Monday, October 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

This week's menu:

Monday: Chili and cornbread (Nothing says trick or treat like a nice warm bowl of chili before you venture out!)

Tuesday: Barbecue Pork Sandwiches, Tater Tots, Corn (I make my barbecue pork with a pork tenderloin in the crockpot all day covered in a bottle of barbecue sauce. Shred with two forks just before serving and serve on buns. Easy and delish!)

Wednesday: Italian chicken, pasta, green beans

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Hamburgers on the grill, chips
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Fiction Friday: You've Written A Novel, Now What?

This post by my sort-of friend Juliette Fay (by sort-of friend I mean we've traded a few emails and she's a very nice person) is a great primer on what to do once you've typed the words "The End." I couldn't have said it better myself-- and I figure, why try?
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Thought: {W}hole Review and Giveaway

My friend Lisa Whittle has written an excellent book. It's the book we've been studying in our book study each week-- a randomly put together group of us met to hash out what wholeness looks like, and what personal holes prevent us from achieving the wholeness we desire. We talked, we cried, we vented, and-- as Lisa said-- we "went there." {W}hole is a book for people who want to go there-- to dig deeply into those things that we might otherwise not take the time to look at. We talked about how our religion, our roles and our experiences can lead to holes in our life.

I will share some quotes I've underlined:

Religion will always feel bad when we define our relationship with a supreme God by simple trying to perform spiritual things really well.

To gain true and lasting spiritual freedom, I would have to be brave enough to look at those holes without looking away. It would mean the difference in the quality of my life and how much I would be able to experience a real God without limits-- something I had always wanted. And something, as it turns out, that is available to us all.

More than thirty million adults say that their experiences with religion have caused them to question God.

Like me or not, I pray that you cannot deny the presence of God in my life.

One of the most curious things about humans is how hard we resist change. Even when our lives unravel before us, there is still something inside that holds on to the mess just so we don't have to do something different.

The roles we have in life often hold our hearts in their hands, so when the roles are taken away, our hearts are dropped and broken. We have depended on them to fulfill us, and that has created a hole... But these roles do not make me who I am at the very core. They are simply what I am blessed to do while God chooses to leave me on this earth.

When you screw up as often as I do, you're that much more thankful for an all-access God who has no ability to make mistakes and yet infinite capacity to handle ours.

Here's a link to the book site, where you can watch the trailer and learn more about what Lisa is offering in and through this labor of love birthed from her own personal struggles. Suffice it to say that this is an author who has truly lived her words.

If you're looking to "go there" in your spiritual life, I suggest you get {W}hole. This book will challenge you if you let it. It's one I would suggest reading a little each morning, with a pen for underlining and your journal pages open for recording what God reveals about your story as you read.

With that in mind, I am giving away a copy of {W}hole, a journal, and my favorite pen to one lucky winner! Please leave a comment to win, telling me why you'd like to dig into {W}hole!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Psalms For Moms: Grace For The Good Girl

The lovely and gracious Emily Freeman has granted me permission to share excerpts from her book Grace For The Good Girl as my Psalms For Moms posts throughout the month of October. So each Wednesday in October, you'll be hearing from Emily. Thanks Emily for sharing with us!

Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."

This is one of my favorite verses-- one I talked about in For The Write Reason after a wise woman explained how we get it out of order. We think we must delight ourselves in Him in order to get what we want-- the desires of our heart. We see a formula and, because we are human and we like formulas, we decide "Well that's just what I'll do." And we set out to delight in Him in order to get what we want.

What we fail to realize is that the verse is more subtle than that. God is saying "Spend time with me and the desires of your heart will line up with my desires." Emily had a great quote that explained this so well that I wanted to share it with you:

"As your spirit communes with the Spirit of God, He plants seeds of desire in your heart and then leads you according to His will. And He will work within you such that you will begin to desire what He desires. When you do what would really please you, you are actually obeying God!"

Have you ever thought that by delighting in Him He will change your heart-- and your former desires will be replaced with His?
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Two For Tuesday: A Change Of Pace For Breakfast

Want something different for breakfast? Tired of the same old cereal routine? Here are two things we've had at our house recently:

This is what was for breakfast at my house this weekend. I am happy to report my kids ate it! And it took nearly no time to prepare!

And here's a pumpkin spice smoothie that my kids loved:

Blend in blender:
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
8-10 oz. vanilla almond milk
dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
(I also added protein powder for extra nutrition. I buy Vi-Salus but you can always check at your grocery store or Target, etc for a canister. I've also bought Jay Robb Enterprises brand and I see that Jillian Michaels has a brand too, though I've never tried it.)
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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... watching yellow leaves flutter to the ground. Blue skies. Crisp air. Am so enjoying fall this year instead of grieving summer's loss.

I am grateful... for family life. We had a weekend of nothing on the calendar and I needed it.

I am thinking about... how to help one of my kids with an issue. Something she wanted didn't happen and she's sad-- with good reason. It's so hard to watch your kids go through disappointments. Even though I know she will grow stronger through this, I would love to save her from it.

From the kitchen... a change of pace for breakfast. I will be sharing some recipes tomorrow so stop back by!

I am reading... Isaiah, one chapter a day in The Message. It's one of my favorite books in the Bible. Also reading some YA books-- trying to learn how it's done.

I am hoping... that my daughter has a good day at school today in spite of her setbacks.

I am praying... for something I hope to share later. :)

I am hearing... the vacuum, the kids yelling at the dog. Family life.

Around the house... meals and cleaning and taking the dog out and keeping up with library books.

I am pondering... themes in fiction

One of my favorite things... biting into a big, crisp apple.

A few plans for the rest of the week... speaking on writing to the 7th graders at my kids' school, the last week (til we reconvene in Jan) of the book study group I've been attending, errands, and writing, writing, writing.

Want to read more Simple Woman's Daybook entries? Visit this link:
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Fiction Friday: On Endings

Today I have a devotion running at Proverbs 31. If you've stopped by after reading, welcome! If you'd like to read some further thoughts on today's devotion, scroll down to read my "Psalms For Moms" post I ran on Wednesday. I shared a perspective on that same Scripture from author Emily Freeman. She's got some great insight.

On Fridays around here, I talk about one of my big passions: writing fiction. Today I'm talking about endings-- how they're not always neat and tidy, in life or in fiction. One of the criticisms I've gotten for She Makes It Look Easy is that readers don't like the ending. They wanted me to wrap it up more-- to show what happened to all the characters. But I didn't feel like that was a real representation of life-- at least for me, life doesn't get all wrapped up at the end like a sitcom. Some stuff seems to come to a close, while other things are left hanging. And that's how I left it with Ariel and Justine. You think you know what happened but... you're not totally sure.

I felt a bit bad about these reviews (about people finding fault with the ending) until I read a perspective on one of Jesus' parables, the Prodigal Son story in Luke 15. The author of the essay I read noted that that story ends (and I had to go look this up to find that it's totally true) with the older brother on the porch. Jesus never tells us whether he chose to go inside and join the party or whether he turned and went back to where he was. We don't know what happens to the older brother. We get to decide for ourselves. We get to think about what we would do if we were standing on that porch. When we start putting ourselves in the character's place, the author has done their job.

Of couse Jesus did His job. He's the Master storyteller. I think He wanted us to think for ourselves. He didn't tie his ending up in a nice shiny bow either. I love that-- and I love endings that make us think like that. I won't always do that (I didn't in Mailbox), but when the story calls for it, I will. She Makes It Look Easy called for it. I hope the fates of the characters do haunt you a bit. I hope you are left wondering what happened to Justine, to Ariel, to Erica and Betsy. To me they were-- and are-- worth worrying about... worth musing over long after the last page is turned.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday Thought

Source: Facebook

Pretty sobering thought, huh? Made me stop short and wonder what I'd even bothered to thank Him for yesterday. If you'd like to be more intentional about gratitude might I recommend picking up Ann Voskamp's book 1000 Gifts? It'll make you think about gratitude like you never have before. She's also got a handy downloadable printable record for each month so you can list your own gifts. October's can be found here. I've got mine on my dresser with a pen right by it so I can jot down items as I think of them.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Psalms For Moms: Grace For The Good Girl

The lovely and gracious Emily Freeman has granted me permission to share excerpts from her book Grace For The Good Girl as my Psalms For Moms posts throughout the month of October. So each Wednesday in October, you'll be hearing from Emily. Thanks Emily for sharing with us!

Psalm 37:3,Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

On Friday I have a devotion running at Proverbs 31 that's going to go into this more so I had to share this post this week. I was amazed when I saw Emily going into something that I'd also been pondering and had written about. I loved the points she made.

Here's what she had to say:

One of my favorite pictures of safety in Scripture comes from Psalm 139:5-6, where David says, "You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it."

Imagine a day when you are overwhelmed beyond what you thought you could ever bear. Perhaps you just discovered a loved one is sick. Or you have a child who is living contrary to what you know is good for her. Or your husband just lost his job. Maybe you are simply having one of those days where you woke up in a funk. The house is a wreck, the laundry is piled high, the fridge is empty, it's raining. And you feel fat. Maybe you don't have to imagine. Maybe you're living that day right now.

Sometimes on those days, it helps to remember that God has enclosed me behind. That means everything in my past-- every situation, circumstance, pain, fear, and longing I've ever had-- He has been a barrier between those things and me. The Hebrew word translated as "behind" is also used in Scripture to mean "west." And He has enclosed me before, meaning forward, front, or everlasting. It can also mean "east." East and west are opposites forever. They have no beginning, no ending, and they never meet one another. He covers my yesterday and He holds my tomorrow. Still, this present moment is where I live. What about today?

He has enclosed me forever in the past and forever in the future. And then He lays His hand upon me in the great right now. The New Living Translation says it this way: "You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head." Imagine a hero who not only leads the way but also brings up the rear and holds your hand all at the same time. I can't imagine a safer place than that.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Two For Tuesday: Two Fallish Recipe Links

Apple Butter Crescent Rolls: Do these look delish or what?

And here's another sweet treat: Snickerdoodle Blondies. I'm thinking of making these for my kids' school cakewalk. It's not a cake but it sure looks good!
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Monday, October 17, 2011

A Recipe

I'm returning from Nashville TN today so I am just posting a quick recipe that you all might want to make now that the leaves are changing and the weather is turning cooler. When that happens I start making soup... and lots of it. If you've been visiting my blog for any length of time, you already know how much I love me some soup. And you've probably seen some of my recipes for various kinds of soup. This is one I'll be making soon at our house. It's quick and easy and delicious too!

Hope your family enjoys it!

Italian Chicken Soup

2 lbs of chicken breasts, cooked and shredded with 2 forks
1 medium chopped onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 peeled and diced potatoes
1 can chicken broth
1.5 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
10 oz pkg frozen mixed vegetables

Saute onion til tender. Stir in tomatoes, potatoes, broth and seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and and simmer, covered for ten minutes. Add veggies and chicken and simmer for at least 25 minutes (preferably longer). Serve with crusty bread for dipping.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Fiction Friday: Beta Readers (A Guest Post)

Today's guest post comes from Jodie Bailey, a fellow writer whose comments about submitting her work to beta readers before she turns them in prompted me to ask her to share about that process here. What are beta readers and how can they help an author? Read on!

When I finished my first “real” novel (and believe me, there were a lot of “real” duds before it), I discovered writing the book was the easy part. The hard part was letting someone else read my baby and tell me everything that was wrong with it.

I thought about it for a long time, then decided the only way to get over the fear of possibly hearing “this is complete garbage” was to hand it to someone and make them read it in… front… of… me. My amazing friend/fellow English teacher Shannon did just that. She sat down in a booth across from me, took the three-ring binder I handed her, and sat there for an entire day as we worked our way through that book.

Have I mentioned I totally love her?

Shannon was my first critique partner, and now that I have a fabulous critique group, she’s one of my beta readers. A couple of years ago, I’d have said there wasn’t a difference, but four books later I know there is, and I make sure both lay eyes on my novels before my agent sees a word.

I write in a vacuum, finishing and revising and editing before I ever let anyone see my work. The first ones to see it are my critique group, truly formed by the hand of God working through the touch of ACFW. These are the ladies in my life who know my writer’s heart. They know how it feels to sweat black ink drops onto white paper. They have studied craft beside me and know how to follow the rules—and when to break them. They have the amazing ability to read my work and love me enough to say, “This doesn’t work for me. Maybe this would fix it.” They appreciate what I’m trying to say, but they recognize fatal flaws and refuse to let them go simply because it might hurt my feelings. They’d rather risk pain than see me lose a contract because they were too nice to say something. I love those ladies. They make my writing what it is.

As much as I love my crit partners, there is a big issue with them. They never get to read my work as a whole. We sub in pieces, sometimes out of order, a few pages a week. There’s something lost when you read that way, so after I’ve revised based on their comments, I call on my “first readers.” Typically, I post a message on my Facebook page that says, “Hey, who wants to read an unpublished novel and be mean enough to tell me if it’s bad?” I get an eclectic group, and I pick a varied five (whom I trust!). I want them to read like regular readers then call me up and say, “Hey, at page 72, I really got bored.” Or, “I need more of the conversation that happened on page 81.” They tell me what makes them want to read on and what makes them want to stop. They’re not reading line-by-line, scene-by-scene. We write for the glory of God and for our readers, and we want to know we’re reaching them. My “beta readers” look at my story as a whole and give me a pretty good idea how the general population will see my words.


For me, both of these groups are vitally important. We love the words we pour from our hearts onto the page (we wouldn’t do this if we didn’t!), and we will never be able to read them with a truly unbiased eye. If you don’t have a crit group, get one. If you have a crit group and no beta readers, find some. You’ll be amazed the directions they can take you. The New Living Translation of Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” As for Shannon, she suggested I add a scene to that first novel, because she needed clarification on an issue. I wrote that scene, and out of it an entire new book was born. When it comes to having others read our work, God knows exactly what He’s doing…
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Psalms For Moms: Grace For The Good Girl

The lovely and gracious Emily Freeman has granted me permission to share excerpts from her book Grace For The Good Girl as my Psalms For Moms posts throughout the month of October. So each Wednesday in October, you'll be hearing from Emily. Thanks Emily for sharing with us!

Psalm 23:3 "He restores my soul."

"Our soul is our mind, our will and our emotions. He restores all three on my behalf and for His good pleasure. Both our minds and our emotions are in the process of restoration. As we set our minds on truth , our emotions are being renewed as well."

How can you set your mind on truth today-- and not on emotions? How does the thought that He is restoring your soul-- your mind, your will and your emotions-- encourage you?
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two For Tuesday: Two Books I'm Reading, Ok 3

I'm reading three memoirs about the farming life right now. Sometimes my reading aligns in a theme, and this is one of those times. I guess this type of book appeals to me because I grew up with cows (Bessie, Charlie and their daughter Daisy) and horses (Sugar, Misty, PeeWee, and others) and bees and dogs and rabbits out in the country. I've said many times that the absence of neighborhood kids and the room to explore and roam shaped me into a writer. While I didn't know that then, I look back at it fondly now. These books put me in touch with that. But don't get me wrong, I don't want that life now. I may like reading about it, but I have to have a Starbucks within seven minutes of me!

The Blueberry Years by Jim Minick

I had the pleasure of meeting Jim at SIBA in September. He's a genuinely nice guy. Of course I had to read his book after meeting him! Here's a description of the book:

The Blueberry Years is a mouth-watering and delightful memoir based on Jim Minick’s trials and tribulations as an organic blueberry farmer. This story of one couple and one farm shows how our country’s appetite for cheap food affects how that food is grown, who does or does not grow it, and what happens to the land. But this memoir also calls attention to the fragile nature of our global food system and our nation’s ambivalence about what we eat and where it comes from.

Readers of Michael Polland and Barbara Kingsolver will savor the tale of Jim’s farm and the exploration of larger issues facing agriculture in the United States—like the rise of organic farming, the plight of small farmers, and the loneliness common in rural America. Ultimately, The Blueberry Years tells the story of a place shaped by a young couple’s dream, and how that dream ripened into one of the mid-Atlantic’s first certified-organic, pick-your-own blueberry farms.

At her husband’s prompting, suburban mom and New York career woman Susan McCorkindale agreed to give up her stressful six-figure job. Together, they headed down south to a 500-acre beef farm, and never looked back. Well, he didn’t look back. She did. A lot.

From playing “spot the religious billboard” on the drive to rural Virginia, to adapting to a world without Starbucks, to planning bright-orange hunter-resistant wardrobes for the kids (“We moved here to get away from the madness of Manhattan only to risk getting popped on our own property”), this is her hilarious account of how a city girl came to love—or at least tolerate—country life.

The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him. The Dirty Life is the captivating chronicle of their first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through the following harvest season—complete with their wedding in the loft of the barn.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Here's our menu for this week. It's a light week menu-wise at our house with two nights of me not cooking. Last night we had a french toast casserole with a yummy praline pecan topping and sausage and cooked apples. A perfect Sunday night fall meal!

Monday: Chick Fil A Kids Eat Free Night (This is unique to our local CFA. If you live near one, you should see if they do it. If not, look for restaurants that offer this during the week. This is a fun way to eat out without spending a ton.)

Tuesday: Barbecue Pork Chops on the grill, baked potato bar w/chopped broccoli on top of potatoes (Try it, it's good!)

Wednesday: Lime Chicken in the crockpot (included this recipe below), pasta side dish, green beans
Thursday: Spaghetti, Homemade French Baguettes, Salad

Friday: Pizza (I'll be out of town so Curt and the kids will order pizza.)

Lime Chicken In Crockpot

1/4 cup dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 minced garlic cloves

3 Tbsp. margarita mix (or juice of one lime)

Mix all sauce ingredients and pour over chicken in crockpot. Cook on low for 7-9 hours.
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Friday, October 07, 2011

Fiction Friday: Who Are You?

Below is a reprint from a weekly e-newsletter I subscribe to. This one I had to share with you. I included information about Holly Lisle, the author, at the bottom of the article. Her article on plotting with notecards was extremely helpful when I wrote The Mailbox and had not a clue what I was doing.

Holly's Tip -- Ask WHO.

There comes a day when you're sitting with your writing, and you
look at an important character you're writing who has just done
something that makes absolutely no sense in relationship to his
role in your story, and in a fit of frustration, you snarl at this

Who ARE you?

Truth is, a lot of times characters will lie to you. One will come
into your story dressed in a hero's cape and tights, and when you
finally follow her home, you discover she doesn't just have a
skeleton or two in her closet...she has a whole row of bodies lined
up in her basement.

Or you'll find that you get these warm little shivers every time
you write your villain, and what you WANT are COLD shivers, and
then all of a sudden your villain saves a cat from a couple of
neighborhood bullies by being bigger and scarier than they are...and
there goes HIS credibility as a monster.

Not a single one of your characters is who he SAYS he is. Not a
single one of your characters is who YOU say he is.

Your characters ARE what they DO. Same as you.

Words are wind. Unless they're backed up by actions that match
them---either in the real world or in fiction---they're meaningless.

If your have a character who does nothing that matters, then even
if you SAY that character is your main character, he isn't.

If you have a character who hurts people, causes chaos, lies,
cheats, steals, or destroys lives or property or hopes and dreams,
then even if you planned that character as your hero, he isn't a

You can write a hero who has wonderful intentions, who wants to
save the world or his part of it, who takes actions he says
will help everyone...but if the end result of his actions is that the
people he wanted to save (or maybe a whole bunch of other people he
didn't care about) are hurt, or lose what matters to them---then he
isn't your hero. He's your villain.

Intentions, like words, don't count. Action and the consequences
of that action are all you look at when you're evaluating your
character and his role in your story.

Your characters are what they do, and your job as the writer is to
clearly and honestly evaluate what they do, and build the story
around the people they actually are, and not the people you think
they should be.

You CAN fire your main character from the role of hero, and turn
him into a villain.

You CAN fire your villain and rehire him as your hero.

You can also dump a character who contributes nothing from your
story and replace him with that unappreciated guy who's been doing
all the work for the last hundred pages.

First, though, you have to look past what your character says to
what he or she does.

You have to ask:

When we've moved past words to actions, who ARE you?

Write with joy,

This email is Copyright Holly Lisle. All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any portion of this email is strictly
prohibited without the express written consent of
Holly Lisle.

Get your own copy of this newsletter here:

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thursday Thought: Decision Fatigue

I learned about the term "decision fatigue" last week at a conference, and thought I'd share a link with you in case you wanted to learn more about it. I think there's something to it. Too many choices can fry your brain. That's not the technical description for what happens, but I think it fits.

Seth Godin referenced it in a recent post:

to do next

This is the most important decision in your
career (or even your day).
It didn't used to be. What next used to be a
question answered by your boss or your clients.
With so many opportunities
and so many constraints, successfully picking what to do next is your moment of
highest leverage. It deserves more time and attention than most people give it.
If you're not willing to face the abyss of choice, you will almost certainly
not spend enough time dancing with opportunity.

Deciding what to do next is just one decision we make in the course of a day. When you really think about it, the number of decisions we make each day is pretty staggering. I heard a story from a missionary once who returned to the states after time in a third world country. She went to the grocery store and was literally frozen by the number of choices she had in front of her. And yet, we make decisions from the vast numbers of products every time we enter a store without even giving it much thought.

How about you? Do you think you have decision fatigue?
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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Psalms For Moms: Grace For The Good Girl

The lovely and gracious Emily Freeman has granted me permission to share excerpts from her book Grace For The Good Girl as my Psalms For Moms posts throughout the month of October. So for the next four Wednesdays, you'll be hearing from Emily. Thanks Emily for sharing with us!

"I've thrown myself headlong into your arms-- I'm celebrating your rescue." Psalm 13:5, MSG

"At 8:30 pm it feels like midnight. Blinking takes effort. I'm tightly clenching my jaw as I type and I. Can't. Stop. This life is exhausting. And I'm not even sick or pregnant or depressed or dying of starvation or homeless. But I still need a hero. Good thing I've got one. I can receive the mess as a gift because it gives me the opportunity to tell God, 'I've thrown myself headlong into your arms-- I'm celebrating your rescue.' How life-giving it is to know I have someplace to throw myself headlong other than into my bed. Besides, it isn't made and the sheets are dirty anyway."
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Two For Tuesday: Two Things That Keep Me (Somewhat) Organized And A Giveaway!

Today I thought I'd share two things that help keep me organized: my master to-do list notebook and my daily mini legal pad where I "assign" myself things to do, using my master to-do list notebook.

I use the master to-do list to keep track of everything-- kid stuff, writing stuff, business stuff, house stuff, medical stuff... you name it! If it needs doing, it goes in there. But you can't get it all done in one day, right? So that's why I needed one place to put it all. My notebook is one I found at Office Max-- nothing fancy, just a 5X7 size business notebook.

I then use the lists from my master notebook to create daily lists, assigning myself a certain amount for each day according to the day I've got ahead of me. If I'm going to be gone all day, then I know the list needs to be short. If I'm home with time on my hands, the list can be longer. I've gotten a feel for what I can accomplish after years of trial and error. And if it doesn't all get done? Well, that just means it goes on the next day's list. No biggie.

I don't remember when I started this system-- it's been years ago and it still works well. If it goes in the master notebook, it generally gets done. The master list is a big picture list-- I usually make a page a week, sometimes a page a month depending on what I have going on. I take time regularly to sit down with my emails and add items to the notebook using saved emails as reminders. Several times a week I glance over that week's list and make sure I've assigned stuff that needs doing-- thereby spreading out the tasks in a doable way. If I focus on the master list too much I am prone to hyperventilate. That's where the daily lists come in handy. When I break it down, I can handle life. I can get 'er done.

So today I am doing a great giveaway! I'm giving away a master to-do notebook like I use, a small legal pad, AND two organizational books-- Glynnis Whitwer's inspiring new book I Used To Be So Organized and Laura Wittman's Clutter Rehab! The winner of this giveaway is sure to get a handle on life!

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Monday, October 03, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... not as cool as you might expect as we begin October. But there's something different about the air and the light that means fall is here, no matter what the thermometer says.

I am thinking... about a new book. This one's a YA. Not sure that I will ever write it in its entirety but I'm having fun thinking of it for now. Keeps me entertained.

I am thankful... to be a writer. Sometimes I still can't believe that this is what I actually do. And people let me.

In the kitchen... soups, casseroles, hearty fall food.

I am wearing... jeans and a white tee shirt, silver flip flops. Haven't switched to fall shoes yet.

I am creating... book ideas and plot lines and character sketches, oh my!

I am going... to Nashville soon. But in the meantime I'm glad to not be going anywhere except about a five mile radius of our house.

I am wondering... when and how I can get myself back into some semblance of an exercise routine.

I am reading... The 19th Wife. I caught the beginning of this movie the other morning on tv and-- while I knew I didn't have time to sit and watch a movie, I got the book from the library. A modern day murder mystery that involves polygamy? Yes please!

I am hoping... to get some writing done this week. There's talking about writing-- and then there's actually putting words on paper.

I am looking forward to... a date night with my husband. Since I've been traveling so much we haven't been able to do that in awhile. Dinner and a movie, anyone?

I am hearing... laughter at tables near me, ice clattering out of the machine and into glasses, the shriek of a child. Am at Panera.

Around the house... Fall decorations are appearing around the house. Love the splashes of orange and brown and red.

I am pondering... how I can possibly read all the books on my TBR (to be read) list. It's borderline obscene.

One of my favorite things... a good old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I have three whole days this week with nothing on the calendar. Bliss. I also have a study I am doing with a group of women-- going through
{W}hole by Lisa Whittle and she's leading it! So fun! Am also having lunch with an old friend and volunteering at my kids' school.

A picture thought I am sharing:

A recent "wedding" I attended. The nuptials were a tribute to the SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Association) finalists for Book Of The Year. I was honored to be invited to take part since The Mailbox was a finalist. Some of the highlights of the night were the toasts to the bride and groom written by the authors, the groom's book jacket jacket (sewn together entirely out of book jackets), and the vows that included a reference to each of the books nominated. I'll never forget it.
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