Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Break

Summer is ticking away and I don't have much time left to enjoy these long, lazy days free of schedules and demands. 

So, I'm taking a break from blogging until my kids head back to school. I plan to spend lots of time at the pool, reading, and maybe finding a few adventures to get into. Mostly I just want to enjoy the rest of the time we have left. Summer is always too fast. To borrow a line from Aerosmith, I don't want to miss a thing. 

I'll see you in a month! 
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Intentional Mondays

Quote: "Within your heart keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go, and, sheltered so, may thrive and grow where doubt and fear are not. Oh, keep a place apart, within your heart, for little dreams to go." Louise Driscoll

That's what I'm trying to do lately-- find a spot in my heart for my writing that has its own sheltered spot where doubt and fear are not. Thanks to Ariel Lawhon for knowing I needed that quote this past week!

Listening To: The Sirius XM 80's on 8 top 40 countdown from this week the year I graduated from high school. What a fun summer that was! Lots of memories of misadventures with my three best friends who are, thankfully, still part of my life to this day.

Write Every Day: I have added this back because I have been writing every day. I can hardly believe it. I'm enjoying it, too. Which is the best part. It's too early to tell if this will become an actual novel that can be held in one's hands. Right now I'm just letting the story unfold.

Sharing Stories: On my reading docket for this week is Landline by Rainbow Rowell and One and Only by Emily Giffin. Here's hoping I get them both read this week! My 8yo daughter is working her way through a new children's book called Quinny and Hopper and my 12yo son is reading The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief and Sinister.

Randomness: I spent three hours on the phone the other night catching up with an old friend. She was one of my first mom friends and our three oldest children are all within a few months of each other. They moved away and we lost touch for a while so it was so fun to see what she's been up to for, oh, the last decade or so. (Hence the three hour conversation.) Old friends are special.

In The Kitchen: What are your favorite summer lunches? My kids eat so many sandwiches during the school year that they just about refuse to eat them during the summer. We've been doing whole wheat wraps with lettuce, tomato, avocado and deli meat with a splash of vinaigrette, nacho platters, Ramen noodles, egg salad, rice cakes with peanut butter and fruit, and of course leftovers. I've found myself cooking more than we'll eat just so that there will be some leftovers as a quick go-to lunch. Noon finds me most every day in the kitchen for a good hour or so making sure my people are fed. This is a part of summer I forget about every year until it is upon me.

Plans: I've got some fun plans I will share later, with pictures if all goes well. I won't be around on the blog much this week because of that.

Loveliness: The other day I ran past a huge, blooming Magnolia tree. I had to pause and just inhale. I was glad I live in a place where Magnolia trees are abundant and their lovely fragrance wafts through the air.

Photo Of The Week:

Why yes that is fried squash, the proof that I actually made it for the first time ever. And it was SO good. I am inordinately proud of myself for making something that intimidated me. I think it's good to tackle things that intimidate you from time to time. Like climbing a mountain, writing a novel, surfing, speaking in public or... frying things.
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Product Spotlight: How To Write Your Memoir in 30 Days

Ever thought about writing a memoir? Would you like to do it in 30 days? Here's more info on a new book that can help you do just that!

How to Write a Memoir in 30 DaysStep-by-Step Instructions for Creating and Publishing Your Personal Story
By Roberta Temes, PhD
Published by Reader's Digest
Paperback: 192 pages
March 18, 2014; $14.99 US/$32.00 CAN; 9781621451457
"You should write a book."

Everyone has a story to tell. If you've ever thought of sharing yours but don't know where to begin, How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days gives you the perfect framework. Step-by-step techniques, culled from writers' workshops taught by the author are presented in a series of fun writing exercises, including:
  • crafting your three-sentence memoir
  • identifying an incident that changed your life
  • creating stirring scenes 
You'll figure out the major themes of your life, mine your memory for dramatic incidents, stitch your assignments (and diary entries, blog posts, and other writings) together into a compelling plot, and polish your prose into believable dialogue and exciting action. The book also includes quick "clear communication" lessons about spelling and grammar, plus information and advice about different publishing paths. Simply follow the daily directions and in just one month you will have a memoir ready to submit for publishing.

Whether you're a seasoned writer or a novice, dream of hitting the bestseller lists or just want to pass a little wisdom on to your grandkids, How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days is a fun, easy guide to writing the Next Great Memoir -- yours.

Author Bio
Roberta Temes, Ph.D.
 is an accomplished author, editor and writing instructor, as well as a seasoned psychotherapist and psychology faculty member. She lectures around the country at corporate meetings, medical conferences and health spas. Dr. Temes' newest book, How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days is available now on Amazon and everywhere books are sold. She is also the author of the award-winning Living with an Empty Chair and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hypnosis.
Temes lives in New Jersey and Florida, with her husband David Lyons, a university financial systems consultant. Temes is a mother and grandmother, too. For more information please visit
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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Word of the Week Wednesday

  1. a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement
It's that time of year... summer boredom is probably starting to take root in your home. You might've heard the familiar refrain, "I'm bored," a time or two in your house by now. Those children who couldn't wait for school to be over might be like the Israelites, looking longingly back at Egypt, recalling that things weren't so bad there.

But what about mom? Can moms struggle with ennui? And I'm not talking about being busy. Being busy with mindless tasks-- running children from point A to point B, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.-- can take up our time, but does it take up our minds? I think you can be busy but still struggle with that "feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement."

It's that last part that is key.

It's that feeling of not being excited about what you're doing, not being engaged or passionate, your whole life caught up in a never-ending round of rote tasks with nothing to celebrate, nothing to be excited about. We all struggle with it from time to time.  Life has boring parts. There are seasons of stagnation. Sometimes there is simply no avoiding it. But there are things we can do to change the situation when we see ennui taking over.

Here are a few:

Get creative-- actually tackle one of those things you pinned on Pinterest

Get writing-- write about what you feel, let the truth find its way out of the end of your pen

Get outside-- taking a walk in the great outdoors can unexpectedly inspire you. Fill your lungs with fresh air. Notice God's infinite creativity, His attention to detail and beauty. Be inspired to do the same in your little corner of the world.

Get active-- exercise can release endorphins that re-activate your passion, your joie de vivre, your energy level.

Get in touch with your passion-- do one thing towards something that means something to you. Just one thing, no matter how small a step. Take the step.

Get back-- to whatever prompted you to choose the life you're leading. And if you don't feel like you chose this life, figure out what you can choose within it. And then do those things.

Don't let ennui win.



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Monday, July 07, 2014

Intentional Mondays

Quote: "Writing a novel is actually searching for victims. As I write I keep looking for casualties. The stories uncover the casualties." John Irving (an interesting way to see it, from this article:

My One Word: AFFIRM This book is really affirming some things I need to see. To be clear, I've tried to avoid seeing them, but this book is holding up a mirror and forcing me to look into it. I bought it after reading this post, which was the first clue that I might need to do some soul-level digging. Ouch.

Listening To: My Blue Nile Pandora station, which means I'm writing. Though slowly. And with hesitation that what I'm writing is actually going to be anything. But each day I try to write a little something, adding to the story as the images come to me, when they come to me. I'm not forcing this one. I'm taking my time. I am not under contract for the first time in a very long time and it feels oddly nice. But also disconcerting. I like to plan, and to know what's coming, and to feel like I'm somehow in charge of my destiny. (See above about "My One Word")

Sharing Stories: My husband and I both are reading this book. Well, I should admit that Curt has finished the book while I've been a bit slower. The thing is 640 pages long. But it moves fast and Curt assures me it keeps you riveted to the very end. I love all the thoughts on writing scattered throughout the who-done-it mystery.

Randomness: There is nothing better than having all my chicks in the nest. I got to experience that for one fleeting evening this weekend. It never gets old.

In The Kitchen: Grilled pork chops and couscous and green beans, roasted broccoli and chicken served over jasmine rice, my first attempt at frying squash, courtesy of my squash-loving neighbor, served with shredded beef sandwiches and baked potatoes with all the fixings. And one night a breakfast casserole for dinner. Hoping to make a big batch of my mom's oatmeal chocolate chip cookies this week as well. This post of ideas for quick and easy summer meals using rotisserie chicken was a good one-- I'm planning on making those Caesar wraps soon.

Plans: My youngest has art camp at her school this week, taught by our neighbor. She loves art so she's super excited to get to do it all week long. And I'm excited that she's going to be able to do things I wouldn't do because of the mess. Artsy I am not. Beyond that we will go to the pool some and I plan to run every day. We also have to get the 14yo and 12yo ready for camp next week. Have I mentioned that I love summer?

Loveliness: We had a lovely 4th, complete with a perfect day weather-wise. We enjoyed time at the pool with neighbors, followed by a potluck and fireworks, also at our pool. As I sat there surrounded by people we've done life with for now 14 years in this community, I felt very blessed.

Photo Of The Week:

It's not perfect. It's kinda small. It has a major imperfection, actually.
But it's the first tomato I ever grew. And I'm proud of it.
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Monday, June 30, 2014

What I'm Into In June

(In lieu of my typical "Intentional Monday" post, I'm running a June wrap up post. It's kinda the same as the Monday posts, only... not.)

Even though it's officially summer, I was not officially on break in June. Not yet.

First we had to get through:

swim meets and swim banquet, including nightly practices and twice a week meets

I call this one "Swim Meet at Sunset"

the launch of my book-- have you gotten your copy yet? Please do!

which included a very small book tour to the coast of NC (tough job but someone's gotta do it)

and the end of the school year, including an 8th grade graduation

I also did a lot of lazing around on the porch, preferably reading but sometimes working

If you gotta work, you should at least have a nice view while you do it


This post about summer reading:  "I don’t know how to experience summer without the silent soundtrack of someone else’s words." Yes, exactly.

And since we're talking about Addie Zierman, I wrote a guest post on her blog in June about not being afraid of the gray (anymore). This was one of those pieces that just poured out of me in one fell swoop, my fingers typing as fast as they could to keep up with the whoosh of words.

These life hacks for parents are genius, I tell you. Do yourself a favor and read this post for some truly sneaky ways to tackle some nagging issues. Love the tooth fairy letter, the get along shirt, and the wifi password ideas.

This Pinterest board all about INFJ. When I was first "diagnosed" with this rare personality type, I was mortified. The results were proof of how weird I am. 1% of the population?? Really? But now I've learned to embrace it. Own my weirdness. This board affirms so much about me and the way I operate within the world.

This was a fun post about a group I'm a part of, and how we all have books coming out in the same summer. Proof that writing groups really do serve a purpose. Although if you asked us how we help each other, I'm certain none of us could tell you exactly. Except that we laugh a lot. And we can gripe to each other about the perils and pitfalls of publishing because no one understands like another writer. And that's got to count for something.

Loved this post from a published writer to her unpublished self. Some very true, very wise advice.

And speaking of writing, I thought this example of a one-sheet for proposing a novel was well done. Thinking of pitching your novel? Save this for future reference.

Hope June was kind to you. And here's to a restful, relaxing July!

What I'm Into
I linked this post to Leigh Kramer's blog. Enjoyed this format? Go here for more!
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Friday, June 27, 2014

More About The Old Bridge

For any of you who have read THE BRIDGE TENDER and would like to learn more about the real bridge at the center of the novel, this video interview goes into some very cool detail and photos. If you're into history, or just curious to learn more about the real landmark my new novel is centered around, press play!

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