Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Friday, February 25, 2011

Out of My Guardian Angel's Mind...

     I was having a pretty easy day 'til she decided to put the car in the ditch.
     Hi, I'm Tenshi the Guardian Angel and I'm here to tell you Terrie's story. I think she's too embarrassed to tell it herself.
     We'd just had an unusually mild weekend. You know what happens when winter hits again after a few days like that. Ice. Everywhere. People falling down on it, breaking ankles and limbs. Angels and tow trucks racking up overtime. It was one of those bitterly cold, windy days that makes me wonder why anyone lives here and makes me thankful my charge has an attached garage on her house, a reliable car, and indoor employment. Pretty cushy job for me!
     Terrie had an appointment with her hair dresser after work, out in the boonies north of Bagot. She's been navigating that road over a decade and, although it makes her nervous, I've managed to keep her out of trouble. This particular day she drove preoccupied with her trip to Denver just two days away. She was heading down that gravel road a little on the fast side. I don't recommend this. I stayed on the alert.
     When she hit an icy patch, I could tell she was finally in the moment when she started saying "oh...oh...."
     I managed to keep her ol' Caddy from spinning around or flipping, but when it stopped it was up to its windows in snow.
     I saw a bad word forming at the back of Terrie's head and before I could cover my ears, it shot out her mouth.
     "Now what?" she said next. This chick has no cell phone. I don't recommend this. "May as well start shoveling." She popped the trunk open. There was no getting out the driver's side, so she climbed uphill to the passenger side and pushed hard on the door. She thought she was heaving on it with all her strength, but I heaved my share, too. I slipped out and helped pull her out of the car, where one look told her she could shovel all day and all night and still not get that car out.
     I figured she'd have enough sense to wait in the car and put on the ski pants and leather mittens from the back seat. Instead, she closed the trunk and marched down the country road in the biting prairie wind, leaving the warm clothes behind! I don't recommend this. Brings to mind the ol' cliche about fools rushing in.
This is not the woman you want in charge at your next disaster, folks. In her befuddlement, she thought the nearest yard site was her destination. By the time she reached it and realized it was abandoned, it was too late to turn back. Nothing to do but keep walking.
     All the way, she kept saying, "Lord, please send help, please send help."
     What was I? Chopped liver? I thought. I took stock of her outfit. A hood and scarf, good. Mittens were nothing to write home about. Still wearing those ten year old boots from Payless. Well, they'd keep her vertical on the ice, anyway. While she envisioned her fingers frostbitten and falling off, her writing and secretarial careers both grinding to a freezing halt, I focused my attention on blowing warm air on her fingers, toes, and nose.
     A half hour and two miles later, she arrived at the Hell or High Water Salon, looking like a Popsicle. The white kind. What flavour are those, anyway?
     Hot tea, extra sweaters, and sitting under an old fashioned hair dryer were just the cure.
     The car got rescued the next day, none the worse for wear. Terrie was okay, too, once she quit shivering. Except for her ego. And once her hair was done, that was pretty much taken care of, too.
     Impressive thing: of all the humans who ministered to her that night (thanks Doreen, Brian, Dan, and Jon), not one pointed out how foolish she had been.
     I definitely recommend this.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Thought I Was Prepared...

Yay! The latest Chicken Soup for the Soul books arrived on my doorstep today - "Grandmothers."  My story's on page 55. Here's a little excerpt:

I thought I was prepared.

The day he was born, I rode along with his other grandparents to the hospital to meet our mutual little descendant for the first time. While I waited in the hall, I studied the instructional posters on the walls, filled with advice for new parents. I remembered how challenging those first few days could be. Given the hospital rules, I fully expected that my first sight of my little grandson would be in his plastic baby bed and I was prepared. But when I turned around, I instantly knew that no amount of groundwork could have prepared me for that moment. Instead of the expected baby bed, I was beholding my own firstborn carrying his firstborn in his arms. 

I came unglued. 

I can hardly wait to read the other 100 stories! If the book isn't in stores yet, it will be soon. Or, if you are a local friend and want one for $10, I have a limited supply - first come, first serve. Just let me know via FB, comment here, or email and I'll save you one.

Monday, February 21, 2011

You Just Never Know

Ten days ago, I blogged from the Writing for the Soul conference about an editor I'd been hoping to speak with and how she "randomly" sat next to me at breakfast. We did speak. She invited me to send her my book proposal, which I did that very evening. Haven't heard back yet. Nothing unusual about that, it generally takes several weeks or even months.
     Here's the thing. I learned enough about her to know she has a daughter the age of my youngest son. Rachel (the daughter) has lived her life in a wheel chair due to cerebral palsy and requires full-time care. She is an only child and the dad is not involved. Somehow, I have not been able to get this mom and daughter out of my mind.
     Could it be that our providential meeting had nothing to do with my book and everything to do with my needing to pray for Rachel and her mom?
     How very backwards. Perhaps, one could even say, "up side down."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Can Barely Draw a Stick Man....

Today I just thought I'd brag on our son Reuben, an incredibly gifted artist. We're still not sure where he got the gene. Next month he begins a long held dream, his official apprenticeship at Kapala Tattoo.
Here is one of his latest pieces.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

TODDN'T (Teaching Old, Dumb Dogs New Tricks)

The other day I went to the CGS and got myself a BF to take home for the family. But when I got home, I discovered the MDW wasn't working and we ended up spending the evening working on the CFN and trying to figure out how to use our SSS without ruining the WHM in the process. We finally gave up and called the AFG.
     If you're wondering what the heck I just said, you're not alone. But you'll totally understand how I felt when I attended my first few Management meetings at City Hall when I started my job there in 2009. It's a whole new language called Acronyms, and it's spoken fluently. Although they use English letters, I had no idea what those letters stood for. To top it all off, I was there expressly for the purpose of taking minutes.
     As they discussed the OPS department and how GAC had a problem at the WTP, I wrote furiously, just hoping I was getting letters down in the right order. I heard things thrown around like AMM and FCM and TAC and PIC and MMEBP. Then it was P-SAB, pronounced like two complete words, and PUB, which is not nearly as fun as it sounds. L-VAC and HTB got thrown around, as did FIPPA, MCCI, and RCMP. Oh wait, I knew that one.
     Still. I was really ready to say TGIF, even though it was only Tuesday.
     I'd return to my computer to type up my notes, sometimes looking up the acronyms on the internet to see if I could figure out what they meant, sometimes digging through previous minutes or files to find the answer; sometimes swallowing my pride and asking a co-worker; and sometimes just typing it wrong and having the boss correct me with a snicker. Really, how could I be so silly as to not know that WPCF is our Water Pollution Control Facility, formerly known as the sewer plant? Doesn't everyone?
     I'm coming up on two years in this municipal world, and I still notice the way acronyms are thrown around. I also use them. I can tell you that OPS is short for our Operations Department, and that GAC stands for Granular Activated Carbon. The Association of Manitoba Municipalities has their office right here in Portage, while the Federation of Canadian Municipalities holds a conference somewhere in the country each year. Our Tourism Advisory Committee and Portage Immigration Committee are run by local volunteers, while the Manitoba Municipal Employees Benefits Program is mostly the concern of our Human Resources Officer. I learned about the Public Sector Accounting Board, the Public Utilities Board, the Land Value Appraisal Commission, and the Highway Traffic Board. Then there's the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Manitoba Council Conflict of Interest Act. It's enough to make you wish they'd pass the Federal Commission for the Prevention of Acronyms Act.
     And as for that opening paragraph, that was just an R.A.A. - a Random Act of Acronyms. Interpretation: I went to the Co-op Grocery Store for a Bag of Food. The Maytag Dishwasher wasn't working, so we worked on the Clogged Filters and Nozzles awhile, then resorted to the Stainless Steel Sink without ruining the Wife's Happy Mood. We then called the Appliance Fixer Guy.
     I think I'm catching on to this, don't you? TTFN!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Someone Will Be Ticked

"Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you're a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive." — Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

To this I would add, "risk getting a lesser grade."

Last week my instructor informed me the Bible was not an appropriate source to cite for university courses. Did I mention the name of the course is "Public Administration Professionalism" or that the textbook is called The Responsible Public Servant? If ever there was a public servant, it was Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Perhaps he didn't fit the "responsible" part, what with all the whip cracking in the temple and all.

But I digress. Today I wrote the first draft of my first essay assignment, where you give and back up your opinion on whether the person in the case study is justified in whistle-blowing. I discovered the following in the textbook:

Has the whistle-blower gone to the immediate supervisor and to other appropriate personnel up the ladder? Has there been an adequate attempt to reason with the wrongdoer?...In short, has the whistle-blower sought to keep the problem "in the family" as long as possible?

Let me say this as lovingly as I know how.
HELLO? That is straight out of Matthew 18. Look it up if you don't believe me. I cannot NOT bring this up. Sorry.
A long list of citations, acceptable or not, decorates the bottom of my essay-- including Will Shakespeare's Hamlet. And the Gospel according to St. Matthew. And a lot of boring books and articles no one ever heard of.
Someone's gonna be ticked. I'll keep ya posted.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reality is an Acquired Taste

     Having a hard time finding my groove in the post-conference brain fog. If I ever get to go again, I will definitely try to book some vacation time immediately following. Seems three days of trying to drink from a fire hydrant (and I'm not referring to the literal H2O, although there was that, too) requires at least three more days of processing, follow-up writing, and rest.
      But alas, there's this nasty business of making a living. Winter weather, a sick hubby, and an upcoming essay due in my Public Admin course are not making reality any more palatable, either.
      It reminds me of being a kid, when the highlight of my entire year was a week at summer camp. Every year when I returned home, no one could live with me. I like to think I've matured since then, but on the inside the little girl is missing camp.
      However painstaking, I'm pleased to say some progress was made today as my desk is finally tidied to the point of elbow room at least. Newly acquired books are on the shelf. Trip expenses recorded and receipts filed. Next week's newspaper column is written. The rest will wait, while I cling to Psalm 103:13-14: "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust..."
      Feeling fragile like dust. And that's okay.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Know When to Hold 'Em

     Ahh, Valentine’s Day. The time we dedicate to romance, heart throbs, roses, and chocolates. Time to risk it all and declare your affection for that certain someone, that secret crush. Or, for those of us who made that declaration long ago, time to lay aside our petty and not-so-petty disagreements and focus on those scrumptious feelings that first brought us to this place.
     You’d think after 33 years of marriage, Jon and I would have this stuff down pat. A third of a century of sharing the same space, raising the same kids, and navigating the same road should provide us with the ability to read the other’s mind, right? Alas, in many ways it seems the journey has only begun. This was revealed to us in a painful way eight years ago when, approaching our big silver anniversary, circumstances hollered the truth that we had decidedly different goals, desires, and dreams. That ugly word “compromise” seemed like an enemy. Spinning our wheels with little common ground, we made no progress forward and certainly none toward each other. I began to despair that reaching our silver milestone would be simply that--a cold, gray symbol to mark the passage of time rather than a victorious accomplishment to be celebrated.
     Then something--I know now it was God--prompted me to go to work on a project. Although my heart was not in it, I pressed forward, sorting through photo albums that represented our history together. My intent was to put together a Powerpoint show as an anniversary gift. Little did I know what it would do in my own heart. As the pictures took me right back to high school graduation, followed shortly by our wedding, college graduation, the arrival of children, various moves, the hard times, and the happy times, I felt my heart softening. Somehow the issue at hand was no longer the insurmountable monster it had been. We had something here that was far too valuable to throw away, even if lost dreams were sometimes the required price. I continued to work on the slide show, and with a little help from Kenny Rogers (“Through the Years”), the collection made a powerful impact on my husband on our 25th. We both realized we did indeed have much to celebrate.
     There’s a good reason God set up festivals of remembrance for His people, Israel. He knows how quickly we forget, how easily we get caught up in right now. The value of shared history in marriage is sadly underestimated. If you’ve been married any length of time and have reached that nasty swamp of disenchantment for the hundredth time; if you’re convinced you made a horrible mistake and escape is the only answer; if the thought of valentines and heart-shaped boxes leaves you cynical and sickened, can I encourage you to look back? Pull out the photo album and reminisce, even if you must force yourself at first. You may discover more reasons to hang in there than you thought. Take a walk through the good times you’ve shared and the hard times you’ve endured together. Put Kenny on the stereo. It will do your heart good.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rocky Mountain High and back again...

Can't believe something I looked forward to so long is over and I'm already home again. But so glad I got to go! I heard people say Writing for the Soul is the best writers conference in the country, and I believe it. Everything was delivered with such excellence and servanthood by top-notch people. They challenge you and hold your feet to the fire, but in the most encouraging way. The last thing I learned was from Dennis Hensley this morning on Knowing Your Enemy. If you don't know your enemy, you can't win. But when you do, and fight him, you can't lose.
According to him, your top five enemies are:
  • Lack of Attention
  • Lack of Desire
  • Bad Attitude
  • Refusal to Accept Instruction
  • Something else. (This is when I stopped paying attention and dashed out to catch my shuttle to the airport)
Hope that last one's not too significant.

Arrived home to a sick husband, blowing snow, and a sink full of dishes. Welcome back to real life!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

de Jour

  • Good News of the Day: Literary Agent Bill Jensen wants to see my book proposal.
  • Lesson of the Day: How to write great magazine query letters.
  • Tears of the Day: Ken Davis' story of his granddaughter going missing for 3.5 hours on a camping trip.
  • Blessing of the Day: Sitting with a writer of plays and drama sketches at lunch and being able to connect her to people who have published mine....and seeing the gratitude on her face!
  • Quote of the Day: "It's a good thing a major publisher didn't publish it, because we would have nitpicked it to death." -- a Zondervan editor referring to "The Shack"
  • Surprise of the Day: Sitting next to a Church Resources publisher at lunch who suggested I send in "Waiting in the Wings" (my long-abandoned book for drama teams.)
  • Soup of the Day: tomato
  • Worry of the Day: will I make it to the airport on time and get on my flight tomorrow?
  • Word of the Day: "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all." (from the old hymn.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day Two in Denver

Today, I:
  • Am extremely thankful all the headache issues are gone and I've felt well.
  • Had an editor from Abingdon Press "randomly" sit beside me at breakfast. Turns out she was one of the editors I had wanted an appointment with but didn't get! She listened to my pitch and invited me to submit my book proposal. Very encouraging!
  • Ate three marvelous, scrumptious meals that I did not have to plan, prepare, clean up after, or even choose.
  • Learned more about the writing craft from an unassuming, 60-ish woman who writes Science Fiction, including two Star Wars novels. Of all things.
  • Took a workshop on humour with Ken Davis that was more entertaining than informing. And I'm okay with that.
  • Sat next to Mister Liz Higgs (Bill) in one of the classes and had a nice conversation. He's trying his hand at novel writing.
  • Met with an editor from Tyndale who listened to my pitch and told me to find an agent. Grr.
  • Met with an agent who said he wouldn't be able to sell my book. (And he's a Canadian, too. I thought we were supposed to stick together.)
  • Heard from McNair Wilson, dramatist and former Disney Imagineer. Had a light-bulb moment during his talk. When I spoke with him later, sure enough, Jon and I saw him perform his one-man act at LeTourneau 30 years ago! I told him he may have just lit a little spark in me way back then for drama ministry.
  • Am super thankful for friends who prayed for me today.
  • Got six words from God that I could pretty much build my life upon: "God will accomplish what concerns me." (Psalm 138:8)
And so can you.

Things I Know for Sure

Another view from my room
First day of "Writing for the Soul" behind me and they keep us so busy I don't have time to blog. But here is what I know for sure:
  • Jerry B. Jenkins is a generous man who does not have a swelled head in spite of having sold over 60 million books.
  • Liz Curtis Higgs is one funny lady.
  • There are plenty of others here who feel as out of their league as I do.
  • With each breath, we get only half the oxygen you get at sea level. I don't know how this compares to home.
  • Water stations are EVERYWHERE and we're supposed to drink, drink, drink to fight altitude sickness.
  • Lots of input means lots of outflow, which is not conducive to a good night's sleep.
  • Snow removal equipment incessantly beep beep beeping outside your window from 1:00 til 4:00 in the morning is not conducive to a good night's sleep.
  • You can drink so much water you feel like you're going to float away and still have nasty, flu-like symptoms from altitude sickness. Which is not conducive to a good night's sleep.
  • When someone you love more than life does not consider God to be a friend, you fall to pieces when you hear an amazing tenor sing "Bring Him Home" (The Prayer) from Les Miserables.
  • I need prayer, especially at 2:00 today (3:00 at home) when I meet with a rep from Tyndale House.
  • God brought me here. For reasons which may or may not have anything to do with my little book.
  • Americans talk funny.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Room with a View

By the time I got to Denver, its residents were just ready for their morning coffee break. Now I'm settling into my room and hope to rest a bit before registration for the Writing for the Soul conference. Poor Jon, who took me to the airport this morning (we left the house at 5), will not have the same luxury as he works 9 am- 8 pm on Thursdays. Here's a picture of my view from the 19th floor.

     Observations so far: 
  • my breath like a fog around my face even though it's only -4C. 
  • bags feel twice as heavy at this altitude - should have borrowed something on wheels
  • "Penitentiary- Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers" sign on the freeway
  • "Medicinal Marijuana" sign on the side of a downtown building
  • Colorado has a bill coming up for reading that, if passed, will end Daylight Savings Time here.
All for now!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What Not to Wear to Denver

     I’ve been burning up way too many brain cells on what to wear to the writer’s conference. They even have a dress code – business attire, no jeans. When I told a friend this, the response was, “Really? A bunch of writers? You’d think they’d all be in their pajamas!”
     You would think so. But it’s a pretty swanky hotel, so I suspect we’d all get the boot.
     Anyway, so I’m thinking through my closet and I'm mixing and matching and butting and what-iffing. If you don’t know what butting is in this context, it goes like this:
“…but if I wear THAT, then I need these shoes…”
“…but if I take those shoes, my bag will be too full…”
“…but if I take those pants, that top won’t work…” and so on.
     And the what-iffing goes like this:
     “What if it’s hot? What if it’s cold? What if I spill something on myself? What if I’m under/over-dressed?”
     Blah-de-blah blah blah. You girls know how it goes. It’s not that I don’t have options. Too many options is probably the real problem. I mean seriously, I could wear the same gray pants and black sweater with a different colored scarf each day and who would notice? (I mean, apart from the smell.)
     It’s still on my mind when I pick up my Bible and read this from Colossians 3 in The Message:
"So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline...and regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it."

Alrighty then.
Best start packin'.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Trapped in an Elevator Pitch

Who knew it would be easier to write a 75,000 word book than to sum up said book in 50 words?

Thursday: the Christian Writers Guild posts an article by Suzanne Eller about preparing and practicing your "elevator pitch" before attending their writers conference. (For the uninitiated, this is the 60-second sales pitch you give an editor if you suddenly find yourself riding the elevator together and he or she asks "what is your book about?")
      This is a very smart and generous move on the part of the Guild. They even let you post your own elevator pitch for a free evaluation by Suzanne.
      "Great," I think. I already have mine ready. This will be the perfect opportunity to have someone rave about how awesome it is, thereby boosting my confidence. I post it.
Friday: I get a reply. Suzy says it's too wordy. Doesn't answer the right questions. Cut it down to 50 words, which is one third of its current length.
      Fifty words, are you kidding me?!?!
      Confidence sagging, I give it a shot and resubmit it. I am certain it stinks, so I prepare a third version while I'm waiting, 87 words long. Surely this one will be a winner.
Monday: I get a reply on the 50-word version. "Better, but still doesn't answer the right questions."
Well of COURSE not. How CAN it, in only 50 miserable little words? I am getting impatient with this Suzie lady. Thankfully, I have my 87-word version ready and fire it back. I know I can deliver it in under a minute if I talk fast.
      Suzie replies promptly. "Too long. Still doesn't answer the right questions. (The character, the situation, the conflict)."
      OK, now I'm mad. It is not possible to tell everything she wants me to tell in 50 words. I give up. Whatever made me think I could or should do this, anyway? Suzie will not hear from me again.
      Thirty minutes later, I decide to give it one last shot. I take the example provided in her original article and use it like a template, replacing details from her story with details from my own. I fire back this fourth attempt, then work off my frustration scrubbing the bathroom. Not sure how long it's been since the toilet was this clean.
      My next reply from Suzie is swift and to the point. She loves it!
      Well, of course she does. She practically wrote it.
      I don't say this. I thank her instead. I wonder why I didn't follow her example in the first place.
      It's much too late in life to be this slow a learner.

My pastor prayed for me...

...although he may not know it yet. 

Yesterday on my blog I asked for prayer, specifically that I would hear from God as I embark upon my writing conference adventure--a dream that requires courage and faith. Today, attempting to clear my desktop for the umpteenth time in three days, I opened the envelope from our church mailbox containing our tax receipt and a note from Nathan to all contributors. Among other things, he said: "May 2011 be a year where He rewards your Kingdom orientation ... by allowing you to hear His voice, and in so doing give you the courage and faith to live His dream like never before."

How cool is that? Thanks, Nathan! (Did I mention this man is also my nephew?)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I'll Talk About You Down on My Knees

Four more sleeps and I'm off on my mile-high adventure - my first writer's conference since 2000, definitely my first one this big. And certainly the first time I've gone off with a book under my arm, hoping to meet just the right agent or editor who will love it--or at least see its potential. Two weeks shy of my 52nd birthday, I'm a little slow out of the starting gate.
      It's a funny thing, though. The closer I get to take-off day, the less it seems to be about the book. Other writers have said by the time a book is published, they're so sick and tired of the thing it's all very anticlimactic. I'm beginning to get that.
      Not that I wouldn't love to see it published. It's just that as I prepare to go, I find myself praying a lot less about putting my manuscript in the right hands and a lot more about what God wants me to hear from him. And that's a good thing. I've been walking with him long enough to know that usually what you think he has for you and what he actually has for you are two very different things. I'm learning to watch for his surprises and appreciate them when they come. Experience has shown me that when I ask him a big question and really listen for his answer, it often comes in the form of an assignment--and probably one that doesn't make much sense to me. Mostly, I'm learning to trust him with outcomes. After all, "outcomes" are pretty much out of our hands anyway, right?
      So I'm asking my friends who pray to pray for me. Please. There's so much I could ask for, but if you just ask that I will hear from God, I believe everything else will fall into place.
      I'd love to do the same for you. If you would like prayer, send me an email at the address at the top of this blog (or comment here if you don't mind who sees it) and tell me how I can pray for you today. I promise I will.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Off to Mile High City

The Denver Grand Hyatt Hotel
     I've never been a fan of the cliche "everything's relative," because I don't believe everything is. There are some absolutes in this life. However, I recently had an experience that helps me understand how the cliche came to be.
     Three weeks ago, I got an email that almost made me fall off my chair. It was from the Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. They were announcing the top ten semi-finalists in their 2010 “Operation First Novel” contest. One grand prize winner (to be announced at their writers conference in Denver) will receive $20,000 and a publishing contract with Tyndale House. Included in this top ten list was a book called "The Silver Suitcase." Which wouldn't be of any particular significance to me, except....
     I wrote that book.
     I could not believe my eyes! Within the hour, I had posted the news on Facebook, got a bunch of congratulatory comments from friends, and received a phone call from my mother. I went to bed that night convinced it was all a dream.
     I had a week to kill before they announced the top five, but I thought the week might kill me instead. As the days dragged on, I had a pretty strong hunch I was not going to be on that list of five. Still, it was a bummer to find out I was right. I will not be the person taking home the big publishing contract.
     However, I've decided top ten is a wonderful place to be sitting and will attend their writers conference next week, where I hope to leverage my book's status with the publishers and agents I meet there.
Here's the thing. A year before, I had entered an earlier, shorter draft of the same novel in a smaller contest. Instead of all the drama and suspense, though, these folks declared their first through fifth place winners all in one announcement. I cried when I didn't make that list at all. Yet for all I know, I could have placed sixth.
     For all I know, I could have placed tenth in the one everybody's celebrating.
     It's all relative. It's all in how the game is played.
     I've learned a lot in the months between the two contests. This writing business is an emotional roller coaster and you better buckle up for the ride! I figured out awhile back the difference between my part and God's part. My part is to keep writing, keep learning, and keep putting stuff "out there." God's part is what I have no control over: who reads it, who likes it, who publishes it, and when. If ever. Understanding this difference is the thing that keeps me plugging away at my own part and keeps me sane. Yes, even while writing "out of my mind."
     Meanwhile, I'm off to Colorado for the writers conference Feb. 10-13 and would love to think my readers back home are rooting for me. Even if I don't get any nibbles from a publisher or agent, I know I'll learn a lot in the various sessions offered.
The artist in me is soaring on the wind, the disciple in me is praying like crazy, and the bumpkin in me is wetting her pants.
     Relatively speaking.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hair by Aunt Jemima

I swiped this photo of my grandsons from their mother's blog because I couldn't resist. Allistar's hairdo is, apparently, held up with syrup after a pancake supper. Definitely suits his personality. I love, love, LOVE these little guys!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Confessions of a Techno Twit

I confess. I may have got the hang of the computer, more or less. But I'm still trying to catch on to the telephone. Today was not a good day, technologically speaking. Got to my job at City Hall and my computer was off. This happens when there's a power outage, like there was on the weekend. No big deal. Except, I couldn't seem to get the thing to turn back on. Lucky for me, we have a full time I.T. guy on staff who came and carried my baby away in short order. I used an alternate laptop for most of the day, and since our files are all kept on a central server, there was nothing lost. By the end of the day, my computer was returned to me by said I.T. guy with a brand new power source installed inside. Or something. Anyway, it worked.
Meanwhile, though, I'd been trying on and off to send a fax from the good old fashioned fax machine. The recipient's line was busy, busy, busy. Finally I decided to just call them instead, but when I dialed the number on top of the fax cover form, my co-worker's phone started to ring. Wait a minute. That's our number. And that fax number is ours, too. I'd been trying all afternoon to fax myself.
Good grief.
Just another example of your hard-earned tax dollars at work, folks.