>> Monday, December 19, 2011
Oh holy night, the stars are brightly shining…
It is the night of our dear savior’s birth…
Long lay the world, in sin and error piningTill He appeared and the soul felt its worth…
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoicesFor yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn...
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angels’ voices…
Oh night divine, oh night when Christ was born…
*Lyrics to "Oh Holy Night" composed by Adlophe Adam*
>> Sunday, December 11, 2011
Never Give Up On SomethingYou Can't Go A Day Without Thinking About
I saw this quote on FaceBook. It struck me like a thunderbolt and jolted me to the tips of my toes. Unable to get it out of my mind, it niggled my brain to distraction.
So I made a list.
Coming up with all the things I think about on a given day wasn't all that hard. That being said, I'm a simple woman with a pretty straight-foward outlook on life so there wasn't that much to choose from.
Here's my list, in no particular order (except for #1.)
2. Friends & Family
5. My job
7. My home
8. Golf (summer months only)
10. The Civic
11. My hair (it has to be on the list; however, it actually belongs in the 'addiction' category.)
It's not all that astounding and those that know me well probably could have pin-pointed most of them. But when I started to mull the list over in light of the first half of the quote, it begged a question:
Life can be difficult. And everyone feels like giving up sometimes. But how often do I throw up my hands and toss in the towel?Do I give up on the important things?
Some of my items are just normal things that can be annoying on occasion. Surely I would never give up on my home, car, or pets. Golf? I've considered it after a really bad round. Until the next time I step up to the tee.
Electronics can frustrate even the most saintly, but I wouldn't dream of living without them. My hair? I've learned to get past that one.
Writing is my passion and isn't going anywhere. When my brain turns to mush and I want to chuck it all, I just save and close the file, easy-peasy. It will be there another day.
Relationships can be hard. And messy. They're complicated and can make us crazy. But to do without? Not an option. You just learn to fight through the bad stuff: it always passes.
So maybe I don't give up on things. Do I take a break? Umm...yeah...probably more than I should. And eventually wander back.
It should be noted that God is in the top spot for a reason. I can honestly say I don't give up on him. Why? Because he NEVER gives up on me. I'm sure I frustrate him on occasion. And I totally know that my antics must amuse him.
There are times I whine at him and can be a bit of a complainer. I can lapse into victimhood in one dramatic heartbeat. His broad shoulders probably take me with a grain of salt, even at my worst.
And when I get distracted, he welcomes me back with a hug. After I figure out I don't have to do it all on my own.
Thank goodness he's always there.
Leads me to believe that he can't go a day without thinking about me.
Which means he'll never give up on me either.
That's a relief.
>> Tuesday, December 6, 2011
November totally rocked!
It flew by at warp speed and now that it's over, I'm looking back to reflect on what I learned and figure out where I go from here.
As I'm sure you all know, I was wrapped up in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short).
I typed my fingers to nubbins, striving to reach the 50,000 word goal by the 30th. It was fast and furious fun and just the same as the last two years, it was a learning experience too.
Here's a few of this year's insights:
1. Getting words on a page isn't that hard for me. I was able to spit out an average of 2-3,000 per day so I ended up over word count and ahead of schedule most of the time.
2. The quality of said words? Not so great. But it didn't matter: Just getting the storyline down created a framework to expand, revise, and tighten up.
3. There's a competitive streak in me that serves as a catalyst for my motivation. Deadlines really can be our friend!
4. I love to win! Enough said.
The end result of NaNo was that yes, I reached the 50,000 (55,659, to be exact) and more important, I was able to complete the rough draft of the manuscript I started two years ago.
Photo Finish is now safely tucked into a notebook (and backed up several different ways) so that the editing process can begin. I have test readers lined up, pre-editing phase done up to chapter 19 (of 50) and hope to move it into editing by the first of the year.
I'm also ready to get back to blogging. I made a choice to put my blog on the back burner because I was busy burning midnight oil on NaNo. Thanks for hanging in there. I hope you haven't grown weary of waiting for me to show up again and I appreciate your patience.
I plan on making a commitment to weekly posts (at least) and will bring in some of my fiction, devotionals, and of course, now that I let Miranda DailyLife have a crack at it, I'm sure I won't be able to get rid of her. (Note to self: change phone number.)
November may be a distant memory, but I have a constant reminder in the form of the winner's certificates.
They grace my wall as a reminder of the last three Novembers and are a visual what I can accomplish when I set my mind (and fingers) to it.
If I need encouragement when I feel like giving up, all I have to do is look up from my writing chair: instant gratification. (Who doesn't love that?)
And yes, there's room for more: I've already got a storyline bouncing around in my head for next November...
>> Saturday, November 19, 2011
While freezing myself silly at a gas pump the other day, I was reminded how much I hate winter. We had high wind warnings and arctic chill that would have made a polar bear feel right at home, yet necessity and my Honda dictated that I brave the elements.
I generally get back in my car while gassing (because I'm a wuss) but for some unknown reason, I decided to tough it out. Intent on passing the longest 60 seconds of my life, I found myself fascinated by a seagull.
The bird was struggling against Wizard-of-Oz-worthy wind, attempting to go north. He must have been confused: aren't birds supposed to go south this time of year? The elements kept pushing him in the opposite direction, sending him sailing. He would ride the wave for a while, regroup, and then return to his northward path.
He was determined to not give in and stayed focused even though the net result was nil. It was like the proverbial 'one step forward, two steps back' theory. But I could see he was making progress
As I got back into my toasty car, I let out a cheer of encouragement that earned me strange looks from the other customers. And as I putted on my way, I kept thinking about the seagull.
Was he annoyed that the wind deterred his mission? Of course I would never know, but I know what my response would be:
I get frustrated when things don't go my way. (Not a big surprise to many.) I whine, cry, and carry on. Then I rant and ruminate, get depressed, and often fold up in failure. The end result? A puddle of defeat.
What a waste of energy.
Do I give up too easily? Or do I pull myself together and keep going? Do I persevere in the face of adversity, trials, and the normal annoyances of life?
Probably not enough.
Things (i.e. the enemy) come against us in an attempt to knock us off our square. Whether we allow it or not is up to us.
The Bible talks about this in 1st Peter 5.8:
"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."
But I also need to remember the most important piece of the puzzle: I don't have to do it alone. God's here to help me, even when the updrafts of life spiral me into a nosedive. I need to focus on him and tap into the help he offers me. And even if I get pushed down or momentarily sidetracked, eventually the wind beneath my wings will lift me up if I keep trying.
>> Sunday, November 13, 2011
I'm sure I will have to reign her in sometimes.
Livin' The Dream
>> Monday, November 7, 2011
In case you're wondering "Y", here is the answer: because I don't want you all asking "Y...Y...Y...hasn't she posted lately?"
I was on vacation. Had a wonderful time in beautiful North Carolina, spreading a little TLC on my BFF who is recovering from surgery. She is doing well. We shared a few giggles in between recovery time, numerous naps, and daily walks. We always have fun and even though she wasn't totally up to par, I'm so glad I got to see her.
|On the way home from the hospital|
|Credit: S. Harracharan|
For more on that, click here.
Progress update: today is day 7. I have 15,641 words done. Need to average 1667 per day in order to finish by the end of the month and right now, I'm averaging 2234. I like to get a cushion going at the beginning because as time goes on, it's easy to stall out. It's going well and I'm pleased with my progress. My current goal with "Photo Finish" is to complete the story (finally!) and ship it off to my editor by the first of the year.
And of course, there's always work, life, responsibilities, etc. *blah*
So there's my explanations (excuses.) Your patience is greatly appreciated!
I may be a little BEHIND,but just BEAR with me.Eventually, November will END.
>> Monday, October 31, 2011
So where was I?
Out in the middle of nowhere. And I loved it.
I had the privilege of joining fellow writers Jan Ackerson and Lynn Diener for a weekend writer's getaway.
Lynn was kind of enough to offer up her family cottage on Shavehead Lake near Vandalia, Michigan. I don't even know how to describe where it is except that when I left my house, all I had to do was drive an hour west.
I conferred with a man at a gas station and ended up taking the detour...that had no signs to mark the route. After another gas station stop and consultation with a drunk guy, (don't ask) I ended up on a back road, way out in farm country where I could hear the cows mooing.
Dark was closing in and I was starting to stress. I considered stopping to ask directions (again!) but had safety concerns about the desolate area. Of course, I could have asked the man weaving down the middle of the road, dressed in some getup with knickers and a yellow wig. He and his dog tipped a glass at me as I zoomed by, deciding I'd rather keep going than risk interacting with another intoxicated person.
|Lynn and I|
By this time, I was ready to drink.
But eventually I ended up back on the main road, barely on the other side of the detour. Many winding turns, retracing of routes, and phone calls later, I found my way to Lynn and Jan.
We chatted, had dinner, sprawled out all over the living room, and just had the best time. We wrote, bounced ideas, and brainstormed our little hearts out.
Saturday morning we started in again. Several pots of coffee later, we were feeling pretty buzzed up. Then Jan broke out her chocolate stash...mmm...writer heaven.
And so it went all day long. Every now and then we'd take a break. They went for a walk while I stayed behind to do a little recreational reading. (Too cold for me--yes, I'm a wus.)
|Don't they look writerly?|
I'm pleased to say that I accomplished my goal and had the best time too--who could ask for anything more? NaNo is just a day away and I'm pretty confidant that I'm at least ready to tackle it...for the most part...
|My work station on the couch|
And for all you writers out there that are salivating and green with envy? Good news! Lynn's planning on doing it again in the spring.
Stay tuned--you definitely don't want to miss out.
>> Thursday, October 27, 2011
As summer winds down and the leaves begin to drift to the ground, I find myself edging into seasonal grief-mode because...
Before you get too impressed, a disclaimer:
--I've only played three years so it's okay that I'm not very good.
--Have no idea what my handicap is (or even what it means.)
--My swing is probably atrocious according to serious linksters.
--In order to compensate for my ball sailing right, I stand cockeyed to the left.
--I often lob my tee shot all of five feet...and then take a second.
--I buy Noodles (my favorite ball) in bulk.
I think it's a combination of beautiful surroundings that I don't have to maintain, soft breezes, and communing with nature. And I have a little bit of a competitive streak too, but usually only with myself. I tend to get frustrated when I don't play well...which of course, just makes me play worse.
A few weeks ago, my sister and I decided to take advantage of one of the final mild days of the season. We hit our favorite course on a sunny Monday afternoon and marveled at the fact that for the most part, we had the place to ourselves.
Golfing in the fall brings about it's own special challenges: leaves and long grass. While the scenery was even more breathtaking than usual, we spent an inordinate amount of time looking for balls. But no complaints: We had a marvelous time
We both played pretty well and even sprang for a second nine holes since it was just too gorgeous to stop.
At one point, we had a spectator. He was crossing a fairway and seemed rather perturbed that that we dare disturb his trek.
I inched in for a close-up with my cell phone while ignoring the wild look in his eyes. Probably not the smartest thing I've ever done but I did get cool pix.
Eventually he decided his photo op was over and hustled on his away (as much as a two foot turtle can.)
All too soon, we finished, savoring the memories in an effort to make them last till next spring.
Woo-Hoo for the best day ever...
>> Tuesday, October 25, 2011
"W" is for...
What a “novel” idea!
But it was worth it.
So back to Photo Finish I go.
Frankie Taylor has issues.
But sometimes it’s a Photo Finish.
>> Saturday, October 22, 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed getting in on Lisa Mikitarian's blog tour.
"Her Safari" is awesome--A must-read! (Click to order.)
In the mean while, it's time for the drawing for a $5 Starbucks card from those that commented.
I decided to get creative and allow one of my critters to pick the winner. Pippin was pretty excited at the prospect (can't you tell?)
But I finally convinced him to help me out. We got everything ready to go, had a few test runs, and then...
And the Winner is.....Marita Thelander!
*Woo Hoo, Ye Haw, Etc. Etc.*
|"Hope she takes me with her!"|