Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lucky Number Seven

I'm such a proud mama today.

My son's first T-Ball game was last night and it was adorable. Cody was so excited when he finally got to put on his full uniform. Everything from the weird (in my opinion) socks, to the flashy new jersey with his name on the back and the "awesome" hat. He was lookin' sharp. And he walked a bit taller too.

At this age, I am finding out that "game" is a very loose term for what happens. There are no outs, no score, every kid swings until he hits and every kid gets on base. It's the best part of baseball boiled down to one hour.

The kids had a great time and the moms cried sentimental tears every time their baby got up to hit. Of course I was no exception.

What a great night!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blogging Wonderland

I've been finding that the world of blogging can be life-sucking. At least for me it can. I tend to hop from one blog to the next in a very unorganized fashion and before I know it, a large amount of time has been chipped away from my day.

Don't get me wrong. I really enjoy reading blogs. But I have to control myself at some point right? I mean, I can't read them all...can I? But how do you decide? And then, how do you keep up with them all? My brain is spinning with everything I don't know about blogging.

I'd better add another need-to-read-right-now book to the pile.

How do you decide which blogs you read? What makes you click "follow" when visiting a blog? Do you have a daily blog routine that enables you to "comment" on all the blogs you follow?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Where is spring? I NEED the sunshine! It totally recharges me. I'm convinced that I'd never be able to live anywhere that the sun didn't shine when it was supposed to. Although since I'm a California girl...that's a whole lot. ;) (I give those of you that live in places like Seattle or...basically anywhere "north" a whole lot of credit.)

I'm ready for the warm sun rays to shine down on all of us, the vibrant spring flowers to bloom and share their fresh scents, the dirt in my garden to get warm and soft for planting, the birds to come home and begin their chirping...

Normally by mid-March, we're well on our way to warm, sunny afternoons. But this year, we are still battling constant downpours and I just heard another 10 days of rain are coming our way!

I found myself singing with my kids today, "Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day."

What is your weather like? Are you ready for some sun? Are you already enjoying it? When do you usually expect lovely weather in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Are You A Tortoise Or A Hare?

I've been reading a lot this week about writing routines and quotas. This is something that I struggle with since I don't have a writing routine or a daily word count that I like to meet. But I want one!

I usually have long periods of time where I don't have time to add any words to my manuscript. And then short bursts of energy where I get down mountains of words to make up lost time.

It reminds me of the old fable "The Tortoise and The Hare". I'm sure you've all heard the story where the fast, cocky rabbit wants to race the slow, plodding turtle. The rabbit gets so far ahead that he stops to take a nap while the turtle keeps on truckin' slow and steady and eventually crosses the finish line before the snoozing hare. (Or something like that.)

The point is I don't want to be the rabbit that is able to get ahead for a time. I want to be a slow and steady writer that manages to add words ever so slowly and consistently until I eventually type "The End".

"Writing is how you learn to write. Writing daily, as a discipline, is the best way to learn." James Scott Bell

"I only write when I'm inspired, and I make sure I'm inspired every morning at 9 a.m." Peter DeVries

Which type of writer are you? Are you fast and ferocious when you write or do you write small amounts regularly? I'm curious, what type of writing routines do you all have and how do you make yourselves stick to it?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Homeless And Hungry

I was driving around yesterday with my kids, running a few errands and trying to get caught up on a few things. We grabbed some McDonald's for lunch (termed: Old McDonald's in our home) and were eating as we drove from store to store.

I was stuffing my face with french fries and licking the oh-so-good salt from my fingers as I pulled up to a stoplight. I noticed an older man standing on the median with a sign that said "homeless and hungry". There were a few thoughts that immediately ran through my head: (1.) are my doors locked? Check. (2.) What is a homeless man doing in our town? (yes, I really thought that. Not to sound snobby but there aren't many homeless people walking around our small town so it was an unusual sight) (3.) Do I now stop eating my yummy fries, that I know he can see, or do I continue eating? (4.) Should I break my husband's rule and roll down my window to share?

I was conflicted. I wanted to help him. I felt sorry that he was standing there with a hungry tummy. I didn't know if I could trust him though. Was he really homeless? Or just looking for a free lunch? Do I dare attempt to give him something when I had my three kids in the car? My husband has said that he doesn't want me to do that. But if I'm honest with myself -- would I have done it if I had permission? Or if I was alone in the car? I'm afraid that the homeless stereotype does indeed have me fearful and skeptical.

And then the following conversation took place:

5 year-old Cody - "Mommy, who is that man?"

Me - Just a man. (thinking "that's not a very Christ-like answer you idiot".)

4 year-old Ava - "What is he holding?"

Me - "A sign."

Cody - "What's it say?"

Me - "It says he's hungry."

Ava - "Does he want our chicken nuggets?"

Cody- "He can have mine. I'm full." (After he only ate one!)

Me - Silence.

Stoplight turns green and we begin moving.

Ava - "Mommy, why didn't we share?"

Me - "Ummmmm..."

As if I wasn't already feeling bad enough, when I emptied my car after we got home, I had to throw away six chicken nuggets, a medium fry and a half full apple juice box.

Father, forgive me for ignoring that man's need. I know you love him and I should as well. Give me the courage and wisdom I need to handle situations like these because I want to be someone that pleases you by loving and caring for others.

Have you ever experienced a situation like this? What do you typically do or think when you come across a homeless person? Do you have any good "encounters" that you can share?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Reviews

Once again I feel like an infant attempting to drive a flashy sports car. Okay, that's a bit dramatic but I am at a loss...which seems to be my new regular these days.

Pretending to be a writer is hard work. Aside from writing and doing "writerly" things (like research, book reviews, blogging and a great many other tasks), I first need to teach myself how to do all of those things. It makes an already complicated process that much harder.

Please don't misunderstand me here. I'm not a complete nit-wit. I can write a perfectly organized book review. But as I'm finding out, in the world of "writing" there tends to be a preferred format, method or rule of thumb. And in my effort not to offend the powers that be (i.e. an agent/editor that inadvertently stumbles across my blog), I am determined to present a reasonably organized and professional facade...while I scramble around in the background like a chicken that has recently been separated from it's head.

I confess. I looked it up. I googled Book Reviews. And for better or worse here's a bit of what I found:

- A book review focuses on the books purpose. It is not a summary.
- There is no right way to write a review. (Here's hopin'.)
- Before reading the book, study the cover and the blurbs to get an understanding of the books topic.
- Include basic information like the title, author, subject, price, number of chapters, page numbers, etc.
- Does the book contain pictures, maps, etc.
- Take notes while you read. Jot down questions you have, emotions the book provokes or when you were bored.
- Who is the intended audience?
- What is the author's writing style?
- How did the book affect you?
- Include the theme of the book.
- Include additional information about the author if available.
- Summarize your overall opinion of the book.

There you have it. What do you think? Does that sound accurate? Do you have a book review format? When reading a book review is there specific criteria you look for?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Proverb To Ponder

Today's Proverb is not a biblical one but thanks to Wikipedia it grabbed my attention anyway.

"All cats love fish but hate to get their paws wet. Translation: Everyone has desires, but few have the will to work for it."

So here's to a productive weekend -- get your paws wet! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guilty Pleasure

Hello. My name is Lacie Nezbeth and I'm addicted to...cookie dough. Yes, you heard that correctly. Not the cookies, just the dough.

I've always loved to bake. When I was little my mom used to allow me to lick the batter off the beaters whenever she made cookies, which wasn't very often. It was a special treat which completely sealed my fate. Then as I got older, I began to purchase the Toll House cookie dough log and literally ate chunks out of it while watching movies or reading. Anytime really.

There is just something comforting and scrumptious about the texture - soft and thick from the butter and flour and somewhat grainy from the sugar and salt. I just love it! I'm completely hooked.

I no longer buy the logs. Now I have Toll House's chocolate chip cookie recipe down to a science. I can have fresh baked cookies in under twenty minutes - and more importantly the dough!

The down side to this little addiction of mine is (a.) I am eating a worrisome amount of raw egg, (b.) I am passing along questionable habits to my very impressionable kids, (c.) my cookie sheets haven't had time to dry in between my dishwasher cycles and (d.) I'm beginning to worry about my waistline.

However, I'm afraid none of those reasons will deter me from licking the bowl.

Does anyone out there share my love of cookie dough? What is your guilty pleasure? And when do you find yourself needing it?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Writing Sight Words

I'm working quite a bit these days with my kindergartner on his sight words. Sight words (for those of you that don't know) are words that we encounter regularly when reading and apart from knowing how to sound them out, should be memorized. Some kindergarten sight words are: the, and, is, a, on, at, it, etc.

When I first started my research on what it takes to get published, I came across a slew of words I didn't know. Words like slush pile, query letter, proposal, and platform. Some of them I could take a guess at and be relatively correct, others left me scratching my head without a clue in the world. As a new writer, sometimes I feel like I need flashcards with the correct definitions highlighted on the back in order to understand the writing lingo of some industry professionals.

It took some time and a lot of reading but I finally feel like I'm caught up. Words like "craft", "POV" and "WIP" don't throw me anymore. It seems funny to think about those days when I didn't understand half of the blogs and books I read but time and a desire to learn has taken care of everything.

What were some writing terms that you had to figure out when you first started? Are there still terms that you come across today that you're unsure of? How long ago did your writing journey begin?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Proverb To Ponder

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:2

I have found this verse to be so true in my own life. Whenever I'm feeling puffed up with pride over something or even the tiniest bit of self-importance, I inevitably fall on my face. In the midst of my fall from my self-appointed perch, I'm usually embarrassed and end up saying something like "gosh, why did I do that? I know better."

This side of heaven I believe it's those embarrassing moments that help teach us how to move closer towards humility.

Do you struggle with pride? In what areas of your life does pride make itself known?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thanks During The Yuck

I hate being sick. I always feel so deprived, like I'm missing out on all the great things I could be doing if only I felt better.

My family is nearing the end of a very long week of torment from the flu bug. First my five year old got it, followed by my four year old a day later. Now my one year old is starting to show signs as well. My husband and I have been using the mind-over-matter technique to ward off all the germs floating around our home. So far we've been successful but I'm starting to feel the slight achiness that creeps up on me right before I get the slap in the face.

While being sick is never fun, I was able to find a few special mommy moments with my delirious, fever-ridden children.

Cody needed lots of extra cuddles, comfort and back scratches. Of course I always love to supply that! Too bad he doesn't ask for these things as often when he feels well.

Ava just wanted me in the same room with her while she watched movies. God blessed me with my curious little girl -- we have lots in common. We both like to paint our nails. We both love pretty dresses. We both love it when people play with our hair and we both love to watch old movies over and over...

The chosen movie for yesterday was The Swiss Family Robinson. I'm amazed that my itty-bitty little one likes this movie and sat through the entire thing twice in one day!

Apart from the obvious greatness of the movie, I have my suspicions as to why she wants to watch it again and again. It's easy to figure out, especially when she grins from ear to ear during the kissing scenes. Then come all the questions. "Why are they kissing mommy?" She's just so sweet and innocent that I can't help but smile. Even four year old girls love a good romance story.

As someone who enjoys creating my own romance stories, I greatly relate and love this about my daughter. (Her dad on the other hand, is already concerned.) And today in the midst of feeling yucky and tired, I'm so thankful that God created women with a tender longing in our hearts for love and romance.

In spite of (or because of) today's circumstances, what are you thankful for? What is one of your favorite "love story" movies?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Genesis Contest

I finally clicked submit.

I have been agonizing about whether or not I should send in my work. I have been praying for readiness and timing. I have been researching the how-to's of synopsis writing. I have been biting my nails in uncertainty.

I finally got to a place where I was able to say, "this is all I can do on my own."

ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) organizes a well known writing competition for unpublished authors. The deadline for this competition is Friday -- talk about a last minute entry. But I received my confirmation email yesterday. My entry is there safe and sound.

I'm still in that place of awe and excitement that I actually entered my writing and that I made the deadline. Now the waiting and wondering begins. Here are some of my jumbled thoughts:

- I wonder who will be reading what I wrote?
- I hope they don't say "this entry is easily the worst."
- I hope my grammar is accurate.
- I pray no one laughs. (I didn't write a comedy.)
- Do I have what it takes to win?

Possible worst case = My submission receives the worst possible score but I get a critique and feedback from the judges.

Possible best case = I final in my category, land an agent and a book contract all in the same day, while having a great hair day! (Here's to wishing and hoping.)

Have any of you entered the Genesis (or any other) contest? What was the outcome? What did you learn from the experience? Any first-timers, like me, out there?