Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thank You!

I'm doing something a little different today.

I've been hearing a lot from other writers about their highs and lows along this crazy journey (moods that can change from one minute to the next) and it got me of the reasons the lows are bearable (for me) is because of the wonderful, kind and friendly faces that I have met along the way. Kind people that cheer me on without even knowing they're doing it!

Being a writer can be a lonely thing sometimes. Even your spouse, who might be your biggest supporter, might not get why you talk to yourself so much, or why you jot down notes as you drive, or why you're constantly reading blogs and twittering.

But other writers get it. This is something that I'm beginning to see firsthand...and I'm so appreciative of the people that go out of their way to lift me up.

So today I want to give a giant THANK YOU to some of the ladies that I met through social avenues like blogging and Twitter.

These beautiful, funny people make my lows worth it!

Katie Ganshert - I think Katie's blog was the very first blog I stumbled upon from Rachelle Gardner's website last year when I first started researching agents and writers. And she was one of the first people to follow my blog and offer oodles of encouragement. She's one of the biggest cheerleaders I've seen!

Jody Hedlund - I found Jody's blog when I was looking for a clear answer about when to attend a writers conference. I got my answer from Jody and her informative blog. A blog I have come to equate with just plain awesomeness! To top it all off, this lady can write a killer book!

Erica Vetsch - Erica is who I want to be when I'm a grown up writer. She is dedicated and gifted and can throw down some word counts like nobody's business! And she is funny as all heck...without even trying!

Wendy Paine Miller - I love Wendy! She is so full of questions and curiosity. Most of her questions go over my head but she is definitely an encourager and someone that everyone should know!

Keli Gwyn - Keli should get an award for taking so much of her own time to help and mentor other writers...while she is buried in her own stuff. I don't know how she finds the time! She is my personal hero and I'm looking so forward to soaking up all I can from her.

Jessica R. Patch - Jessica is a hoot! I mean, really! This lady is funny and wise and kind and godly. God is using her to love on others and she probably doesn't even know it! She's just plain addictive!

I appreciate you all so much and I'm thankful that I'll get to meet most of you in person in only 56 days!

If you don't already know (or follow) these writers, I highly recommend it! They will enrich your lives far beyond anything you can imagine.

Who have you met online that has lifted you up?

Happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Highs And Lows

The life of a writer can be many things: exciting, wonderful, thoughtful, frustrating, calming, drawn-out, fulfilling, stressful...fill in the blank (depending on where you're at today).

One thing that I have heard repeatedly from other writers is that the highs are really high and the lows are really low.

The other day, I was writing (go figure...) and the words were just stuck in my fingers. It was so bad, it was like I forgot how to type. The delete key became my new best friend. Awful!

When I felt I had suffered enough, I went to bed, tossing the entire night because I was feeling so horribly about my writing. The man with the red pointy horns was in my head big time. He kept feeding me lines like: "Who do you think you are?" "Do you actually think that book is ever going to be any good?" "No one even likes you."

I hate when I give Satan power in my thought life. He was certainly running a muck! And I felt very low.

Then came the dawn (which always makes me think of an Avalon song). I crawled out of bed and went about my new routine. I spent time with God, I exercised and I wrote.

And wouldn't you know it...that writing hour was the best ever! I flew through my story, action and tension dripping onto every page. Awesome!

When all was said and done, I stood back and wondered how it was possible to hate one chapter, feeling as if you've never written anything more horrendous only to be followed by the next chapter which yields some of your best work? Highs and lows for sure!

Here's what I concluded about a writers Highs and Lows:

The highs are important because they keep us excited and motivated to push on towards the prize, towards improvement, towards finishing, towards publication, etc. They give us hope and keep the spark lit in us.

They also show us what our best can look like.


The lows are also necessary because they teach us about our character, our desires, our motivation, about our ability to persevere. Are we writers just when it's easy and fun? Or do we write for a deeper reason? Is there more to it than mere enjoyment?

The lows also clue us in to our reader intuition. If you write a scene that you don't like, sometimes we stand back and think, "I can fix that. A rewrite is all it needs." But other times, something in us just knows that it's no good. For whatever reason it doesn't work and it's in the best interest of our readers to toss it and begin again.

What do you think? Do you regularly experience highs and lows along your journey? Have they taught you anything about writing? About yourself? Which are you experiencing today?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Have You Been Tested?

I'm going to be honest here. I'm hormonal. Ack!

I'm embarking on a whole new decade (my 30's) and I'm already noticing too many changes for my personal comfort.

Since I was due for a physical I decided that I'd go in with my prepared questions about "aging". I wanted to go in knowing my stuff. What I should be looking for to be preventative, to borrow a word from Kaiser Permanente.

So I Googled. I always Google when I don't know something. And this time I wanted to know what medical tests I should have done to be proactive in my physical health.

Here's the list I found. Probably a good list for anyone's overall health.

1. Have your cholesterol tested. Just another way my doctor, or the lab guy, will know I eat too much junk food. Great!

2. Diabetes blood test. See #1.

3. Regular breast exams and pap smears. No biggie, used to these.

4. Skin cancer screening. Visit a dermatologist and have a full body scan. Especially if there's a history of sun burning/tanning or if you have large moles.

5. Thyroid levels checked. Just another blood test. Easy.

6. Dental check up. Nothing new here.

7. Eye exam. This is especially important if you get headaches since many are caused by eye problems.

8. Lifestyle review. Now, I'm not thrilled with this one. It's not exactly a test but it feels like one. Start keeping a log of food intake and daily exercise and adjust accordingly.

So, that's the list. Not too scary, right? Pretty basic stuff. Now, when it comes to other procedures, like a colonoscopy, I might get a little more nervous.

Are you proactive with your health? Or do you steer clear of doctor's at all costs? Is having your blood drawn a big deal for you? Which of the above appointments would you put off as long as you could?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Father's Love


Have you ever wondered how much God loves you? How He can still love you after you continue to make the same mistakes day in and day out? I wonder this all the time. It is something that I am continually praying about.

Romans 8:39 says that nothing can separate you from God's love - NOTHING!

Last Sunday, our wonderful Pastor delivered a soul stirring message about how much God loves us and how He carries us in the hard times. He remarked on the old Footprints poem. If you've never read Footprints in the Sand, you can read it here.

He went on to share about a father and son racing team. Dick and Rick Hoyt. Their story is incredible!

Rick was born with severe disabilities such that experts advised Dick and his wife to institutionalize their son. Thankfully, they didn't and soon learned that Rick was an intelligent and eager young man.

After a five mile fundraising race, in which Dick pushed Rick in his wheelchair, Rick said "Dad, when I'm running, it feels like I'm not handicapped."

What loving father could resist such a statement? Their running career began and they have since raced in over 1,000 races including many Ironman competitions.

For those of you that don't know what an Ironman competition is (I didn't either!), it is a 2.4 mile swim, immediately followed by a 112 mile bike ride, immediately followed by a marathon, 26.2 miles of running. All with no break!

Their story in and of itself is difficult to imagine but what my Pastor was illustrating is that Dick was displaying a Christ-like quality in his overwhelming love for his child. God's love for us is so great, that like Dick, He drags us along through the tough spots, He pushes us forward to teach us and He lifts us up and cradles us until we cross the final finish line. Such is a Father's love.

The below video is of Dick and Rick and their journey in one Ironman competition. Please watch it! You won't regret it! It is truly inspiring!

The Journey of Team Hoyt from teamhoyt on Vimeo.

To learn more about Dick and Rick Hoyt you can visit them at their website:

I hope their story is able to encourage you today - no matter what you're facing, God is with you!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

30 Day Experiment

Let me start by saying: I don’t know if this is going to work. It could be a colossal failure. But since I’m striving for “my all” in life (I’m channeling Beth Moore, June Cleaver, Jillian Michaels and Martha Stewart) I thought I’d give it a try and see if maybe, just maybe, I’m able to form some new daily habits.

It could be just the thing I need to be intentional about some of my goals. After all, if I just hope and pray that I’ll have more time to get things done but don’t actually make a plan to do exactly that, then I’ve just daydreamed away my opportunity. Not productive.

So I’ve been reading up on how to form new habits. Thirty days seems to be the magic number (if there is one…). My hope is that forcing myself to do certain things daily for thirty days straight will eventually retrain my brain to automatically and willingly accomplish a given task consistently.

Sound simple?

We’ll see.

I’m adding daily quiet time with God, one of my cheesey but fun workout DVD’s and as much writing as I can get in before the kids rise and shine, which is usually around 6:00AM.

My rules: I’m not trying to set a record here. I’m just trying to be consistent. So I’m shooting for at least 10 minutes each of quiet time and workout. And at least 300 words added to my WIP. And I’m not allowed to check email, Blogger or Twitter until I’ve finished those three things.

I have a lot to prove to myself. And I need the accountability that telling others brings. So that’s my plan. If any of you want to build a new habit as well, we can do it together and cheer eachother on. Shoot me an email if you want to tag-team!

My 30 day ticker starts Saturday, July 16!

What’s your deal? Do things like this come easy for you or do you find, like me, that you need a plan? What is an area of your life that you wish you were more consistent with?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do You Use Symbolism In Your Writing?

According to Webster, Symbolism is the art of using symbols especially by investing things with a symbolic meaning or by expressing the invisible or intangible by means of visible or sensuous representations.


Let's break it down. Using symbolism in our stories gives the reader clues about something. Little hints that affect the reader...and here's the best part...usually, they don't even realize it.

Sort of like brainwashing. But in a completely good way. It sets the stage for whats to come.

A while back I heard Dennis Hensley speak about the importance of symbolism in our writing. The idea intrigued me. Here are a few of the ways he suggested using symbolism to deepen our stories.


Most of us probably have heard that certain colors trigger different emotions in us. White = life, black = death, purple = royalty, gold = wealth.

But did you know that green = rebirth, pink = femininity, yellow = enlightenment and red = danger or emotional pain?

Also, interesting is that the colors orange and blue have almost no impact on a reader.


When naming your characters you want to connect the fictional character to the reader. Give them a bond. Nick names are a great way to do this. If you hear someone call your hero "Slim" won't you naturally assume that he's tall and skinny? And something like "Tex" just screams cowboy! It's a great way to describe something or someone without actually having to do it.

Also consider the regional implications. What do you think of when you hear the name "Bubba"? (Okay, after you think Gump.) Bubba is a totally southern nickname, right? So this character must have some connection to the south.

Use names to your advantage.


Another area where you can use symbols is with objects or props relating to your characters. Indiana Jones wouldn't be Indiana Jones without his hat and whip. Mary Poppins wouldn't be Mary Poppins without her umbrella. And Clark Kent wouldn't be Clark Kent without his glasses. (Although, that one drove me crazy. I'm just saying...)

There are many different ways we can use the readers' subconscious to help move along our stories. Look for little ways to incorporate a color, prop or nickname to strengthen your story.

Do you use symbolism in your writing? Are you intentional about it? Can you think of any other ways in which symbolism might help our stories?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lessons From A Vegetable

My kids have been in a Veggie Tales movie-mood lately. It seems like every time they get to pick a movie, the Veggies get selected.

Not that I mind. The songs are catchy, the jokes are funny and the stories are spot on. And if all else fails, I can snooze for a good thirty minutes and know they won't move.

The two most selected Veggie movies in our household are Abe and the Amazing Promise and Josh and the Big Wall. Both great, fun movies.

The other day, I found myself completely engaged in these stories myself, when it occurred to me that God's word is living. It's active. It's always applicable. And there can always be something new to learn (or to be reminded of) at any age. His word speaks to the heart no matter how many times you've heard it before.

I love that!

So for are the two simple lessons I learned (re-learned) from Bob and Larry.

- God's way is the best way. Even if you don't understand God's directions in your life, don't worry. He's there. And He is faithful.

- God's timing is perfect. Sometimes it's hard to wait. Don't I know it! Patience is not a gift of mine. BUT God sees the big picture that we can't see. He knows when the timing is right for you.

Do the simple messages of the Bible ever seem new and exciting to you? What Bible lesson are you happy to learn over and over again?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Can We Have It All?

Have you ever been told that you can’t have it all? Thereby implying that you have to settle for greatness in only one area of your life. You can either have the perfect ministry, the perfect marriage, the perfect career, the perfect friendships, the perfect whatever, but you can’t be great at everything. I hate that!

I’ve been wrestling with this concept for years. You see, I want so much out of life on this earth: Godly marriage, obedient children, cherished friendships, inspiring writing career. I want it all. The clean home, healthy meals, homemade bread, a daily (enjoyable!) workout routine, a balanced budget, a mowed, weed-free lawn, a green thumb, a brilliant mind and I want to look cute and fashionable while I’m at it. Is that too much to ask for?

Why can’t we, as women fully empowered by God’s spirit, have it all?

I believe we can.

Have you ever heard of the Proverbs 31 woman? For the longest time I hated this poor lady because she showed me exactly where I was lacking. Where I didn’t measure up. But, I’ve come to view this passage as something else.


Proverbs 31 shows us that it’s possible. It’s possible to have it all and do it all well.

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

Proverbs 31:10-31

So the next time someone tells you (or you hear that little voice in your head, like I often do) that you can’t have it all, remember this woman. She had it all…because God equipped her to handle it all.

One last thing.

Have you ever noticed that this lady doesn’t have a name? I mean come on! There are far less interesting and pivotal characters in the Bible that have names…hard names, with twelve letters, that no one can pronounce. But this lady, who is the very essence of who we need to be, doesn’t? What gives?

I was thinking about this the other night and the thought occurred to me that maybe she doesn’t have a name on purpose. Maybe if she had a name, we would lump her successes solely to her. Does that make sense? Sort of like we do for Noah. He was so faithful, he built an ark! Or David. He was so courageous, he brought down a giant. Or Daniel. He was so steadfast, he survived a den of lions. We associate those things with the specific people that accomplished them.

But what if she’s nameless because she’s…us. No comparison. No name to give the credit to. Just a woman, who pleased God.

We can each be this godly woman. Just plug in your name and allow God to equip you to have it all.

What about you? Do you believe we can be great in many areas of our lives or do you think that perfection in a specific area comes from undivided focus on that one thing? Do you ever struggle with wanting to be great at many different things?