Saturday, August 26, 2006


I feel like all I've been doing is coughing! After over a week of not sleeping and spending most of my waking hours eating coughdrops and drinking Robitussin like a crazy woman, I finally gave in and went to the doctor. The brilliant diagnosis?

"It's probably allergies. Take some Claritin."

I've had allergies, all sorts, all of my life, and I've never ever had a cough like this. I was actually hoping for some sort of diagnosis that I could take some medicine and be all better right away.

Didn't happen.

Last night, after two days of taking Claritin and Flonase and some horse pill of a cough suppressant, I got at least a little bit of sleep. Which is the only reason I've made it to my computer.

A cough is not such an easy thing to deal with. I can't really talk - because it makes me cough. If I move around too much...well, it must make me breathe more so that leads to more coughing.

I've actually pulled a muscle in my neck from coughing.

No fun at all.

So I'm trying to get back to my life slowly but surely. School started this week so life happens whether you're feeling up to it or not, doesn't it? And the kids back to school ushers in a new wave of uncertainty for me.

Still no contracts.

I realize that the publishing world is a little slower in the summer. But still. Not knowing. Wondering. It all takes a toll on the "hope factor".

Right now though, I'd probably be thrilled with just a decent night's sleep.

Here's to perspective:-)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Good-bye Summer??

School starts this week. The beginning of a new school year is always so exciting - and I tend to wax nostaligic about those years I was a teacher. A new school year was always my favorite time of the year. Setting up the room, writing all the kid's names on little punch out apples to hang on the bulletin board. Everything clean and neat and new. It was before you knew which kids were going to drive you crazy and long before you start counting down the days until Christmas break.

I'm not a teacher anymore and find myself in the position of "parent". It's different from this view. Buying all the school supplies, seeing a teacher's name written on a piece of paper and wondering if your child will be cared about. If that new teacher will see just how wonderful and extraordinary your child really is. My middle child is starting Kindergarten this year. I think she'll love it.

My youngest will go to pre-school. She too will love it.

And I will find myself - for the first time, with some quiet hours for writing. Three times a week. It's also sad and exciting. But when I look at how unproductive I have been this summer, I want to tackle this new school year with some real goals and plans. I don't want to get side-tracked and fritter those precious hours away. I want to be able to focus on my kids when they come home from school - not be thinking about what I didn't get finished.

So - I feel the urge of goal-setting coming on. I know most people think about that in January - but now feels like the right time.

I won't break it down into hours yet.

But my #1 goal - is to close down my e-mail while I'm working. I'm afraid I've developed a Pavlovian dog response when the e-mail dings to tell me there's mail in there. It breaks my train of thought and then I take a while to get back on track.

So the goal is this: Work first.

I hereby promise (I'll try) to only check my e-mail once when I turn on my computer, then close my outlook program and not check again until I'm finished for the day.

Sounds so simple but I think this one goal will help me actually do everything else I need to do.

Kind of sad, huh?

Here's to productivity!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Beach Bound

We're finally going on vacation. Tomorrow. And I still need to pack:-)

But just thought I'd let you know that I'll have no laptop with me so no blogging folks! Nope. Just me, a notebook and a pen. I LOVE writing this way. I think better with a pen in my hand.

The only problem with this method is that I can't just hand it to my computer and I'll need to come home and actually type it all in. Oh well. It's better than bringing the laptop:-)

See ya next week!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dad & Me

Cross-Post from Girls, God & the Good Life
Yesterday was my father's birthday. My memories of him have been in and out of my thoughts all week. It's been almost two years since he died and though it seems strange to me, I still find it hard to believe that he's really gone.

I was the first-born in my family and growing up, we had an interesting relationship. When I was little, I was scared of him. He was the disciplinarian that my mother would threaten us with. I still remember the sound of his leather belt snapping together. When I was a teenager, as long as I behaved, I was given a lot of freedom, a car and his trust. (Though it was undeserved in some ways, I'll admit.) But I also watched him have an affair with a woman in our town and hid when he was strung out on cocaine. When I was in college, he hated that I had become a Christian and we went for several years that were tense. Then, as he began to realize that Christ wasn't something I was going to walk away from, he developed a respect for the person I was becoming. He, of course, wanted to take the credit for me turning out the way I did.

We had a tough relationship - but I loved him dearly. He was diagnosed with cancer when he suddenly starting having major symptoms. It was too late by the time they found it. He died less than four weeks later.

As hard as that was, I must admit that when I look back at my memories, I have no regrets. I was honest with him, but respectful. I disagreed with him regularly, but I honored him when I did it. I told him that I loved him often. And when it came to say good-bye, I found that I had said everything I needed, and wanted, to say.

I guess my hope in sharing this with you is that you'll cherish those you love, even when the relationship is hard. We never know what our tomorrows will bring. We don't know the plans God has for us. But we can cherish today, and those that God has placed in our lives.

And do me a favor - will ya? If you still have your dad around...tell him you love him.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Fun Surprise!

Yep...that would be me down there in the General Fiction Category!

The finalists for the ACFW BOOK OF THE YEAR:

In Contemporary Novella Category, the finalists are:
Kristy Dykes with Reunited
Pamela Griffin with Strawberry Angel
Robin Lee Hatcher with Veterans Way
Jane Orcutt with Dear Baby Girl
Lenora Worth with Twas the Week Before Christmas

In General Fiction, which includes Sci-Fi and Young Adult, the finalists are: (6 finalilsts due to a tie)
Bryan Davis with Circles of Seven
Bryan Davis with Tears of a Dragon
DiAnn Mills with When the Lion Roars
Miles Owens with Daughter of Prophecy
Sarah Anne Sumpolec with The Passage
Sarah Anne Sumpolec with The Reveal

In the Historical Novella category, the finalists are:
Pamela Griffin with Moonlight Masquerade
Pamela Griffin with Legend of Mercy
DiAnn Mills with Missing Pages
Kathleen Y'Barbo with Coffee Scoop
Kathleen Y'Barbo with Marrying Kind

In the Lits category, the finalists are:
Kristin Billerbeck with She's All That
Kristin Billerbeck with With This Ring I'm Confused
Diann Hunt with Hot Flashes and Cold Cream
Siri Mitchell with Kissing Adrian
Anne Dayton/May Vanderbilt with Emily Ever After

In the Long Historical category, the finalists are:
Tracey Bateman with Color of My Soul
Dorothy Clark with Joy For Mourning
Susan Downs and Susan May Warren with Oksana
Deeanne Gist with A Bride Most Begrudging
Tricia Goyer with Dawn of a Thousand Nights

In the Short Contemporary category, the finalists are:
Colleen Coble with Windigo Twilight
Colleen Coble with Shadow Bones
Mary Davis with The Island
Nancy Lavo with Miss Menace
Elizabeth White with Under Cover of Darkness

In the Short Historical category, the finalists are:
Janet Lee Barton with A Place Called Home
Tracey Bateman with Beside Still Waters
Vickie McDonough with Sooner or Later
DiAnn Mills with Renegade Husband
Kathleen Y'Barbo with Bayou Secrets

In the Suspense category, the finalists are:
Terri Blackstock with Breaker's Reef
Colleen Coble with Distant Echoes
Colleen Coble with Black Sands
Wanda Dyson with Intimidation
Creston Mapes with DarkStar

In the Women's Fiction category, the finalists are:
Nikki Arana with The Winds of Sonoma
Eva Marie Everson with Potluck Club
Susan Meissner with The Remedy for Regret
Deborah Raney with Over the Waters
Linda Windsor with Fiesta Moon

Congratulations to all!!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Extreme Makeover

We're in the process of re-doing our upstairs bedrooms. For the past three years, I have used one of those bedrooms as an office, but we are slowly trying to transition it downstairs so that each of my three girls can have their own bedrooms. For me, it's a matter of practicality. I want all the toys downstairs moved upstairs and in order to do that, more space would be very helpful.

Only it looks like my house has been ransacked. And I can't yet see the light at the end of the tunnel. It all looks overwhelming and I'm tired and I want it to be finished. Two solid days of work and I still have stuff everywhere.

Last week, the pastor mentioned the story of Joseph - how he was sold by his brothers, imprisoned and was falsely accused - all before the vision God gave him came to pass. I can't help but wonder what struggles Joseph may have had when he was in the middle of that story. Do you think he ever wondered if he heard the right thing? Do you think he ever wanted to give up?

My life feels very much like my house right now. I feel like I'm being stretched and tested on every possible level. Yet part of me knows that I might be in the middle of the story. Joseph didn't have the benefit of being able to read ahead to find out exactly how God was going to work everything out. And unfortunately, I don't either. In my human fraility, I worry and wonder if it will all be worth it.

"God works all things together for the good of those that love him."

I do believe that. But when you're in the middle of the upheaval it's easy to get weary. It's easy to wonder. It would be nice if I could get that one week Extreme makeover from God. Learn what I need to learn so that this winter of my life can finally turn to spring.

But just like I'm going to need to plow through the mess in my hallway, I will need to keep plowing through my life as well. Believing that there is an ending to this particular story that I simply don't know yet.

What I do know is that my seven year old's "Hula Monkey" room is finished. She is SO thrilled. And I have to admit - It makes all that work worth it:-)