Pages

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Last Night


Last night was a lot of fun. I hung out with my friend Paige and a bunch of teenagers for the night. Though watching a herd of teens wasn't my plan (I pictured a night of uninterrupted girl talk) it turned out to be pretty funny-- and an anthropological study to boot. Paige and I basically observed the teenagers in their natural habitat.

There were four teenage boys and five teenage girls there-- acting rowdy and playing in her pool. I caught a glimpse of my future as we have just entered the teenage parenting years-- but will be in this stage for many more years to come. Paige does being a mom of teens well, so she is a good one to learn from. She is fun and cool without being a pushover-- a delicate balance to be sure. Perhaps the most interesting part of what she told me last night was that their phone is busiest on Saturday nights-- not because the kids are making plans to go out, but because a bunch of kids are calling to get a ride to church the next morning! Very cool indeed. And kudos to the McKinney family for making church a highlight of those teenagers' weekend!

We didn't get home until nearly one am. We ended up calling my house and enticing Curt to leave the older one watching the sleeping little ones and join us for awhile. That was fun to have him there, and we will have to call it a date, since we are going to be at the swim team banquet during our normal date night on Sunday night. Ah, parenting-- so romantic!
Pin It!

Menus


I gave a mini presentation on blogging at our speaker team meeting last week and a full presentation at She Speaks. Both times I mentioned that I occasionally post menus on my blog and both times that got a laugh from the audience. I wasn't trying to be funny! I really am just nerdy enough to post menus! Here's ours for the week.

(I usually assign days, but this time I just made a list and bought the ingredients and will randomly assign meals according to what I am in the mood to cook)

  • bacon, scrambled eggs, blueberry muffin cake
  • chicken strips, black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes with gravy (tonight)
  • chicken soft tacos
  • grilled chicken strips over salad
  • grilled hamburgers and french fries (July 4th)
  • chicken, broccoli and cashew stir fry over rice

This should get us to Saturday, when I leave for Atlanta for the ICRS convention. Once I am gone, Curt will most likely take the kids out to eat-- and I will enjoy the break from cooking!

Pin It!

Saturday To Do List


This morning I started off the morning by reading the Bible in bed, before I even got up and got a piping hot cup of coffee, I will add! I am struggling through II Kings, folks. I keep praying-- God, what am I missing here? I know you put II Kings in the Bible for a reason, but I am somehow missing it. Please reveal some Truth to me.
So, today here is a nugget I gained:

II Kings 14 (not sure of the verse, as my version doesn't give verses)
He was obedient to what God commanded, written in the Word revealed to Moses, that parents shouldn't be executed for their children's sins, nor children for those of their parents. We each pay personally for our sins.
I thought this verse was interesting in light of the teaching of generational sin that I have always believed in-- this verse contrasts with that a bit, and was really freeing for me to read.

Today I have some stuff I want to do, and am hoping that I can get it all done:

  • change the sheets on our bed (this is something I am bad about remembering to do-- the regular, daily laundry seems to always take precedence)
  • tidy the house just in case we have a showing
  • sign papers to drop the price on our house (the realtor is due here any minute to bring said papers)
  • go for a run
  • finish switching out the books from last year's school and putting the new books out
  • format Faith Lifts post as a devotion for P31
  • visit the homeschool store and use up some of the credit I have there
  • drop cleaning
  • visit the grocery (again)
  • pick up holds at the library
  • make dinner-- chicken strips, mashed potatoes and gravy, black-eyed peas

I am sure there is more, but that is all I can think of for now.

Enjoy your Saturday!

Pin It!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Blogrolling


Yay! My blogroll is finally up! It took some figuring out, as well as a few minutes to enter in all the links of my favorite blogs. Don't see yours up there? Email me and let me know where you are so I can check out your blog!

If I inadvertantly missed one of yours, it just means I am not finished yet. I only had a few minutes this morning to get it all done.

This afternoon I had a lovely but hectic lunch with my new friend Kelly. We met through church, but I have been getting to know her better through her blog (she is Four Girls, Five Years now handily listed in my sidebar!). I don't think we finished even one sentence since we were constantly interrupted, as we had seven kids under seven at the Chick fil a for lunch. (She had her four and I had my youngest three.) But it was fun-- in a crazy, mom-ish way. We decided that next time they will just have to come to our house for lunch!

This afternoon, we have another showing. Please God, please! Then tonight I am taking my two oldest over to my friend's house to let them swim while we visit and catch up. (Hubby will be home with the other kids.) Should be fun. I have un-officially dubbed this my girlfriend day, as I rarely meet up with two friends in one day. Fun! And much needed!
Pin It!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I Am Losing My Nerve


Remember those three showings we were supposed to have yesterday? You know, the ones I left the house for with ALL THE KIDS? Well, come to find out one was supposed to be scheduled for today (not yesterday) and one didn't show. Which means that I WENT OUT FOR NOTHING. This news, as you can imagine, did not thrill me to hear. So, I am looking for a silver lining in our uncessary adventures yesterday. I'll let you know when I find it.

Today I got everyone settled down for naps or some other quiet activity and headed out to run-- yes, in the south in the middle of the day, when temps reach 95 at least. Hey, I reason that I sweat more and therefore must be losing more weight. That doesn't happen, necessarily, but that is how I get through it. Because otherwise, I won't get that run in-- and I am making it a priority. So, I just do it, as Nike says.

Anyway, I rounded the corner which takes me back by our house to find a white Jeep parked in front of our house and a man and woman about to enter the house. I hollered (from a pretty far distance) "Excuse me?" (I promise I wasn't obnoxious about it.) The realtor stopped and asked if I was the home owner and I explained to her that there was some confusion because I thought they came yesterday. (They don't leave cards anymore, so you really don't know if they came or not.)

They were really sweet about it, and the man was from out of town. In other words, if I didn't let them go in, I was losing a potential sale. So, I agreed and (VERY hot and sweaty, I will add) I went in with them while they quickly walked through. The speed of their visit didn't reflect on the way I smelled, I am sure! After they left, I finished the last leg of my run, thinking all the while that I do not like this house on the market thing. I am very close to taking the sign out of the yard and learning to be content in my small house-- or calling the contractors to come out and give us a price on an addition.

Another reason not to move? The kids' swim team is going strong. We are going into our last meet tonight undefeated. Saturday is the All Star meet-- which I *think* several of ours are swimming in as well. And yes, I will be honest and admit that I was hoping none of them would qualify. Selfishly, I wanted a Saturday at home-- oh well!
Pin It!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On Visiting Target


Today, as I wrote earlier, we had three showings-- which meant we had to be out of the house a lot. This is not as easy as it might sound when you are talking about packing up six children and finding something to keep us occupied. Thankfully, I had some advance notice and was able to come up with a list of errands. I mustered up my courage and included a run to Target in the list of errands. We also went to the library, the homeschool store, the video store, the doctor's office to pick up a physical form so my son can practice with the football team, and to meet my mom to give her back a hat my friend Karen borrowed for the hilarious skit she did at She Speaks. Phew!

Target is not something I enjoy doing with all my children-- I don't really enjoy going with just a few of my children. Why? Because there are too many things to tempt them there. From cute clothes, to toys, to art supplies, to food items, it is guaranteed they are going to beg. Today, thankfully, wasn't too bad. I did pick my 7yo daughter up some capris that were on clearance, and a cute little skirt and shirt for the baby that was also on clearance. My son needed socks for football and we needed food in a bad way. I don't know why but it seems like they are eating more now that summer is here! By the time we left the Target, some of them were actually asking to leave, which tells you how long we were there.

After that, we all needed a little refreshment, so we went through the Wendy's drive through for Frosties. I didn't cheat though-- I got a diet Pepsi. Now we are all home resting and taking it easy since tonight is a swim meet. We have one more tomorrow night and the All Stars this Saturday, plus the banquet on Sunday night. Then swim team is over for another year. So far our team is undefeated-- we'll see if they can hold out for the season!
Pin It!

A Quick Post


Just to let you know that after a few days of no showings, we have three showings in one day! I am excited and hoping to get an offer-- If you think of it, please pray that we can get this house SOLD!

And thanks to those of you who have emailed me or called me to let me know you are thinking of me after I posted about my She Speaks weekend. I am still processing everything and will post more about what I have determined once I know what that is! I am always open to whatever God has for me-- but sometimes what He has for me catches me off guard. I know this time it did!

In other news, I dug out an "oldie but a goodie" to read last night. The book, "A Mother's Heart" by Jean Fleming has been highly recommended by Sally Clarkson-- and I bought it back in 1998. How do I know? I had some coupons from (where else?) Chick Fil A stuck in the book from 1998 that I was using as a bookmark! Too bad they expired! I will post a review when I finish it.
Pin It!

Monday, June 25, 2007

She Speaks


Yesterday at the closing of the She Speaks weekend, one of the speakers asked us to stand up if we had come to the conference for one thing, but discovered something else entirely while we were there. I shot up out of my chair because that was me.

If you read my old blog, you will see that I posted there before the conference about how excited I was to go. I was positively giddy with anticipation. And yet, strangely enough, by Saturday I was ready to go home. In fact, I did go home Saturday night. I slept in my own bed, got ready in my own bathroom and returned for the service on Sunday morning feeling much better.

And yet, something had changed in my heart. I am still trying to name that something, to pray my way through it, to embrace what God has showed me. And in the meantime I am trying to discern what it is God is doing-- and why.

I do know that God began something in me last year at She Speaks that was surprising and really hard. It took a long time to navigate through all the emotions and discoveries birthed out of that weekend last year. And, to be honest, I thought we (me and God) had covered that ground already. So for some of those feelings to get dredged up this year was unexpected. I am trying to deal with that.

When the speaker team and staff went into the prayer room after the conference ended to pray and share stories, I didn't go. I took my daughter, who had attended with me, and we hightailed it to lunch-- just the two of us. We sat and talked over our favorite pizza and just savored a few minutes alone. It was beautiful and I thought to myself, "This has been the best part of the whole weekend."

Today I am tired, but recovering. I have a lot of house cleaning to do. And also just need to love on my kids. I will post more later about what God is showing me, and how I am going to respond. I have to figure that out first, though!
Pin It!

A Great Book


Last night I finished "Quaker Summer" by Lisa Samson. I was so sad it was over.

I have to say that I think that this book is by far the best Christian fiction I have ever read. And I am a tough critic.

I loved her character development-- and I have to say that I think the main character must mirror Lisa's own personality closely. There are so many little things she says that are "real." I think that is why I loved the book so much-- the characters are Christians but not plastic Christians. They are real-- with real struggles, real mistakes and real doubts. They talk like real people. They deal with situations the way real people do. I need to see that in fiction-- yet I rarely do in Christian fiction. So this book was refreshing, and has renewed my faith in Christian fiction. I will definitely be picking up more of Lisa's books.

This book is about a woman who has a problem with spending. As God begins to get her attention about why the spending habits are there, she begins to make some changes in her life. As only God can do, he radically transforms her life in the process. I don't want to say much more because I don't want to give away any of this incredible book.

I got my copy at the library. It is worth buying though. If you are looking for a great beach or poolside read, this one definitely fits the bill!

PS. I was not asked to write this review, nor was I in any way paid or compensated for all the great stuff I said.
Pin It!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A New Blog And Site!


This is my new blog-- and my new site! Now when you go to www.marybethwhalen.com, you will land here. After keeping a blog for just shy of two years, I am more convinced than ever that my main contact comes through people finding my blog and not my website. Why? Because my website rarely changed. Oh sure, it had some good information about me-- but it was information I could post just as easily on a blog. So, you will see at the top some links that you can click on that I will keep updated for you. That way I can still keep you linked to my speaking schedule, my topics, and other news about me.

I love the look of my new blog and am so appreciative to Dawn for working so hard and so fast to pull it together! If you are looking to have a blog designed, she does great work and is very reasonable. You can check her out at www.barefootblogs.blogspot.com. I am also grateful to my husband for giving me the idea of linking my blog and my site (he did it first) and to Rachel Olsen for giving me a vision of how a blog can function like a website.

My goals for this new blog is to post photos so you can not only read about my life but see it as well. That was definitely missing from my old blog. In the meantime, you can check out my family in that picture at the top. That is the picture that is going on the cover of the Proverbs 31 magazine's October edition. But don't tell anyone... it's supposed to be a surprise, I think!

I am so excited to have this new blog. Can you tell? I hope you will come back and visit me a lot!
Pin It!

Where I'll Be





After a long break from speaking, I am slowly adding events again. If you have a speaking engagement you'd like to discuss with me, I would be happy to discuss it with you.


I can be reached via email at marybeth6@gmail.com.



Upcoming Events:


December 7, 2011: Book Club Meeting (leading discussion) and Cookie Exchange, Huntersville, NC



December 8, 2011: Lunch With An Author event Wilmington NC




January 12-16, 2012: Girlfriends Weekend, Jefferson TX



March 31, 2012: University of Central Florida Book Festival

Pin It!

Speaking Topics


Have an event and need a speaker? I'm developing a new women's retreat that combines my love of story and the stories of the women in your group! Let me know if you'd like to talk about bringing this event to the women you lead!

I am also available to speak for writing conferences, teas, luncheons, dinners... you get the idea.

I look forward to hearing from you! marybeth6@gmail.com
Pin It!

Contact Me


If you have questions for me personally or would like to discuss me speaking to your group, please email me at marybeth6@gmail.com. I try to answer every email but if there's a delay in my reply know that I will respond!

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!
Pin It!

Writing Is A Passion


I started writing when I was quite young. Harriet the Spy was my hero. I kept a notebook just like she did and would carry it with us in the car whenever we went somewhere, dutifully scribbling down what I saw. I always thought about writing and was well into my adult years before I realized that not everyone thinks in stories. As a little girl, I created whole families on the pages of that notebook, sometimes pulling out the Sears catalog and giving them clothes, furniture, toys etc. I had no idea at the time that I was creating characters-- something "real" writers do. (Granted they don't use the Sears catalog but you get the idea.)

Fast forward to middle school, when some of my dad's renters moved out and left behind several boxes of books. (Tragedy!) My dad let me pick out as many as I wanted. They were all adult books but I chose ones that looked good to me. One of them was called Black Mountain Breakdown by a lady named Lee Smith. She wrote about southerners-- people I recognized from my own life. I remember thinking I could write like her, with some practice of course.

High school brought more great, life-changing novels that I inhaled. Pat Conroy's The Prince Of Tides comes to mind as a stand-out-- another southern author who wrote about people who were familiar to me in the way they talked and thought. I also loved Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero and still remember the first line of that novel to this day: "People are afraid to merge." (So true!) I hung out in bookstores the way other teens hung out at the mall.

I also had a chance to take a creative writing course one summer (we called it "Brain Camp") at Davidson College where I still remember the professor using an author's short story as an example of great writing. The author was none other than one of my personal heroes, Lee Smith! I beamed. My senior year I won a writing contest for the whole school system and felt a little prickle of possibility. Perhaps someday I would write for other people... perhaps someday my name would be on the cover of a book!

I went to college and majored in writing and editing, a very good choice for a bibliophile like myself. Imagine my surprise when one day Lee Smith walked down the hall right in front of me! (She was a professor at the university I went to.) I knew I was in my element. I enjoyed most all my classes but had no idea what to do after college. It turned out I didn't have to worry, as I got married and had a son, then a daughter, then a son, then a daughter, then a son, then a daughter over the next 13 years. When I wasn't mothering my children and learning how to cook, I was able to write articles, devotions, and a few non-fiction projects-- all great experiences, but not what my heart was longing to write.

I still wanted to create those characters; give them lives, experiences, struggles, victories, tell their stories. In 2008, I finally wrote the first words to a project I had been mulling over for awhile. I decided to challenge myself to write from beginning to end. I started the novel in August of 08 and wrote til April of 2009. It was submitted to publishers in July of 2009 and by August of 09 I had a contract from an amazing publisher!! I was thrilled to discover in September that they had moved the publication up to June of 2010. It was a whirlwind year but on June 1st, 2010 I celebrated the release of my first novel, two days after my 40th birthday!!

Writing continues to be a passion for me. I've had a second novel come out and am looking forward to my third coming out in summer of 2012, with another title planned for summer of 2013. I hope that-- whatever your passion is-- you will chase after it with all your heart and never forget your dreams!
Pin It!

About Me


Thanks for visiting my little corner of the internet world! I'm glad you stopped by and I hope you'll come back. If you want to make sure you don't miss my posts, be sure to enter your name and email address in the little subscription box in the sidebar. I've found that's the easiest way for me to keep up with people's blogs. Otherwise I forget to check 'em!


About Me:
 
I am a wife, mother, novelist, and speaker. Curt and I have been married for 23 years and are the parents of six children, ranging in age from young adult to elementary school. Curt and the kids are the greatest things I've ever done.
I am a North Carolina native and proud of it.
My newest novel, The Bridge Tender, released June, 2014. I've also written 4 other novels: The Wishing Tree, The Guest Book, She Makes It Look Easy and The Mailbox. At one point The Mailbox was optioned by Hallmark Hall of Fame but sadly, the actual movie never got made. Oh well... it was fun to dream!
I am the co-founder of the popular women's fiction site, She Reads www.shereads.org and the Writer in Residence at a local private school.
I spend most of my time in the grocery store but occasionally escape long enough to scribble some words. I am always at work on my next novel and thinking about the one after that.
I believe that story is the shortest distance to the human heart and that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).
 

To learn more randomness about me, read on for a short interview: HT to Beth Kendrick for this list of questions I borrowed from her. (I didn't borrow the answers though. That would just be too weird!)

If you weren’t a writer you’d be…?

I'd go back to school and train to be a pastry chef. Or a lawyer. Maybe a decorator. This is why I'm a writer, I get to write about all of these things and vicariously do them all!

What’s on your DVR? Old movies. And by old I mean movies made in the 80's and 90's, because apparently that's old now. Not sure how that happened.

Where do you waste time online when you’re not writing? Pinterest. It brings out my inner pastry chef. And decorator. And inspires general craftiness that I don't normally possess. I also tape Pioneer Woman's Food Network show and watch it with my kids each week.

What talent do you wish you had? Dancing. The other day I was dancing in the car and caught my daughter staring at me with a look that was a mixture of pity and disgust. When I caught her she said, "Let's just say I'm glad you don't ever have reason to dance in public."

What talent would people be surprised to discover you have? I can launch spit bubbles off my tongue. (Important to note that I get that same look from that same daughter when she catches me doing this.)

Biggest lie you’ve ever told? "It doesn't matter that I missed that birth control pill. I probably can't have kids." (To be fair, I didn't know I was lying. I had always been told that, because of my medical history, I probably couldn't have kids. "They" were wrong.)
 
Favorite smell? The smell of the air when I get out of the car after the 3 hour drive to the NC coast-- salt and sand and sea, ahhh.

Favorite children’s book? Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards, Danny The Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

Dietary downfalls? Carbs. I have a very hard time turning down a piece of crusty bread. I can turn down chocolate easier than that.

Do you have any pre-writing rituals or superstitions? I love planning the book before I write it. That's my favorite part. I plan at least 40 scenes before I write the first word. I don't always stick to the plan but having a map for my journey makes me feel better about beginning it.

Favorite movie of all time? I absolutely positively cannot pick just one. Ok maybe Broadcast News.

Sentence we will never hear you utter? "I didn't read anything at all today." Close second: "I never listened to music today."

What’s on your iPod workout mix? Old music. And by old music I mean music that was recorded in the 80's and 90's. Because, again, apparently that's old.

What’s your favorite thing about being a writer? The flexibility that it allows for my family. I can make the writing fit around my family, which with six kids that's very necessary.  

What do you like most about living in North Carolina? Mild temps in the winter.  

What do you like least about living in NC? No snow in winter. Clearly, I want it all.  

Best advice about writing? Write the book you want to read.  

The one thing you wish you had in your office? I wish I had an office. I write sitting on my bed with pillows propped behind my back and my laptop on my lap.  

The one thing you wish you had in your garage? Ditto on the garage.

Are you a morning person or a night owl? Is it awful to say neither? I'm at my best at about 11:00 am.
 

DISCLAIMER: At times I review things on this blog. Sometimes when I review a book or movie it is because I received that item in exchange for an honest review on this blog.

Thanks again for stopping by and for reading my novels!
Pin It!