Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Little Encouragement

This is one of my new favorite songs.

All This Time by Britt Nicole

I hope it touches and encourages you as it does me!

Share with me. Do you have a go-to song you listen to when you're down? What song can you play over and over and never get tired of?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spring Cleaning

This unusually warm weather has me antsy for Spring Cleaning.

Not because I necessarily enjoy it but because I love the feel of a brand spankin' clean house...all the way down to the baseboards.

Since Spring Cleaning has been on my mind, I thought it would be fun to compare lists with one another.

According to convicted felon, Martha Stewart (just kidding - that's not very nice) the following items should be on your Spring Cleaning lists.

  • Dust refrigerator coils
  • Defrost freezer
  • Swap out heavy curtains and throws for lightweight ones
  • Rotate your mattress and change to lightweight blankets
  • Get a new pillow
  • Discard expired cosmetics
  • Update your first aid-kit
  • Organize office files
  • Clean your computer
  • Wipe down walls, fans, doorknobs, etc. 
Of course she had many other items on her list but I got frustrated because only two of the above are on my list. (I don't think I've ever thrown away make-up before.)

So tell me: What big chore is on your Spring Cleaning list? Are any of Martha's tasks on your list? Do you enjoy cleaning or would you hire a cleaning service if you could?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

First Chapter Checklist

I recently listened to a fabulous webinar by Sarah Domet, author of 90 Days to Your Novel.

Everything she said was brilliant and simple. And the best part is...I already knew everything she recommended. I'm one step closer to not being a beginner. ;)

Light bulb moment: Stop researching some of this stuff and just WRITE!

But, I digress. That's not what I want to talk to you about today.

I know everyone is out there polishing up their contest entries, right? I'm doing the same thing -- and running out of time! As always! 

But during this particular webinar, Sarah pointed out a few key things to have in your first chapters (the chapters a content judge will read) to get your reader hooked. Some of this might be "duh" to you prolific writers but little ole me was scribbling mighty fast as she listed them off.

  • The earlier you can reveal a conflict the better
  • Get the reader to care immediately
  • Raise curiosity and beg questions of the reader
  • Make readers feel invested immediately
  • Avoid long descriptions of setting and overly long internal dialogue
  • Begin in the middle of the action
  • Zoom in on the Protagonist ASAP
  • Pay attention to pacing - readers want to make progress
  • Provide insight into character motivations
And there were many more. I love lists like this. Mainly because I'm a checklist girl. I like crossing things off. So this is right up my alley. 

What do you think? Are these suggestions spot on? Any you disagree with? Any others you would add? What is the hardest for you to work into your opening chapters? 

Good luck to all you contest-entering crazies! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Who Do You Want To Be?

I think most of us have a trait or two that we dislike about ourselves.

Something we want to change but for one reason or another, it has become a stronghold for us. A place of perpetual doubt. Something we hang on to for dear life.

I know I do.

I am far to worried about what other people think of me. And not only that, but what I think other people think of me. And sometimes it's crippling.

But the person that I truly want to be is a person whose confidence comes from God alone. Not in my abilities. Not in what others think of me. But someone that is grounded in the truth that God's opinion of me is the only one that matters. The only one I should be concerned about.

Oh, how life would be different if we were able to free ourselves from the things that bind us, the things that keep us from truly being free.

I love this song by Switchfoot. (It reminds me of that old Mandy Moore movie...Darn it. I can't think of what it's called right now.) I love it because it asks us, "Are you who you want to be?"

Such a thought provoking question. Are you who you want to be? Because we only have but an instant on this earth. If we want to change something...NOW is the time to do it!

Share with me: Who do you want to be? What is something you would like to change about yourself?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentines Day reminds me of sixth grade.

I remember decorating a paper bag with heart drawings and stickers and writing my name in big, poorly written bubble letters.

The entire class would then set their Valentine bag on their desk and the process of handing out cute little cards would begin.

But the best part was always going through my stash afterwards and giggling with my girlfriends over the cards we got from the boys.

Fond memories...trying to decipher if the overly sweet wording on the card was chosen on purpose.

Girls are so silly. I love it!

Share with me: What comes to mind when you think about past Valentine's Days? Do you remember what themed Valentine's cards you chose when you were younger? How will you be celebrating this Love Day?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What's In Your Bucket?

The other day at my women's Bible study we were talking about bucket lists.

I was surprised at how many of the women at my table don't even have one!

Or maybe I'm the weird one. Quite possible actually. :)

Some of the things on my bucket list are:

  • Run a marathon on the Great Wall of China
  • Drive cross country - somehow stopping in every state
  • Vacation in Fiji
  • Pay off our house
  • Follow the Oregon Trail and see all the landmarks
  • Understand what a down is in football (been working on that one awhile now)
  • Have a book published
  • Learn to speak Italian and visit my distant cousins in Italy
  • Visit Jerusalem 
  • Finish my ancestral history and visit important places
  • Start a hobby farm and channel my inner cowgirl
  • Fly first class at least once
Some of those are kind of silly but you get the idea. 

Share with me - Do you have a bucket list? What are some of the things on your list?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mean Girls

*** Today's post might sound like a rant. 
Be warned. 
I'm not angry. Just curious. (Note all the question marks.) ***

What is it about girls - women - that rub other women the wrong way?

Are we jealous?

Are we assuming?

Are we threatened?

What is it?

I recently heard my five year old (FIVE!!!) say, "I don't want to have so-and-so over for a  play date because she's too pretty."


My heart sank. I really don't want my girls to be the mean girls. I want them to be confident and secure and NICE.

As crazy as this sounds coming from a 5 year old, does it sound any better coming from a 15 year old? Or a woman that's 25? Let's be honest...what about someone in her 30's or 40's? Or even older?

I've seen women (of all ages) treat other women horribly. I've been on both ends too.

Why do we do this?

I watched a YouTube video that justified why girls act this way. "We're basically trained to hate each other. We're taught from a young age to compete. To be prettier, smarter, better..."

That's just garbage in my mind. A cop out! Even if you agree with that flippant statement, does that make it okay to treat others badly?

Needless to say, words like kindness and compassion and love will be floating around our home more than ever!

Share with me: Have you noticed this hate-phenomenon between girls? Have you witnessed it in your girls? Or experienced it yourself? How did you handle it? Why do you think the fairer sex tends to act this way towards each other? 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

God's Many Roles

Do you ever get carried away with the idea that God is our friend or Father?

I know I do.

I love the image that comes to mind when I think of Christ as my daddy with a welcoming lap and arms big enough for all of my problems.

And I love the image that pops into my head when I think of the ongoing, chatty conversations I have with Him throughout my days -- similar to those I might have with a trusted friend.

I so love the closeness that these relationships provide that I often forget that He is not only my friend and Father. He is my KING!

He is Royalty!

How would you act before the Sovereign Lord?

Fall on your face? You bet!

But how many of us commune with Him like that regularly? On our low as we can get?

I recently finished a Bible study that suggested kneeling before an empty chair (symbolizing His throne) whenever we talk with God. Just to remind case you're like me and sometimes forget...that He is indeed the King of Kings.

Interesting thought, huh? What do you think about it? Which of Christ's titles are you most comfortable with? Friend, Father or King?