Saturday, December 25, 2010

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

Each Christmas we have two traditions I’d started with my children. One of them is purchasing them an ornament for the tree each year. But this isn’t just any random ornament. No, it’s one specially picked out for each child for that particular year. Something that represents something they did that year, or liked.

Some years, the idea came quickly. They played a sport for the first time or started an instrument, started Brownies, like a certain famous person. Though at times it’s been challenging to find the right ornament when I knew exactly what I wanted, other times it was hard to think of something special, something that stood out for that year.

One year when my youngest daughter was very small, she copied EVERYTHING her sisters said and did. Not able to think of anything for her that year, I finally decided on the perfect ornament.

A cat! That’s right. A cat…a copy cat!

Another year I knew exactly what I wanted to get my girls but for the life of me couldn’t find it. That was the first year they were into Webkinz. I looked everywhere, including their site, willing to pay any price at that point. So after realizing it just wasn’t going to be, I decided to make them myself. That’s right, I took a picture of them, laminated them, punched a hole through the top and tied a ribbon on it and there you have it. A Webkinz ornament. And the best thing was it cost me nearly nothing, and I was able to put two of their favorites on it as well as their names and the year it was given like I always do.

Once the girls move out and establish a home of their own, their ornaments will go with them. Each year they have such fun unwrapping them, and remembering why they received that specific one before hanging it on the tree.

Here’s this year’s picks:

Callie, who plays drums in band and jazz band at school, and is really excelling in it received a drum set ornament.



Bryanna, who adopted her very own dog, Hammie from Collie Rescue of Greater IL, received a dog ornament that looks a lot like him. I was astonished to find such a likeness.



MacKenna, who discovered the Titanic this year, and was fascinated in watching clips of it on Youtube, received a ship that looks surprisingly like the Titanic. What a find that was.



I must say God definitely had his hands in this year’s pick because they were quite the find.

So, what kind of traditions does your family have during the Christmas Season?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

MUSIC PENETRATES MY SOUL, WHAT ABOUT YOU?

MUSIC…

Music penetrates my soul in ways nothing else does. I’ve often wondered why but after years of thought on the matter, I’ve discovered the truth.

I come from a line of musicians on my father’s side. Music has always been part of my life for as long as I can remember. My grandfather was in bands, and my father was a music teacher as well as had his own band. Growing up with a music room in our basement was as normal as having a bedroom and bathroom.

Not long ago, I started to make the connection between music, God and the Bible. Why should that surprise me, yet it was one of those “ah, ha” moments. God is so amazing, giving us such beauty through the things he created for us to see, why not the power of music that has the remarkable ability to evoke so many emotions deep within.

Music is there for me:

When I’m sad.

When I’m happy.

When I’m rushed.

When I’m worried.

When I’m hurt.

When I’m stressed.

When I’m bored.

When I’m excited.

When I’m in a good mood.

When I’m in a bad mood.

Music has a way of making everything seem okay. Better. It lightens the burden when the burden is heavy. It allows me to cry when tears refused to let lose. It takes me to a faraway place that I desperately need to go. I connect with the lyrics on a level that deeply speaks to me, allowing me relief in a time of grief.

I enjoy a wide variety of music from county, to pop, to Christian, to… I’m not sure if there’s any genre that I don’t like at least one song and or artist.

It could be the melody, the rhythm, the beat or the lyrics that appeal to me. And other times it’s all of them combined in one.

I once met a woman who said she didn’t like music…What! How could one not like music? The variety is so vast I just can’t phantom someone not finding one genre, one artist, one song that would touch their soul.

Music makes me want to dance.

Music lightens the burden when I clean.

Music lifts my energy to exercise.

Music fills the silence of a long drive.


What does music mean to you?











Friday, November 26, 2010

CALLING ALL WRITERS



Calling all writers!

What kind of writer are you?

An outliner?

Or

A seat-of-the-pantser?

I’m a seat-of-the pantser that has been trying to find my way, feeling as though I need to have more planned out before I begin, yet can’t seem to get myself to do so. I’ve tried the Snowflake Pro, which is amazing and it did help in getting me to know my characters better, as well as forcing me to focus more on what my story will entail. But beyond that, I just CAN’T seem to get anything down on “paper”.

Is that okay?

So my question to all of you published as well as non-published writers is, which are you? As I often read a well written book, I can’t help but wonder if that author is a plotter or a seat-of-the-pantser.

What are your secrets to accomplishing a well rounded, well written story?

How do you go about it?

What steps do you take?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A MOVIE TO REMEMBER



Well I must say I am in love with Rob Pattinson all over, again. I loved him in Twilight, and I loved him in REMEMBER ME. Wow, what an amazing movie. Great story! Great acting. For whatever reason I had not remembered what the ending was to be about. That came as a totally shock. Here I was going along loving this story, totally engrossed in it and yet had no idea where it was heading. The idea was never a thought or a possibility. It was as if I was given two stories in one. It made me want to go back and watch it again with new eyes. But then again I don’t know if I could handle it, knowing what happened in the end.

Very powerful, and moving.

Definitely a movie to REMEMBER

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A MONSTROUSE BOOK


THE WRITER’S JOURNEY is quite a monstrous book in size as well as the information it contains. I must admit it took me some time to get through it. Although I don’t regret reading it I must say in many ways it was way beyond my comprehension. So much information that I had a hard time deciphering it all. The examples were extensive which had its advantages as well as its disadvantages.

I would have to say what I took away from this book is the sense that characters are quite complex, thus are humans. I now have a different perspective on the structure of a novel, and even more so the importance of it. This book also put to words the feelings an amazing movie or book can provoke. Why, how, and the importance of it.

At one of my writing meetings, we watched the concepts of this book being taught by the authors on DVD. Though I was only able to watch the first half, I must say it was easier to comprehend then the book. I would highly recommend the DVD’s verses the book.

What book on the craft of writing has had the greatest impact in your writing journey?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

MEETING BIG TIME RUSH WAS A BIG TIME SUCCESS

WHAT WE DO FOR OUR KIDS!



I’ve been blessed to meet and get many autographs in my life from famous people, singers, and authors. Each experience has been a bit different. Some better than others.

My two youngest daughters’ are HUGE BIG TIME RUSH fans so when I happened to discover they were going to be signing their CD’s at a Borders nearby, there was no way I could say no.

Little did I know the adventure I was about to embark on.

You needed to be there that morning when the doors opened at 9:00 AM to obtain a wrist band. In order to obtain a wrist band, you needed to purchase a CD from Borders. And there was a limit as well. Only 600 people would be getting these wrist bands with a chance to meet BIG TIME RUSH.

So I asked the woman at Borders what time she thought would be a good time to be there in the morning. She wasn’t sure but thought when they opened at nine would be fine. After my questioning the time she said that if I wanted to be safe 8:30AM, 8:00AM should be good. Into our conversation she mentioned that I could purchase the CD’s ahead of time…as long as I had a receipt to prove I’d purchased them from Borders. It might help me to obtain a wrist band sooner that day.

As the days slipped by I decided I’d purchase the CD’s ahead of time. So off to the store near my house I went to purchase three CD’s. One for my two youngest daughters and one for their friend that would be going with us. The only problem was, when I got to the store they only had two left! The store clerk called around and the closest Borders to have a copy was seventeen miles away. The very Borders we’d be going to, to meet BIG TIME RUSH.

So my husband was kind enough to make the trip to get the extra CD. A week later, my eldest daughter decided that now SHE would like to meet BIG TIME RUSH as well. So I went back and forth to whether or not I would make the trip to purchase yet another CD. Mind you we already had a CD that we’d ordered directly from BIG TIME RUSH before we knew about this but in order to get the wrist bands, you HAD to be purchased them from Borders. And I had asked my daughter several times if she wanted to go early on. Anyway, one day while out shopping in an area I only go to every couple of months, I spotted a Borders that I’d been told the week before had no copies of the CD. But I decided to stop anyway. You just never know. So I did, and thanks to God they had just received two in!

So now we're set!

As the time neared, I still debated on what time to go. I went from 9:00AM, to 7:00AM, to 5:00AM! And I'm so not a morning person.

I was so worried about getting up on time, and what awaited me, and if I’d be one of the lucky 600 that I never did fall asleep. When my alarm clock went off at 3:30AM, I pulled myself out of bed and got ready... Slowly. After all, I’d probable me the only fool there!

As I approached the Borders at 4:45AM, my jaw dropped when I spotted the parking lot. It was full! And not only was it full, there were tents…that’s right, TENTS set up. I walked past the tents and people, many with lawn chairs with sleeping bags and pillows. There was even one person with a tray table set up with a laptop on it! There were moms, and dads, and teenage girls.

Okay, so I’m not the only crazy parent/person in the world!

So I made my way around the building to my place in line, about number 105. There I quickly met others around me, and talked about how insane we were to be there so early in the wee hours of the morning, in the dark, in 33 degree weather…all for a “chance” for our children to get to meet BIG TIME RUSH.

In the end, I was excited to leave with my four wrist bands for the girls. I’m not sure if lack of sleep and the whole ordeal had something to do with it but I left with tears in my eyes, as well as thanking God for allowing my girls this opportunity. You see, I knew now much this would mean to them, and after talking about it for the past couple of week I hated the thought of how disappointed they’d be if I didn’t get them…and how disappointed I be after all I went through in hopes of making my girls dream come true.

I must say that having the CD's purchased ahead of time, and going at 4:45 in the AM made a HUGE difference. You see, they let the people that had purchased the CD's ahead of time, go in first! There’s another story behind that…



That night when I went back with the girls, we had to wait for an hour and a half before BIG TIME RUSH was to arrive. But the girls never complained. We actually met people in line, as well as I saw most of the folks I’d stood beside in line that morning with. We sat in our assigned area, on the second floor in the religious section. I have no doubt that wasn’t a coincident; for I truly believe that it was God that blessed this special occasion.



Finally after another hour or so it was our turn. The girls could hardly contain their excitement. Even though you weren’t allowed to take pictures with them, and only allowed to have them sign the one CD you paid for, the girls were thrilled. It was a very quick process and though I wish it wasn’t so rushed, I must say I was happy that each of the girls received a high-five, or handshake from each of the boys. They truly seemed to give their attention to them, however brief it was and with all the distractions it couldn’t have been easy.



So, would I do it again?



You bet ya!



Thanks BIG TIME RUSH, you were awesome!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

SHOCKING…HORRIFYING…UNTHINKABLE


As much as I was disturbed by this movie for so many reasons, I was also very disturbed by a few reviewers’ comments. I agree, the movie was not presented in the most entertaining way but really, that was not the point, nor its purpose. How can one be so shallow as to not have compassion and sympathy for these individuals and what they endured?

I’ve volunteered in the prison and jail ministry for several years. No matter how much society wants to deny it, these cases are not rare, unheard of, or fabricated. They happen all the time! What often goes on in the systems can be like a horror movie played out, messing with people’s lives on all kinds of levels. Destroying one individual at a time, often taking many innocent people with them.

One thing this movie brought to lights is not only is the system often unjust, the people working in it are often evil, filled and hatred. There are innocent lives being shattered, as well as the affects it has on their loved ones.

How often do people point fingers, condemn, and judge! But never stop to think of their loved ones. They are often the innocent and hurting. We all have a father and a mother, grandparents, many of us siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, best friends. Whether or not someone is guilty or innocent, they often have loved ones out there that did nothing wrong to deserve the hurt by every cruel word and action directed towards the one convicted.

This movie elicited so many emotions it’s hard to even put them into words. Each story unique, tugging at my heart. To think what these individuals endured! How their families suffered! And for what?!?!? They were all innocent! But the revelation of that fact could NEVER reverse the damage that had been done from a wrongful conviction!

But through it all, God did show up! These men and this woman are extraordinary, faithful, inspiring individuals.

When the movie ended I was speechless, motionless for some time. I clenched my eyes shut and sat in silence, tying to soak it all in.

How? – How could people be so cruel?


Why? - Why do we allow such things to happen?


Evil? - How can one allow Satan to enter their lives and inflict so much pain and injustices?


God? - God has nothing to do with Evil…that’s all Satan. God allows us free will, and with that free will many men have chosen to follow Satan instead of God, therefore allowing evil to attempt to devour the world and destroy God’s people He loves so dearly.


When I was finally able to pull myself together, I did the only thing I could after such an experience. I reached for my Bible. I closed my eyes and opened it up. The pages before me…the end of Matthew, chapter 12 and be beginning of chapter 13. The bold heading that stood out and grabbed my attention reflected that of the movie. Once again God had not failed to comfort me in my time of need, giving me His word to find peace. At least enough to allow me to eventually fall asleep.


I pray that people from all over will watch this movie. That it will move their hearts the way it did mine, giving them the knowledge and compassion to realize we are in no position to judge and condemn. Yes, there are those that are guilty and should pay for their crimes. But there are also those that are wrongfully convicted. For those that are guilty, I just have one phrase those judging…What would Jesus do! And that’s not a question. The facts are all there in black in one. One just has to open the cover and read. Treat others they way you’d want to be treated. You reap what you sow. And the greatest of these is…love.


REVIEWERS COMMENT I FOUND VERY DISTURBING:
Pure talking heads here. Several wrongly convicted ex-cons, played by actors, tell their stories of woe. You've heard it all before. This is a stage play adaptation that's more play than movie. Maybe the play worked better. This got on my nerves.


MY COMMENT TO THIS REVIEWER:
Sorry to hear you missed the whole point. The words "no heart" comes to mind. I agree at first it was hard to stay focus. So many different stories and the way it was presented. But if you’d stuck with it, you might have been captivated by the individual’s lives, as well as discovered the horrifying truths and then maybe you would have discovered some compassion within.


MORE REVIEWERS COMMENTS THAT DIDN’T SETTLE WELL:
1) Anyone can tell these people's stories. I would be pissed if I have to pay to see this movie in the theater.
2) This HAS to be one of the BORINGEST if not The Most Boring movie I’ve EVER seen !!!Guess I could tag it A Waste Of Time?

COMMENT TO A REVIEWERS:
Sorry to hear you missed the whole point. The words "no heart" comes to mind. I agree at first it was hard to stay focus. So many different stories and the way it was presented. Sorry to hear you weren't captivated by the individual’s stories enough to discover the horrifying truths of then, allowing you to ascertain some compassion within.

If you chose to make the effort to locate and watch this movie, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Blessing,

Kym

Thursday, October 21, 2010

THANK YOU FACEBOOK


When one says the word “facebook” what comes to mind is a mix of good and bad.

THE GOOD:

Connections – Old friends, classmates, relatives, people you don’t know, people you’d like to know.

Communication – A way to get the word out there about something that is near and dear to your heart.

Networking – When you’re trying to build a name, it’s a great tool for getting who you are, out there.

Discovery - A way to discover new things. New people.

THE BAD:

Time – If you’re not careful, it can eat up your time like sitting on the couch, watching TV like a sack of beans.

Privacy – You put yourself out there for others to get to know you. Now you can be found in a whole new, easier way. Others know your business.

What good has come from my being on facebook, something I had no interest in when I first heard of it. I must say it has been fun to see where people are in life that I have not seen or heard of since my school days. I also love the connection with other authors. It’s also been a means to learning of thing that touch my heart that I otherwise may not have been exposed to through the sharing of videos.

If it were not for facebook, and “liking” THE BAND PERRY, I would have missed out on a wonderful opportunity to meet them. It wasn’t long ago that I’d discovered them on Youtube, and fell in love with their music. I just received their first CD a week or so before opening my facebook up one morning and to my surprise, I discovered they were going to be at a Best Buy near my home!

Well, I certainly couldn’t pass the opportunity up.

That very day I made last minute plans to go and see them. With their CD blaring in my van, I headed for Downers Grove. I was semi surprised to find a long line when I entered the store but oh how worth the wait it would be. As I stood in line for an hour or so, I met two other women. We talked the entire time, sharing stories. They hadn’t brought their cameras, so I offered to take pictures for them as well.

I must say THE BAND PERRY exceeded my expectations. I realize their a relatively new band, but still. When it was my turn, Kimberly looked me in the eyes as she held out her hand and asked me my name. Both Neil and Reid did the same. They signed what I had brought for them to sign, as well as allowed me to take a picture with them. Not once did I feel rushed.

So thanks to God, facebook, and THE BAND PERRY, it was an amazing day!


Saturday, October 16, 2010

CAN'T WAIT TO READ HER FIRST BOOK, THIS ONE WAS SO GOOD!



HEAD IN THE CLOUDS has my head in the clouds, dreaming of meeting my Gideon. What a wonderful story.

Probably the first half of the book I took my time, reading slowing, absorbing every word. After that point, I could no longer hold back and flipped through the pages, rapidly. If the cover doesn’t draw you in, then the title surely will. But if that isn’t enough, if you dare to read between the covers, the first page is bound to capture you.

As an aspiring writer, I savored every word. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS was brilliantly written, with an amazing storyline that will take you on an adventure you never want to end. How could one not fall in love with Gideon Westcott, as well as Adelaide Proctor? Every character was alive, bringing you into their world in such a way you forget they’re not real.

Karen was able to give Gideon a strong faith in such a natural way it flowed throughout the book, never seeming forced or jarring. Adelaide’s was also presented in the same way. Two wonderfully strong characters that seemed to compliment one another.

There was never a dull moment in HEAD IN THE CLOUDS. What there was is a wonderful placement of action, and romance at all the right times. Always believable, keeping you turning the pages. Right up to the very end.

It’s hard to believe this is only her second book. I can’t wait to get started on her first, A TAILOR-MADE BRIDE. Karen has definitely been added to my “favorite authors” list.

Funny thing, I had forgotten I signed up to be an influencer for this book. In September I went to the ACFW Conference in IN, and spotted HEAD IN THE CLOUDS and purchased it, along with A TAILOR-MADE BRIDE. When I arrived home, guess what was awaiting me? A copy of HEAD IN THE CLOUDS from the publisher! So even though I originally signed up to be an influencer, I don’t consider myself one because before that became a reality, I had purchased it on my own. I was that drawn to the story!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY


Would the guilty party please speak up…
or rather, bark.

THE SUSPECTS:

#1 Prince, our male black Standard Poodle. Age, six.

#2 Hammie, our newest addition, a one year old male Collie mix we adopted from Collie Rescue of Greater Illinois, May 2010.

#3 Piglet, the oldest, yet smallest of the bunch and only female. A black Pug. Age, eight.

Just like children, each one is unique with their own personality, bringing something different to the family.

Piglet, the only females, is stubborn yet very loving. She kind of does her own thing but loves to snuggle which makes up for her lack of obedience. My eldest daughter, six year old at the time, wanted to name her Pig, due to the double curl in her tail. My husband intervened, giving her the name, Piglet…although we often call her, Pig.

Prince, he’s a very tall, muscular Standard Poodle. He came to us from a very sad situation, all skin and bones with not one, but two kinds of worms. One of them only comes from flea infested areas. Yeah, I know. He’s a bit skittish at times but very obedient, unlike his Pug sister. Every time I take him for a walk, we go past a water tower. He does his best to escape to the other side of the street, terrified of the thing. I have no doubt the original owner, who I believe to have been running a puppy mill in her basement, lived close to a water tower. What other reason would a dog be terrified of a water tower?

Then we come to Hammie. After fostering thirteen dogs for Collie Rescue, Hammie came along. My nine year old had wanted her own dog for some time…but three dogs. Yikes. Anyway, Hammie came into our home and within a day my daughter laid on the floor, her arms wrapped around his neck, tears rolling down her cheeks, and looked up at me and said, “This is my dog!” How could we resist? Adn he was such an amazingly sweet dog.

Our family went to Six Flags Great American for the first time in years, the other day. We were gone for about ten hours. I was concerned about the dogs, mainly Hammie, but not too concerned because they were locked in what we call “the dog’s room”. A safe place that if any accidents occur, no big deal. There really isn’t much in there for them to get into, or destroy.

When we returned home, all was well…kind of. That is except for the dog bed!

So, who looks like the guilty one?

The huge Poodle off to the left?

The comfortable looking sable Collie mix in the middle of the green fluff?

Or the black little Pug, semi hiding behind the Collie?

Now mind you, Hammie has destroyed a couple of other dog beds in the short time we’ve had him, so I pretty much knew who the culprit was. He tends to get a little nervous when we’ve gone for long hours. We found that out the hard way, after the end of our couch was destroyed, along with the edge of a cabinet.

So, when I decided to write about this little fiasco, a funny thing happened. I dumped all the bedding back onto the floor like we found it that night. I then called all the dogs into the room. Prince was very reluctant. I had to literally drag him in and place him in his position. Hammie came pretty willingly, though once I tried to coax him to the middle of the pile of stuffing, he was reluctant, even though we had decided not to punish him for what we thought was his doing. Then there was Piglet, and with her stubborn self, I had to pick her up and bring her to the room. I placed her in the mist of it all, and after several attempts, was able to get the picture.


When I released them, Prince was out of there in a flash. Hammie and Piglet were a different story. Hammie kind of hung around, a little confused. Piglet on the other hand, started attacking the green fluff! She shook her head from side to side with the stuff hanging out of her mouth.

I think I’m getting a better picture of what went on while we were gone. Hammie started to chew and rip the bed. As soon as stuffing started to fly, Piglet joined in on the fun, tossing it here and there. Meanwhile, Prince sat nervously shaking in the corner, wondering if he too would get the blame.

"It was the Pig and Ham!" Prince would bark.

Do we love them any less for this little fiasco… no. Just like kids, I’m sure we’ll be laughing about it one day.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

APPLE CHIPS?



APPLE CHIPS…what in the world are apple chips?

When my youngest daughter whom loves apples, asked my eldest daughter to peel and cut up an apple for her, she decided to use the crinkle cutter instead of the apple wedger. Why? Only a thirteen-year-old knows.

So she peeled the apple and then sliced it with the crinkle cutter, making apple slices with ridges, thus looking like ruffled potato chips. Now each time my youngest daughter wants an apple peeled and cut, which is often, she asked for apple chips.

In the beginning she’s tried to fool me by asking for chips, knowing she’d not be allowed potato chips at the time she was asking for them. Then she’d later laugh and let me know she meant “apple chips”.

Soon after “our apple chip invention”, she decided she’d like peanut butter on them. So now our apple chips are spread with peanut butter as well. I can’t complain, it’s a health treat after all. I’ve made them so often now; they have me hooked on them as well.

Imagine that…the kids getting their parent hooked on a healthy snack rather them the other way around.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

SO GLAD I WAS EXPOSED TO THIS AMAZING BOOK



I am so blessed to have been EXPOSED to this amazing book.

Some of the words that come to mind:

Compelling!

Inspiring!

Powerful!

Gripping!

Heartwarming!

Ashley Weis is an amazing story teller. Exposed was beautifully written, and a story so desperately needed to be told. With today’s society so inundated with sex, it’s a must read. Ashley did an amazing job of keeping her readers turning pages. There are three main characters, Ally, Taylor and Jessie. Every other chapter was Ally and Jessie’s story, the others were Taylor’s.

Every chapter ending left you NEEDING to turn the next page. A definite “Wow” or “What” response. The entire story took you on an amazing journey into the lives of those affected by the porn industry.

The husband, the one caught up in the lies of porn.

The wife, the discovery of her husband’s addiction turns her world upside down.

The “porn star”, the devastation the industry inflicts on ones soul.

Every chapter had me captivated. The heart of the story and the way it was told was enough for this amazing book to stand on its own. I pretty much figured where the story was going…but oh how wrong I was.

With about seventy pages to go, I slipped into my bed and started to read. I soon realized I wouldn’t be putting it down until I finished. But what I hadn’t imagined is I would be shocked not once, or twice, but three times. I was blown away by the ending. The words amazingly powerful come to mind.

I can’t tell you want chapter I was on when the weeping began but I can tell you this. It did not stop until long after I closed the book. I can’t remember ever finishing a fictional book and wanting to pray for the characters with stories that touched my soul so deeply I ached for them.

My prayer is that this book will one day become a bestseller. The compassion alone it creates is one our society is in desperate need of.

DISCLOSURE: What can I say, I love books. As an inspiring author I love to read and share my experience of the books I’ve read. Through my reviews on Amazon, along with being part of the ACFW Email Loop, I’ve been blessed to be allowed as an influencer for several books. Of course not every book that’s looking for influencers is for me. I do my homework first. First I note the cover, then the title. If those two things draw me in, I then go to Amazon or other places I can read a synopsis. If I’ve never read the authors work before, I then read the first several pages when possible to see if their writing appeals to me.

When I receive a book, I’m quite excited to get started though in the misty of the excitement often comes a little anxiety. I am honest to a fault and hate nothing more than the thought of having to give a bad review. Thanks to the good Lord above, I have rarely come across one that I didn’t like. In fact quite the opposite. Many times I’m thrilled to have been blessed to read such a wonderful story. I’ve discovered several new authors I now can’t wait to read their next novel. And that is something I love to spread so it’s really a win, win situation.

This book was one of those blessings I offered to be an influencer.

Monday, September 27, 2010

GOD SHOWS UP AT THE ACFW CONFERENCE









This September I went to my very first writing conference, ACFW. It was in Indianapolis, Indiana and I must say I went filled with specific expectations. I had talked to others that had gone previously, as well as read PITCH AND PROMOTO LIKE A PRO, by Terry Burns. Though I was a bit nervous about my Editor and Agent appointments, I felt confident I’d be prepared.


But God had a different plan. A week and a half before the day I was to leave my kids were unexpectedly home from school. Not good. I couldn’t get in the quiet time I needed to mentally prepare for the conference; much less make sure all else was in order. I was also asked to give a speech at an upcoming Prison and Jail class at church…something I’ve never done before. Now I needed to prepare a speech and drum up the courage to deliver it as well.

The speech went well…as well as can be expected with my insides shaking. But God is good. Others were touched by it, and that’s all that mattered. I feel stronger having done so, and knowing I got through it. I image the next time will be easier.
So I was off to conference. It seems as though everything I’d expected from it, didn’t materialize. As well as things I never expected, did.

THINGS I EXPECTED FROM THE CONFERENCE:

To meet many Editors and Agents.

To mingle with Editors and Agents, seizing the opportunity to get a feel for what they were looking for as well as running my stories by them.

Hoping not to make a fool of myself in my scheduled meetings with an Editor and Agent.

To give copies of my One Sheet to Agents and Editors.

To purchase several books, and have them signed by the Authors. Though I told myself I wasn’t to purchase too many (ha, ha).

To attend classes that would be eye opening experiences in regards to my writing.

WHAT I WASN’T EXPECTING FROM THE CONFERENCE:

Indianapolis to capture my interest.

To be captivated and inspired by a guest speaker, Tim Downs.

To get to hear the hearts of published Authors, and Agents at the classes I attended.

To discover the love of God through amazing Christians united together for one cause…Him.

To discover the difference between Christians and non-Christians in the publishing world.

I really went to this conference expecting to fully take advantage of all the opportunities it provided but what I came away with had never entered mind. Instead of being all about the writing and getting published, I discovered it was all about God’s love.

I saw the heart of God EVERYWHERE! On the streets, in the buildings, in each and every person I ran across at the Conference. Those that attended the Conference comforted, loved, encouraged, and cheered their fellow writers and Christians on. They showed the love of Christ through their actions, and words.

Christian writers wrapped their love around me when I needed it, putting aside their own agenda. That in its self made my first writing Conference an amazing one that I will never forget.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

ACFW CONFERENCE BOOKS



This September I attended my first every writing conference. One of the highlights for me was meeting a wonderful author, Lenora Worth. You see, she was one of the first Christian fiction authors I read, and fell in love with. Needless to say I have several of her books that I’ve kept over the years.

Throughout the conference I purchased several great books I’d wanted to purchase for some time. I have so many unread books I’ve collected, sitting, waiting to be read at home. I try to hold off on buying any more expect for new released from my favorite authors…and when I have the opportunity to have one signed.

As you can see by the picture above, I came home with a great selection of autographed books. Both new and used ones I’ve collected from home. I knew ahead of time that Lenora Worth, and Kathryn Albright would be there, and wanted to seized the opportunity to have them sign my books. I loved their writing.

One thing about Christian writers, they’re wonderful people whose love for God not only comes out in their writing but through who they are. What a wonderful group of people.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11


A couple of years after 9/11 I spotted a book at Sam’s Club. What attracted me was the fireman on the cover (my husband is a fireman). When I realized it had something to do with 9/11 I hesitated. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a story about that day, fiction or non-fiction. I even wondered what an author was thinking by writing such a book…especially only a few years later.

With indecision, I purchased it.

As I read the story I felt a new awareness to those directly affected by 9/11, and prayed from them anew. I still think of that book and in turn, think of those families that were directly affected by that day.

The book/s, ONE TUESDAY MORNING, and BEYOND TUESDAY MORNING, by Karen Kingsbury.
Why do we write...to touch others lives.

Monday, September 6, 2010

BOOK VS EBOOK






Actual book or ebook?

Well that’s a no brainer for me. I’m all for technology in many cases…but books turning to ebooks is not one of them. Actually that’s not entirely true. I believe it does have its purpose, and I’m all for saving the environment. I’m huge on recycling, and it bothers be greatly when I find myself in a situation where I can’t recycle.

I’m having a hard time visualizing books going away entirely. I think there will always be a need for them. After all, not everyone will be able to afford a device needed for ebooks. And what about kids? Do we really want our kids responsible for another $200.00 device?

I also have to wonder what will happen to sales. For me, going into a store and spotting a book on the shelf is one of the ways I discover a new book, and quickly purchase. If we are limited to only ebooks, how will one run across a particular book other then internet advertising? Will publishers then need to turn to TV for advertising…we all know how costly THAT is and it bound to come back to us.

I shudder to think what will become of our libraries.

I’m a visual person, and that may have a huge impact on my fondness for books to stay around. I love the feel of a book in my hands. Love the visual of a book cover. One of my dreams is to have an entire wall lined with bookcases…of course filled with books. I keep all my favorite books, classics I hope to one day read as well as the ones I have autographed. A hobby of mine.

When I spot a really old book at a flea market or used book sale, I can’t help but pick it up and run my hand across the lettering on the front cover. I then open it to find the date it was printed. A surge of emotions run through me of who might have held that very same book and the history behind their lives. It’s always an added bonus when I find handwriting within.

What I’d like to see for the future is the continue option of both. Book form for those of us who prefer an actual book in our hands to keep and treasure forever and ebooks for those that don’t. In my eyes THAT would be the best of both worlds.

Monday, August 30, 2010

MISSION OF HOPE, MORE THEN I COULD HAVE HOPED FOR


Wow, wow, and triple wow. MASKED BY MOONLIGT was the first book I read by Allie Pleiter, and it blew me away. I’ve since read the Kentucky Corners series, and though they were good, I longed for another MASKED BY MOONLIGHT. When I heard she was writing a sequel, I was overjoyed.

The cover captured me immediately and being a historical, well I just had to read it. But what I hadn’t expected was that THIS was the sequel to MASKED BY MOONLIGHT. You can’t imagine my excitement when I made the discovery.

MISSON OF HOPE was amazing! From the first page I was hooked, and from there it never stopped. There are books that you can barely make it through…ugh. There are books that you fly through. And then there are those like MISSON OF HOPE…ones you read purposefully slow, absorbing EVERY word because it’s that good.

As an inspiring writer I was blown away by Allie’s writing, the plot, and the wonderful characters. All of them captureD me, so realistic as if they would suddenly step out of the pages. I'm in awe of how she writes so completely different from the Kentucky Corners, to a Historical.

MISSON OF HOPE was based on the same concept as MASKED BY MOONLIGHT, though Allie was able to create a completely unique story with just the right touch of MASKED BY MOONLIGHT to connect the two.

I will miss Quinn, he’s such a neat characters.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

CRAIG MORGAN, AN AMAZING ARTIST, SONG WRITER, AND MAN

I have Blake Shelton to thank for introducing me to this amazing man. You see, it's because of their bantering that I discovered Craig Morgan. What an amazing artist and song writer he is.

THIS AIN'T NOTHIN' is just one of the many amazing song by him.

We could all learn something from this song.



This Ain't Nothin'

He was standing in the rubble of an old farmhouse outside Birmingham
When some on the scene reporter stuck a camera in the face of that old man
He said tell the folks please mister, what are you gonna do
Now that this twister has taken all that's there to you
The old man just smiled and said boy let me tell you something, this ain't nothin'

He said I lost my daddy, when I was eight years old,
That cave-in at the Kincaid mine left a big old hole,
And I lost my baby brother, my best friend and my left hand
In a no win situation in a place called Vietnam
And last year I watched my loving wife, of fifty years waste away and die
And I held her hand til her heart of gold stopped pumping,
So this ain't nothin'

He said I learned at an early age,
There's things that matter and there's things that don't
So if you're waiting here for me to cry,
I hate to disappoint you boy, but I won't
Then he reached down in the rubble and picked up a photograph
Wiped the dirt off of it with the hand that he still had
He put it to his lips and said man she was something
But this ain't nothin'

He said I lost my daddy, when I was eight years old,
That cave-in at the Kincaid mine left a big old hole,
And I lost my baby brother, my best friend and my left hand
In a no win situation in a place called Vietnam
And last year I watched my loving wife, of fifty years waste away and die
We were holdin hands when her heart of gold stopped pumping
So this ain't nothin'

He said this ain't nothin' time won't erase
And this ain't nothin' money can't replace
He said you sit and watch your loving wife fifty years fighting for her life
Then you hold her hand til her heart of gold stops pumping
Yeah boy that's something,
So this ain't nothin'
No this ain't nothin'

Sunday, August 22, 2010

WRITING FROM THE SOUL, NOT THE MEDIA

God is so great in how He brings things into our lives just when we seem to need it…and even when we didn’t realize we did. For all you writers out there, here’s a great video about writing. I so agree with all Jack speaks of.

Though there are rules you need to follow, I too believe in following what’s in your heart. What God had placed in you to write, no matter what’s popular, what will bring in the “big sales”, what the current trend is, what we’re “supposed to write”.

No, I believe in writing from the soul!

I fully agree that writing for the reasons I stated above that were NOT good reasons to write, will often lead to disappointment and ultimately leave you empty. As with anything in life, if you’re not doing it for the right reasons, it will not prove to be what you thought it to be in the end.

So go with your heart, not the media. Go with what God has placed in your soul, the passion He’s given you.

Instead of EAT, PRAY, AND LOVE, how about PRAY, WRITE, AND THANK THE GOOD LORD ABOVE.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A SONG THAT INSPIRES

Every now and then, or maybe more than that, a song will inspire a story within.

Eric Church’s LIGHTNING, is one of them.

I was actually on the way to my writing mentor’s house when this song came on. And though I’ve heard it many times, its words penetrated deep, and a sudden story idea came rushing over me. I pulled out my spiral notebook and pen and quickly jotted it down before it left me.

Prison Ministry is my passion, my calling in life, so this song has intense meaning to me. You see, I visited the very room where they lethally inject inmates. I can’t begin to tell you all the feeling that washed over me as I entered the room, and the whirlwind of thoughts that filled my head.

People so often only see the criminal, and the victim and their family…they rarely think of the silent, hidden, unspoken victims. The family member of the criminal. Yes, they too are victims. Victims of embarrassment, hurts, and losses. After all, what had they done wrong?

I’m an aspiring writer and thus far have written contemporary romance but I know without a doubt that God will use me to write about my calling in life…the Prison Ministry, whether in fictional or non-fictional form.

And I see this song inspiring one of them.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A SIMPLE AMISH CHRISTMAS


A SIMPLE AMISH CHRISTMAS is simply delightful, and my first ever Amish read. I’m not sure why it took me so long to finally read one but I’m certainly glad I did. I grew up watching LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE and have always felt drawn to the “simple life”. So why not the Amish.

It’s hard to believe this is Vannetta’s first book, it’s that well written. As an aspiring writer I found myself rereading several parts in hopes of the words sinking in enough to emulate later in my own writing.

A SIMPLE AMISH CHRISTMAS is a sweet story with characters you’ll love, and a plot that will keep you turning the pages. You feel as though you’ve entered into the world of the Amish. The glossary in the back was helpful, though it didn’t take long to figure out the meaning of the words as you read along.

The ending was uniquely amazing. I just LOVED what Vannetta did with it. It nearly took my breath away. It gives me goose bumps just to think of it.

Vannetta Chapman is a name to look for in the future.

Friday, August 6, 2010

IF ONLY...ANOTHER LESSON IN WRITTING


From what I'd been hearing THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE was a must see movie. I thought often about purchasing the book, and reading it first. I thought often about seeing the movie. My busy life didn't allow me to get to the movie theater, and the stack of unread books I have kept me from purchasing the book. Besides, I'm growing leery of reading a book prior to a movie. At least right before I know a movie is coming out, and it's in book form. When a book is so fresh in your mind, and the movie makes some major changes, and or leave some amazing parts out, its' hard to take. It's a whole other circumstance when I've read the book, and some time later, usually years; it comes out in movie form. I then HAVE to see it...if the book was good, of course.

While at the library the other day, I spotted THE TIME TRAVERL’S WIFE and didn't think twice about grabbing it. That very night I watched it.

After seeing the movie, though I know books are ALWAYS better, I'm glad I didn't purchase the book and read it. I believe I would have been thoroughly confused. But more than that I was a little mystified of what the story clearly missed in my eyes.

Why was he traveling back in time?

The movie was good in that it kept you interested. The acting was great. I even cried, yet I felt I was cheated. Cheated out of knowing the meaning to his travels. Why the author didn't make that know is beyond me. Or maybe it's me. Maybe I missed something. I just feel that if there was a clear reason for his travel, the story could have been hugely powerful; instead it left me wondering what'd it all mean. Why...

I'll still rate this movie high, and tell others that it was a good movie...just not great. Not great because the author missed their chance to make it great in my eyes. What a shame. But it was a unique romance if nothing else.

Maybe it's just writer in me.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SINGERS AND WRITERS, MORE ALIKE THEN WE THINK


While listening to my AMERICAN IDOL SEASON 9 CD in my car, I realized something. A singer can be compared to A writer.

Season 9 of American Idol was my first experience watching the show I’d heard about yet had not seen. I think God had a part in me “just happening” to watch this particular season. After all, the winner was someone from the very town my husband works in. I was fortunate to see Lee at the concert he performed at Arlington Race Track, and not only see him but was able to get up close.

My favorite singers during the show were Lee, Alex, and Tim. Yeah, I know…Tim.

I felt a connection to the show and to those that participated, so when the CD came out, I purchased it. As I listed to the CD I began to realize that some of the people I liked the most, I was skipping over their songs, as well as some of the ones that didn’t really do anything for me, I couldn’t seem to get enough of.

I still like the ones I liked but what I didn’t like was the song they chose to sing. And on the flip side, there were those that I hadn’t cared for that much but loved the song they chose so I kept playing them over, and over.

That’s when I made the connection to writing. A good book is one that has a great storyline, AND written well. You can’t have one without the other…Well, actually you can. It just won’t be that good. And the same holds true for a singer. They can have a great voice and a great look but if they don’t pick the right song, it won’t make the charts.

But just like writing, it’s all subjective…on the most part. In the end, the ratings and sales will tell all.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

ACFW CONFERENCE


What's with the picture...a glimpse into my novel!

In only a few short months I’ll be attending my very first writing conference. This year the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference is in Indianapolis, Indiana; Friday, September 17th - Monday, September 20th. Being only a few hours away, how could I pass up the opportunity?

I’m excited for many reasons:

-This is my very first writing conference.
-I’ll be rooming with my mentor.
-I’ll be driving with three other members.
-I’ll be attending some great workshops.
-I have an appointment with an agent!
-I have an appointment with an editor!
-I’ll have a chance to meet many authors…maybe even some of my favorites.
-I’m getting closer to my dream of one day being published…I can feel it.
-I’m getting my manuscript and one sheet ready to promote.

Though there are days, even weeks when I’ve questioned my desire to one day be published, God keeps nudging me forward. I truly believe in God’s whispers, which he often does, though it doesn’t always come in a whisper. Sometimes He shouts.

Just when I start to feel numb to the idea of writing, God places someone or something in my path that clearly tells me to continue, not to give up. So I keep writing, and what a wonderful journey it’s been. So much learning, good times, great people, and opportunities.

Who knows in the end where I’ll land in this wonderful world of pen to paper, filled with words? What I do know is that as long as God places the passion and desire in me, I’ll continue to follow His lead and write!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WHAT I'VE LEARNED ABOUT WRITING - ENTRY #10


BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND ENDING

Not only do I learn about writing through books that I read, I also learn through the movies I’ve watch. After all they’re both telling a story, aren’t they?

There are several things that go into what would be considered a great novel or movie. One thing I’ve learned is a beginning or an ending can make or break a book or movie.

My daughter had waned to see the movie VALANTINE’S DAY, so when our library got it, I borrowed it. From what her friends said it would be confusing in the beginning but in the end would make sense. I made sure to pay close attention.

The movie started out good enough, and kept my interest throughout. Lots of great actors, and situations. You could anticipate a few ending but it was fun just the same. What I hadn’t anticipated was two of the characters outcomes. And because of that I was sorely disappointed.

Oh why, oh why do they have to go there! That alone pretty much killed the movie for me. I won’t get into it for I will not judge, nor do I want to be judged for saying so. I just don’t understand why society feels the need to… Oh yeah, it’s all about money, and power, and “freedom”…silly me.

Anyway, if the one situation hadn’t done it for me in killing the movie, the two main characters didn’t deliver in the end. You knew what would happen, and that would be great. But in my eyes it kind of drizzled out. They could have done something really special with it, yet chose not to. Instead it was just kind of awkward, and bluntly ended.

What I’ve learned about writing is that it’s imperative to start out with a bang/hook or you run the risk of never capturing your reader long enough to pull them in for the entire ride.

On the flipside, it’s equally important that you end your story just as strongly as you started it. Don’t just let it fizzle out. Don’t leave loose ends. Deliver what you promised…and with a bang!

I’ve read some books that started out with a bang, became stagnant in the middle, then later end with a bang. I was left with a feeling that it was a good book because it ended so well.

I’ve also had situations where a book was going along great, just to end horrible! I was then left with a memory of the book not being very good when in all actuality it was rather good...until the ending.

Now that we’ve covered the beginning and the ending, need I say the middle must be well written, too?

Lesson for today…make every word count!

Friday, July 2, 2010

JIMMY WAYNE IS AN AMAZING MAN

Project Meet Me Halfway

Okay, so I admit it, when I think of what Jimmy Wayne is doing I get all choked up. Not long ago I happened across one of his videos and fell in love with his music. I later joined twitter, and started following him. What I learned…is that he’s am amazing man. Selfless. One that in spite of his success is getting out of his comfort zone, and doing something for a greater purpose.

Jimmy is in the mist of a project he created, Meet Me Halfway. He realized one day how fortunate he was, how God has blessed him. So what does he do? He decides to walk halfway across the country (in the dead of winter) to raise awareness for the youth that age out of the foster care system and have nowhere to go. Basically finding themselves homeless.

Please take a few minutes to watch the video, and then visit his website MEET ME HALFWAY.

http://projectmmh.org/

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

IF I COULD HAVE GIVEN IT A HUNDREAD STARS, I WOULD HAVE


I always feel blessed when I win anything, especially an autographed book. The only downfall is the pressure of whether or not I’m going to like the story, knowing the nice thing would be to later let the author know what I thought of it. Having never read any of Sharlene MacLaren’s books added to my worries.

I admired the front cover of HANNAH GRACE for a while before opening the book to the first page. It only took me HALF A PAGE to realize any fears of not liking Sharlene’s writing, to disappear. By the end of the first chapter I knew not only was she an amazing writer on so many levels, I was quickly falling in love with the characters.

I love to have a picture of the hero on the cover. It bothers me to not know what he looks like beyond the story description. The front cover of HANNA GRACE is wonderful, though I missed not having the hero on there as well. Upon day two into reading this wonderful book, I turned it over to study the back cover. To my utter surprise, there in the shadows was the hero! What a wonderful surprise that was.

As an aspiring writer, I was blown away by the great lines Sharlene delivered with humor that easily flowed rather then feeling forced and stiff. The hero and heroine were everything you’d want in a character, and so much more. You were even given a sense of who Hannah’s sisters were, leaving you wanting to read their story as well.

I’ll be ordering the other two books in this series, DAUGHTERS OF JACOB KANE, MAGIE ROSE and ABBIE ANN. I can’t wait to get started on them. Sharlene has now made my list of favorite authors for I’ll be looking for more of her great books in the future.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Review: GOD’S HEALING FOR LIFE’S LOSSES, How to Find Hope When You’re Hurting by Robert W Kellemen, PH.D.


GOD’S HEALING FOR LIFE’S LOSSES may be small in size but it’s packed full. As I held this little book in my hand and studied the cover, and the title I thought I knew what I’d find inside. Once I began to read, I quickly discovered this book was much more then a book on healing for life’s losses. It’s a book filled with knowledge, hope, love, and faith. A way of dealing with not only death but disappointment on many levels in a way that God desires.

In only a little over a hundred pages this book brought to light many things. It made me realize how human, and normal I am, and how God, and being a Christian plays into it. That what we go through is “normal” but how we handle it is a choice. We can either choose the wrong way/mans way, or the right way/God’s way.

How do you handle trials and tribulations that come your way? Do you suffer, or do you survive? I was able to reflect back on my life and realized that early on, when I was far from God, I chose to suffer alone. Now I chose to survive. I can think of many that are still choosing to suffer.

I believe this book would be an amazing tool for those stuck in suffering, and worthlessness, and despair. Those that have been struck down by addiction, or found themselves behind bars. They need to hear the good news this book has to offer.

One of the many things that stuck out to me was that not only are we given permission to “complain to God” but that we should. God wants us to come to Him in ALL things. So much of what I read is exactly what I’ve experienced in my own life. This book puts it into words, and reaffirms what I already knew deep down. What a blessings that is.

It isn’t often that I wish to be rich for as the Bible says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” but after reading this book I wish I had the funds to purchase this wonderful book for those in my life, as well as all those that cross my path that I fear are hurt, and suffering.

Not only is this book filled with great information, it also has handy worksheets. Each and every one is packed with amazing questions. It’s not just a worksheet; it gives you questions to ponder within your own life, thus giving you the knowledge and tools to better your future.

Everyone’s grief journey is unique, yet we all have the same choice. To either choose to suffer in handling things mans way, or surviving, doing it God’s way. For me the choice is easy. I’ve learned over the years the rewards of doing it God’s way. Bless Mr. Kellemen for putting this book together to teach those that don’t know, and to remind those of us that do, the importance of it.

I was shocked by the words on page 43. I’d gone through this very thing without even realizing it. How wonderful it is to have a confirmation of what I’d gone through, other have as well, and how blessed I am to have chosen the surviving rout when so many others have not.

Here are just a few great quotes from this wonderful book.

“Faith looks back to the past recalling God’s mighty works. Hope looks ahead remembering God’s coming reward.”

“God is a ‘time God.’ He does not come before time. He does not come after time. He comes at just the right time.”

“Faith is entrusting myself to God’s larger purposes, good plans, and eternal perspective.”

“Every problem is an opportunity to know God better, and our primary battle is to know God well.”

I could certainly continue to quote the words written in this book that impacted, and inspired me but in doing so, I’d have written every word from front to cover.

Knowing the truth has a huge way of lifting the heavy burden of life from ones shoulder. This is truly one of those “must reads’ to be placed on your “to read list”.

To learn more about RPM Ministries, http://www.rpmministries.org/writing/gods-healing-for-lifes-losses/

A CHANCE TO WIN A FREE COPY.

Would you like to receive a complimentary copy of God’s Healing for Life’s Losses? Dr. Kellemen has offered to make 12 copies available to 12 random people who leave a comment on the blog at which they read the book review. Leave a comment below to give yourself an opportunity to receive a complimentary copy of GOD’S HEALING FOR LIFE’S LOSSES.

Please check back at a later date to see if you're a winner.
God bless, and good luck!

Kym

Sunday, June 20, 2010

GOD SHOWS HIS LOVE THROUGH A BIRD







Let me just say that God is not only good, He is AMAZING! I’m weeping because I’m so not deserving of the love God has shown me. This is no doubt in my mind a direct gift from God. He knows my heart like no other, and thus gave me exactly what I needed…and my daughters.

Last night was our little birdies first night back into the wild. I feared for him, knowing he’d be easy prey for predators being on the ground, even though he was amongst the brush. We were ecstatic yesterday when we went back not once but twice to find our little friend still safe and sound right where we’d left him.

I prayed for him last night, as well as this morning. Since I first laid eyes on him he hasn’t strayed far from my mind. All of our hearts were invested in this little guy. For me, I longed for confirmation that I’d done the right thing…and what better confirmation then to know he’s with his mom, and safe.

Today after lunch we headed over to the park to see if our little guy was still amongst the brush…he was not. I told myself that it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. He could very well be safe, and sound...somewhere. But something in me wanted to, needed to continue to search. To know that he was okay. We whistled and called out but nothing. Just when we were ready to give up and go home, we heard him! That sweet little tweet.

The excitement we felt at that moment was nothing compared to what was to follow. We searched as we heard his tweets, though inconsistent as they were. Soon we realized his tweets were coming from above the brush area. I suddenly realized he could have very well jumped and fluttered his way up the newly sprouting tree, making his way to the larger one.

After searching, and searching, all along the mother flying from one tree branch to another, we still couldn’t see him. But we could hear him! Filled with excitement we decided to head home and get our binoculars for a better look in hope of spotting him. Just in case, I decided to bring along the camera.

Back with the binoculars, all three of us searched the tree, all along calling out to him. Sometime later, right there on a lower branch, right in front of us was our little friend! Oh the joy! I can’t tell you the emotions that raced through us.

He was there! Only God could have done such an amazing thing. I can’t help but wonder if he heard, and spotted us, and then came down to let us know he was okay. Tears are escaping my eyes as I write, for the emotions are so fresh and strong.

I will never forget what God had done for us. The true miracle He gave us. After talking to the little bird, and taking several pictures, he started to make his way up the tree, climbing and jumping, and flying short distances at a time. He made it quite high before we watched with awe as he flew from one tree to another with his mother right by his side as if she were ready to help if needed.

I took several more pictures before deciding it was time to go. We could now leave with our hearts filled with joy, knowing he was truly going to be okay.

Thank you God, for we are so undeserving of this miracle you decided to bless us with this day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

BYE, BYE BIRDIE




The other day we were out on our boat when suddenly the sky seemed to open up. We heard thunder, which concerned us but at the first crack of lightening, we were out of there. Before we even made it to our vehicles, we’d tuned to look at the water. What we saw made us high tail to the safety of our vehicles. It was like a sandstorm in a desert but instead a cloud of water racing across the river. I’ve never seen anything like it.

We hopped into our cars and waited for my husband and a friend as they attempted to cover the boat and bring in the raft. The rain was coming down in buckets, whipping around like the Wizard of Oz. My husband heard the trees from above crack, and that was it. They were out of there. They quickly tied the raft to the bike rack, hoping it would stay. There was no time for attaching it to the roof of his truck.

All accounted for in the vehicles, we left the parks, circling around. As we drove past where we’d just been parked, a huge branch now laid. Wow, that was close. Our truck would have suffered severe damage, and worse, one of the kids could have been hurt.

On the way home, less than a mile, we saw several large trees on the ground. Including one with a utility line down in my sister-in-laws front yard.

We waited at home for the storm to subside. Once it had, my husband and oldest daughter went back to retrieve the raft. Amongst the fallen branches my daughter spotted a baby bird perched on a tiny branch. She immediately called me, and of course I told her to bring it home.

The bird was a cute as can be. We put it in one of our cages we weren’t using, and then went to work researching the web for how to feed, and what to feed a baby bird. How contradictory information on the web can be. In the end we asked a neighbor for a can of cat food, and feed our new little friend, along with some water.

The next morning I woke up uncommonly early, relieved when I heard our little friend chirping. We fed him, and gave him water. Becoming more adventurous, we decided to pick him up. Of course my animal lover, my middle daughter was the first to do so and quickly bond to him. Before long he was flying from one person to the other.

After some talking, we decided we needed to take him to the Wild Bird Store in town and ask a few questions. The two woman that worked there were very helpful, and kind. Another woman, a customer, wasn’t so kind. She interrupted our conversation, letting me know who she was, and just what she thought of me taking the bird from his environment, along with the crime I’d be committing if I decided to keep it, and didn’t put it back immediately.

I wasn’t about to be intimidated by her, though. I respect her views but hey, the little thing was in a situation that if we hadn’t taken him that night, he may very well have been killed. The animal lover in me wouldn’t allow that to happen.

After our visit to the bird store we decided we’d take our little bird friend and place him in a safe spot near where we'd found him and wait and watch to see if his mother came around. We perched him on a limb on the ground near some brush, and waited. After some time a bird came around, swooping down and then back up into the trees. This went on for some time so after awhile we decided it must be the mother. At least we certainly hope so.

After making the very difficult decision to leave him there, we stuck him farther into the brush for safety. When it was time to leave there were many tears. In less than twenty-four-hours this little birdie had won all our hearts.

Sadly, we headed for home with an empty cage, still wondering if we'd done the right thing. The unknowing is the hardest part. I knew the best place for this little guy would be with him mother, in nature where God intended him to be. But if that was at the cost of his young life, I would have gladly stepped in to do whatever it took to save his little life. After all, how bad could it have been to live with people that would love and care for him?

After having lunch, and attending to a few things around the house, we went back to check on our little friend. As we circled the brush, we didn’t see or hear anything. We whistled, hoping he’d return the call. And sure enough our little friend called back to us. What a relief and joy that was! After searching for some time, my youngest daughter spotted him perched on a twig, safely resting and calling out to us.

This time when we left the park we were a little happier knowing he’d survive so far. We weren’t even in the door when the phone started to ring. It was the lady from the bird store. She was checking to see what happened and assured me she’d go and check on him, later.

So for now we are feeling pretty good, though a little emotional. I have to wonder if we'll ever look at a bird flying overhead without thinking of our little friend...even if he was only in our lives for twenty-four-hours.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WHAT AN INSPIRATOIN OF HOPE


Just as I had recently posted in my last blog post, a poorly written book can give me hope. Why? Because if that story can get published, then so can mine one day.

Once again this proves to be true.

One of my favorite writes is Linda Lael.Miller. I love her characters for their feistiness. To date I’ve read eighteen of her books…no make that eighteen and a portion. I was shocked after reading so many of her books to come across one that started out with her usual “bang” just to quickly dissipated. And I do mean quickly. I actually had to look at the cover several times to be sure it was one of her books. Sadly, I put it down and moved on to another book.

Since then I’ve read a few more, and to my relief they were the quick page turners I’d come to know and love. Hey, anyone can have a bad story once and awhile. Writing is not easy, and so much plays into it. In her defense it was a book written many years ago.

Several days ago I started another one of her books, and right away I sensed something was off…different. After a couple of chapters I looked to see what year it was published. 2000. That would make sense. Once again something early on in her career.

So now I’m struggling to make it through this book. I have about a hundred pages out of a little over three hundred to go. I feel as though I have too much time invested to quit now. Besides, I want to know how it turns out, and honestly, it’s giving me great hope so how can I abandon it.

It gives me hope in that I feel as though I’m reading all the mistakes I’ve been making in my own writing and to think that once Linda Lael Miller wasn’t the amazing writer she is today makes my heart sore. If she can go from where I believe I’m at, to where she is now…whoo hoo. So can I.

What an inspiration!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

HOW MUSIC AND READING SHAPE MY WRITING


Writing is a huge part of my life and who I am…as well as reading, and music. But what some may find surprising is how they all intertwine.

When I read, I’m inspired to write.

Music often does the same.

Some of us are prompted to write after reading a not so well written book. I admit it does give me hope for my own, feeling that I could write a better book then the one I’d just read. But it’s a well written book that really inspires me.

A well written book teaches me how to write. It sends my insides tingling, wanting to create such a story. I want more then nothing to inspire, teach, bring light to, stir up feelings, and emotions in those that embrace my book in their hands as they read from beginning to end. To create a story that leaves one spellbound, in tears, emotionally satisfied, to look at life in a different way, rethinking their views, and morals.

As one that grew up around music, I would have to say it’s in my blood so why should I be surprised that it also inspires me to write. As I workout while listening to my ipod, song after song, often one triggers a story from within.

A movie is a story, and what accompanies a movie…music. How often do we associate a song with a movie? Or a movie with a song?

One of the stories I’m currently working on was initiated from an idea based on a trip I'd planned to take to Wyoming. Later listening to a song by the Dixie Chicks, COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY, I suddenly realized it was not only the alternative title, it was the very core of the story.

Now it’s impossible to listen to that song without thinking of my story. How wonderful that would be if one day others would do the same.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I WON



I won, I won, I won.

I just won an autograph copy of Sharlene MacLaen’s book, HANNAH GRACE.

It sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to get started on it.

For more about Sharlene and her books you can visit her sites.

Blog:
http://sharlenemaclaren.blogspot.com/

Website:
http://sharlenemaclaren.com/