Linger & Listen Just a Little Longer

>> Saturday, March 31, 2012

Last Sunday morning I woke up at 5:00 a.m.

I didn’t have to be on my feet until 6:30 and relished the thought of drifting back to sleep. But nobody told my brain and it rocketed into orbit the second my eyes popped open.

So I decided to get a head start on my busy day.

I was on a mission—focused on the goal of carving out some writing time later on. But in order to do so, the mundane domestic things needed to be taken care of first.

I dove in before sunup and was able to clean the bathroom, vacuum, and cross off several things from my "to do" list. The rest of my grand plan included a stop to buy a lawnmower, get gas, run into Wal-Mart, and still make Sunday School by 9:00.

The half hour drive to church was a welcome respite after my busy morning. I sang along with the radio, pretty pleased with myself, smug in my productivity pride.

As a song ended and a gal started to talk, I almost turned down the volume until I listened a little closer…

“Do you rush through your prayers and devotions because you’re so busy all the time?”

Uh oh.

She talked about spending time with God and whether we linger and listen in his presence or dash through with only a cursory nod. Her words penetrated deep like someone had shot a conviction arrow straight through my heart.

She suggested that we spend a little more time, read one more verse, and pray just a few minutes more.

I hadn’t spoken to God at all that day. There had been a window of opportunity for me to get caught up on my life and I didn’t want it to slam down on my head.  I was going to church anyway—kind of like “one-stop-shopping.”

Gone was my bravado and haughty attitude. I humbly asked his forgiveness while he gently reminded me that spending time with him is way more important than a clean house.

I still bought a lawn mower. And got gas, stopped to Wal-Mart, and made it to church on time.

But if I wake up early this week, I’m pretty sure I know where I’ll be.

James 4.8
Come close to God and God will come close to you.


Emmi & Me

>> Friday, March 23, 2012

View Out The Back Door
Me and Andy
Recently I vacationed in Colorado. While I’m not a fan of the whole snowy- winter thing, even I had to admit it was gorgeous.

Crystalline trees (courtesy of an ice storm) and snow piles that puffed like cotton balls dotted the landscape. I went for a jog with a mountainous backdrop and began to appreciate the splendor.

But I doubt that it will be on my short- list of retirement venues.

Alli & Fi
The trip was to visit my nephew and his girls. And meet his his new gal pal, whom I found delightful.
Jamie& Andy

Since we were in Colorado Springs, we made a stop at the Focus on the Family campus. They have a whole floor of rooms with fun stuff for the kids—we even visited Narnia! Narnia
Through the cupboard...

I had the best time hanging out with the fam. And got a bonus: My new BFF (Best Furry Friend) Emmi.
We bonded with instant chemistry. Maybe she sensed that I like dogs more than people?

She would sit at my feet and give a nudge in an attempt to get my attention. Who could resist those beautiful brown eyes? I would scoop her up at every chance so she could burrow in for a snuggle. And with a sigh of ecstasy, she'd doze off. 

Eventually, she’d jump down and go about her business, but would soon return for more loving.

Amazing how a five-pound bit of fluff almost pushed me over the top of the “awwwww” meter. It was all I could do to keep from slipping her into my carry-on.

I heard that after I left, she mourned by the front door, devastated at the loss of her new friend. And maybe she treats everybody that way. But I choose to believe that she thought I was all that and a bag of dog biscuits.

Hope they show her my picture often.


I'm Guest Posting!

>> Friday, March 16, 2012

I've been given the wonderful opportunity to guest-post at Jewels of Encouragement.

It's a great site where a bunch of my writing buddies share inspiration and hope.

 Be sure to visit and be encouraged!


Juggle As Fast As You Can

>> Tuesday, March 13, 2012

(It's "J" week...)

And my life has turned into a Juggling act.

Last week’s post detailed my pursuit of a platform. It’s a lot of work and could easily overwhelm. Many of my writer friends (especially the moms who home school their kids and write in between) deal with these issues.

I can relate: My circus has come to town.

My already Jam-packed existence led me to take a cue from my Job. I’m an executive secretary for the Warden of a prison and our office is the hub of the institution. The unexpected (which happens routinely) can Jump off at any moment, causing me to stop, drop, and roll on a regular basis. My plates can only continue to spin with the use of super-structure techniques.
So when the writing-pursuit-of-greatness ramped up, it seemed only natural to apply the same principals.

Today, I hopped out of bed with my brain already in the spin cycle…so much to do…

  • Morning tasks, drink coffee, computer stuff.
  • Jumped into some platform-building (unexpected but fruitful.)
  • Needed to stop and eat—noted messy kitchen--deal with that later.
  • Exercise. Oh good grief! Why do I have to waste time on THAT?
  • Writing muse threw a tantrum. Stopped to calm him down.
  • Jotted a few lines on a pressing project—got hung up on FaceBook, Words with Friends, and Twitter. (Note to self:  shut off email and internet.)
  • Prayer and devotions:  Why is THIS so far down on the list?
  • Tapped out a grocery list as I buzzed around the house. (Thank goodness for my IPhone.)
  • Patted each kitty and the dog as I passed by. Don’t ya just love the unconditional love of a pet?
  • Still need to exercise. *sigh*
  • Housework and laundry and shopping…oh my!
And this is just on Saturday. Throw a 40 hour work week in the mix…

I dream of the day I can sit on a beach, laptop in place. (Retirement: five years from June, but who’s counting?)

In the meanwhile, anyone know where I can get one of those cute little clown outfits?


Intentional Information Insanity

>> Tuesday, March 6, 2012

 (In case you haven’t guessed, it’s “I” week for the A2Z meme.)

As a writer, I type my fingers to nubbins because I love doing it. But beyond pounding on a keyboard and blurping out greatness is the fact that it’s hard work.

The creative process can be exhausting. Editing and revisions never end. Plus I have to expend precious brain cells working on my platform. 

What’s that you ask?

Basically, it’s about branding and marketing. Kind of like what celebrities do, but as a poor writer, I have to do it myself instead of hiring a fancy agency to do it for me.

Perspective agents and publishers want to see that you’re a force to be reckoned with. They expect you to come with a platform built, your name and reputation as a writer established with an intact fan base.

In other words, a presence.

So long before the first copy hits a bookshelf or you sign on the dotted line, there is much to be done.

Platform-building must be:

I = Intentional
Creating and branding yourself takes deliberate effort: It’s not just going to happen. And it can be nearly as time-consuming as writing itself.

Today’s technology and the Internet has made the process easier. The information highway is endless and there are plenty of tools to tap into. To name a few:

Networking with fellow writers
Magazines, newsletters, and various other forms of publications
Traditional media (newspapers, radio, etc.)

Not much needs to be said here…see above.

Slowly I’m exploring several of these areas. It takes discipline and perseverance. Sometimes it’s tedious, but all the little steps will add up and pay big dividends. Just in the short time I’ve been experimenting, I’ve noticed an increase in my blog traffic.

Pinterest is a neat site where you create boards to pin favorite photos to. When people look at them, they get an idea of who you are and what you like.

Twitter is interesting. I’m still trying to get the hang of it and tried an experiment the other day.
I was watching the Honda Classic golf tournament when Tiger Woods made an amazing comeback that put him in contention. He didn’t pull off a victory, but just to see him a bit more confident was nice. So I tweeted him on a job well done.

Maybe he'll answer. After all, his platform could use a little help these days.

(For more info about platform-building, check out Patty's blog.)


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