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"Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God." Psalm 102:18

"Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others." Habakkuk 2:2

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Cheerleader

The Message says, " Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family." (Proverbs 18:24)

I think there used to be a commercial about having your own personal cheerleader to encourage you when you were feeling down. Some one to say, "You can do it." As I look back over my life there are many friends who have come and gone through the years. I've heard some people are in our lives for a season, but others stay for the long haul.

I've been blessed to have several women in my life who are there for the duration. They help to provide stability when my world feels out of balance. They show love even when I feel unlovable. They encourage me along in my walk with the Lord, even through the dry and weary land. They don't judge, but instead love. They see the potential in me, that I don't always see.

Today I'm thankful for the cheerleaders in my life. I know they are a dim reflection of God's love towards me. I'm humbled and grateful!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Choosing to Take a Break

I admit, I've been stressing ever since we returned from our vacation to Maine. We had a wonderful time away and I was able to obtain a lot of information for the historical fiction book I'm writing. I didn't have any time to write while we were gone, or since we've returned.

We've had a killer schedule, with something going on every day since we came home. I don't do well in that type of situation. All I could think about was all the things that needed to get accomplished, and I wasn't getting anywhere. Each day seemed to have its own minor dilemmas that occurred, putting me further and further behind schedule with my writing and also with Christmas preparations.

Today over lunch with a friend, she suggested I take a break from writing and not stress over it. She said to concentrate on what I need (want) to get accomplished for Christmas. Duh! Why didn't I think of that?! Sometimes I keep beating my head against the wall until someone comes along and shows you a better way of doing things. Go figure!

So I've decided to spend the rest of this month researching and reading all the materials I purchased in Maine about the area I'm writing, in between preparation for Christmas. I choose to give myself permission to relax and not stress so much.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Breaking Through the Bonds of Fear - One Word at a Time

I find that time away from my writing is conducive to fear and insecurity. It's been about two and a half weeks since I've had the opportunity to sit down and work on my novel. We were away on vacation to Maine, so I could further research my book. We had a wonderful time and didn't want to come home. Then the holiday was upon us. It's taken a while to recover from being gone for so long. Unfortunately we hit the ground running as soon as we returned, with our days filled with activities and appointments. It's been overwhelming. I've been exhausted, and in need of a break, so I have time to regroup and think clearly. But up to this point, it hasn't happened. I'm not able to write in circumstances like this.

Then the longer I go without writing, the harder it is to begin again. Those nigglings of fear and doubt begin to creep into my thinking. Do I still have what it takes? Will I be able to get back into the swing of things with my writing? Will the creativity continue to flow or have I lost momentum? Such is the life of a writer. I don't know about all writers, but definitely with this one. :) This is what I've been struggling with and facing the past week or so.

So today, I chose to sit down and write - one word at a time. I've only written 32 words today on my novel, but each word gets me closer to breaking through the bonds that threaten to hold me fast. I choose victory and overcoming the fear....one little word at a time.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making Progress

It's hard to believe it's been two weeks since I last wrote anything on my novel. The time has been busy with a week long vacation to Maine for research, and celebrating Thanksgiving with family. I would have loved to start right back to it on Monday morning, but deadlines were looming.

Yesterday, I worked on and submitted my 14th lesson for the Christian Writer's Guild. The next deadline will be on December 14th. Every month on the 14th and 30th, I have another lesson due. It keeps me hopping, especially this one as the topic was feature articles. It's never something I tried my hand at before now. We'll see how well I did, when I get my assignment back from my writing mentor. :)

Today was busy with writing and finalizing my unit study article for Home School Enrichment magazine. This time I focused on ships/boats. I was thankful that I had the internet available today to aid in my research. Yesterday we were without internet and phone services.

Tomorrow will be a busy day with a multiple of doctor appointments, funeral, and other commitments. I hope to do some writing in the 'in between' time. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Impressions From Maine

As I write this my family and I are in route to Hershey to spend Thanksgiving with my mother. We are returning to PA after spending a week in Maine on vacation. It was with mixed feelings that we headed home today. This has been our first visit to this northern state, and along the way I think my husband, son and I have fallen in love with this land.

Its beauty reminded my husband and me of our trip to Alaska a number of years ago on a church mission’s trip. We mostly visited the Camden, Maine area, the only place on the northern coast where the mountains touch the sea. I can understand why so many that pass through this town are captivated with it and decide to move there. My son even mentioned the desire to relocate to this quaint town.

For me, it was a pleasure for many reasons. My family and I are probably considered strange to most that meet us. We love winter and love snow. I’m always ready to have more snow then we usually get in southeastern PA. On our last full day in Camden, I spent the afternoon in the local library. I was pleasantly surprised to hear some of the locals commenting about hoping it would snow soon. They were excited about the precipitation and desiring for their winter to begin. I think this is the first time I heard someone else (besides my family) desiring snow and joyful about its expected arrival.

It was another blessing to be able to see this town I have been researching about for many months. Camden, Maine is the setting for the historical fiction book I’m writing. In particular I have been learning about Curtis Island Lighthouse, which is on an island on the Penobscot bay, off the shores of Camden. I have seen the town and island via pictures on the web, and on a video, but it was something much different to be able to witness it first hand. To walk the streets and attend the church where my character has been living – at least in my own mind.

I was able to meet the archivist at the library who has been a tremendous aid in my research of the area. My son and I were also able to row out to the island with a local couple. All right, they did the rowing, while we sat and took in the scenery. We only had about a half hour to take in the island while the couple circled around and met us again. It was pure joy to walk on the paths my character experiences. To see the lighthouse and keeper house up close was incredible. I’m sure my face was beaming when the couple picked us up for the return trip to shore. I know my husband commented about the joy on my face when we returned to the harbor and he saw us again.

The next day we attended the first church in Camden. From old photographs we’ve seen, it appears the pews remain unchanged from the beginning of the 1800’s, other than the exception of cushions added. It’s where my character attends church as she is able.

It’s been such a blessing to go on this vacation with my husband and youngest son. We enjoyed seeing several different lighthouses and local sights. We also had time to relax, watch some Christmas movies, and enjoy playing games together. I know it’s been a memorable trip for each of us. It’s one I’ll hold in my heart for many days to come.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two Week Hiatus

The remainder of November will be very busy for me and my family. I have several things to accomplish by the end of the month, so I've decided to take a two week hiatus, taking a break from blogging, email and Facebook. I'm looking forward to the break from technology! :)

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Excitement in Research - Part Two

I continue to enjoy researching for the novel I'm writing. Right now I'm working on compiling the list of all the places and things to do while I'm in Maine. I love the way my story comes alive in my brain and hopefully the written page too. I'm really looking forward to walking in the town where my character is from. I'm anxious to see the area first hand.

I've been having a wonderful time writing, and feel like I'm part of the story. It will be a happy/sad day when I write the words 'The End' when it is complete. At this point I am close to two-thirds of the way through the writing of my first draft. Of course, I'll still need to edit and polish. It's been quite enjoyable to research and work my way through the process. I find it quite enjoyable.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Excitement in Research

I set a goal to finish writing my historical fiction book by Christmas this year. I know when I type those last words it will be a bittersweet feeling. I have become quite attached to my characters and their story. I feel like I have walked the town where they live. I'm so excited to actually be able to do that in a little over a week. To see firsthand the area I have researched.

Excitement is mounting as we prepare for our trip. I have a list of places I want to see and visit while we are in Maine. I also am looking forward to meeting the local librarian (archivist) who has been a tremendous help with my research. Every week or so she sends me answers to my questions which arise as I write. A couple days ago it was the names of the local doctors during 1878.

It's funny actually since I never was fond of history during my school years. Now I find myself immersed and intrigued by the stories that desire to be told. I love being able to write historical fiction. It's a pleasure to delve in research material and learn various tidbits. What a blessing to be called to something I thoroughly love and enjoy. God is so wonderful!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Words

I guess you could call me a wordsmith. I like the way words sound. I love to compose my thoughts on paper. I take joy in writing my novel. I hope to encourage and inspire through my written words - not because of me, but because of what God has done in my life. I keep a regular journal as well as a joy journal. I write many words each day through blogging, working on my novel and various writing assignments.

I can write and share my thoughts on paper, but don't do a great job with speaking. Somehow what I mean to say in my head doesn't come across my lips. Perhaps that is why God made me shy by nature. I am a better listener than a speaker. Maybe this is why we are all created different. If we all had the gift of talking, there would be nobody to listen. And if we all listened, we wouldn't hear anything since nobody would be talking. :) I'm thankful that even with all my inadequacies and idiosyncrasies, God made me the way He did.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

38 Days and 38,000 Words

I set a goal. I believe I could complete my book within 38 writing days if I write 1000 words each of those days. That would leave me with 38,000 words to add to the 39,000 I already have. My desire is to have the rough draft completed by Christmas. Moving onward towards the goal.....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Two Day Hiatus

Time to get back to writing, after taking a two day hiatus. I never realized how mentally exhausting writing can be. I intentionally took off on Sunday. Yesterday I had every intention of writing, but the responsibilities of life intervened. I'm hosting my ladies Bible study group this evening, which meant I had to work on cleaning my house, or at least moving piles so the women will have somewhere to sit. :)


I'm finding that one of the hazards of writing more, is I can't balance everything I used to do. I admit, I've never been the greatest with keeping up with the house. It definitely is an area where I'm challenged. So the past month of intense writing has left its toll on my house. It was in serious need of attention, which is what I chose to focus on yesterday.

As I find myself getting more and more involved with my writing, I continue to seek the Lord's guidance of what things I should and shouldn't be doing. I realize there are times when I need to choose between things that are good vs. things that are best. But as I've been praying, God gently nudges me in the areas I need to follow. I need His direction and leading.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I Made It!!!!!!!!

I made it to 25,001 words. That definitely is the most words I've ever written in one month's time! I'm so excited I was able to make it 5000 words past my goal. I also managed to read and write a book review, finish two writing course assignments as well as keeping up with life. I realize I'm able (with God's strengths) to do more than I think I can, as long as I'm choosing to follow God. I'm thankful for His direction in my life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Commitment and Plans

I've been reading a book entitled The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell. I admit, it wasn't quite what I expected, but I am enjoying it. Actually I'm not quite sure what I expected! :)

Through its pages I've been challenged to take my writing career to the next level of commitment. Since I believe writing is a calling God gave me, how much am I willing to put into it? What am I willing to give up to follow this pursuit from God? Am I going to approach this casually or like a business woman? How much is God calling me to do? Will I simply dabble or chase wholeheartedly? These are the thoughts racing through my brain the past couple days.

As of yet, I don't have a definite plan - thoughts and feelings, but still seeking God's direction. I know above all else I want to be in the center of His will for my life.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Act of Obedience

Short post today with some random thoughts....

Sometimes I find myself affected by what is going on in my life, that I may not feel like writing. This is how I felt today. I know, often we are affected by our lives. Over the past couple years though I have learned to think more like a guy. You probably are asking, what does that mean? God definitely designed men and women differently, even in the way we think and process things. My husband has the uncanny ability to compartmentalize his thoughts.

I've heard it explained before that a man's brain is like a set of utility drawers. They process one individual drawer at a time. Not a bad thing. A woman's brain, on the other hand, happens to process feelings and emotions all at the same time. Kind of like a bowl of marbles that are swirling, with a rubber ball thrown in the mix. That ball is accessing all kinds of information at once.

So what does all this have to do with anything? :) Well, I've learn to be more of a compartment or drawer thinker. Able to put things in a drawer, close it, and move on to something else that needs my attention. It's an active choice I must make. For today, I chose to be obedience to the call God has placed on my life to write. I sat down and did it, even when I didn't feel like it. What act of obedience is God calling you to do today?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Elastic and Stretch-a-bility

I've been thinking today about elastic and stretch-a-bility. About three months ago I committed to something I hadn't ever done before. I signed up and set a goal to write 10,000 words in one month's time. I remember being a little apprehensive, wondering if I would be able to meet my commitments. But as time went on, I found that I easily completed what I had set out to do.

This month arrived, and I felt God calling me to double my previous goal. I admit, I really was sweating out whether I could accomplish it this time. 20,000 words seemed like an insurmountable task. We are only half way through the month, and I already have completed 11,597 words. I've been averaging anywhere from 650 - 1200 words most days. After I finish each day, I realize I easily could have written more. I admit, I'm often weary and my brain feels a bit fried when I'm finished, but I also know I could continue.

I can't help but wonder if there are other areas in my life where God is calling me to step out in faith to grow and be challenged more. Elastic has a great quality of being able to be stretched, but still return to it's original shape. I wonder if God has more stretching for me to do. I pray I will be faithful in stepping out when He calls.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Love the Way God Works

I admit, with doing a lot of writing lately, my mind is full with all kinds of things. Some of those have to do with my writing, and others are just things I'm trying to figure out. I had two items that were heavy on my heart before I went to bed last evening. I gave them to the Lord before I fell asleep.

It wasn't the most restful night's sleep for me, unfortunately. I from time to time struggle with pain in my sciatic nerve. Yesterday and throughout the night, the pain was pretty brutal. I had taken pain medicine and rubbed on some pain cream as well, but neither of them seemed to touch it. I don't know if the trouble was due to hiking on uneven ground the day before or what. At any rate, I was struggling.

I was groggy when I awakened this morning. Probably because my sleep hadn't been very restful. But I was surprised when my first two thoughts were solutions to the problems from the night before. I knew they were from God, and not something I had come up with on my own.I love the way God works in our lives when we least expect it. What a blessing!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm Up to 9,247 Words Written This Month

It seems hard to believe I'm up to 9,347 words written so far this month. My goal is to break the half way point tomorrow and reach 10,000 words. If I meet it, I will likely complete my eighth chapter as well. I continue to be amazed at this journey has God me on, of writing. It has been a desire of my heart for such a very long time. How wonderful God has me doing something I thoroughly enjoy. Way cool! Of course, I know writing is a passion God built into me when He made me.

Perhaps you are getting tired of reading my word counts and my writing progress this month. I'll try and be a bit more inspired in my next posting. I find after sitting down and writing 600-800 words in a couple hours time, my brain is pretty fried. Guess I'd better find a different time to blog perhaps. :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Change of Plans

I admit, I've been anxious to sit down and see where my characters will take me next. My fingers anticipate flying across the keyboard, recording their story. But alas, it hasn't happened (as of yet) today. Other things have taken precedence. I have a writing assignment for the course I'm taking, which is due on Thursday. So instead of immersing myself in my story, I chose to be disciplined and finish my homework. It was a difficult task since I needed to come up with three separate stories of 500 words each. I plugged along, and have it completed and emailed to my mentor. Praise God!

My writing time was also disrupted since most of the afternoon was spent running to Wal-Mart for groceries. When I finally arrived back home, my time has been divided between finishing my stories and final preparations for my son taking PSAT's tomorrow. If possible I hope to squeeze some time to work on my novel. Even if I don't have the opportunity to write, my mind is still percolating with ideas of where to go next.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Most Words in a Long Time

I continue to plug along with my writing. Today I wrote the most words than I have in a really long time. I finished my seventh chapter, writing 1479 words, bringing my total to 7650 this month. I continue to have my characters move through my story with a mind of their own. Well, perhaps it isn't my story, but instead their story. Each time I think I know where I plan to go with my writing, my characters change on me.

Each day as I sit at the keyboard, I watch in awe as my characters create their own story. It's a weird feeling actually. It's such fun to sit down and write each day. I praise God for this opportunity.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Almost 5500 Words and Over Two Chapters

It's been a busy and creative last eight days. It seems hard to believe a little over a week ago I started on my journey of writing 20,000 words this month. I have already completed almost 5500, which is over two chapters. If I keep on this path, I'll have over twelve chapters finished by the end of October.

Tomorrow I need to work on cleaning up and preparing for company. I can hardly wait to see my best friend from Georgia and her husband! I also want to try and squeeze in double words tomorrow if possible. We'll see how it goes.

I'm thankful God has me doing a job that I thoroughly enjoy and take such pleasure in. What a blessing! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm a Blessed Woman

I'm a blessed woman. I'm so thankful to have a husband who supports me with my writing. I was on a roll writing this afternoon when my hubbie returned home from working all day. I was on a mission to try and catch up with taking a day off from my writing to recuperate. My goal was 1290 words, and I was still working hard.

Time was shorter than normal since our son had to be at church for teen choir practice. Supper still needed to be assembled and heated. My dear man stepped in and took care of our meal as well as dropping my son off at the church. I was able to finsh my writing and also get the dishes cleaned up before my husband returned back home. Of course, he also stopped at the store and ran a couple errands too.

It brings me such joy to be fulfilling the call God has called me to do. I praise God for my husband who supports and encourages me. I take such pleasure in being wheere God has me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Direction

I continue to plug along with my writing of my novel. I wrote over 680 words this afternoon, finishing chapter five. I guess I'm one sixth of my way completed with the book. I had a good general idea of the way I planned to head, but I find my characters changing on me. It's as if they have taken over and decided a different path than I planned. As I finished chapter five with things hanging, I found myself wondering what will happen in the next chapter.

I pray for direction and leading as I continue on this journey of writing. Above all else, I desire to share my faith through my words - written and spoken. May His words flow through me, so I'm only the vessel.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Untold Stories

My mother, brother and I were on the cemetery yesterday for a funeral in our family. After leaving the graveside, we decided to visit the graves of my great-grandparents. We spent some time tromping through the cemetery, noticing names and dates of the deceased. Some were born as far back as the 1700's.

As I stood at the top of the hill and looked down at the vast cemetery, I couldn't help but think about all of the stories represented with each of the tombstones. Every life that was lived. Here one day and gone the next. I was reminded of how fleeting our lives are. We never know when we will be called into the afterlife.

I wondered how many of the stories represented on the cemetery have since been forgotten. I was reminded of the old hymn by H. Ernest Nichol entitled "We've a Story to Tell to the Nations." Are we living out our lives in such a way to tell others of the hope we have in Jesus? Whether the words are written down, or spread by word of mouth, or shown by our example, how are we doing with sharing God's story through the story of our lives?

We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
That shall turn their hearts to the right,
A story of truth and mercy,
A story of peace and light,
A story of peace and light.

Refrain
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright;
And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
The kingdom of love and light.

We’ve a song to be sung to the nations,
That shall lift their hearts to the Lord,
A song that shall conquer evil
And shatter the spear and sword,
And shatter the spear and sword.

Refrain

We’ve a message to give to the nations,
That the Lord who reigns up above
Has sent us His Son to save us,
And show us that God is love,
And show us that God is love.

Refrain

We’ve a Savior to show to the nations,
Who the path of sorrow has trod,
That all of the world’s great peoples
Might come to the truth of God,
Might come to the truth of God.

Refrain

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Killing Habits

I'm taking a brief break from my writing this morning, to blog about a habit I desperately am trying to break. I have no idea why, but it seems I enjoy including the word 'that' in my writing. I'm sure if I looked back in previous blog entries I would likely find it lurking there.

It's a mystery really, since this word is not descriptive. Dictionary.com describes it as: "used to indicate a person, thing, idea, state, event, time, remark, etc., as pointed out or present, mentioned before, supposed to be understood, or by way of emphasis."

All right, I realize it isn't a deadly habit, and there are plenty of things much worse than this! But for me, I'm on a quest to eradicate 'that' from my writing. What areas do you need to improve?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Growth, the Christian Life and Suffering

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:3-7

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.  2 Corinthians 1:3-7

My heart has been heavy the past several days, for multiple reasons. I have been contemplating some weighty thoughts. I have some dear friends that are going through some rough times in their lives now. I struggle with how I can reach out and help them. I would love to be able to make their difficult times disappear, but yet I'm not able to do that. I can stand in the gap and be a prayer warrior for them, but there is nothing tangible that I can do to eliminate the situation.

I have been thinking about my own struggles. I have had some disturbing news the past couple days. I also have been reading via a prayer loop of various writers that are facing spiritual attack whenever they work on a manuscript that they feel God has placed on their hearts. I can't help but wonder if this shouldn't be happening to all believers. Don't get me wrong, I don't love struggles, trials or difficult times in my life. But shouldn't we expect Satan to be stirring things up and causing strife in our lives when we are choosing to faithfully following God? Isn't this sometimes proof that we are on the right path? We shouldn't be surprised by them.

I guess the important thing is what we do with those trials we face. Do we remain strong, and allow God's spirit to shine through us, or do we succumb to the hard situation? My prayer for myself and my friends (and anyone else) is that we will be faithful when we walk through the desert. May we seek to exemplify God in all we say and do.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

God Whispers

As a small child I whispered to your heart
Sharing my desire for you.
Your gifts and abilities were freely given
Use them to serve and follow me.

The world needs to hear of their need for me
My Son used stories to share
So too I have called you,
You are mine.

The path ahead has trials and struggles
But I'll always be by your side.
Keep your eyes on Jesus
Let His light be your guide.

Your Loving Father,
God

Forward and Backward

The four chapters are edited to the best of my ability....at the moment. I find that whenever I read back through them, I can find things to change and improve. I guess writing is always a work in progress. I have been pleased I was able to finish editing it within a couple days time.

This afternoon was to be the day for me to actually start writing again....as soon as I got home from having lunch with a dear friend. But I arrived home to a phone message from my mother saying my step-grandfather had passed away this morning. He had been declining in health and was in the hospital with pneumonia, so it wasn't a complete surprise.

Even though I wasn't exceptionally close to him, I find his death affecting me. It looks like the only writing I wil accomplish this afternoon is blog entries - a chance to share a little of what is going on in my heart. I realize how unsure life can be. We never know how long we have on this earth. How important it is to share our faith with those we meet. How crucial it is to be assured of our salvation and our final destination. I pray that God uses my writing to share His message to those I may never meet in person. May His light shine through me of the hope I have because of HIM.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two Chapters in Two Days

I managed to edit two chapters in two days time so far this week. I still have two more chapters to edit before Novel Track starts on Friday. My goal for October is 20,000 words, which will mean writing about two and a half pages each day. Definitely doable. It will keep me motivated.

I have found that my writing time has become quite intensive. I am setting aside three hours each afternoon throughout the week days. I haven't determined how much time I will spend on the weekends. My hats off to those writers who can sit down and write full-time every day. I find I need mini breaks to give myself a chance to step away from the computer screen and chair! :) Also my brain tends to fuzz when I go too long without stopping. I think that's what happened today. Now I feel like my head is twice the size it should be. Where do you go for a brain dump? :)

I am thankful that I have a husband that supports me on this journey. I couldn't do it without him. He was sweet and brought home stromboli this evening for supper. It only needed to be placed in the oven for about 20 minutes to cook. He even ran errands for me, so I wouldn't have to go out, and dropped our son at swim practice. What a blessing to have a husband that encourages me to write.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

Today finds me back to life as normal? If there is such a thing as normal. It took me all of last week to recover from the ACFW conference. Talk about intense! It took me a while to process everything.

So now I'm back to the drawing board or should I say writing board. One of the classes I took at the conference was on showing vs. telling. I find that I still am trying to get a grasp on this concept. I'm beginning to recognize it in books I'm reading, but not always successful of identifying it in my own work.

Out comes the surgical knife as I try and cut out those sections in my four chapters that tell instead of showing. Today I managed to work through my prologue and first chapter. I'm taking a short break before trying again. This week I plan to go through my four chapters before moving on to writing chapter five. Friday will begin Novel Track again and my goal is 20,000 words this time - double what I wrote in July. It's good to be back in the saddle again! :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Proceeding with God's Call

On Monday, I move forward in my quest to follow God's call on my life. It was a wonderful experience attending the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference in Indianapolis last weekend. I anticipated that God would lead me to a mountain top experience, but instead He came in a gentle whisper.

He reminded me of the call and desire He placed on my life when I was just a young girl, to be a writer. My mind keeps going back to the words that Terri Blackstock said in her acceptance speech about using the trials we are going through, to minister to others through our writing.

At this point, I didn't encounter the mountain top. In some ways I feel that I am in the midst of a desert/wilderness. I am reminded of the chorus of Michael Card's song "The Wilderness."

In the wilderness
In the wilderness
He calls his sons and daughters
To the wilderness
And he gives grace sufficient
to survive any test
And that's the themeful purpose of the wilderness


I feel that in order to write the story I am working on, I too need to go through a desert of sorts. I stand on His promise He gives me, to provide the grace I need to survive any test that is placed in my path.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Balance and Schedule

"Teach us to number our days aright,
       that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

This is day two since I returned home from the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference this past weekend. It was a wonderful learning and growing experience for me. Although I haven't started back into writing as of yet, I feel like I am at least in process of coming up with a writing plan and schedule that will fit into my lifestyle. I am still recovering from long days and not much sleep. I felt like a sponge that was sopping wet and unable to soak up any more information.

My week will be spent trying to get caught up from being away for five days. I am in the process of touching base with contacts that were made over the weekend. Then I plan to move on towards rereading what I have already written (my four chapters) and start further work on plotting, fleshing out characters, etc. Then next week I will start actively writing again. I'm looking forward to it.

I have been thinking about this Bible verse - the importance of ordering our days. It isn't enough to make our own thoughts and plans. We first must be seeking the Lord and learning His wisdom for how we should best order our time. I feel that I have been in process of doing that for a month or so. Now I finally have come up with a plan that I think will work. Even though it has been a longer process in arriving at a decision than I had planned, I am thankful to finally have a plan.

*Sorry for another duplicate with my other blog today. I find myself very slowly getting back into things. Still wandering through my foggy brain from this past weekend! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Gentle Whisper

"The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 King 19:11-12

I arrived home last evening from the ACFW conference close to 10 PM. I admit to being one tired puppy today. My son and I decided to take a break from our homeschool schedule for the day, so I could try and get caught up with some things. Laundry and unpacking and some mail sorting have been accomplished, but not much else.

I find myself reflecting on my experiences. This was my first opportunity to attend this conference. It was a tremendous blessing to me. Two highlights for me, was that I was able to meet my two favorite fiction authors - Mary Connealy and Vickie McDonough. It took me a while to work up nerve to talk to each of them. I was with my extroverted mother, which for some reason tends to make me crawl a little more into my introverted shell.

I gained a lot of knowledge in my three days of attendance. In fact, I feel like my brain is quite heavy with all of the information! :) I enjoyed the opportunity to serve through helping in the bookstore and also the registration table. I plan to start implementing what I learned once I start writing in a day or two. I feel like I first need some rest to help clear out the fuzziness in my head!
I imagine for many that were in attendance they had a "ah ha" moment when everything seemed to click, or they felt a very clear direction of the next step on the journey that God was directing. This didn't exactly happen for me. I did not have the opportunity to speak with either an editor or agent. This time I was a sponge, just soaking in information.

For me, God showed up like He did with Elijah so many years ago - in a gentle whisper. I felt God reminding me of the calling He has placed on my life to write since I was a very young girl. I remember my early teens when I wrote my first novel. When asked at the conference, I said that I haven't really been published. But as I look back through the years, I realized how much writing I have accomplished. I wrote a teen novel while I was a teen. In my early twenties, I wrote my first historical romance. In the in between years, I have written a children's book, three Bible studies and a full length book on Proverbs 31. Now I'm currently working on my eighth book, which happens to be another historical romance.

As for being published? I had two poems published as a teen and actually received payment for them. :) The past two years, I have written a bi-monthly column for a homeschooling magazine, and still hold that position. Have I ever sought publications of my books? I did enter a contest with my first book, and sent my first adult novel off to one publisher, but that's it. I guess it's time to start being more proactive in this journey to publication.

At the awards banquet on Sunday evening, I was struck by something Terri Blackstock said in her acceptance speech. She mentioned that God has her go through situations, so that she can use it to help others, and she does this through her writing. It made me think about the Biblical truths that I desire to convey through the story that I am writing.

Sometimes we have those 'ah ha' moments or mountain top experiences in our life. That happened to me back in March, when God called me back into the pursuit of writing. But other times we may be in the midst of hard, difficult, dry times and then God chooses to speak in a gentle whisper.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Bolt of Confidence and Encouragement

My life has been so blessed since I joined American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) in June of this year. I continue to be amazed at this group of people that have a love for the Lord, and a love for writing. I know it was not a coincidence that God has brought me on this path so far.

I am especially thankful and grateful to the women that have come alongside me. Some encourage, some pray, some inspire, some give bolts of confidence, and some spur you on to going beyond what you think you can do. So this is a special thank you to all who have done that for me. (Thanks Ruthie for calming those pre-jitters. You are a blessing! :) I'm also incredibly thankful for my dear, sweet husband who has always thought that I could/will make it as a writer. He's my biggest supporter.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Call for Help

I'm working on a pitch for the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference that I will be attending next week. A pitch is a hook written in 25 words or less, with the goal of arousing curiosity in an editor to want to know more about your story.

Here is my pitch:


The light keeper’s daughter secretly longs to follow in her father’s footsteps. However her best friend’s overbearingly, pleasant brother threatens to thwart her aspirations.

I need your help. When you read this does it cause any questions to come to mind, and if so what? Any suggestions or comments?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One Week and Counting

It's hard to believe that in a little over a week I will be in Indianapolis, IN attending the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference. Last I heard, there will be close to 600 people in attendance. Wow! That's a lot of writers! :)

I have been plugging along trying to take care of my 'to do' list that needs to be accomplished before I leave. I managed to complete my two writing lessons that are due this month, and submit them. This afternoon I emailed my homeschool article that is due October 1st. That's the earliest I have been finished! :) I completed the book and review that I needed to accomplish by September 2nd. Now I move on to finalizing my first chapter, writing a pitch and maybe dabbling with a one-sheet. I also need to finish up some homeschool lesson plans. I have them completed through September, but would like to have a bit more taken care of before I leave.

I pray that God starts preparing me spiritually for what He will show me, and what I will learn at this conference. I feel incredibly blessed for this opportunity to go. I don't want to miss out on anything that He has for me. I must admit though that Satan is trying his best to discourage and defeat me. I refuse to succumb. Please join me in prayer for God to do incredible things at this conference.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Inspiration

I always love reading a new book that is by a first time author. It always seems to inspire me that someday it will be my turn. I finished reading a book entitled Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad around 12:30 AM. I purchased the book on Friday morning and started it reading it. I found that it was one that I had difficulty putting down. I love books that grip me like this one did.

That is what I desire as well - to be able to write books that are hard to put down because the characters are so captivating. I desire for the reader to feel that they are a part of the story and that scenes are unfolding around them whenever they open up the pages. I pray that God continues to show me how I can carry this out in my own writing.

Well, it's time to head back to the keyboard to work on things that have to get accomplished - my writing assignment and homeschool article.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wow!

I just realized that it has been almost seven months already since I have started this writing blog. The time has passed by quickly. During that time I have felt God's call to write and have responded. I am taking a two year writing course from Christian Writer's Guild. I have joined American Christian Fiction Writers and will be attending their conference in less than two weeks.

I continue to write book reviews and blog about them for several different publishers. I enjoy reading the books and writing about it. It's a nice way to get a free book!

I also have started writing a historical Christian romance. I have four chapters completed and will be spending the next couple weeks polishing my first chapter and coming up with an elevator pitch. This is basically reducing the book down to 25 words or less.

I regularly write homeschool articles for Home School Enrichment magazine, and have four of these articles posted on www.crosswalk.com

I am looking forward to the conference and getting some new inspiration and encouragement. This past month has been a roller coaster, so I pray that things will calm down soon. I realize too, how vital prayer is in this ministry of writing. Satan doesn't want us to follow and do the things that God calls us to do. He would much rather see us get discouraged or distracted. I choose not to follow these lies. I choose to work toward the goal that God has placed in my life.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Getting There

I continue to plug along with my 'to do' list. I finished reading the book that I needed to blog a review about, and also wrote the review. So onward I go to my next set of assignments. One by one I'm making progress, one day at a time. Two weeks from now I'll be in Indianapolis at the ACFW conference. My goal is to have everything completed before then. So onward I go in my quest to accomplish my 'to do' list.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Progress Report

Yesterday I posted about all that I need to accomplish over the next month. I sat down and started writing my homeschool article today and I have it a third of the way completed already. I also read and finished my next writing assignment for the course that I am taking. I will wait a few days and then read over it again before I submit it. I praise God that I made some real progress today. I also read some great advice on a writing blog this afternoon. If you discipline yourself to write 1000 words every day over the next three months, you'll have a completed manuscript. Hmm. Something I may need to challenge myself to do once I get home from the conference. Definite food for thought.
  • Two writing assignments to finish by September 14 and September 30th. I finished an additional one and emailed it today. - Both assignments completed and sent.
  • I need to write a pitch.
  • I need to compose a one-sheet.
  • I need to finalize my first chapter.
  • A homeschool unit study article to write. - completed and sent.
  • I need to finish reading a book and blog a review. - read and written

Monday, August 30, 2010

Working on My To-Do List

August is winding down and I find myself with a growing 'to do' list to accomplish before the end of September. There are quite a number of things that I need to accomplish with different writing projects. Then I also need to work on finishing up lesson plans for our homeschool year too. Here is my list.

  • Two writing assignments to finish by September 14 and September 30th. I finished an additional one and emailed it today.
  • I need to write a pitch.
  • I need to compose a one-sheet.
  • I need to finalize my first chapter.
  • A homeschool unit study article to write.
  • I need to finish reading a book and blog a review.
I can't remember if there is anything else or not. It will be a busy month with being gone September 16-20, especially as I prepare for the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference in Indianapolis, IN. I continue to remind myself to take things one step and day at a time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to Planning Today

Yesterday I managed to write about a half page on my Christian historical novel that I am writing. I didn't get far, because I realized that I need to do a bit more outlining of my chapters. So far I have had a very generalized overview of what I want to cover, but I feel the need to get back to the drawing board and get a little more specific.

Today will find me not likely writing so much as planning and figuring out the direction I plan to head. Proverbs 29:18a encourages, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." All right, perhaps that is a dramatic example, but I think there is truth there as well. It is important to plan and have a vision. Obviously, we need to seek the Lord's guidance as we figure things out. So I will be spending some time seeking God's wisdom and direction for my writing project, because above all else I want to be in the center of His will with following this call to write that He has given me.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting Back in the Groove

The past three weeks have been a blur of activity in our family. Much has happened. I am excited to finally get back into a 'normal' groove, if there is such a thing! :) Today my son and I started his 11th grade homeschool year. One of the blessings of being back to a school schedule is that I should hopefully start having more regular time of being able to work on my writing. I'm off to do that as soon as I finish this post.

I'm thankful today for cooler temperatures that feel more like fall. This is my kind of weather! I feel that I'll be able to think more clearly without the heat of summer! :) What a joy to be back in the regular swing of things!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'm on Vacation

I'm going to be away for a few days for a mini vacaction. I am hoping to get some writing time in while we are gone, since I haven't had the opportunity to write the past week and a half. I am looking forward to having some time alone with the Lord as I seek His wisdom and insight for direction this fall. I hope to post again early next week.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Prayer for Balance

In less than a week we are tentatively going to beginning our homeschool year. I can hardly believe it is my 15th year homeschooling. Where have the years gone? I can hardly fathom that there are only two years left in this era of our lives.

I am asking for prayer as we begin our school year. I need wisdom and discernment for juggling our schedule, so it can include time for me to write my book and also work on my writing assignments. I pray for God's direction and guidance as I spend time in prayer concerning this over the upcoming weekend.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Novel Track Report

I just wanted to quick share a report from July when I participated in ACFW Novel Track. A total of 124 writers participated in this project and we all wrote a total of 1,403,468 words for the month! Wow!!
 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Mind of Their Own

My characters in the story I am writing have begun to have a mind of their own. Before sitting down to write I had briefly planned out where I planned to go with each chapter. I had a general outline. Then I sat down to actually write.

I have been surprised with every chapter I have written so far. My characters don't do what I had planned for them to do. They do and say things that surprise even me. Even though I have a general idea of what I think is going to happen, it doesn't always go that way.

I chose a friend that is an avid reader to read each chapter as I finish it. She helps to make sure that things are clear in how I write things, and that I haven't missed anything. I commented to her that my characters are starting to have a mind of their own. She responded that she likes where the characters are taking themselves! :) What a joy to write when even the author gets surprised by her characters.

Friday, July 30, 2010

I Did It!!!

It's been a rough month, trying to find time to work on my writing, and being disciplined to actually do it. It has been a real stretching time for me. But I'm pleased to announce that I actually did it. I met my goal of 10,000 words and even was a little bit over that amount. I now have four chapters completed on my WIP - work in progress. That means I'm 1/8th of the way through writing my book. Only 70,000 more words to go! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

God's Strength

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10

I admit it. I have felt weak and overwhelmed as of late. My deadlines which are quickly approaching, are looming on the horizon. I still need to write a homeschool article and a chapter before the end of this week. I came home hoping to work on these, to discover our power is out. I had been clicking along well with keeping up with all of my writing assignments, but now I'm feeling a bit dry and not much creative spark.

I pray that I am reminded through the dry times that I need to rely on the Lord for His strength. He is the one that grants me creativity. May my eyes be focused on Him and not on me. Help me Lord to meet each deadline and give you the praise in the process.

I had planned to post this yesterday, but we were without power for over three hours and it affected our internet service. That wasn't restored until 11PM last night. But in the process of being without these abilities, I wrote by hand, this blog post as well as another one. Then later in the evening, I started working on my homeschool article, and actually completed it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Continuing to Be Blessed!

It's been a busy week. I have managed to complete another chapter in the book I'm writing. I get so excited when I receive more information in regards to the lighthouse where my story is set, as well as the town of Camden, Maine. God has blessed me with two incredible people who have assisted in my research. I also have been blessed to be a part of the 19th Century Writers. They are able to help with finding out things about corsets, and other articles of clothing from that time period.

The next week and a half will find me busily working on completing my writing lesson - only one more section to complete, writing my homeschool article, and writing another chapter in my book - around 2500 words. I know as I seek the Lord's wisdom and guidance, He will help me to get everything accomplished in His time.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Deadlines! Deadlines!

It was a busy weekend with my mother visiting so we could celebrate her 71st birthday. The emails piled up in my inbox and it has taken most of the morning to get caught up with things. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment with the next course assignment due by next Friday, and a homeschool article needed to be written and submitted by August 1st. Yikes! No pressure! Then I also hope to write 5,000 more words on my novel before the end of this month. I set a goal of 10,000 and I really want to be able to reach it.

Each time I get feeling overwhelmed, I have to make a choice to draw into my Heavenly Father's presence and ask for His wisdom and help as I work towards each deadline. Sometimes I forget and feel like I won't possibly get everything done that needs to be accomplished. But, eventually, I usually remember to focus my eyes on the Lord and surprisingly things and words fall into place. Are you feeling overwhelmed today? Is it time to crawl into your Daddy's lap and ask for His help?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Plugging Along - Progress Report

Well I am 4,443 words closer to my goal of 10,000 words for this month, which means I'm almost half way there! I've had some slight delays the past few days as I have gone back over my first chapter repeatedly editing, polishing and perfecting. I know it usually is recommended to just keep writing, which I also am trying to do. I find that I do better if I keep going over things for now, as it helps me to obtain clearer thoughts of how my characters are portrayed. Taking a few days away from writing allows me to look at things a little differently as I read over things again.

I have moved on to my second chapter and almost have it completed. It was a good writing day with being able to write six pages. I'll keep this short today since I have been sitting at the computer most of the day, and my legs could use some good stretching!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Just When I Thought It Couldn't Get Any Better

Just as I was basking in the love and fellowship of ACFW, I was surprised by yet another joy in my life and writing career. God answered a specific prayer and desire that I had. It wasn't something I was actively seeking, but still was heavy on my heart. God knew and saw that request. He fulfilled it when I least expected it. I am overwhelmed by God's love and care for me!

Isn't that just like God to shower us with blessings when we don't anticipate it or see it coming?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blessings Upon Blessings

It only has been about a month since I joined American Christian Fiction Writers. I have been extremely blessed by this decision. I have found a group of people who think like I do, they understand, relate to, and experience the same passion that I do with serving God through my writing. It has been an incredible journey and blessing. Each time I think it can't get any better, God showers me with blessings upon blessings. I have been amazed to see how they come alongside each other to encourage and inspire others.

Their fellowship reminds me of these verses from 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.

"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."

How are you doing with being a part of God's body?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Be Imitators

"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." Ephesians 5:1-2

I came across these words in my Bible reading this morning. For me they are a reminder of how I want to live my life. It also is how I want my writing to be - bathed in prayer, but also very evident of my faith and who my hope and joy come from. I pray that through my writing and my daily life it will be very evident that I imitate God. My heart's desire is to serve and follow Him.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Not Too Much

I am back in the swing of writing again. I had a few days off this past weekend while my guys were home. We had some relaxing time together, but most of it was spent working on things that needed to be taken care of around the house. I only had an hour to work on my writing this morning, but I was able to crank out 634 words, so I was pleased.

I read Cecil Murphey's writing blog this afternoon entitled 'Writer to Writer'. He was talking about beginnings and not giving too much away. I have been pondering this and wondering how you know that it's not too much? Can you allude to the conflict without giving too much away at the start? I guess these are questions I need to address as I work my way through the writing process. So much to learn!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Quick Update

Yesterday began the quest to write 10,000 words in the month of July for my manuscript. I figured I needed to have 20 days this month of writing 500 words. I realize this is a low goal, but I wanted to pick something I knew I could achieve. I didn't want to set my goal so high that I got frustrated, so I opted for low to start.

July 1st I chimed in with writing 538 words. Whoo! Hoo! I'll keep this entry short as I'm off to do some more writing!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

10,000 Words in a Month

Today begins a journey that I am taking with a bunch of Christian authors from American Christian Fiction Writers. We are each choosing to work on our writing projects this month. Goals have been set and today is the first day. It was suggested to write at least 10,000 words, so that is what I chose to do. That averages out to twenty days of writing two pages each, for a total of about 40 pages. It will be a stretch for me, since I haven't written that much for many years.

So where am I in this writing process? This week I have been continuing work with my four main characters. I have been filling out six-page forms in order to get to know their quirks and idiosyncrasies. Three out of four are completed. I hope to finish the fourth one today. As for actual writing, I have written a half page a couple days ago. By the end of today I will have at least three pages completed. I'm excited to once again begin this journey. I'll keep you updated as I proceed.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Following a Dream

Yesterday I actually began the writing journey. I wrote about a half page and continued with my characterization planning. My hope is to finish work on my characters this week and be able to start full-time writing by next week.

I came across this quote in a book I am currently reading. It's taken from Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist.

                        "This is your dream. Your chance. You mustn't squander it."

I am choosing to follow my dream and calling to become a writer. I choose not to squander the gift that God has given me. I choose to take that chance.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

God Confidence vs. Self-Confidence

I have a confession to make. I have been dragging my heels when it comes to actually jumping in and starting to write my novel about lighthouses. I don't know exactly why. I still am very excited about it, and I know that it is something that God is calling me to do. There are many ideas rolling around in my head, just waiting to be put down on paper. But somehow between the desire and knowledge that this is God's will of me, fear and self-doubt have stepped in and taken root.

I have been praying about it, trying to move forward. This week I have chosen to devote to put the housework on hold, and work on my writing. I find it easy to get distracted with email, or researching ACFW, or other blogs and websites. It becomes hard to discipline myself.

I wondered if it was a struggle with self-confidence, something I deal with from time to time. Do I still have what it takes to write Christian fiction? Even though I have the main idea of the direction for my book, I have been unable to actually get started. It isn't so much writer's block as fear of taking that first step.

This morning in my devotions I read a chapter in Marlene Bagnull's Write His Answer - Encouragement for Christian Writers. She said, "If a crisis of confidence is holding you back from the work you know you have been called to do, it's time to acknowledge that it's not self-confidence you need, but God-confidence."

So today, I am choosing to walk in God-confidence when it comes to my writing.

"This is my work, and I can do it only because Christ's mighty energy is at work within me." (Colossians 1:29 - TLB)

"I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people." (2 Corinthians 12:9 - TLB)

"When I am weak, then I am strong - the less I have, the more I depend on him." (2 Corinthians 12:10 - TLB)

"Stir into flame the strength and boldness that is in you." (2 Timothy 1:6 - TLB)


Today in Our Daily Bread (June 29, 2010) it had this quote. "We are Christ's "letters of recommendation" to all who read our lives. My prayer is that God uses my writing to be His letter of recommendation so that others see Him through the words I write.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Place to Write

It has taken a lot of work, but I finally have an area set aside for my writing. With the advent of branching out in regards to my writing, my husband and I decided that it is important for me to have a specific space for accomplishing these goals. Somewhere that I am able to spread things out and don't need to keep packing it up when it's time for a meal. In other words, a place other than the kitchen table, which is where I had been writing.

This week my husband and I have been working heavily on cleaning up the house and attic. We have had a dumpster for the week, which had been used for the old shingles and boards from having our roof replaced last weekend. There was still plenty of room left in the dumpster so we were encouraged to fill it up as much as possible. My husband worked on sorting through the attic. I worked on things in the house, in particular a computer desk we have in our dining room.

I now have all my writing books transferred to its shelves, as well as a couple lighthouse figurines that I was given. I hung scriptures to inspire and encourage me. I have framed photos of the lighthouse where my book is set, that a dear friend had made for me. So now all I need is the inspiration and time to start writing. I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gotta Write

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
 

     "The Love of God" by Frederick M. Lehman, 1917

I was impressed by this portion of the song, "The Love of God" when we sang it in our church on Sunday morning. God continues to stir in me the desire to write the story that He has placed in my heart - to share it with those I meet. I pray too that I live it out in my day to day life as well.

I am so enjoying reading a new book entitled Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James. It is set in 1899 and the main heroine is a writer of 'dime novels' (as they were once called). It fascinates me to read a story where the main character is a writer. Lilly Westbrook has a desire to follow God by being faithful in her writing career. So too is the cry of my heart - faithfully following God by writing for Him.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Characters on the Move

Do you remember the line from Chronicles of Narnia, "Aslan is on the move." I guess that line is on my mind since last night my husband and I saw the new movie trailer for Voyage of the Dawn Treader which will be out in theaters in December of this year. Aslan in definitely a memorable character, and a key ingredient within each of the stories.

My writing time has been a bit more sporadic this week than I had hoped it would be. However, I did have one good afternoon where I was able to sit down and further plan out my heroine. She still is a bit two-dimensional, and not fully discovered as of yet, but she is getting closer to living and breathing (so to speak).

In the process of figuring out details of this heroine, I realized details from her parent's lives that have helped to shape and mold her. Their lives are intertwined. I am excited to see what will play out in the days ahead.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Am a Writer!

"Be strong and courageous and get to work. Don't be frightened by the size of the task, for the Lord my God is with you; he will not forsake you. He will see to it that everything is finished correctly." 1 Chronicles 28:20 TLB

I have very slowly been working my way through a Bible study for writers entitled Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull. The above scripture was part of the devotional I read this morning. It spoke to me on several levels. King David said them to his son Solomon, as he gave him the blueprints for building God's temple. Perhaps Solomon was feeling overwhelmed by the mantle that his father was placing on his young shoulders.

I recently have started fully embracing the idea that I am a writer. It is something that has been a part of me for many, many years. It is just who God made me. I admit that I am often excited about the prospects before me, but also at times afraid.  Questions and uncertainties can plague me from time to time. But I choose to rest in the words of this verse - to be strong, courageous, and unafraid. I trust God to work in my writing and to use it for His purposes. May I be faithful in following Him in all areas of my life. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Story Weaver

I continue to be captivated with the idea of being a story weaver. So many people enjoy hearing, reading, seeing, learning about a good story. It seems that God has designed in us the desire to enjoy and be touched by stories. Jesus continually told stories to those he met each day. As I faithfully pursue the call of God on my life to write His story, I look forward to the stories that he desires for me to weave and share with others.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Slowly Making Progress

Yesterday I felt like I finally made some progress in my book planning. It has been quite a while since I have been able to make time to work this into my busy schedule. I have come up with some rough calculations. My book will be approximately 80,000 words which roughly works out to about 320 pages. It seems a little overwhelming, but I figured it could be about 32 chapters of ten pages each. Those are easier bite sized chunks to concentrate on working towards.

I also was able to come up with a fairly rough outline of what each chapter or few chapters will cover. I really need to go back and do a bit more refining and detailed planning, but I was quite pleased with the progress that I made. There is a long way to go, but I feel that I have made some decent headway.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What Are You Doing With Your Talents?

"To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance." Matthew 25:29

I never thought of the Parable of the Talents like it hit me this morning during my personal devotions. Perhaps it was because I was reading a different translation of the Bible than I normally do. 

What if Jesus was actually referring to the real talents that He has given each of us? Is He just waiting for us to faithfully use those talents to serve Him so he can pour more abilities into us? I have heard and read this parable many times throughout my life. Today God used it as a confirmation that as I faithfully follow the call He has given me, He will bless me abundantly.

Now, I know that doesn't mean that I won't experience difficulties or struggles along the way. But I want to diligently and eagerly use those gifts He has given me. I desire for Him to give me an abundance and overflowing of my talent, so I can use it to touch others. May I think of my writing as being a missionary - able to reach out, touch, and inspire readers to draw closer to the Lord. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Slow Beginnings

I had hoped to be further along on my writing journey today. I was somewhat bogged on the computer this morning as I learned the ins and outs with signing up with http://www.acfw.com. I am now an official member of American Christian Fiction Writers. One step on the journey of eventually becoming a published Christian fiction writer. I feel like each decision I have been making lately is bringing me one step closer to what God is calling me to do.

This afternoon I spent several hours writing and polishing my next assignment with Christian Writer's Guild. I discovered from my writing mentor some potential articles to consider. I need to be in prayer to see what God desires for me to do. Under my mentor's leadership, I am being encouraged to possibly pursue an additional project that would take a lot of time and research. At this point I don't know if I can handle writing two books at once and keep up with my writing course. But, I need to remind myself that if this is something that God is calling me to do, He will provide the strength to do it.

This evening finds me in pursuit of God's direction when it comes to writing projects, as well as the balancing act between duties with home and family and my writing endeavors. Above all else I desire to be in God's will.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tomorrow Starts a New Era

Tomorrow starts a new era in my life - actively pursuing my call to write. I have been dabbling with writing the past couple months. Things have been busy with finishing up the school year, getting our boys prepared for serving this summer at camp, etc. But tomorrow marks a new day and era for my life. I will start consistently focusing on my writing each day - at least five days a week.

I have made a commitment to work on two things this summer - getting my house in order and focusing on writing. I'm excited about both prospects. I know there will be times when I struggle with juggling these, but I feel these are my areas in which I need to concentrate. It's a great time to start since the summer schedule for my sons has officially begun. They both are gone throughout each week. We will have weekends together, so my times of writing and cleaning will be Monday through Friday. Today is my catch-up day since we were away this past weekend. Tomorrow my journey begins. I'll give you updates from time to time. I will continue to blog as well. Can't wait to being the process!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In a Different World

I was reminded of one of the marks of great writing - writing that pulls you into the story. This morning my son had his sports' physical for school. While waiting for his name to be called, I immersed myself in the current book I'm reading - The Anonymous Bride by Vickie McDonough. A few minutes later when the nurse drew me from my book, it took me a second or two to remember where I was and what we were doing.

Then again, while the nurse gave my son a hearing test, I cracked the book open. I was drawn into the year 1886 in Lookout, Texas. The whole scene was playing before my eyes. I was a bit disoriented when the nurse finished the test. I was distracted and in the middle of life in the 'old days.'

That's what I want to do as a writer - draw the reader into thinking that they are part of the story - that the scenes are unfolding before their very eyes. They see first-hand, smell the things described, and feel what the characters are experiencing. Oh to be gifted, or to learn what it takes to pull the reader into a different world.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wanderings and Ponderings

I had the opportunity to pick up three new Christian novels yesterday. I had received a Lifeway gift card for my birthday, and was finally able to use it. At the time I didn't realize it, but I picked up three books that happened to be debut novels. It was an inspiration to me to see these new authors getting published. It's an encouragement that there also is hope for me.

Last evening I checked out each of the author's websites. Then just for fun, I googled my own name, to see what would come up from the search. No - there is no website on me. My blog did come up, and also something else that surprised me. Apparently three of the home school unit study articles I have written for Home School Enrichment are posted on www.crosswalk.com. I hadn't realized that before! :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Deadlines and Plugging Along

Today I am working on my final deadline for the month - writing a unit study article for Home School Enrichment magazine. It's been a busy month with lots of deadlines and things that needed to get accomplished. Most of the time I have felt that I am barely keeping my head above water, and I'm a horrible swimmer.

The house is quiet. All of my guys are gone to various jobs for the day. I find myself with time to think, regroup, reflect and plan. As much as I love my guys, I relish this time alone. It is rejuvenating to my soul. I always have enjoyed being a 'home body,' but find lately I particularly enjoy those times when I have hours by myself.

So this afternoon finds me working on my article. I have 166 words completed - only about 1100 more to write! :) I hope to be able to have it roughly on paper by late this afternoon, so I can polish it over the weekend. I'm thankful for the this down time to be able to write and relax.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Light at the End of the Tunnel

This month has been a whirlwind of activities and deadlines. I am down to my last deadline to complete - writing a homeschool article for Home School Enrichment. I at least know the topic that I plan to write about.

This morning my son has his homeschool evaluation. His portfolio is assembled and completed, awaiting inspection. I even managed to take care of writing objectives for next year, so I can turn those in to the school today as well.

Once my article gets completed sometime this weekend, I am looking forward to having a slight break. Then I will only have two deadlines a month, with time in between to get back to my writing. I can hardly wait. I also plan to pick up my writing books that I have started reading.

Then also begins the journey to clean out the cobwebs - in my house and in my brain. I feel like things have been flying by me, and I'm standing still observing, and wondering what happened. Perhaps I just have had too much on my plate lately. At any rate, I am thankful to see a light at the end of the tunnel!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Than A Good Read

I have been busy trying to finish a book I'm reading before next week. It is entitled The Last Christian by David Gregory. Why the need to finish it by next week? I need to blog a book review and post it by then. I am finding the book to be an interesting read.

As I am getting older, I find that I am a bit more selective in the things that I pick up and read. When it comes to reading fiction, if I find the book easy to put down after reading a few chapters, there is a good chance that I won't finish it. I am looking for more than just a good read. I desire a book that sometimes challenges, encourages, inspires, and enlightens. All right, perhaps that is a bit much when reading fiction, but I think it is doable.

All this to say.... this is something that I hope to be able to write - books that are more than just a good read. There are a few fiction novels that I have read through the years that I have felt changed me. That is my desire - to write so that it touches the hearts of women, and inspires them to a deeper level of faith.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Two Lighthouses in Two Days - Part Two

I experienced the joy of visiting two lighthouses within two days a week ago. The first one was in Georgia - Tybee Island Light Station, near Savannah. I enjoyed being able to share this with my husband and youngest son this time around. They particularly liked the view from the top and managed to coerce me to walk around too. Let's just say I had a death grip on my husband's arm as I made sure he was between me and the railing. Have I mentioned that I'm not fond of heights?

Our next lighthouse was in Pensacola, Florida. We had seen this one only from the outside over two years ago. This time we were pleasantly surprised to learn that it was now open to the public as well as its mini museum. The Pensacola lighthouse was just one step shy of Tybee, although this one took more courage to climb. The steps were intricate wrought iron swirls which enabled you to see all the way down to the bottom. Did I also mention that they were steep? Gulp! I went hand over hand with my vice-like grip on the railing, allowing myself to only glimpse at the step and not the plunging fall beneath me.

It took a bit of self-talk, tamping down my fear to make it to the top and then step out on the walkway. I even managed to touch the railing this time. I didn't walk all the way around, but instead settled with talking to the two volunteers that were inside where the fresnel lens rotated. I needed to do some research, don't you know! :)

The next few days I felt the affects of walking up and down those 700+ steps, but it was well worth the pain and discomfort. I was able to step back in time and experience life at the lighthouse. The one museum even had a five pound can that you could hold to see what it would have been like for the lighthouse keepers to carry kerosene from the bottom to the top, several times a day. I realize what great shape they must have been in. It was a job not for the faint-hearted like me. I enjoyed being able to write and experience it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Two Lighthouses in Two Days

I will keep this short since I still am recovering from our whirlwind trip to Florida and back to PA. While traveling I had the opportunity to visit two lighthouses within two days. One was in Georgia, and one was in Florida. I enjoyed being able to share this opportunity with my husband and youngest son. I think my feet are still recovering from the 700+ steps! :)

The next two weeks will be busy with working on final paperwork for homeschooling and preparing the portfolio, reading a book for review, as well as writing it, and writing an article for the magazine, as well as completing my second writing assignment. Never a dull moment it seems. Then throw in there extra doctor appointments for an aching foot and a mother/daughter event with my mother, that she just mentioned today, and is for later this week..... So much for relaxation! :)

I look forward to the first week of June when things will slow down considerably, and I'll be able to be more focused with my writing and working on my house.

I hope to post sometime later this week about our lighthouse experiences.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm On Vacation

Just wanted to let you know that I'll be away for about a week as we head to Florida to pick up our son from college.

I look forward to writing when we return late next week!

Blessings!

Happy early Mother's Day!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Calling and Security

I haven't been able to do much writing as of late, due to other responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. I have learned to turn off that part of my brain that wants to be working on my writing and think about my storyline. I am able to do that at this point, only because my characters haven't been fully developed as of yet. Once they have life breathed into them, it will be difficult to keep them at bay in my mind.

My brain feels a bit weary after reading and completing four book reviews for publishers this past week. Whew! I think I am on brain overload! I look forward to getting back into some pleasure reading, that doesn't require a book review. I plan to do a bit of this next week while we have several days of travel when we go to pick up my son in Florida. I also would like to do some character development as well, while we are gone.

But what is uppermost on my mind lately has been the thought of calling and security. It has been almost two months now since I have felt the stirrings of God calling me to return to my writing. It is something that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He has spoken to me to pursue, and I am actively seeking after it.

A surprising thing has happened along the way as I am walking in this calling. I have noticed that I am much more secure. I can't help but feel the two are connected.... the more we know what God is calling us to do, and we walk in it, the more secure we are in His love. Being secure in His love, makes us more secure overall. What a blessing!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Great Characters

I have been thinking and musing on the thought of great characters, great writing, great stories, etc. I ponder what it takes to be a great writer, as I start on my own endeavors. Is it something that can be learned and refined? Or is it something that comes from deep within you? Do some people have it and some don't? How much of great writing is talent vs. hard work, or is it a combination of the two? I don't know that I have the answer to any of these questions.

I do know though that great characters can make or break a story. Real characters are ones that you can relate to as a reader. They draw you into their world. I know this from experience!

It's been a busy week and I have been trying to work through three non fiction books that I need to have completed, and write reviews on by this coming Monday. Before these books arrived though, I had started on Vickie McDonough's new book, entitled The Anonymous Bride. She is a very talented author and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I had to force myself to put her book aside for a week, so I could take care of the things that need to get accomplished.

While reading Vickie's book, I am disciplining myself to write down things as I go through each chapter - what is the conflict, how is she furthering along the plot, etc. I am trying to analyze and learn what it is that makes it a great story. This is very difficult. I easily find myself swept away by the story, and want to keep reading instead of analyzing.

This morning as I was thinking of all that I needed to accomplish today, my thoughts were interrupted. "I wonder what Luke and Rachel are doing? What's going to happen next?" These are the characters in Vickie's book. To me, you write a great story when you have characters that interrupt the reader's thoughts in between the time they are actually reading. This is what I hope and desire to do through my writing.

Hats off to you Vickie!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Learning How To Juggle

I never have been good at juggling, unless you count only using two balls! Right now I feel like I'm on a journey of learning how to juggle/balance the things that God is calling me to do. I feel like I'm in the trial period, before I get down to crunch time. The beauty of this, is that I can learn what things I can manage, and also know when I have taken on too much.

As God continues to show me new endeavors that He desires of me, I also know that He will teach me how to balance those commitments. I also need to be daily seeking Him for guidance and strength. I only can successfully learn to juggle with His help.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

THE STORY

It's been a busy few days. I was able to get some real definite planning for my writing project accomplished on Friday, but not much else since then. I'll be glad when our homeschool year is completed so I'll be able to have some more time to concentrate on my writing. For now, I will be content with the time I have been given.

Yesterday during my pastor's sermon he said this, "Every good story is rooted in THE STORY." (Pastor Paul Tatum) I couldn't help but think about the truth behind this statement. I know with being interested in writing, I enjoy reading, viewing, or hearing a good story. A good story can stir our imaginations, but also cause us to look beyond ourselves.

A good story that moves us to emotion, is one that causes the viewer to be able to sympathize with the hero or heroine. I can't help but feel that God has built inside each of us the desire to learn more about how we can come to Him. Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on the cross for you and for me is THE STORY. No other story can compare to it. It is the hope that we have!

Friday, April 23, 2010

They're On The Move

I thought I would take a quick break from planning out my characters, to give my brain a different direction to process. I feel like my characters are slowly starting to move around in my mind. They don't have full substance yet.

I'm finding that it takes a while to come up with a history for each one, as well as their quirks and features. What makes them each different and unique? What brought them to where they are currently? What struggles do they have? How would they respond in a situation? What are their insecurities? Do they have any secrets?

I continue to have much food for thought as I flesh out what makes my characters tick. How do I intertwine their paths? I find that each decision leads to another and another. It will take some time, but I look forward to when they are living and breathing in my mind on a daily basis. Until then....back to the drawing board! :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm Looking Forward to Tomorrow

It's been a busy week. So much so, that I have been unable to do any research for my writing project. It has been on the back burner. Even though I haven't been consciously thinking about it, I know my brain has been mulling over possible scenarios.

On Sunday evening I had the opportunity to share the plot and subplot with my husband over dinner. It was good to bounce some ideas around, and think of different possible twists to the storyline. One thing I learned early in life was not to talk a lot about your actual plot, but instead to get it on paper (or computer!).

Even though there are a few people that know I'm writing a book, I have shared very little because of this. The ideas remain fresh when they are still in your head. I have shared a little bit about the setting, but that's about it. I have been in contact with a Christian writer in Maine and she mentioned the importance of not sharing your story with others until the rough draft is completed and you have had time to read over it in its entirety and made corrections. I believe this is something that I will try as well. If memory is correct, when I was writing my other two novels, I made sure to write my ideas on paper before sharing them.

All this to say, that tomorrow I finally will have a free day to devote to my writing and I'm looking forward to it. Perhaps tomorrow will be the day when those flat characters transition into being ones with substance.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Obedience to God's Call

Ever wish you had a longer day in which to get things accomplished? Sometimes you may think this, because you are overwhelmed by the amount of work that is piling up before you. Or perhaps you just are excited about doing a lot of things, and there just isn't enough time to do it all. Right now, the later has been my thoughts.

I have many books I am trying to read on writing, read fiction to stay current with the genre, research for the book I am writing, read books for blog tours, write, etc. Then there are the every day things of life - meals, laundry, dishes, cleaning the house, homeschooling... The list soon becomes quite extensive.

I am on the threshold of several new endeavors that God is calling me to do. It can be scary and a little overwhelming at times. My biggest struggle is trying to find balance. Even though things may be disconcerting, I know that if I keep my eyes on God, He will help me to know what should take precedence. I pray that I will be obedient to His call. I desire to do great things for God.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Flat Characters

I recently have been in contact with a young lady in Michigan, who also has an interest in lighthouses, as well as writing. We have exchanged several conversations back and forth, sharing information and interests. It has been exciting and encouraging.

In one of her emails, she was sharing about her own writing, and how involved she can get with her characters. This thought has continued to remain with me, and also stir up memories of the two books that I have written already. I remember the excitement of creating these past characters.

While researching on Friday, I was very energized, as I started to form in my own mind how the town of Camden looked in 1880. I had the names of streets, and could picture my character walking on them. But then I realized that at this point, I still have flat characters that are stuck on the paper. I know the plot and even some of the subplots, but still don't know the individuals in my story.

I have a real general view of what they are like, my characters. But I have chosen not to breathe life into them yet, by learning all of the subtle idiosyncrasies that compose them. I know that once they are created, they will live on in my mind, as if they were real people.

I remember when I was in my early 20's, and was writing my first historical fiction book. Each day I was eager to get on the computer to discover what my characters were doing. Sometimes they even surprised me.

Someday soon I will take that step to move those flat characters into being living, breathing, and moving ones that live on in my imagination. Perhaps someday I can introduce them to you.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fun Day

I am weary today, so don't know how much actual planning I will get accomplished. I had a neat surprise this morning though. We were out and about and happened to stop by a yard sale at a local church. I was tired and ready to head home, but my husband wanted to stop.

When we went inside, I quickly browsed through the tables, eager to be on our way. I noticed from a distance that the books were half price. I was on the lookout for possible items on lighthouses. What surprised me even more, was that I found ten books on writing, predominantly fiction writing. I spent a whopping $4.60 for all ten of these. I also found some Christian fiction books that I picked up for research - sentence structure, dialogue, etc. What a blessing when I least expected it!

I just love the way God brings good things into our lives when we are following Him. Now I know that we also face struggles and difficult times too, but He also longs to bless us. I am feeling mighty blessed today!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Having Fun

I finally am able to have time to research and plan for my novel today. I have been focusing on the setting and trying to find out specifics in regard to Camden, Maine during the 1880s. I have been pleased to find old photographs of buildings during that time period, as well as a map of the town, including names of some businesses and churches.

I stand in amazement as I look back at how far the Lord has brought my research in only a month's time. He seems to be paving each step of the way in front of me. I truly feel that this project is orchestrated and ordained by God. He continues to bring people in my path that are willing to help through either research, or some other type of encouragement. It has been such a blessing.

I have been having an incredibly fun time working on this project. I can't imagine how much more exciting it will be, once I actually start the writing process. I am finding the research stage to be exhilarating. I forgot how much fun writing can be!!