Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Morning Poetry

We're winding down National Poetry month, but before it ends, I will share a bit of poetry. (I guess you'd call it poetry??) It's really more a collection of images I wanted to get down-- my life boiled down to a few lines.

Monday Morning

Trash can brimming
Clean plates stacked
Neon pink toothpaste smeared
The scent of lemon cleanser
Coupons waiting to be redeemed
Items added to the grocery list
Six knives dirtied in the sink
Six knives in one morning!
Laundry piled, never ending
A new to-do list to accomplish
Library book left on counter
A page of tentative cursive by a 6 year old hand
New emails lined up in the inbox
A phone call to make, weighing heavily
Ink on page in journal
Your Word is Truth
Monday morning
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Rumors of Water Week: Final Quote

This week I am sharing quotes from a book I've been enjoying called Rumors of Water.

Here's the last one:

Upon seeing her daughter tackle the forms of poetry, painstakingly writing each different kind, LL Barkat is challenged by the work she is putting into it and writes,

"When we possess a little natural talent for writing, we might be tempted to coast along. Why try to master these things called words? Isn't writing an art? Doesn't that mean we can just let things pour out as they will? I know a lot of writers who don't work very hard, thinking this is no disaster. They set down the first thing that comes to mind, and they want that to be the end of it."

This quote affected me in two ways. First, I am tempted to "set down the first thing that comes to mind and let that be the end of it." When I'm on deadline I'm cranking out words so fast I don't want to labor over word choice, think about character development, mine for themes and symbols and elements that will deepen and enrich the story. I just want to reach a desirable word count and press send, winging my little manuscript off to the fabled heights of my editor's desk. That is my default setting-- the less work the better.

But then there's the second part of this quote's impact on me. I know I can't leave it there. And the line of writing craft books on my shelf is proof that I strongly desire to be a better writer. That I will never arrive. That there is always more to learn. A bodybuilder would never take a look in the mirror one day and decide that he's finally where he wants to be and then stop working out forever. He knows he has to tone and tweak if he's got any hope of being as good as he can be. Perfection takes diligence.

And I am far from perfection.

And so I juggle deadline and word count with study and reading. Somehow, in the midst of it all I hope that my work improves with each book. I hate to hear a reader comment that a writer's subsequent books aren't as good as the early ones. May that never be true of me.

This concludes our week with Rumors Of Water. I hope you've enjoyed hearing from LL Barkat-- that what I've shared has given you things to think about and apply to your own life. I can tell you that even though I've spent a week on this book I barely skimmed the surface of what's there. So don't think I gave you a "good enough" view. This week was just a taste of the buffet.
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rumors Of Water Week: Third Quote

This week I am sharing quotes from a book I've been enjoying called Rumors of Water.

Here's the third one:

"My girls have been writing since they were very little. 'You just wrote for two hours,' I would say to them, after they'd been doing what they call playing story. This puzzled them at first. Most kids they knew were writing according to assignments, struggling to put things they didn't care about on paper.

'We didn't do any writing,' my girls would say.

'Yes you did,' I'd say back. 'Playing story is composing. Composing with words is writing, whether or not you put it on paper.'"

I don't think I'll ever think about my kids playtime the same way. My youngest will go upstairs in our bonus room and disappear for hours, playing story. Her stories are long and involved and she hates very much to have them interrupted by pesky things like leaving the house or cleaning up or having dinner. But she knows the story is always there waiting to be told, waiting to be expanded upon when she's done eating or shopping or picking up her shoes.

As a child I played story all the time. I could've cared less about the clothes the dolls had on. I didn't care how their hair was fixed. Those dolls were there to enact the stories that lived inside me. My Barbies had dramas that unfolded for days in multiple settings that might involved my bed, my front porch and my bathroom sink all in one day. Of course I had no idea that I was cutting my writing teeth at the same time, learning the elements of story (plot, turning point, setting, point of view, dialogue) as I played. I got myself to sleep by telling myself bedtime stories, thinking up character names and dreaming up families and the things they would face together.

It's not far off from what I do now. I just don't have dolls on hand anymore. But I'm thinking that might be helpful.

Let your kids play story. And don't shy away from those stories that play out in your own head. Maybe today you compose in your mind and tomorrow you actually put words on paper.

It could happen.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rumors of Water Week; Second Quote

This week I am sharing quotes from a book I've been enjoying called Rumors of Water. Here's the second one:

"Our voice will be better developed if we spend time with our passions."

LL Barkat writes of spending time with her daughters immersing themselves in all things tea-- the history of tea, the ingredients in tea, the process of making tea. She talks about how their knowledge grew and their vocabularies increased as they studied what they were interested in already. She says, "To have a voice, a writer must have passions and a sense of place. These passions and their places infuse the writing with silvery leaves and orange peels, versus, say, ocotillo and pequins. The words of a region, a philosophy, a passion for French or French tea, come with their own sounds and rhythms and fragrances."

I am passionate about being southern-- the history, the traditions, the voices, the heritage. I hope that comes out in my writing and I know it is only enhanced when I spend time in the places and with the people I want to write about-- immersing myself in my passion. The same can be true for a great many things. Jennifer Chiaverini is obviously passionate about quilts. Michael Palmer is passionate about medicine. Stephen King is passionate about the supernatural. Amy Tan and Carolyn See and Jamie Ford and Kristina McMorris are all passionate about their Asian heritage-- yet their writings on that have taken them in a unique direction and produced very different results. Don't be afraid your passion is not unique enough-- your passion + your unique perspective + your life experience = your voice.

What are you passionate about? It's important to know that answer first. If you feel passionate about nothing then spend time discovering what gets your blood pumping before you write another word. And if you are writing, don't stop pursuing your passions, so that blood will keep pumping and your heart will be ever-present in that which you are compelled to share.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rumors Of Water Week: First Quote

This week I am sharing quotes from a book I've been enjoying called Rumors of Water. Here's the first one:

"Writing starts with living. Living starts with somebody caring so much about something that they need to drag you out of your writing chair and take you where you'll be surprised to find your words."

I've been surprised to find my words in places I've been drug to before. A stray comment by another person that I'd never have heard otherwise. A unique point of view outside of my own narrow one. A life lesson observed because I was out of my own little box. An encounter with nature, a glimpse of my children in another setting, the chance to see life from a new vantage point... each opportunity lends itself to finding words I would never have found otherwise.

But I rarely volunteer to leave my little cozy world. I get set in my ways, stuck to my routine. I need to work so I opt to stay in. I don't have time to venture out, I say. Everything is about the deadline, the word count, the to-do list. I loved that she used the word "drag." Because I've had to be drug. Drug away from my computer. Drug away from my chores. Drug away from this world that is mine to control into a world that is completely other than what I know. And so I go to the 4th grade poetry reading and I take time to visit that bakery owner and I sit on that soccer field and watch the ball get kicked around by a cluster of children wearing neon shoes and I meet with friends I don't see very much and I take time to talk to my mom and all the while I am craning my ear for what I would not hear otherwise.

And every time. Really, every time, I am glad I went for some reason or another. Maybe it's because I got to witness something truly special for one of my kids. Or I met some fascinating person. Or I recalled a memory I'd lost. Or I just gained a fresh perspective that can only be had by leaving and coming back. But LL Barkat is right-- writing does start with living. Sad that I have to be reminded to put life in my living. Wonderful that I have people in my life who drag me to it.
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Rumors of Water Week

I don't remember how I found this book. It was one of those times I clicked on something that took me somewhere else that ultimately landed me on this book. And when I saw endorsements from two writers I admire (Mary DeMuth and Ann Voskamp) I investigated more closely. (Proving that endorsements do work!) I downloaded the free sample for the ebook and read through it so fast that, when I got to the end I just had to buy it and keep reading. (Proving that samples do work!) I am loving this book. It's hijacked my other reading-- books I liked getting pushed to the side for this book I am loving.

So, each day this week I am sharing quotes from Rumors of Water combined with my personal thoughts that the quotes inspired. LL Barkat is a gifted writer but-- more than that-- she's a woman in touch with the nuances of living life intentionally, of cherishing motherhood, of finding the glimmers of grace in untapped places. This book is Gift From The Sea meets 1000 Gifts. You'll appreciate it especially if you're a writer, or a mother who longs to bestow the gift of creativity-- the permission to create-- in your children. I've read it with my journal open to capture the parts that speak to me. If you decide to get it, you might want to do the same.

So join me this week as I dig into Rumors Of Water by LL Barkat. I hope that you'll be as inspired by these quotes as I was! The first quote is coming up tomorrow!
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bonus For The Weekend! A Cookbook To Check Out

Don't Panic! Quick, Easy, and Delicious Meals for Your Family
If you're like me you're already sold after hearing these words: panic, quick and easy in regards to meals. I have to confess I've panicked over dinner my fair share of times. So the idea of having a cookbook filled with quick and easy meals as a go-to resource is appealing, to be sure.
I riffled through the cookbook and came up with some recipes I want to try. Here they are:
From the "Small Bites and Appetizers" section: Super Salsa, Spicy Pecans
Breakfast, Breads and Brunch section: Scrumptious Baked French Toast
Soups, Salads and Sides: Fancy Sweet Potato Fries, Spicy Black Bean Soup
Pasta, Pasta: Chicken Fettucine Alfredo
Crockpot Collection: Slow Cooker Coq au Vin, French Dip Sandwiches
Easy Baked Oven Dishes: Italian Chicken
Grate Grills and Marinade: Beef Kabobs with Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce
Savory Skillets and Quick Sautes: Chicken Piccata
Desserts Divine: all of them
Here's the product description:

Your family can have great meals even when you are on the run. The ladies who brought you Don't Panic--Dinner's in the Freezer now offer busy cooks Don't Panic--Quick, Easy, and Delicious Meals for Your Family. From quick meals made on the grill or in the sauté pan to crockpot dishes that require little prep and cook while you're out for the day, the recipes in this cookbook are tasty, nutritious, and require less hands-on preparation than traditional meals. Easy appetizers and desserts, one-dish casseroles and pastas, simple soups, salads, and side dishes, and even fast breakfasts round out the selections. Meals that are freezer-friendly are marked for those who want to make ahead.

You don't have to settle for feeding your family commercially packaged meals full of sodium and preservatives or fat-laced fast food. Serve them quick and healthy meals from your very own kitchen with this easy-to-use cookbook.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

The Point Where I Turn Away

Last year I used to run a loop that took me past my house. I'd do that loop a few times, comfortable in the fact that the loop took me by my house so I could check on the kids, make sure it wasn't burning down, etc. But I have to admit that knowing I was going past my house also made me feel comforted in the fact that if it was too hot outside, I could stop in for water. If I was tired I could cut my run short. You get the point.

But this year when the weather warmed up and I went back to street running again, I reached the point where I could turn right and do my regular loop, or I could turn left and run the opposite way-- this new route taking me away from my house, meaning it would be harder to get back. I ran and ran and ran. And then I realized dang. I have to get back. This new route was not easy. There was no shortcut. There was no point where I could stop in. I had to go the distance and do the hard work it took to get myself back.

Every day now when I get to that point on my run I look at that turn and I make a choice: hard or easy? Provide myself with an out or turn away from it? This has been a good analogy for life that I often think of as I run away from my house, increasing the distance from it and making my run longer and harder in the process. I am doing it to myself and yet, there is payoff in pushing myself.

Someone reading this has a decision to make that has nothing to do with running. Their decision is about taking the harder path, the one that makes things much less easy. But it's the path that will also make them better. They're standing at the point where they can just keep doing what they've been doing and no one will be the wiser. Or they can turn, do something that will take a lot more effort and intentionally make life harder for themselves.

I have to tell you that every day when I come back from my long run, I'm way prouder of myself than I was with my easy loop I used to make. There are other choices (that have nothing to do with running) I've made that was also the harder, longer way. And I'm also proud of myself for making those choices-- and for the character that resulted from that. Character I couldn't have gained any other way. Whether it was choosing to stick it out with my marriage when I wanted to quit. Or digging in and paying off the debt we'd accumulated when bankruptcy sounded much faster. Or making the odd choice to homeschool my kids during the years we did that. Or finally writing that novel I'd longed to write when no one knew or cared if I did (except, of course, me). There came that point where I had to turn away from the easy way, and choose the harder one.

If you're at that point, go for it. Make that hard left, pick up your speed, crank up your music, and run with everything that's in you. I think you'll be glad you did.
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

What Will You Do?

This verse says pretty much how I feel about Christian celebrity and some of the things I've seen taking place in churches and ministries lately:

"A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?" Jeremiah 5:30-31 (emphasis mine)

The thing is I don't really see this verse as an indictment against the prophets and priests. I see it as an indictment of the people who love it this way. The people want heroes. They want pedestals. They seek role models without digging any deeper to discover if those role models really deserve to be on those pedestals, to be doling out advice. They hand over spiritual authority to other people who aren't ready to handle it. They follow along blindly without holding up these folks to God's example. And in the process they seek people and not Him.

I've said it before here, but I'll say it again. I'm tired of Christian celebrity. I get weary of my Twitter and Facebook feeds touting all these "experts" offering advice on every topic from finances to faith, parenting to prayer, the main theme of each mini-broadcast being "look at me! look at me! follow me! follow me!"

If these folks do what they're supposed to, they can point you in the right direction. But there's always the danger that they'll start believing their own press. And when that happens, they get deceived into thinking that all's well because "the people love it this way." And if the people love it, then it must be good, right? Numbers mean that you're onto something, right?

One of the things I most loved about the book Not A Fan is one of his first points: when Jesus drew a crowd, He was most likely to run them off by saying something challenging or even offensive. He didn't deal in numbers. He wasn't impressed by who showed up to hear Him. He was just there to point to the Father. He had a mission and He wasn't there to bask in the attention, to soak up the praise. I think that if media consultants tried to give Him "platform advice" now, He'd tell them to get behind Him, Satan.

At the end of this verse, a question is posed. Maybe if we'd all answer that question for ourselves, the problem of Christian celebrity would go away entirely.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's Wednesday!

This week at SBV we're talking about weddings! If you love weddings, then by all means stop by and hear what the Belles are dishing about on the porch. There's always some good story swappin' going on over there.

At She Reads we're continuing to talk about our April pick, The Lifeboat-- a gripping tale told by a narrator you're not sure if you can trust. Is she guilty or innocent? And what really went on on that lifeboat?

I put a lot of time and effort into this blog, but also into these other blogs. I love pointing you guys to them on Wednesdays and I hope you have fun visiting the other places I hang out on the internet!
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You Have To Have A Hannigan

Last week I had a sick little one at home, which meant lots of laying around reading and watching tv and movies. As she reached the end of her usual go-to entertainment, she decided to watch Annie, a beloved classic she'd never seen up to that point. I sort of cringed when she announced that was what she was going to watch because those songs have a way of getting stuck in my head, especially the ever-popular "Little Girls." But I let her watch it anyway, taking one for the team as "It's A Hard Knock Life" ran through my head for the rest of the day.
When Mrs. Hannigan came on the screen, I cringed. I hate how abusive she is. I hate how she screams at those cute little girls and makes their lives miserable just because hers is. I hate how she really doesn't learn from her mistakes, only seems to get increasingly more evil. Why does she have to be part of Annie's story? It would be a much sweeter story without her, after all.

And yet, Annie's story wouldn't be the story we all know (and some of us love) without Mrs. Hannigan. She adds the obstacles Annie has to overcome. She creates the conflict and if there's anything I have learned about telling a great story, it's that conflict must be present-- ideally on every page. One of my favorite quotes on writing is by James Scott Bell, who says in his book The Art of War For Writers, "Readers read to worry." I've never forgotten that, and when I go to write a book, I make sure that I give my readers something to worry about.
We worry about Annie because we know that Mrs. Hannigan is out to get her. Even when she's not in the picture, we feel her lurking there, just offstage. To tell a good story, we must create that sense of tension. Every great story has to have a Hannigan or your reader will feel that something is lacking.
In the story I'm working on now, I realized I needed a villain-- someone who could reveal something the main character is trying to keep secret AND stand in the way of what she wants at the same time. This past week I wrote the scene where she comes in, and I did my best to make her someone that the reader will hate to see enter the room-- just like Mrs. Hannigan. I made it clear that she's packing her own agenda and, for reasons of her own, really wants to damage the main character. The character who, incidentally, I want my reader to be rooting for.
Villains exist to do awful things to the main character: Throw banana peels down as they're running away, cut the life rope they're hanging onto, tell that secret that could destroy their reputation, make the move on their boyfriend, marry their father-- you get the point. Mrs. Hannigan didn't just grab Annie's arm too hard and make her scrub floors. She tried to keep Annie from getting adopted and then when that didn't work, she committed fraud to try again. What a boring story Annie would be without all that going on.
But you know what? We wouldn't have anything to root for either. We'd never see the height to which Annie can get to if you didn't have Mrs. Hannigan trying to pull her down at every turn. A good villain does two things: provides the obstacles to keep the main character from getting what she wants while also giving the main character cause to triumph over those obstacles-- to see what she had inside of her that she never knew was there, or come to terms with something she's been resisting for a long time.
I am learning to write good villains and to not be afraid to let them throw some pretty awful stuff at my main characters. I plan to print a photo of Mrs. Hannigan and put it in my writer's notebook so I can look at her... and be inspired to be utterly mean and awful every once and awhile.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Poetry Month

We're halfway through April, which means we're halfway through National Poetry Month!

In honor of the month, I am posting a few poems by a new favorite of mine, Mary Oliver:

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice--

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do--

determined to save

the only life you could save.

Little Summer Poem Touching The Subject Of Faith by Mary Oliver

Every summer
I listen and look
under the sun's brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can't hear

anything, I can't see anything --
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green
stalks muscling up,
nor the leaves
deepening their damp pleats,

nor the tassels making,
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
And still,
every day,

the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker --
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk.

And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, seeing nothing --
I am deaf too
to the tick of the leaves,

the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet --
all of it
beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum.

And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees,
and the mystery hidden in the dirt

swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear?

One morning
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body
is sure to be there.
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Three Little Words That Will Get You Everywhere


They're not "I love you."

Is that what you were thinking?

These three words are harder to say than those.

And it's not "I was wrong."

But it's a close cousin.

I started thinking about these three words when my Pandora station paused because I'd been idle too long. A little notice came up on the screen that said basically "Something went wrong. It's our fault. Please reload."

The thing was, it wasn't their fault. It was mine. I'd been idle too long and I'd lost the feed (or whatever the technical term for the internet connection is) to my station. But they'd gone ahead and graciously taken the blame with their little sign that popped up. They'd assumed responsibility.

It made me like them more.

As I thought about that, it made me think of how I'm seeing that those three words are the fastest way to resolution to people-- the willingness to say "It's my fault." There's something in those three words that breaks down barriers, that are so startling it makes you see something different in the person who uttered them. In a society that is obsessed with love but eager to slough off responsibility, it's common to hear "I love you." But rare to hear "It's my fault." When I hear someone take ownership for a problem, to assume that somehow, somewhere along the way, they had a part in the breakdown, well it just makes me think "This is someone I can trust."

I'm slowly learning to say those three words faster, easier, to not withhold them from those I love. To be quick to own up to my own failings, whatever they may be, however big or little they were in the scenario. To be the person who steps up and starts the dialogue by taking responsibility for the situation. It's not the easiest way, and requires a degree of vulnerability that I don't think any of us are comfortable with. But it does work. And it kinda makes me think about the way Jesus lived His life-- He said "It's my fault" when it wasn't. And I am so glad He did.
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

When They All Sing Along

Anyone who has read my blog or followed my tweets or been on my Pinterest account has most likely encountered my love of David Gray. I will not go into how happy I am that he has announced a summer tour of the US that I am hopeful will bring him somewhere near me, because that is not what this post is about. Instead I will share one of my favorite moments in a live recorded version of his biggest US hit, Babylon, that I have on my iPod. There is a moment where he stops singing the song and lets the audience sing instead. The whole stadium sings along, word for word, and, though I can't see his face of course, I sense that he is smiling as this happens.

Words he wrote and set to music are now being sung back to him by people he could not have imagined. That song-- something that came to him in I am sure a very personal manner-- has now gone out into the world, been taken in by strangers and made meaningful in very unique ways. His song has become their song. And for some reason I can hear that exchange happening in that recording-- what was once his has now become something else entirely.

In a few months my third novel will be releasing. I am gearing up for it here with talk of marketing and promotion, working hard to get my work into as many hands as possible. And sometimes as I think of why I do that, I think of that moment on that recording when they all sing along. And how it's clear that the people David is singing to have embraced what he labored over and had a vision for. It has become theirs. For anyone who endeavors to create something-- be it music or poetry or prose or art-- I think that's the moment of ultimate fulfillment: when what you did leaves you and goes out into the world, settling in the hearts and minds of those who have received it and becoming something totally other than you. It becomes theirs and not just yours.

And if you're lucky, you'll get to hear them sing along.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This Week At SBV and SR

On Wednesdays I send you elsewhere on the web to see the other blogs I have a hand in, Southern Belle View and She Reads. Please take a moment to hop over to those blogs (I'm still in Easter mode, clearly) and see what's going on.

This week at Southern Belle View we're talking about national poetry month. My post today is about dancing with words-- and how poetry can teach us to do just that. I have always loved poetry and admired poets. Their economy of words captures my attention.

At She Reads this week we're hearing from Charles Martin about his literary first love, from Charlotte Rogan-- who wrote our selection this month, The Lifeboat-- about where she writes, a video about how a book gets printed and bound (let's hear it for REAL books!), and a guest post from author Bonnie Grove. All good stuff.

Enjoy your humpday!
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

UCF Book Fest, Spring Break and Easter

This past week was a whirlwind of the best possible kind. Not only did I get to participate in the UCF Book Festival, I got to come home, unpack, repack, and head down to my favorite place in all the world-- the NC coast with Curt and our three youngest children. I thought I'd share some highlights from what I was doing when I wasn't here blogging last week:

The book fest was every bit as fun as I remembered from the previous year. I got to attend a very sophisticated reception on Friday night, complete with chocolate fountain. (Nothing says sophistication like a chocolate fountain, you know.) Then the next day I got to speak on a panel and sit in on some as well. I learned much and came away inspired by the authors I heard from-- both as reader and author. I simply love authors. They are our nation's treasure and I am never more convinced of that than when I spend time around them. Some of the authors I enjoyed meeting for the first time were Joshilyn Jackson, Alan Wolf, Michael and Daniel Palmer, and Stephanie Tyson and Vivian Joyner.

Some of the authors I was delighted to see again were Tosca Lee, Ted Dekker, Karen White, River Jordan, and my Southern Belle View buddies, Lisa Wingate and Rachel Hauck. I also got to meet some readers who follow either SBV or my blog, and that was so fun. Not to mention hanging out with the book bloggers extraordinaire, Anita, Heather, and Sandy. Many thanks to the talented folks who put this event together. If you live within a reasonable drive to Orlando and love to read, put the UCF Book Fest on your radar and come. It's free!

After my fun weekend, I came home and didn't have time to be sad it was over, because I was onto our spring break getaway to Ocean Isle Beach, NC. My Uncle Bob and Aunt Frances invited us down for a week with them in their beautiful home on the island, which we happily said yes to.

We ate seafood in Calabash, tasted wedding cakes at a local bakery (research for my new novel-- I know, rough life), sat on the beach (and sometimes shivered) for hours, read books, fished off my uncle's dock (I didn't but the kids did), and took numerous rides on the golf cart. It was idyllic and the perfect way to spend the kids' break from school. We came home reluctantly when the weather turned cold and rainy. Then we spent the weekend unpacking and easing back into real life, which I always find traumatic.

Sunday meant baskets filled with chocolate, church, a huge lunch, and an egg hunt. Again, it was a great day. Some of you may remember my goal of finding a church home and be there for Easter Sunday and I think that has happened. It feels like home to me, at least, and I think the rest of the family is getting there. I especially enjoyed the Easter service and was so happy to have my long row of family members sitting with me. The college student even came home and joined us.

The whirlwind is over and life is getting back into full swing. We have lots of practices and games for the kids this week, I need to make significant progress on my novel that is due May 15th, and there are groceries that need to be bought, library books to return, and other pressing errands to attend to. I have to make something for the teacher luncheon at the kids' school and do lunch duty there one day. And I have more research to do at a local bakery. (Yeah, I know-- you feel real sorry for me.) In some ways it feels good to get back to real life, but mostly I just feel like the fun just went by way too fast.
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Monday, April 09, 2012

You Just Have To Laugh

Maybe it's just our kids, but Curt and I have been joking lately about how when we tell them something we've told them over and over, they act like they have never heard it before. For instance:

"Oh, you mean like when I take off my clothes you don't want me to leave them on the floor?"

"Oh, you mean like when I use the last of the toilet paper you want me to put a new roll on?"

"Oh, you mean I should brush my teeth? Every night?"

"Oh you mean like when I finish eating, you want me to clear my plate from the table?"

"Oh, you mean when I get something out you want me to put it up?"

"Oh, you don't want me to take your tape and not return it?"

"Oh, you want me to flush the toilet after I go?"

"Oh, you want me to keep my room clean? Every day?"

Please tell me it's not just me... What are the ones your kids use?
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