Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Bonus

I read-- well, devoured-- this book. At first I was skeptical but after the tenth person recommended it to me, I figured I would give it a try. Boy was I glad I listened! Of course I was extra happy when I heard my friends at Disney were going to make it into a movie. Here's the trailer just to whet your appetite.

The bad news is, we have to wait til August to see it!!
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Friday, April 29, 2011

Fiction Friday

Think you need more training to become a published novelist? Check out this article by one of my current fave authors, Sarah Pekkanen to learn about the three books she read that led to her writing bestselling novels.
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday Thought: Easter Recap

Easter morning: donuts that were shaped and decorated like easter eggs for breakfast. Baskets filled with candy and gifts waiting for eager children.

Followed by church and lunch out after-- a rare treat. Reflecting on Romans 8: 31-39.

Easter afternoon: naps, followed by an egg hunt at the in-law's. Cousins shrieking and smiling as they hunted, money in eggs and candy too. Five year old found the most money. What did she want to buy with it? A Starbucks Frappucino-- that's my girl!

The egg hunt was followed by a traditional dinner and laughs around the table. Dessert of strawberry pie or strawberry shortcake. You had me at strawberry.

Home for bed and a dose of impending reality of a new week coming. Spring break is over but our celebration of what Jesus did for us will continue long after Easter is over!

Romans 8:31-39 (New Living Translation)

Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Psalms For Moms

"A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all." Psalm 34:19

This verse immediately made me think of Jesus saying "In this world you will have troubles." (John 16:33) And yet, how many times do we act surprised when troubles come along? God has warned us that trouble is part of the earth package: live here and it just comes with it, like bacon with eggs, peanut butter with jelly. Earth living requires trouble dealing.

I've had people say that if God truly loves you you should be protected from hardship. Why would a loving God, they say, allow this to happen to His people? Well it's part of the place. It's like going to the beach and saying you don't want to get sandy; taking a trip to the mountains but not wanting the change in altitude. You can't have one without the other. Trouble came a long time ago in a beautiful garden when God's first children didn't mind Him any better than ours mind us. Since then trouble has slithered in on its belly in many forms, sneaking up on us when we'd rather avoid it.

A righteous man will have many troubles. That you can count on. God's not saying that if you're righteous, you'll find a way to avoid trouble. But in the second line, He's offering the promise that makes the difference: He will deliver you from them all. Granted, His methods of delivery will change with each circumstance. Sometimes the method may not be what you were hoping for. Sometimes the method will not fit your timetable. Sometimes the method may run counter to all human wisdom. But He will make it work, and the outcome will most likely surprise you.

One thing I always try to keep in mind is a verse in II Peter: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9)When God seems to be taking longer to deliver me from trouble, I try to keep this verse in mind-- His timetable is all about salvation for others. He doesn't want to lose anyone and He's willing to wait for them to get it. My delay might be for someone else's eternal benefit. With that in mind, I can sit back and wait, whispering that prayer I am learning to pray: I trust You, I trust You, I trust You.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today's Proverbs 31 Devotion is about those tight places of stress and anxiety we find ourselves in. So I thought today I would share ten of my favorite go-to verses for my tight places. I hope these verses serve as an encouragement to you:

1. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

2. Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (Isaiah 43:1b-3a)

3. Your father knows what you need before you ask him. So do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today's trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:8b, 31-34)

4. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11: 28-31)

5. Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest. (Luke 12:25-26)

6. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

7. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

8. If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 31b, 35, 37-39)

9. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

10. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:6-8)
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Monday, April 25, 2011

In A Food Mood

I thought today I would profile a cookbook magazine I picked up at the grocery store the other day. This magazine is filled with good recipes I want to try. Recipes like lime chicken tacos, cheese tortellini, barbecue beef, and other entrees that are quick to assemble and taste great too. There are also sides and desserts that are lighter and good for spring and summer fare. The magazine costs about $8 and you can order it online here. If you're looking for some new easy crockpot recipes for your summer menus, I can recommend this one.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Fiction Friday: Some Encouragement

This is not my original list. I found it on a site called "How To Plan, Write and Develop Your Book." When I read it I was encouraged so I thought some of you out there might be as well:

Well-Known Writers with Large Number of Rejections--But Published!

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo--397 rejections (and it became a movie)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle--97 rejections (and it won the Newbery Medal for best children's book of 1963; it's now in its 69th printing)

Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson--40 rejections (and it has won multiple awards and sold 150,000 hard copies).

Judy Blume says she received "nothing but rejections" for 2 years.

Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot--17 rejections

Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling--rejected by 9 publishers

The Diary of Anne Frank--16 rejections (and now more than 30 million copies are in print)

Dr. Seuss books--more than 15 rejections

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach--140 rejections

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell--38 rejections

Watership Down by Richard Adams--26 rejections

Dune by Frank Herbert--nearly 20 rejections

To all book writers: Believe in your story. Keep trying. The right home for your book is out there, waiting for you to discover it.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday Thought: Spring Break

This is an announcement that I am running a post tomorrow and then I am taking a week off! We are having spring break at the Whalen house and I want to just spend time focusing on and enjoying my family. We're headed to the mountains with some friends for a few days where we plan to do a whole lot of nothing. :) I have no idea what your Easter plans are but I hope that you also can carve out time to focus on and enjoy your family!

Be sure to come back tomorrow and then I will see you back here a week from Monday!
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Psalms For Moms: Trust, Delight, Commit Pt 3

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

Psalm 37:3-6

This is the last week we're spending on these 3 verses. We've talked about trusting, delighting, and finally we're going to end up on committing.

I am not going to write a lot about this verse. I just want to give you one thing to think about. In my Bible's notes it says to see Proverbs 16:3, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." The note on Proverbs 16:3 says that the word "commit" literally means "to roll." In this way the verse means to roll your burdens on the Lord. When you read it in that light, commit doesn't just mean you sit down and say "Lord, here are my plans. Please do as I see fit."

Instead it means to roll your way-- the way you want it-- onto the Lord. It goes right back to what we talked about last week-- letting Him take what you want and exchange it for what He wants for you instead.

The best part of the Trust-Delight-Commit equation is the promise that follows in verse six: When you trust, delight and commit, He will make you righteous and will vindicate you. It's right there. That's a promise I need in my life.

How about you?
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I have a devotion running at Proverbs 31, which means I will have some guests popping by. For those of you who are new to my blog, welcome! And for those of you who pop in daily for a quick visit well... you are why I do this.

On Tuesdays here at the blog, I write a top ten list. Since today's post is about trusting God to answer when you ask, I thought I'd write a list of ten things you can do while you wait on God's answer.

1. Share your story with others. I think it's easy to share those amazing answers from God after they've happened. It's not so easy before-- when you still don't know the end. The other day I had a conversation with a friend who is in a waiting period. As she shared her faith even in the midst of uncertainty, I was encouraged to have that kind of faith. You never know how your faith will inspire someone else's.

2. Read a biography of someone who had to wait on God and trust Him. Reading the stories of others has always inspired me. They did it so I can too.

3. Read the Word. The Bible is full of people who had to wait on God. Find one of their stories and read it over and over, noting how they responded, the prayers they prayed and what their answers were.

4. Keep a journal. We think we'll remember our faith valleys and peaks, but we often lose the details over time. Jot down the specific things you're asking God for. Record the answers you receive, the verses that are speaking to you and the confirmations that come your way. This journal may some day fall into the hands of a descendant of yours who needs to be encouraged by your experience. That should keep you writing!

5. Laugh. Don't forget to find joy in life. Take action to distract yourself from the issue at hand and just go have fun.

6. Don't get so forward thinking that you forget the richness of the present. Boy do I struggle with that! I am writing a devotion on that right now, as a matter of fact!

7. Get outside. I wrote about a raven perched on a power line. That came from being outside and thinking about how deliberately and individually God meets the needs of every aspect of His creation, no matter where they fall on the food chain. Being near God's creation is such affirmation of His activity on this earth.

8. Play music. Music uplifts and encourages. It's an amazing stress reliever. Crank it up and dance.

9. Avoid pity parties. No one will come any way. Every time I throw a pity party I invite my husband, some trusted friends, and even my kids. They politely decline. I end up having to find something else to do as a result because it's no fun having a party that no one comes to. I am glad that the people I love don't let me get away with that kind of navel-gazing.

10. Count your blessings. I've said it before and I will say it again, Ann Voskamp's book 1000 Gifts is a wonderful resource for this! If you haven't picked up a copy, you should. It will inspire you to think about life differently and to start really looking for the gifts that are truly all around you.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

In A Food Mood: I Cook On Mondays

Today I am sharing what I think is a revolutionary concept. Kristen, a blogging mom, shares her idea about cooking once for several hours on a Sunday or Monday and being done for the rest of the week! I'd heard of cooking once a month but not once a week. That sounds much more doable and smart-- especially for those crazy weeks where you look at the calendar and know that a fridge full of meals would mean the difference in your sanity! Take a look at what Kristen shares and let me know what you think. You'll see at the bottom of the post are links to additional posts she has written in this series.

What do you think? Will you try once a week cooking?
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Friday, April 08, 2011

Fiction Friday

"That's when I write fiction; when something is scary to me or very sad, it's something I don't think I can fix... Fiction is so much more private and scary." Susan Straight, as quoted in the book Pen On Fire by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

I can't explain why this is true, but I have to say I loved reading this quote as I re-read this old favorite book of mine on the treadmill last week. Seeing that sentiment expressed by another writer was a validation of sorts. I've told people before that I could share all about our private struggles with debt and the shame of our early mismanagement of money in our book Learning To Live Financially Free and hardly flinch. But ask me to share this made up story about a girl who goes to visit this mailbox on a beach in NC year after year and I wanted to throw up. It has less to do with me personally, but it feels like running naked through a crowded room.

Fiction is more private and scary. It's creativity at it's most vulnerable, raw place. And then you take your creativity and display it for all to see. It's like I am a little girl all over again and the teacher has put my artwork on display for the class art fair. Only I don't believe I can draw. I think it's because in our stories we writer-types dare to explain those "things we don't think we can fix." It's because it's scary or sad that we need to deal with it-- process it-- by making up a story about it.

My new novel, She Makes It Look Easy, is like that. I took a situation that I saw in real life and wondered-- was there any way this could've ended up differently? If I put two people in that situation and I was in charge, could I make them make better decisions, or would I have to stand back and watch them make bad ones all over again? I won't tell you what decisions my characters made. But I will tell you that in dealing with the hard stuff I am learning to be a better storyteller-- to be more vulnerable, more raw, more out there in the scary places. And I can tell you that we writer types are so very grateful for you reader types who so kindly go with us, letting us know our stories matter.
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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Thursday Thought: Choose Your Own Adventure

I have been thinking a lot about this post recently. Go visit this talented mama writer's blog and see what she has to say about choosing your own adventure as a mom. It'll get you thinking too!
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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Psalms For Moms: Trust, Delight, Commit Pt.2

3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Last week we talked about trusting. This week we're talking about delighting. To me delighting in the Lord is a direct result of spending time with Him. I know I talk about this a good bit, but it's only because it's so true. I've shared before that my daily quiet times didn't just happen because I possess more dedication than most or just happened to find an extra 20 minutes in my day. It only happened when I purposed to make it happen, when I put other things aside so that I could make Him the priority I claimed He was. Once I started doing that, the quiet times started happening with regularity. And my delight in Him began to grow. I look forward to these times now. I find joy and purpose through these times-- the richest being when I can really dig into His word and write about what I am learning in my journal. That way it's not just knowledge-- it's application too. I think we see the words "desires of our hearts" and we think oooohhh I want that! So we say to ourselves, "Ok it says I have to delight in God to get what I want so I guess I will delight in Him because I want what I want and this is a crafty way of getting it." Or at least, that's what I did. But I learned from a very wise woman that we get it backwards. We think we must delight in Him in order to get what we want-- the desires of our hearts. But what we don't realize is that as we delight in Him, He literally gives us the desires of our hearts. He puts the desires we should have into our hearts. By spending time with Him, we are reprogrammed to want what He wants and not all the silly stuff that was bogging us down before. If you want to have a richer quiet time, let me recommend this book I bought used awhile back. (At the time of this writing there are several copies available through Amazon for pennies a piece.) Each morning go through a chapter of this book and learn to have a quiet time through your quiet time. She goes into how to keep a journal about what you're learning, which I like. Find out what it means to delight in Him by taking the time to delight in Him. Then watch Him respond as He's been waiting to do.
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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Organizational Tips

Want to get organized? Want a quick resource to help you do that without wading through too much information? There's a new little book with 101 tips and tricks to help you-- yes you!-- become an organization junkie! (That's what the sub-title promises at least.) Written by Laura Wittman, creator of the site which hosts the Menu Plan Monday roundup I've linked to in the past, the book is highly visual, easy to get through in small doses and... well... organized! Since it's top ten Tuesday around these here parts, I decided I'd run a top ten list of some randomly selected tips out of the 101 that Laura offers. Want to know more? You'll have to buy the book... 1. Have a daily walkabout. Laura describes this as a time you announce which triggers kids to walk about the house looking for items out of place and return them to their rightful place. 2. Create a backpack station. A photo is included of this idea which of course I can't duplicate here but basically it's a row of hooks or pegs that kids can use to hang their bags, bookpacks, school or activity gear. With summer and swim season approaching I can say this would work in our house for towels, beach bags, etc. 3. Attach hooks on the backs of doors for extra storage. I really like this idea. We can make use of that dead space in our homes that otherwise doesn't get used for anything. 4. Start every week with a menu plan. You knew she had to have that one in there, didn't you? I will testify that the weeks I have a menu plan are much smoother and we spend less money eating out than the weeks I don't. It is a little effort with a big payoff. 5. Color code the kids. Each kid gets a different color assigned to them that is used for their toothbrush, towel, cups, school supplies, etc. When you find something out of place you know whose it is! 6. Keep flat surfaces clear. This is one I learned a long time ago and have tried to stick to. I find that people will often remark over how clean my house is when actually it's not all that clean (just ask my husband!), it's just not cluttered. It feels clean. 7. Toss junk mail right away. I sort mail the minute it comes in the house. Curt has a mail slot where his stuff goes, I toss the stuff we don't need and I put my stuff in a certain spot in my room. I've said before that "sort papers" is often an item on my to-do list, which means it's time to go through that pile. 8. Do not keep more than three months' backlog of magazines. Conviction time! I am bad for saving my back issues of Writer's Digest, Southern Living and Taste of Home. Time well spent is making myself sit down and clip the recipes I want to save and tossing the rest. I've written before about my recipe binder where I put the clipped recipes on a piece of cardstock, slide it into a page protector and file it in the binder under "meals" or "desserts" or whatever section the recipe belongs in. 9. Cut the clutter in your bedroom and create the sanctuary you deserve. I try to do this. One thing I often do is get the kids to get their stuff out of our bathroom and bedroom. At least that way our bedroom-- if cluttered-- is at least cluttered with our stuff and not a bunch of kid stuff. 10. Invite company over as motivation. I love this one and it's so true!
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Monday, April 04, 2011

In A Food Mood: Smoothies

We're all about the smoothies at our house these days! My kids like them for breakfast or for an afterschool snack. I thought I'd post these two resources I found for recipes:

The Pioneer Woman's "just throw it all in and hit blend" way. The comments on this post are worth reading for all the shared tips, recipes and even recommendations on what kind of blender is the best!

Or Smoothie Web's extensive recipe collection for most any kind of smoothie you'd want to make.

My friend Rachel Olsen first got me interested in making smoothies when she made one for me on a little writer's retreat we were on. She blended protein powder, fruit, and no carb ice cream. Delish!

Here are some recipes to get you started if you are interested in making smoothies at your house. These aren't all that nutritious, but they are tasty!

Chocolate Smoothie 2 cups chocolate ice cream, softened 2 bananas, sliced 1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup chocolate syrup Process first 4 ingredients in a blender. Add ice to 4.5 cup level, stopping once to scrape down sides. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Smoothie 1 8 oz. container vanilla yogurt 1 10 oz. package frozen sliced strawberries 1 banana sliced and frozen 1/4 cup orange juice 1 Tbsp honey Process all ingredients in a blender til smooth, stopping once to scrape sides. Serve immediately.

Peachy Orange Smoothie 1 (29 oz) can sliced peaches in syrup, drained 1/2 cup orange juice, chilled 1/4 cup sugar 1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened Process first three ingredients in a blender until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. Add ice cream, process until smooth. Serve immediately. Pineapple Smoothie 1 quart pineapple sherbet 1 (6 oz) can pineapple juice 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice Process all ingredients in a blender til smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. Serve immediately.

Orange Banana Smoothie 1 pint orange sherbet 2 bananas, sliced 1 cup orange juice 3/4 cup milk 2 Tbsp honey Process all ingredients in a blender. Add ice cubes to five cup level, process until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. Serve immediately. (Freezing bananas first will make this smoothie thicker.)

Four Berry Smoothie 2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries 2 Tbsp sugar 1/2 cup cranberry juice 1 Tbsp lemon juice Process all ingredients in a blender. Add ice cubes to 4.5 cup level, process until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. Serve immediately.
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Saturday, April 02, 2011

Saturday Bonus

Maybe because the subject of PROM is a major topic of conversation at my house, but I am putting this movie on my calendar to see opening weekend! (April 29th) I will most likely take the beautiful girl who I've been talking about prom with almost daily... even if it's still SIX WEEKS AWAY!! I have a feeling her 11yo sister will want to go to, if for no other reason than to dream of her own prom, which will be here all too soon. And me? Call me a teeny bop at heart, but I can't wait to see this flick either! John Hughes it is not, but it'll have to do...

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Friday, April 01, 2011

Fiction Friday: A Writer's Symbols

I have noticed with my novels that I like having a symbol that relates directly to the project I am working on. Sometimes the symbol comes along as I am writing, sometimes it comes before. Mostly it's been a song that directly relates to the story in some way. I feel like if I can find a theme song for my project, I am home free. For The Mailbox it was "The Boys Of Summer" by Don Henley. (And if you've read the book you know why!) Whenever I wanted encouragement, I listened to that song. If I happened to hear it randomly played on the radio, all the better.

There was also a sign on the way to Sunset Beach that said Campbell, one of my main character's names. I felt like that sign was a symbol too. Both the sign and the song encouraged me to keep going during those dark times when I was worried my work would never see the light of day. I didn't need these symbols, I just had fun with them. Smiled when they came my way.

With She Makes It Look Easy, I listened to a lot of Bruce Springsteen, letting his lyrics about loss and unrest fuel the emotions I was trying to express on the page. I also loved the lyric from Fleetwood Mac's song "Gypsy": "She is dancing away from you now, She was just a wish, She was just a wish." That quote became the epigram for the novel (the quote that begins the book). Interesting fact, Stevie Nicks wrote that lyric about herself. The "she" in question is her former self, the gypsy she used to be that she can never re-capture. And that's what I wanted to communicate in this book-- we can never totally lay hold of that self we dream of being. It's better to just accept who we are right now.

And now I am writing a new book. The other day I was in a store and found a frame that expressed a sentiment from the book exactly. My mouth fell open. That frame is now in my room as a little reminder, another symbol that makes me smile. I also have a perfect song that serves as my encouragement. I will tell you what both of these things are when the book gets a bit closer to publication. Right now I am keeping what I am working on pretty tightly under wraps-- not because I want to keep it a secret but because I prefer to not talk about what I am writing to too many people while I am working. Once it's done I talk about it too much! It's all or nothing with me, it would seem.

Today I happened upon a charm on an Etsy site that the creator had named the same name as the title of the next book I want to write. I froze, staring at this charm, knowing I would have to buy it and wear it as I write the next book. I felt like it was one of those signs, yet again. One of those little confirmations along the way. Not that I am superstitious, just that I love those moments where things around you become little encouragements that you are on the right track and your future is exactly what you're hoping for... if you will just keep walking towards it. They make me smile, they encourage me, and they bring me little boosts of joy. I don't know a writer that couldn't use a little bit of all of the above.
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