Friday, November 28, 2014

A November Retrospective

I love Leigh Kramer's "What I'm Into" link party at the end of every month, and I've found it a wonderful prompt to glance back over the month that was. I get out my reading journal, my calendar, the photos on my phone, scan my Twitter feed, and remember what I did in the past 30 days. Usually the conclusion I come to is: It was a pretty good month. I can definitely say that for November.

November has been about being busy but with mostly all good things. Yes, there were pesky dentist appointments in there and haircuts and parent/teacher conferences and All The Grocery Shopping and The Running of the Children to the various things and teaching commitments and school volunteering and far too many days off school...

But there was also my small group study of Lisa Whittle's new book I Want God. And there was the chance to speak to a large local Sunday School class for their Girls' Night Out, complete with a catered dinner. And there was the opportunity to share about She Reads with the Charlotte chapter of the Women's National Book Association. And there was getting to sit on a panel with the other esteemed members of The Panera Bread Literary Society at the North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference. There was also the annual tradition of going to the Southern Christmas Show to shop with my mom. All good stuff.

I finished my manuscript this month. This is it, printed off and bound by a rubberband so I could read through and make changes, which I also did this month. This is the book no one knows about-- not my husband, best friend, kids, etc. I've made plans to submit it to an agent I hope to work with in January, and am trying not to freak out about it between now and then. That's kind of hard to do when you've put this much time and heart into something. I hope this book will one day be read by more than just me. I really, really like this story, and these characters. They live with me still even though the book is technically finished. There are times I wonder why I put myself through this but then I remember, I can't stop myself. The creation of stories is a compulsion.

 The month started, more or less, with Election Day. I snapped this photo at one of local favorite places to hang out. We spent a good portion of election night there sitting outside by the fire as we waited for our son to get out of his swim practice. It was the best way to spend an election return night that I can remember.  

The wish lists began as our kids started getting requests from relatives for gift ideas for a certain holiday that is coming up. I snapped this photo at Target so that I could show it to my daughter so that she could select a doll. She has several American Girls but, because several of her friends at school have the Target equivalent, she has decided she would like one of those as well. At around $30 (versus over $100) I can totally live with that! I am just grateful that at 9 years old, she is still into dolls. I realize this could be the last year that is true. They truly do grow up so fast, especially in this day and age.

I attended the National Gingerbread Competition, which I wrote about in detail here.
This is why I went: one of the entries was inspired by my novel, The Mailbox. It was inspiring to see something creative that I did spur someone to create something of their own. A very full circle moment!
This is a view of the city of Asheville from one of the decks at the Grove Park Inn where the competition was held. It was just beautiful. You can barely tell in this photo but we got snow while we were there! We sat up till late in the night just talking and watching it fall. Then it snowed much of the next morning-- a perfect backdrop to a mountain getaway!
My friend sent me this on Thanksgiving morning. She knows me so well! Although I couldn't get away with just bringing something-- we host Thanksgiving every year so I am a cooking fiend for about two days.

We had all six of the kids in one place on Thanksgiving, so that was cause to snap a photo. Even our dog Salem was part of it!
Here's one with just the girls. (The boys would not comply.) The older girls dressed the youngest-- there was a boots, leggings and scarf theme going on from the looks of things.

My oldest said we had to do a selfie together, so I obliged her.

I managed to get a shot of the table before we descended upon it. I did silver and burlap with little pops of fall color via the napkin rings. It was especially nice when the little candles were lit.
Here's a single place setting. You can see the little mercury glass pumpkins and the napkin rings I bought years and years ago at a little shop in Blowing Rock NC. At a mere $2/piece that was money well spent! I also have red and green ones for Christmas that I love. We don't have fine china so I use glass plates on chargers and I think it is very pretty. Or pretty enough. I rely heavily on the "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" line of thinking made popular by The Nester.

The kids table was less elaborate, but still festive. They had paper plates (I got smart) and a very simple silver and white centerpiece, paired with a gold tablecloth. And yes I did hum the song "Silver and Gold" from Rudolph as I set the table. And now, you might find yourself doing the same, thanks to this.

I also had to snap a photo of the dessert table. I love seeing all the yummy treats all gathered in one place-- pecan pie, apple pie, chocolate pie, and pumpkin crisp. Gotta love thanksgiving!
Book wise I can't share what I read this month because one of the books I read was my own (see manuscript above), two I didn't like enough to share, and two are going to be part of our She Reads winter selections. I am so excited to share both of these excellent books with you guys-- problem is you have to wait till January to find out what they are! Oh well, we have Christmas to distract us in the meantime. But do yourself a favor and ask for a gift certificate to your favorite bookstore so you'll be ready to snatch up the books when the announcement is made. You can't go wrong with any of the titles we're recommending this winter.

Here is my December. I know. Just look at it. Look. At. It. Of course it won't stay this way but I just had to get a photo of the beautiful, wonderful white space. Next week I will be posting about how I plan to fill it. I hope you'll pop back by to see!

Pin It!


Leigh Kramer said...

Congrats on finishing your manuscript! Hope its road to publication goes smoothly. So cool that one of your books inspired an entry in the National Gingerbread Competition! I didn't know such a competition existed but it sounds amazing. Your Thanksgiving tablescape is lovely!

leelee said...

The Gingerbread competition sounds lovely. And makes me want a gingerbread cookie.