Sometimes there needs to be a rebuilding of trust or the ending of a relationship. Sometimes the law gets involved. Sometimes words need to be forgotten in the folds of time to be forgiven or taken off our minds or out of our hearts.

Consider how you use your words. Do you speak life or death?

How about you put down this laptop and pay attention to me!

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One Night at Onaledge – Manitou Springs, CO

header-rotation5A few weeks before my oldest daughter’s 16th birthday, my husband and I began our search for what made the imageperfect 16th Birthday Present. We found many great ideas. Parties, cars, money, technology, etc. None of these things seemed to fit what we were looking for.

My daughter has a heart of gold and loves the Edgar Allen Poe motif. She loves ravens both in the gothic style and biblical sense. She’s drawn to them. She also has a curiosity to explore old buildings and has expressed the desire to tour America’s abandoned mental health hospitals. The prepackaged teenage gift just wouldn’t do.

With a simple google search, I found a list of Colorado’s most haunted locations and narrowed it down to Bed & Breakfast Hotels. The Onaledge B&B on the Red Gregg’s property in Manitou Springs, CO was on that list. It was affordable and available. I booked it and told everyone but my daughter about our plans to sleep there for the night.

On the night of my daughter’s 16th birthday, she requested dinner at the Mona Lisa Restaurant with family and her boyfriend. We picked up her boyfriend and arrived at the restaurant. We stuffed ourselves with all the cheesy goodness that was offered. When we thought we could eat no more, we ate more. The meat and chocolateimage fondue flowed until we tapped out for the night.

After each course, my daughter was allowed to open one gift. There was the Raven Scarf after the cheese and a personalized photo album from Justin. Then just after the chocolate, we told her about our evening plans to stay in a haunted B&B for her Birthday present. Immediately, she burst into tears and signed with a “sh*t”.

Her first thought was that we were going to drop her off alone at some haunted hotel. We assured her that we would be staying too. My husband tried to assure her that it wasn’t haunted, but I warned them both otherwise. I’d done a small amount of extra reading that assured me that the Onaledge was as close to haunted as anything could be.

We dropped off my daughter’s boyfriend at his home and then drove through the heavy black cast iron gates of the B&B. The night was dark and the old building was waiting for us. We opened the doors to our spacious room and brought in our over night bags. TIMG_4228he antique furniture welcomed us. The eagle clawed tub invited my daughter in for a soak.

It was late and we wasted no time jumping into the king sized bed. My husband immediately fell asleep and snoring kept my daughter up.

She abandoned us for the TV and a DVD copy of “Book of Eli”. During the dark hours of night, she didn’t sleep a wink.

I did fall sleep next to my husband. I’m used to the snoring and wasn’t bothered. I did keep waking up during the night and the room looked distorted. I could see the walls and mirrors with my dream lenses on.  I could tell what everything was but it just didn’t look right. This went on well past midnight and I could reason with myself that I was just dreaming.

The hours between midnight and 3am were the most creepy. My daughter was still watching DVDs. After she put in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” the DVD box started skipping and pausing on its own. Then the DVD player AND the TV just shut off. It did this a few times. My daughter says she was freaked out by this and felt that it wasn’t just random. She couldn’t shake the feeling that we were not alone for the rest of the evening.

Sometime during the TV/DVD incident, my dreams changed. I woke up 3 or 4 times shaking all over and I was thinking “it’s trying to strip off my soul”. My whole body was trembling from head to toe. I’ve never woken up like that before and that was defiantly a new thought. It only took a few moments to look around the room before I was fully awake. I stopped shaking and fell back to sleep only to awake again shaking. I did not rest in peace.

My husband snored the night away and woke fully rested. My daughter and I were able to grab some sleep once the sun started to raise.

Once the sun was up, we ate breakfast and wandered around the On-a-ledge building. We bumped into another couple staying in the building. The wife said she was also plagued with nightmares her first night there. During the sun lit hours, the place was inviting. The house held a feeling of home. I didn’t want to leave.

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Grunge is so Romantic

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Not romantic like the modern flowers and wine lust inducers, but Romantic as in the Art History time period. Romanticism that equals emotionalism. Romantic art is the best ‘ism’. I love to feel emotions or to have art influence me to feel.

Nirvana is popular again and playing on the local radio station. Up until today, I hadn’t realized that 20 years has passed since grunge music was first popular. I had the opportunity to grow up in the Northwest USA in the 90’s and everything back then was country or grunge. I didn’t even know RnB existed. I wore the flannels and over sized boy pants. I dressed like I didn’t care about anything or anyone. Most of me felt like that too. I didn’t care. Dirty apathy.

This morning I was driving over to pick up some flowers for a science dissection and listened to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and then a Pearl Jam song. Of course I knew every words by heart. I turned up the volume. As I sang along I realized how well the songs born in the grunge era were at excellent for expressing anger.

The emotions flooded my car as I listened to the dirty melodies and tear soaked lyrics. The notes brought up old anger that had been sleeping deep in my soul. There are no words for the old anger, but the music expresses it well.

Cute Little Bunny

I saw this little bunny hopping around in the snow during the last snow storm. I stepped outside in shorts and socks with camera in hand. It stayed still just long enough for me to snap this photo. This seems to be its favorite hiding place during the storm. Our new little welcomed guest!

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Fasting – March 2015

imageFor our family, this years Lent season started a week later than the traditional Lent. I went to visit my mom out-of-state during the beginning of the observance and I was celebrating life. As soon as we returned home, we all took up our fasts. I gave up digital gaming/FB (my xbox is gathering dust as we speak) and my husband gave up fast food & Fries. One of my girls gave up snacking and the other read meat.

For this year, that didn’t seem like enough. I have added in a few mini fasts. For this week, M-F, my husband and I are doing a Blender-Fruits/Veggies type fast. We have been sharing a half avocado and veggie burger patty for dinner. We’ve also been drinking water like crazy.

We have tried ‘juicing’ in the past but I can not stomach the cost of a high-end juicer on our budget. The cheap juicer we tired in the past produced little juice and much waste. I always felt like I was throwing away money. For this fast, I bought a $99 Ninja blender. So far I love it! It blends veggies down into a drinkable state and I’m not trashing a bunch of left over produce.

This Veggie/Fruit fast is a significant change from our normal eating/drinking habits. We generally have a 1-2 beers each evening or I might have a glass of wine. We generally eat meat with every meal along with different wheat products. I thought I’d miss the beer the most, but it wasn’t that.

IMG_9396Each day of this simple 5 day fast has been different:

Day 1 – We started the day off with green tea/lemon. I craved crispy toast w/butter & eggs. I was hungry allllllll day long and became aware of how much snacking I’ve been doing during the day. We planned to follow a blender fast plan that I found online, but it was just toooo much. It had 5 veggie/fruit packed drinks but both my husband and I can only stomach about 2 to 3 a day. I was thankful to have that plan as a guide and make our drinks with similar ingredients. Just not as much. My husband and I ate a few bites of fruit and veggies that night. The drinks and water cleaned me out on Day 1. My abdomen was feeling less stuffed. My husband had a headache and I did not.

IMG_9397Day 2 – Both my husband and I jumped on the scale to see if we had lost any weight. We lost a few. Probably just water weight.  We started the day off with green tea/lemon. I craved eggs all day long. We had 2 blender drinks and for dinner we ate half a veggie patty w/half an avocado. Dinner was satisfying. I still felt like I was starving during the day but pushed through and exercised as normal. I slept well. On day 2, the water and drinks cleaned my husband out. We both felt good.

Day 3 – Again, we woke up and jumped on the scales. We lost a few more pounds. Probably just more water weight.  We started the day off with green tea/lemon. I made a big veggie/fruit drink for my husband and I to sip on all day. We ate a hand full of raw almonds and ate a few bites of fruits. We drank plenty of water and had the same dinner as day 2. We felt awesome. I was not starving all day long and was able to drink green tea when I took my kids to “free pie” night at the Village Inn. On a side note, at bed time my gums looked swollen and my tongue had ulcers all over. The ulcers were probably from all the veggies/fruits, but I wasn’t sure. After looking through the internet info, I decided I probably needed some vitamins and drank a Muscle Milk protein shake. My gums looked better in the morning, but I’m not sure why they looked bad in the first place.

IMG_9399Day 4 – Again, we woke up and jumped on the scales. We dropped about 7 lbs. I’m thinking it’s still water weight and cutting out alcohol. I thought I’d miss my nightly sip of yum, but I didn’t. I missed food. We started the day off with green tea/lemon. We had another large drink to sip on all day and a veggie patty w/butternut squash soup.

Day 5 – This is our last day and already I’m starting to miss how simple food/meal prep has been this week. As we woke up and jumped on the scales, we saw that we both dropped 9 lbs. My jeans seem to fit better. The weight isn’t that important, but it’s been a fun measure to keep during the fast. We both are happy that our bodies don’t feel bloated. We were both having the same swollen bloated gut feeling prior to the fast. It felt like our guts were made of solid hard plastic. That’s gone and it feels good! Since yesterday, I’ve been feeling light-headed and this morning the same. I even have a little headache. Once I started drinking my blended veggie/fruit drink it went away. My husband hasn’t felt any negative side effects except hunger. I’m not really hungry this morning however I’m looking forward to eating. We’ve started today out with green tea/lemon and a big veggie/fruit shake to sip on throughout the morning. We’ll be drinking water by the liter as we have been all week. For dinner, I plan to eat baked fish and cheese tortellini. 🙂 I can’t wait.

Word Count? What’s your preference?

If you are blog post reader or other type of internet media reader, what is your word count preference?

50 or less words

250 or less words

500 or less words

1000 or less words

1000 or more words

depends on the post

word count doesn’t matter if there are photos

Didn’t See That One Coming

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What? The bottles I’m drinking water from are made of recycled pet!

Fun Writing – Fictional Short Stories in the First Person

A few days ago, I was scrolling though the WordPress reader. Looking for some more interesting posts to read. I like to read about cats, pets, art, photos, poetry, homeschooling and writing topics. Material is not short in supply and for that I am thankful. I ran across a short ‘story’ that was so funny to me, that I was crying and laughing. I shared it with my husband. Now I share it with you.

The post is called “Space Invader” and it’s awesome. Turns out, the whole blog is full of Fictional Short Stories that tickled my interest. So much so, that for fun I’m going to write “Semi-Fictional Short Stories in the First Person“. The first SFSSFP I wrote was about my favorite foster kitty Pistachio. That was a blast to practice writing from the cats point of view.

I am more than sure that writing SFSSFP is a craft that’s been around a long time, but I have just found it for myself. Happy for me.

I challenge you to write a SFSSFP today. Maybe walk an hour (in writing) in the shoes of your boss, pet(s), person on the sidewalk, or a teacher. Maybe even take a story you know a little something about and give it your own happy ending. (insert menacing smile here)

The piece below was inspired by the people we bought this house from. I added my own pieces to her story. She keeps hounding us about lost mail. Warning: There are adult themes and assumed language.

The Past Owner of Our House

F**king pills. The damn things run my life. This morning I woke up with my alarm clock yelling at me. And today I didn’t grace this clock with my fingers. Because it woke up my rage. I pushed snooze with my fists. I smashed the thing into millions of pieces. Tiny plastic shards flew everywhere. There you go. You did your job. I’m up.

These f**king pills. Like these things can fix my head. But I’m stuck thinking they will. When my husband said he was leaving me, my soul slipped into bitter apathy. I could feel it go. Every ounce of give-o-f**k was stripped away. It was bad enough that he left me for one of his college students. Talk about an upgrade. He traded in my tiny boobs for a hard chested twenty year old boy. I can just imagine them looking at their rock collections together. F**k rocks. I hope you both choke on dust.

One shot of Whiskey will help the medicine go down. A thought worth smiling about. I keep my pills in my booze cabinet so I can keep my reality straight. Now I’ve got to sell this damn house. The realtor promised these Hill Billies from Texas my sophisticated security. I loved this little home. We sank our money into it and our future was based here. But now it’s all boiled down to “Get the f**k out”. I think I’ll take another shot of Whiskey to start my day. Damn pills don’t do a thing.

The Big Day – For Pistachio – Semi Fictional Short

According to my chart, I was born behind some convenience store dumpster. When my Momma’s owners found out she was pregnant, they dumped her off. I wonder if they even slowed down their car when they booted her out. Can you imagine what kind of owner dumps a pregnant momma off in the snow when temperatures have fallen blow zero degrees? There was a pizza box left out and my momma had us there. The store owner found us there and called to have us picked up.

A man came to pick us up. My momma was too tired to even protest. My 2 sisters and 1 brother were too small to even open our eyes on that day but we could hear them talking. The store owner didn’t have the heart to leave us out there in the snow. He kept calling us dumpster babies. I guess I’m a dumpster baby.

The cage that in the van was so warm. The man in the truck picked us all up in one scoop and put all 5 of us on a warm blanket in the cage. The cage door was secured and the man hopped into the driver seat. The engine roared and the truck’s heater kicked on. The warm air blew back over us and it felt so good. I almost fell right to sleep. He turned some knob and the radio came on.

“More snow tonight” said the voice, “the Arctic Vortex shows no sign of leaving.” Then the music came on. Guitars and drums pulsed the warm air. Then his phone played a tune and he turned the knob back off on the radio. The man in the truck pulled over and took the call. His son, Chad, was sick at school and he needed to come pick Chad up.

Chad had been sick a lot this year. The doctors weren’t sure why but his immune system wasn’t working well. He kept getting sick. Thankfully his dad was able to get a job driving this truck. The job wasn’t so bad. Dad would pick up stray animals and check on pets that weren’t being treated well. The job paid for the doctors visits for Chad. The man driving the truck took care of his son and the animals.

I could tell I would like him and he’d like me if he’d just pick me up out of this cage. I could tell he was an animal lover. He was everything that an employee at a Humane Society should be. Taking care of people and animals.

The truck stopped and the man picked up our cage. He brought us into the building. That place was warm too. He smiled and handed us over to the receiving lady. “More dumpster babies,” he said. The receiving lady’s face dropped it’s smile and she took my momma out of her cage. She hugged my momma and some tears fell from her eyes. “I hate it when this happens and it happens all the time,” she said. The receiving lady put my momma back in our cage and pet us all. Her tears kept falling on our heads.

We were checked into the computer and transferred into a new cage. It was warm and there was food for my momma. I can’t even eat food yet. My momma left us to explore the litter box and to get some water. There was more milk to give us this time when she laid back down. She was full for the first time since I’ve been born.

We hung out in that cage for about a week. The people kept coming in to check on us and gave us more food. I opened my eyes and started eating that wet food in the cage. It was so warm and the blanket was so cozy. It was better than when we lived behind the dumpster.

One of the workers took us out of our cage and put us into a big pet carrier. The worker had curly blonde hair and big caring eyes. She had visited us often while we lived there in that cage. The worker picked us up and took us out into a room where a woman and two red heads were sitting. When they saw the cage, they came to us and opened the cage. The kept smiling and kissing us. Didn’t they know we were dumpster babies.

The woman and her two red heads signed for us and got supplies from the curly blonde lady. She said she’d see us back in a week for a check up. The woman and her two red heads packed us up in their car and took to their home. It was warm.

They kept hugging and petting me. The woman keeps telling everyone that the one with the green collar is her favorite. That is me. I love her too. She is warm and she sits at her computer a lot. I like to sleep on her lap. She is so warm. When she calls me, I waste no time. I’m there. The two red heads loved us too. They hold us and pamper us. They kiss us all the time maybe more than the woman. The two red heads clean up our messes. We make lots of messes all 5 of us. The woman’s husband feeds us in the morning before he goes to work. Me and my family like sitting with him while he watches TV in the evening.

They call us “Fosters” so I guess they didn’t hear the store owner who called us “Dumpster babies.” I like Fosters better anyways. I hope the store owner won’t get mad that woman and her family changed our names.

I’ve been eating so much food and playing with brother and sisters. My momma even likes to play with us. She loves to chase the toys around but she doesn’t like climbing up the curtains like I do. We’ve all grown a lot. I now weigh over two pounds.

We went to a check up yesterday and they say we are ready. The woman and her two red heads are going to bring us back to the woman with curly blonde hair. She says it’s time we find our forever home. We are going to be neutered or spayed tomorrow and this weekend we get to go to the mall. That’s were someone is going to adopt us. YAY! Saturday will be the Big Day!

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Excuse Me While I’m Out

Yay! Not only is it Spring Break for our home school community, but I’ve found a writing contest. It’s actually a writing contest that fits my book. Can you imagine? I’m sure contests like this come around often but this beauty has me written all over it. If you have any YM Adventure Fiction Contest ideas or sources…. please paste them in the comments.

This contest has turned into a motivational boost that I’ve needed. I’ve already spent hundreds of hours on my manuscript and it’s only 43,000 words. But after hundreds of hours, I do not yet have a finished product. Maybe this is because I’m an armature writer and maybe I’m slow. I’m half way through the 3rd edit and up until yesterday, my progress was at a halt. Home schooling my kidos actually takes up a good deal of my time and managing the household also occupies my time. But now, I need to intentionally carve out some editing time. Start time…. NOW!

I have my story into a publisher and a few agent queries out there. Thankfully I’ve been rejected at least once, but no response from the others. I will patiently wait for a yes and finish the 3rd edit.

The writing contest is here.


 

Here’s some basic info about the contest:

Fiction Contest

Welcome to the 2015 Leapfrog Fiction Contest page!

The contest will open on January 15 and close on May 1.

the entry fee is $30.

What to Enter

Adult, young adult (YA) and middle grade (MG) novels, novellas, and short story collections are accepted. Minimum word count: 22,000. Individual stories in a collection may have been published in journals. Books that have been self-published will be considered “:unpublished” if fewer than about 200 copies were printed.

We look for literary fiction and mainstream fiction, including science fiction. Generally we are less interested in strict genre fiction, but if a manuscript is good and grabs our attention, we don’t care what the genre is.


7 Inches of Snow

IMG_3943I just learned how to use the panoramic camera on my phone. Check out this beauty. A few days back we got 7 inches of snow and some sun shine.

A Week Before Lent and Looking Back – 2015

Our family observes Lent and it’s right around the corner. February 18th it begins and on April 2nd it ends. Our church here in Colorado Springs had suggested last year that we follow Lent. They provided formal church services to begin Lent and to end it. I’m glad we took the time to observe it.

Why did our family observe Lent last year and why we will again:

Our church present Lent as a time of year to give up something that distracts/occupies our time. Some thing that takes time away from the Lord. In place of the distractions, it was suggested that we prayed. We just moved to the area when this challenge was given and our hearts were in need of some tending to.

I had no idea how much of an impact this sort of observance could have on our lives!

What did we give up:

First we prayed and considered the cost of the Lent fast. Then we made the commitment. There was no forcing and much grace if needed. This fast was not something we’d destroy our relationships over.

I gave up digital gaming/social media like Facebook.

My husband gave up fast food.

My oldest daughter gave up snacking, flavored drinks, and TV.

My youngest daughter gave up meat.

How did observing Lent affect the family:

My youngest daughter’s experience:

She said it was hard to give up meat. There were a few vacations and birthday celebrations that she stuck to her fast with. She felt like she was denying herself enough food and made her realize what homeless people might feel like. It was only a small thing that she gave up but some people don’t have that choice. She learned that she could rely on the Lord for strength. During one week in the beginning, she wanted to give up and eat meat. She said she prayed for help and she was able to complete the whole Lent fast.

My oldest daughter’s experience:

She said it was hardest to give up snacking. She said that she hadn’t realized how much she used snacking to comfort herself throughout the day. She said she was hungry all the time and as a teenager that didn’t surprise me. In the place of snacks, TV, and flavored drinks she’d turn to her iPod or read some books. She would pray that the Lord would inspire her with crafting ideas or ways to entertain herself. During meals she would eat a larger portion and drink tons of water. She lost weight even though that was not a goal or needed. She tells me today that she gained back every ouch.:) She felt healthy during the fast and now. She said the first few days were the hardest to endure. To help cope, she built up a hidden stock pile of goodies for the day that Lent ended. Her pile included: 1 Twinkie, 1 Gatorade, 1 bottle of Coke, 1 can of Mountain Dew, 1 small bag of chips, 1 jar full of chocolate candies, and some chocolates that she purchased in Washington DC (Coco Salsa). She learned that even when life “sucks” it gets better.

My husband’s experience:

My husband went into Lent with a habit of buying his lunch from a fast food place. He had to stop that habit and plan his lunches ahead of time. Leftovers were always eaten during that time. He would be out and about when he got hungry and would save himself for a meal at home. We saved a few bucks during his fast but he didn’t spend much to begin with.

My experience:

To be honest, I didn’t think my choice of items to fast from was a big deal. That is until about a week into it. I didn’t know that I had been pacifying myself in front of cell phone games and Facebook posts. I was good with the false accomplishment I was feeling from my games and by other’s posts online. I can remember getting so stinking frustrated over not being able to use my electronic pacifiers. I was pissed off! I crankily prayed that God would step into this void in my life. Later that night, got the inspiration to make a quilt for my Grandma. Queen sized quilt. I figured that she’d love my craft. I sketched some plans and sewed a “Tree of Life” quilt. Like a good grandma… she did love it. My biggest take away from Lent last year was that I wasn’t creating or living like I was created for. That fast showed me that the Lord had so much more for me. All I had to do was log off and go get it.

The whole family benefit:

Lent 2014 was the first time our family had practiced denying ourselves for a long period of time.

We learned that we could actually NOT get what we wanted and be okay. Honestly, it’s been easier to say no to things that we know are a distraction. We learned that the Lord had our backs and would provide comforts and love us through temper tantrums. That was a big one. During Lent, our senses were turned on and our hearts were opened. The months post that fast have been great. We have all moved forward from stumbling blocks uncovered during Lent. Personally, I am committing to be a creator with the gifts that the Lord put in me.

So what is on your heart that you need to fast from? Interested in Lent? If you have never fasted from something over a month, give it a try!

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2# – A Snip From Our Book – What do you think?

Ordinary Day

“Are you going to get started with your day or do I need to light a fire under your butt?” Faith’s mother interrupted with no regard to the day-dream she was enjoying.

The morning had just started and Faith was enjoying a moment of peace by the window in her front room. Between school work and a busy social calendar, it seemed like she didn’t have much time to sit around to think any more. She knew that there was a pile of books waiting on her but she would rather continue watching the golden Aspen leaves flip around in the breeze. They looked like butterfly wings fluttering around the tree branches.

Her mom’s grouchy question couldn’t break her concentration from the world outside the window for too long. She did her best to block everyone out of her quiet time. Faith was trying to figure out how to paint the colors of the leaves. She wondered if she could mix water-color paints to match. The leaves were stained with fiery reds, saturated yellows, and burnt oranges. The neighborhood was lined with Pine Trees and Douglas Firs that were holding on to their green foliage. They helped to round out the full picture of Fall.

The air outside had shifted from clean crisp summer days to the fragrance of fallen leaves. Faith could smell the smoke from wood burning fireplaces. The tempo of everyone’s lives had changed from the slower pace of “relax and enjoy” to running around with busy school schedules and weekend soccer games.

The thought of everyone’s busy lives made Faith sigh. She picked up her hot chocolate and took a sip.

Faith was 13 years old and a fairly normal girl in the eighth grade. She wore her red wavy hair in a messy mound of a bun on the top of her head. As she sat there, she adjusted the head band that kept the annoying stray hairs out of her face. She stood about the same height as her class mates so nothing really stood out about her appearance. Except for her firey red hair.

“Yes mom,” Faith answered as she dreamily looked towards her mother. She decided to not let her family sour her day and put on an upbeat artistic expression. She waved her hand through the air as if she were holding a brush on a canvas and continued, “I was just trying to figure out how to paint the trees.”

The sarcastic reply that she gave her mother made Faith giggle under her breath. That was the motivation she needed to get her day started. Faith stood up with her drink and walked into the kitchen. Her nose was greeted by the smells of her sister’s cooking.

The kitchen was filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread and cut herbs. Faith’s sister, Annmarie, seemed to have a knack for waking the family up with a new food creation for breakfast. Faith always thought that Annmarie was trying to share her love in the food.

Today’s creation included an egg Quiche sprinkled with Cheddar Cheese, Parmesan Cheese shavings, a pinch of Rosemary, and a few scraps of shredded roast from last nights dinner. Annmarie took the time to slice, butter, and crisp up each piece of bread from a fresh-baked loaf. Once the Quiche was cooked just right, Annmarie stylishly presented the food and handed her sister a plate.

Like her sister, Annmarie was 15 and had an average build with a head full of red hair. She wore her hair about the length of her chin and flipped it out to frame her face. Even though she was feeding her family like Betty Crocker would, Annmarie would rather be anything than normal. She did as she pleased and enjoyed pushing the perceived stereotypes that people had put over girls. She preferred to wear her hair a bit shorter and spikier and enjoyed dressing a bit edgier. She often pushed her mother’s comfort levels by asking for things like cartilage piercings or if she could date.

“I don’t want eggs,” Faith mumbled as she put her plate back onto the counter. She only wanted the bread. So she picked up the hot buttered toast and took a bite. The bread crunched in her mouth as the creamy butter coated her tongue.

“Good! More for me,” grinned Annmarie as she scooped up Faith’s Quiche from the counter and put it onto her own plate.

Today was the first normal feeling day that Faith or Annmarie had in a while. There father was deployed again and every time he left it seemed to make everyone crazy. The first few months and last few months were always the hardest and trying to stay focused was impossible. Having a family member just up and leave tended to leave a hole in everyone’s life.

Just Write Something

After reading a post called “Why Writers Today Should Be Accepting More Jobs for Less Money”, I was left feeling a little deflated. I am now an aspiring writer and now I find out that I will not make money from it. Well, thankfully I haven’t started writing to make big money. At least not right now.

I will take your advice on writing. “It doesn’t have to be great, it just has to be done”.

I spent a few hours editing and rewriting the book today. That seemingly unending project does not provide me with any sense of accomplishment. It’s like I’m doing a lot of nothing. So, this is the place to write and writing will be done today.

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Earlier, as I sat down to write, my 13yr old daughter came to me with her pile of books and we talked about formal logic for about an hour. Yes, we are learning “Formal Logic”. Before I started home school, I had never heard of studying formal logic.

Somewhere during that hour, Logic and this posting started to dance together in my mind. Maybe I am not a paid writer yet and maybe I am not even a writer by any formal definition yet. But I’m presently studying to become one.

Right now in life, I am homeschooling a 8th and 10th grader and learning their subjects. I am taking care of house hold chores and fiscal budgets. I am going to keep my heart a safe place for my husband. I am mentoring my daughters on what it mean’s to be a woman in Christ. I am chasing after the heart of Christ. I am reading books outside of home school subjects, every night (this is new).

But……. in my extra time, as a hobby, at-least-for-the-next-few-years, I am learning how to be a writer. So… I will write and maybe figure out how to find a writing gig that I can “take less money for”.  Cheers!

The Problem With New Writers

I am by no means an experienced or a seasoned writer. So really I’m working within the thickness of problems with new writers. With my 30 something years of life experience and my 3 months of actual pen-to-paper writing experience, I’d like to share the top problems of new writers. This list is specifically pointing fun at my own mental state.

1. Clueless – Yes, new writers are clueless. Clueless about the publishing and literary agent industry. Clueless about what gets published. And clueless about their ‘writer’s voice’. Fix: read advice blogs, buy books, and ask for help. I’ve already spent endless hours reading about the writing/editing/publishing process and have bought a few books. I’ll let you know, once I publish my first book, if this advice actually works.

2. Manic – New writers are manic about their writing habits. From what I’ve read, some seasoned writers have boundaries and set hours of work. They can easily do life and writing. As for me, I can sit down to write for a week and my life falls apart. My house is a mess and my husband is concerned that I should leave the house once in a while. Who cares if there are no more clean clothes or no food in the fridge anyways? My writing takes over my thoughts and I’d rather hang out in my head with my story than real people. Fix: create working boundaries?

3. Tri-Polar – New writers often swing from ‘I’m an awesome new writer’ to ‘I don’t know how to write’ to ‘My writing sucks’. All three of these thought patterns can happen over the course of a week or all in one day. One day last week, I cycled through these thoughts twice. Fix: prior to becoming a new writer, warn the people in your life about the “problems with new writers”. Take a list of the names and emails of people who you know are willing to read over your work and can critique you or encourage you.

4. Distracted – Right after I wrote #3 I got a phone call, checked email, check Facebook, checked Twitter, checked email again, and ate lunch. You can bet I rechecked Facebook and my email before I writing again. By the time I opened this post back up I had forgotten what I was writing. Once I reread the title and the already created content, I thought I was funny and checked my Facebook. I ripped my attention away from the other things on the computer and started typing again. Fix: Start with…. hold on, I need to check my email.

5. Dreamers – New writers can be the most annoying type of dreamers. They all, at least sometimes, think they will be the next best thing to hit the market. They are all insanely over-confident and may even become offended by suggestions that their work needs work. They spend time they could be writing and editing on day dreaming about fame. Statistically, their dreams will stay in dream land and their books will sit on their laptops. Fix: learn to cycle through “Tri-polar” phases so that you can quickly go from dreaming to doubting.