Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Booksignings & Reviews

My family and I are off to Pennsylvania this weekend where I'll have a multi-author booksigning in West Chester at the Tree of Life Christian Bookstore. Come by if you're in the area. I'm glad to say that this "booksigning" is not the stand around the table and smile at people kind of thing. We have crafts and talks and tips and giveaways for teens & tweens.

I'm excited - in kind of a weird way. These things always make me a little nervous. I love meeting teens and talking to them - I really do care about them. But you just never know what to expect at these events. And while I'm typically an outgoing type of person, I morph into a strange social phobia when I'm supposed to talk to people. (I'm neurotic, don't try to figure it out.) I'm just so glad I'm not alone - it's definitely worse when you're by yourself - and it's just you and a stack of books.

I'll let you know how it goes when I get back. Umm, pray that people come - will ya?

And I read kind of a mediocre review of my book earlier in the week - which did not help with the whole "double rejection" thing. I don't usually read my reviews for just that reason. But today I read two really good reviews and that helped. I've always been weird about encouragement. I desperately want it - but since I grew up in a family that was practically incapable of encouraging - I don't always know what to do with it when it comes.

I guess for now, I should just keep writing:-)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Double Rejection

I complained about this over at MySpace already but I just can't help myself. Yes, as a writer I'm fairly experienced in rejection. It's a part of the writing life. I know that rejecting a proposal is based an any number of factors, only a few of which I can actually control. The rest of it? I can't do anything about that.

I'm of the opinion that life is not about fate in the sense that most of the world thinks about fate. That whatever happens will happen. To a degree that is true, but fate implies that there is not some intelligence and purpose behind what occurs in life. I believe there is. Nothing takes God by surprise. Many of you know that I lost my father to cancer that came on very suddenly and dramatically. He had three and a half weeks between diagnosis and death. We were all taken by surprise.

But God knew it was going to happen. I knew through the whole thing that God was in control. I'm not going to get into a predestination vs free will debate. It's actually besides the point.

My point is that either God is in control. Or He isn't. Because I believe He is in control - even when I don't understand - then I must believe that the events of my life are not just some random happenings. They are purposeful.

I could go on and on about all of this, but I'll spare you my mental ramblings...especially those that ocur after 10pm.

Anyhow,I got these rather serious rejections today. Serious both in the importance of these projects as well as in how dire my prospects are becoming. I'm thoroughly bummed about the whole thing. Questioning why I put myself through this torture day after day. Wondering if I will ever get to write another book.

And yet.

Yet, if I really believe what I say I believe then I have to look at this with a different perspective. A perspective that says....well, God knows exactly what He is doing. And for whatever reason, those were not the right places for those projects. That God has another way.

I want to believe that - and in my heart of hearts, I do. But I still can't help feeling...rejected. I blame the artist side of my personality. I don't think God begrudges us a good cry now and then (which I'm very glad about because I'm kind of an emotional girl:-)

But like Paul ( 2 Cor. 4:9) - I'm hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not abandoned. Struck down, but not destroyed.

And that doesn't even mean that God will allow me to write another book. Maybe He will. Maybe He won't.

But onward we go.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Worst Place

I don't know if there is anyone out there who actually enjoys going to the dentist - if you do you're a better person than I.

I really hate going to the dentist. I don't like anyone messing with my mouth. I hate those enourmous things they put in my mouth to take the x-rays and I'm always at least slightly embarrassed by how much I hate it. I'm a grown woman. You'd think I would have kicked this by now.

Last year I had a small cavity that needed to be filled. Well, as the appointment approached I got more nervous. Then one of my kids got the flu and I dialed the dentist explaining that my daughter was sick and I simply couldn't come in. Yes, folks, I used my daughter's illness to avoid the drilling (it's actually sand-blasting now but frankly I don't think it makes it any better.) I rescheduled and then something else came up (a plausible albeit unnecessary excuse).

By the time I got to the dentist - much later - I had a much bigger cavity, needed two doses of the numbing medicine and required something called a "pulp cap" - all I know is that it cost an extra $150. Did I mention I don't have dental insurance. Yeah.

So I got all fixed up and stayed away for a while. It's only been a year but a few weeks ago, the right side of my mouth started bothering me. I ignored it. I rationalized it. I avoided eating on that side. But finally I had to face the fact that I would have to go in to the dentist.

I was more scared of a huge cavity (and the additional $150) than going in at that point.

Well, apparently I don't have any cavities, but my gums are swollen and infected, which was what was causing my pain. Of course I checked it out myself when I got home and they seem just fine to me.

Apparently I should be flossing.

Yeah, me and the rest of the industrialized world. My problem with people messing with my mouth extends to me sticking my fingers in there to floss as well. They told me that I could have serious gum problems later if I don't start flossing.

I could ignore it. But then twenty years from now I'll be writing this blog with a lot less teeth. I like having teeth. I don't intend to lose them. So now, amidst the vacumming and cooking and laundry and exercising and writing books, I have to make more time in my life for dental care.

Gee, isn't growing up fun.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Over the Hedge

Cross-Post from 4:12 LIVE!

I know that Over the Hedge is an animated kid's movie. But it was cute, and funny, and well - it wasn't the DaVinci Code.

I love to write screenplays - stories that are meant to be watched, not read. I learned to write them by attending a program called Act One: Writing for Hollywood. The month that I spent learning to write movies was also a month I spent learning a great deal about the film industry in general.

One thing I learned is that Hollywood really does listen to us. Many Christians believe that Hollywood is evil and awful - the whole idea that "Nothing good can come from there" lives on in our churches. We like to boycott things - or just pout and complain about the TV shows and movies that we don't like. But boycotting isn't really an effective strategy and one of my Act One instructors came up with the idea to "othercott" the Davinci Code. The idea is this: when you go to a movie, you are essentially "casting a vote" that Hollywood counts. Your $8 movie ticket tells Hollywood what you want to see more of.

What really matters is money. So instead of plunking down money for the Davinci Code - and telling Hollywood "Yes! We'd like to see more movies that blaspheme the name of Christ." we went to see Over the Hedge and told Hollywood that "We want to see movies that are clean and fun and have something to say." (And yes, Over the Hedge had some great messages about greed, coveting, forgiveness and family). We cast five votes on Friday night and I couldn't be happier about it.

If you're new to this whole idea of voting with money, there is something important you need to know to cast your vote in Hollywood:

You have to go opening weekend. Nowadays, opening weekend votes are the ones that really matter. Some movies can pick up steam and stay steady and all that - but truly, the studios have their minds made up by Sunday of that very first weekend. They look at those numbers to decide what they will spend their money to make over the next few years.

If Christians would change their viewing habits, eventually Hollywood would change what they produce. Truly. If we actually went to see movies like Dreamer, or Akeelah and the Bee or The Island, or Over the Hedge or any number of really great films - then Hollywood would start to take notice that those movies make more money! See the trend here? Yes, it's all about how you spend your money that makes the difference. We can't just sit back and applaud that a good little movie came out - you have to plunk your $8 down. They can't see you smiling at a refreshing movie that doesn't assault your senses with violence and language. They can't hear you applauding a movie that doesn't demean our faith. You have to tell Hollywood with your money.

So this summer - think about what you're going to go see at the movies. Make your choice knowing that you are casting a vote. Knowing that Hollywood really is listening. Be a light in those dark movie theatres by choosing movies that reflect something worthwhile. You have more power than you think - use it wisely:-)

Why do I suddenly want popcorn?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I wonder how many of you have seen PostSecret?

It's ingenious, fabulous and heartbreaking - all at the same time. Every Sunday, a new set of postcards is shared - each revealing someone's deepest secret.

Most of them this week have to do with mothers. The postcard that caught my eye today was the one above. As a fiction writer, my mind always imagines what brought that person to that point in their lives. I wonder who will hear them.

I actually met with a young woman last year for a while who felt very much like the person who wrote that postcard. She saw her parents as hypocritical, old-fashioned and irrelevant in today's world. And as a result, felt that way about God.

There's another postcard that has a picture of a mom pushing a little girl on the swing with the words, "Stop pushing me away" scrawled across the picture.

I never cease to be amazed at the depth of the private pain in this world. The sorrow that is hidden behind smiles and minivans. A poet I liked in high school wrote a line that is fitting - "The roles we people play would win more Acadamy Awards than the screen ever knew."

After reading these secrets, I think, perhaps, he was right.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Guilt Spending

Twice in the last week I have felt guilt-ed into spending my money.

The policeman's association called asking for donations. I give to a number of different things but it's not like we're independantly wealthy. I have to have my limits. I'm making grilled cheese for my kid's lunch today while this guy on the phone tells me that the money goes to support families of officers killed in the line of duty. I mean, who could argue with how worthwhile that is? I so appreciate the men and women who put their livbes on the line to protect us everyday. And it's such a good cause...

But frankly, I just got a $600 bill from the hospital from my daughter's table accident and I don't even know how I'm going to pay that! Yet I still felt guilty for saying no. I'm obviously still feeling guilty about it.

But where does it end? I could list hundreds of wonderful worthwhile causes - the infomercials about Operation Smile and Saint Judes always make me cry. There's the policemen and the firefighters and the rescue squads. There are the telethons and the wheelchair basketball leagues and associations for just about every letter of the alphabet all wanting my money. Then there are the "mission-support" letters we get by the dozens each year. There's the ranch in Tennessee that takes care of neglected kids. I could go on and on.

Everybody has an opinion about where our money should go. Yet being on a tight budget forces us to make choices about everything - including where we will give our money. It's not easy for me to say no and because I want to help, it makes me feel bad when I can't.

My solution has always been to give where I feel led to give and then make myself let go of the rest. It's all I can do.

And that leads me to the second guilt trip of the week. My daughter's bus driver sells Avon. Yup - you know where this is going. It would be easier if my daughter wasn't the only kid on the bus - she gets transportation for her speech therapy and gets a whole bus to herself, and the driver gets my ear every time I get her off the bus. I'm going to have to order something. It's just as simple as that. But it's only because I feel guilty.

And that leads me to all the people that sell stuff that you feel like you should support but just don't have the money to. I'm talking about the Creative Memories, the Tupperware, the Pampered Chef, the Southern Living, the Toys, the candles, that list goes on and on too. I want to support my friends by going to their parties but it can cost a small fortune to keep up with all of that. Which is why I don't host parties anymore. The free stuff makes it tempting but it starts a terribly vicious cycle that is hard to get out of. You host a party and your friends come, then you have to go to all of their parties because they agreed to host one so that you could get that extra 50% off that item you really wanted. Then you have to actually buy something at everyone else's party. It's craziness, and my checkbook just can't handle it.

So guilt and money are never a good combination. But it does help when you don't have enough money to give into the guilt. Okay, so what have you bought (or given money to) simply out of guilt? I can't be the only one!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Six Minutes of your life

Thanks to Anthony and LAQ for pointing this one out!! I love laughing out loud.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Can a leopard change it's spots?

This is the question I have been wrestling with. I've always been a bit of an "indoor girl". I love to read and even then I would choose a cozy corner of my room rather than a hammock. I don't hate the outdoors, I love them when the temperature is mild and the air is fresh.

I have been struggling with exercise - and have for a number of years now. I feel like I should do it, but cannot for the life of me figure out how to want to do it. I think God created us gloriously different. We are each unique with our own quirks, our own likes and dislikes, and that is great.

When we fall in love with God, and surrender oursleves to be more like Him, we expect to undergo change for that to happen. I don't mind changing. But I wrestle sometimes when I'm not completely sure the change is about becoming more like God, or if it's about me thinking I need to become something.

I have a life-long pattern of trying to fit in - and not always succeeding at it. There is a lot of culture pressure to look a certain way, to be fit, athletic. Somehow I've gotten it in my head that I need to be more athletic.


I've never been the athletic type. I always was intrigued by the idea of sports, enjoy playing volleyball at picnics, but beyond that - I'm not very sporty. I think part of this is because I didn't start when I was young. We moved around a lot when I was a kid so we never stayed anywhere long enough for me to stick with something. Had we, maybe things would have been different.

But my basic question is this - how do you know when it is something God wants you to change, and when it's just something the world thinks you should change? Because frankly, we'll fail if we're just trying to meet some worldly expectation. And then the follow-up to that is - If you are a leopard, you're supposed to have spots. A leopard who thinks he should have stripes is just confused and will end up frustrated. (If leopards can get frustrated.) Where is the line between conformity and uniqueness? When is it okay to embrace out uniqueness and quit torturing ourselves to become something we just aren't?

Or am I just trying to get out of working out?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Love Quizzes!

You're Confessions!

by St. Augustine

You're a sinner, you're a saint, you do not feel ashamed. Well, you
might feel a little ashamed of your past, but it did such a good job of teaching you
what not to do. Now you've become a devout Christian and have spent more time
ruminating on the world to come rather than worldly pleasures. Your realizations and
ability to change will bring reverence upon you despite your hedonistic transgressions.
Florida will honor you most in the end.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Little bit much better

A few days late, but here's what I promised. I only chose two from the 6-8 picture series I have of my three-year old's face after her accident. Or as she calls it "When the table hit my face". The first is a few days after the accident - you can see the swelling and the lovely bruising. The second was taken yesterday. Each day it gets better.

She is doing much better. I did have a scare though today when I realized that the lump under her eye socket wasn't going away and a friend mentioned the words "scar tissue" - I was suddenly worried, make that terrified, that she'd have a lumpy face for the rest of her life. But I sent her to the doctor today with my husband and it's a hematoma. It will likely take two-three months to heal but it will go away. I can't tell you how much better I felt after I heard that!! And apparently it's a good thing that her forehead gash is horizontal rather than vertical.

So it's healing nicely. And I am SO thankful!