Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Recipe Tuesday

I thought for a long time about what I'd make for dinner tonight. It needs to be quick and easy since my husband and I will be running out for Bible Study shortly after dinner. And it needs to be good since I don't feel like having the "yes, you will eat your dinner" discussion with my kids tonight.

I began digging through my recipe drawer and stumbled across one that made me smile with fond childhood memories. My mom used to make this particular dinner a lot and I loved it. It was always my choice for my birthday dinner. Thankfully my kids love it too!

Chicken and Rice

2 Chicken breasts cut into strips
1 Cup water
1 Chicken bouillon cube
1 Can Cream of Mushroom
1 Cup minute rice
1 Can sliced, drained water chestnuts

In an electric skillet, brown chicken using some olive oil. Add the water, bouillon and cream of mushroom. Bring to a low boil. Stir in the rice and water chestnuts. Turn off heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

The best thing about this recipe is that it can easily be altered. My kids love the rice so I always add more. The trick is to add the rice, water, cream of mushroom and bouillon in equal proportions (i.e. 2 cups water, 2 bouillon cubes, 2 cans cream of mushroom and 2 cups rice).


Monday, November 15, 2010

Short Story

My writing has been a struggle for the past two months. A struggle to find time and a struggle to get words on the page. To be perfectly honest, I have been feeling somewhat defeated in my writing endeavor. The writing blogs I've read sound very together and informed, whereas I feel completely lost and floundering. The temptation is strong to set my story aside once again and focus on all the other things in life that demand my attention.

However, I am very pleased to say that I didn't do that. Instead I deviated slightly from my original plan and wrote a short story for a writing competition. The deadline is December 1 with a maximum word count of 1500.

Today I was finally able to sit and chip away at my word count to bring my manuscript down to a very close 1493. I copied and pasted, paid my twenty bucks and hit submit. So my story, that really materialized out of nowhere, is out there somewhere, being judged alongside who knows how many others. That thought alone is a bit intimidating. Do I have a chance if there are only 100 other submissions? What if there are more like 1,000 submission? My mind refuses to even think that there could be more. Let's just say that the competition is steep.

I don't hold any lofty goals of placing first. For me, the goal was to write, finish and submit...and I did that. Now it's up to the judges, whomever they may be. As a contestant and a writer I will be sitting here with my fingers crossed, praying that my story and my writing stand out.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Super Heros

My five year old son is obsessed with Super Heros, mainly Iron Man. The Super Hero craze began when Cody was only four. Spiderman grabbed his attention and he began to shoot imaginary webs out of the palm of his hands whenever we would wrestle with him. Next came Batman, which I immediately vetoed after watching five minutes of the seven-years or older cartoon (it definitely wasn't the Batman I remember watching). And now, Iron Man is the main topic when you talk to my son. It seems so silly, but when you think about it, who doesn't love a good hero!

Cody began asking us if he could be Iron Man for Halloween in September when he saw the very cool red and gold costume at Costco. But since I had no idea who Iron Man was, I said "we'll see, I need to watch the movie first". I was really thinking "I have no desire to sit through a movie about a man in an iron suit" -- I mean, come on! That's not even remotely believable. As always, time got away from me and I never got around to seeing the movie so Cody ended up being Woody (from Toy Story).

Just two days ago, my husband and I finally sat down to watch Iron Man and I have to admit, it was a very good/entertaining movie. Even though I have relatively no concept of computer technology and weapon production, I was actually able to follow the movie and what's more, I really enjoyed it. For me it was a flash back to many years ago when old friends and I would take turns watching shoot 'em up movies and chick flicks. I was so hooked in fact that the next night, we rented Iron Man 2 (not as good, in my opinion but still fun to watch).

As a special privilege, I allowed Cody to watch five minutes of the movie. The part where he is being robotically stitched into his suit, his helmet somehow surrounds his head and the front shield dramatically shuts over his face. He does whatever he does to fly and off he goes, shooting through the night sky like a bullet. I can't even tell you how fun it was to watch his face as he watched his favorite Super Hero living up to the hype. "Whoa!" "How awesome!" "I'm gonna be Iron Man when I grow up!" Attempting to explain that Iron Man is pretend, did absolutely no good. "I know mom, but I'm still gonna be Iron Man!"

Okay, Cody, you can be a Super Hero!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Hello?? Are you still out there? I didn't forget about the few and the loyal...thanks mom...I've just been preoccupied. Yes, that mostly means mom stuff. I unknowingly volunteered to be my son's "Room Parent" at school. I thought, how much can be involved with helping to organize a few parties for a junior kindergarten class? My answer: you'd be surprised! It's only October and already I have been responsible for putting together a class roster (no one returns forms) a class basket to be auctioned off at a fundraiser (no one told me that it's more difficult to get things donated nowadays than it is to take a lollipop from my one year old) and most recently I have been planning and organizing a Halloween party for the class, to take place tomorrow (this includes 5 different kindergarten crafts which equals messy, wet and gooey). At approximately 11:30PDT, the world will hear a loud sigh of relief. Don't worry, it's just me.

Since my brain is on overload and I'm agitated enough as it is, I thought I would post a list of my pet peeves or annoyances. Call it whining, call it therapy, call it whatever you want. I've been awake since 4:30 this morning and I'm tired!

- I hate that I tend to be a flake at times (as evidenced on this blog during the last month)

- I hate that people always seem to drive slow when I'm running late.

- I hate that getting goose bumps after shaving completely ruins the desired effect.

- I hate that great songs give me goose bumps.

- I hate that my husband's cell phone "vibrates" non stop between the hours of 6:00pm and 10:00 pm and all day on weekends.

- I hate that my brain reads a $39.99 price tag as $30.

- I hate that 10 minutes after dinner, my kids tell me they're starving.

- I hate how fast dust collects.

- I hate the fact that I'm not even 30 yet and I already have a single hair growing out of my chin.

- I hate that I have to see my cute OBGYN at church.

- I hate that I can't definitively tell my children when dinosaurs were on this planet.

- I hate that I can eat four Hostess cupcakes in one sitting.

- I hate that sometimes I leave the laundry in the dryer too long and the whole thing is one big wrinkle.

- I hate that my husband doesn't want any more babies.

- I hate that my mom lives so far away.

- I hate that it's so hard for me to memorize scripture.

- I hate that I hate so many things. =)

I think that's enough for now. I'll do my best to post more regularly, but seriously mom, you can just call me! =)

Please share your annoyances too. Misery loves company.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Recipe Tuesday

It has been a crazy couple of days. My sister got married this past Friday and all the hoopla that traditionally accompanies weddings, accompanied this one too. Parties, rehearsals, confusion, dancing, laughing, family get togethers, last minute deadlines and of course getting sick. I haven't had a voice for five days. Only today as I was yelling at my 4-year old (because of a very embarrassing scene she created at ballet lessons) did my 5-year old say, "Mommy, you sound like you again."

So while I recover from partying, sickness and just plain busyness I am making some warm, yummy banana bread - recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker and in honor of a wonderfully kind and beautiful lady that I'm privileged to know. Denise, this one's for you!

Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1/2 buttermilk
1 t vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 cup chopped nuts, if desired

Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pan will be in center of oven. Heat to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms of two load pans with shortening.
Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Stir in bananas, buttermilk and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Divide batter evenly between pans.
Bake loaves about 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire rack.


P.S. I made the Beef Stew last week and it was actually really good. Very easy to make since all you do is throw everything in a pan and bake for hours.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


In an effort to get more organized, I have written out a master "To Do List" for the upcoming weeks. I really enjoy the scheduling of all the events I feel a need to squeeze into my already busy days. However, I'm not as successful when it comes to implementing them.

One of the things that I put on my "To Do List" is to make (from scratch, of course) gourmet dinners for my family at least once a week. My definition of gourmet = not a frozen meal, not a reheated meal, nothing I'm able to microwave, whenever possible stay away from pasta unless I have time to make the sauce myself, etc.

This notion sprung into my head as I was cleaning out a drawer in my kitchen. This particular drawer holds all of my recipes and cookbooks - most of which I hardly ever use. I flipped through a Betty Crocker cookbook that I believe we received as a wedding gift six and a half years ago. The only recipe I have used from that book is a pie crust recipe. How sad is that! So I'm channeling Julie and Julia and I will attempt to make something once a week (I'm not crazy enough to try it every night).

On the off chance you would like to play along with me, here is tonights recipe:

Beef Stew

1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into eights
1 package (8 ounces)baby carrots
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can condensed beef broth
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/3 cup flour
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1 t dried marjoram leaves
1/4 t pepper
12 potatoes, cut into fourths
2 cups slices mushrooms

Heat oven to 375

Mix all ingredients except potatoes and mushrooms in ovenproof 4-quart Dutch oven. Cover and bake 2 hours, stirring once.

Stir in potatoes and mushrooms, Cover and bake 1 hour 30 minutes or until beef or vegetables are tender.

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Like I'm Falling In Love

Music moves me. Certain songs cause my heart to overflow with gratitude and joy. Especially songs that reflect on how much God loves us. I've noticed that as I get older, these songs tend to leave me with teary eyes and emotions I can't quite put into words. One of my newest favorite songs (it changes weekly) is Jason Gray's song More like I'm falling in love. You can listen to it here.

There is just something so true and honest about the message in his song. Love is one of the strongest emotions we are able to experience. It brings to our minds past memories, smells, tastes, sounds and visions. Love is very powerful. What makes us fall in love with someone or something? What keeps us in love? Aside from the initial rush of feelings, love is a choice. I have chosen (by way of researching, learning, feeling and trusting) to believe in God. It's very easy for me to believe in Jesus but it's even easier because I have fallen in love with Him. The same is true of my husband and my kids. No matter what happens in life, I'm committed to them because I love them.

We need to achieve the same "in love" feeling when it comes to dreaming up and writing out our characters. The lyrics in Jason Gray's song are not only true when it comes to believing in Christ - they are also true of our writing. Here are a few of my observations:

1. "I need more than a truth to believe, I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes, To sweep me off my feet..." We need more than characters that move along our story. We need to believe that what our hero/heroine is facing is important and relateable on a personal level. Readers want to be swept off their feet with compassion and likability for our characters.

2. "More like losing my heart, than giving my allegiance..." If I spend $14.99 on a book I feel like I have a certain responsibility to the characters I read about...It's my job to love them, to cheer them on, to hope for their success and happiness. And yet sometimes I'm so disappointed in the characters that the entire book falls apart for me. Just choosing to buy the book guarantees my allegiance to the main characters. But I want more from them. I want to lose my heart to them also.

3. "In more than a name, a faith, a creed. Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me..." I love books that focus on real life questions and issues that believers and nonbelievers face. But the decision to change, to believe, to place ones hope in something is not due to policies and procedures. People change because they have fallen in love with Jesus and what He is able to do for our lives this side of heaven. He is the highest motivator. Readers won't believe anything you write about your characters unless you are able to make the connection from words to feelings.

What makes you fall in love with the characters you read about? What are your writing tips that get readers hooked on your characters?

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I was looking forward to having some down time to write, now that two of my children are in school three hours a day. Well, let me just say - that statement was completely naive and perhaps a bit wishful on my part.

Since my kids started school I haven't had any time to write. Most days, I barely get home before I have to turn around and pick them up again. Sprinkle in a little ballet, T-ball practice, Bible study groups, errands, gymboree and homework time and I feel like I'm living in my car.

My kids seem to have adjusted nicely. They enjoy school and are not at all bothered by the earlier start to our days or the time we spend in the afternoon doing "homework".

I am not adjusting as well. I am struggling with the constant "go" of our new schedule and truth be told, I miss my kids. I know they are where they're "supposed" to be. I know they're learning new things and being taught by qualified teachers. And I know that they have fun and are making new friends. But I still feel as if there is just something not quite right about taking my kids to school. I hate not being with them all the time and I hate even more that I don't know how every second of their day is being spent. That sounds a little crazy, even to me. My husband would call it controlling. I call it involved parenting.

I can't help but notice that homeschooling seems to be a growing trend. Everywhere I turn, I meet a new family that has chosen to homeschool their children. I admit that I am somewhat envious of these families. Since I love to plan and organize, learn, teach and most importantly be with my children, I am very drawn to the idea of homeschooling. However, I also have many misgivings about my desire to homeschool. Am I qualified? Am I organized enough? Will I be able to stay on task? Will there be huge gaping holes in their education if I were to teach them? Would people look at us like we were crazy? Am I smart enough and capable enough? I'm not sure about any of these answers. But what I do know is this: Even though my kids are in traditional school and even though it is going along perfectly fine, my kids are learning and growing - I can't shake the desire to pursue homeschooling.

So for now I will do what I do with most things that confuse me...I'll keep praying about it. And we'll keep adjusting.

Do you homeschool your children? Do you know of families that have chosen this method of schooling? What are your thoughts about homeschooled children?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Which comes first?

I'm sure you've all heard this puzzling question: Which came first? The chicken or the egg? If you're silly (and stubborn) like I am, then you know that this innocent question can devour mountains of time as you try to sway your audience to your point of view.

As I struggle with my next writing step, I can't help but think about a similar question. Which comes first? A great story or the craft of knowing how to write well?

I believe I have a good story. Although what aspiring writer would say otherwise? I have been typing away, plunking down words for my story and I'm making progress. Slow progress in my opinion but progress nonetheless. Out of nowhere I think of this brilliant sub-plot that will add conflict, intense action, romance and it will help me avoid the "saggy middle" syndrome. Which if I'm honest, is where I was headed.

However, using my wonderful new plot requires that I go back and rewrite almost all of what I have already written. I am one of those people that loves to see the word count on the bottom of my screen climb higher and higher. Starting my story over and completely depleting my word count is very hard for me to commit to. And yet I know I need to make the changes so that my story is as good as it can possibly be.

Which brings me to my next question. Would knowing how to tackle this rewrite make it any easier? I've heard that you're not supposed to do rewrites until you're finished with a first draft. Do I "waste" my time writing a story that I'm ultimately going to change or do I stop now and fix it? I'm sure I can find these answers in the handful of writing books that I recently purchased but I seem to be three chapters in on each one of them and getting nowhere fast.

So here I sit. Staring at my computer screen and completely unsure of where to go next. Do I read all of my books first so I know how to proceed? Do I keep writing and edit later? Do I start over? Do I give up entirely and do laundry?

I'm sure there are many out there that say a good story is the most important element for a writer but at the moment, I'm wishing I had years of experience and know-how.

Which do you believe is the most important: the craft or a good story? Which is easier to overcome?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Love Stories

I am married to the biggest sports fan ever! Chris will play and watch anything (with the exception of soccer. According to him, soccer is not a "sport" but merely a game. For those of you that may object to this...don't shoot the messenger.) Something is always on the TV at our, football, baseball, golf, UFC, poker (is that even considered a sport?).

He is such a nut that before we got married, he had me memorize all 32 football teams, with the San Francisco 49er's being at the top of the list, of course. After our wedding, he slowly began to clue me in to the fact that he had boxes full of memorabilia stored under his parents' home. Now when I say "boxes", I mean many many many boxes and containers...anything that could hold items and came with a lid was stuffed full of autographed baseballs, footballs, jerseys, jackets, stat cards, newspaper clippings, pictures, sweaty towels from basketball players, bobble head collections, every issue of Sports Illustrated Kids from it's inception on and even a hunk of grass from a favorite football field. His collection is astounding. If his parents ever insist that we remove all these boxes from their home, we would either have to buy a bigger house or rent a storage locker.

I am sharing all this silliness with you because this sports craze has led up to a very important experience for my husband. For years, Chris has been planning to attend the ceremonies for Jerry Rice's Hall of Fame induction in Ohio, which just happened this weekend. I am so glad that he was able to attend the event that he has been dreaming about for as long as I've known him. However, that has left me alone with our three little ones for 5 days! I'm tired. And I really miss him... Thankfully, he'll be home tomorrow.

After I got the kids in bed tonight, I sat down on the couch to veg with the TV for a bit and I stumbled onto one of my favorite movies, When Harry met Sally. I hope you have all seen this's so much fun. Naturally I did what any lonely wife would do when watching a romantic movie by herself. I made some chocolate chip cookie dough (no, I didn't bake it) and I enjoyed this movie all by myself. One of the things I love about this movie is that it shows clips of married couples sharing their love stories. Here's mine...

Once upon a time, I was teaching a preschool Sunday school class at our church when in walks this very handsome stranger. He proceeded to walk behind the counter (which prevents the kiddos from escaping) which immediately clued me in to the fact that he was my "helper" for that particular Sunday. My first thought was "No, God, not here." Jumping around with puppets and using my little kid voice was not exactly how I wanted to impress this very attractive man. But I had no choice. I lead music and circle time with as much maturity as I could get away with...which wasn't much. Something must have worked though because we got to know one another after that Sunday.

Seven months later, he surprised me with a very adorable proposal. Once again I was teaching my Sunday school class, when one at a time, each of my students began to bring me one long stem red rose and some little memento from our dating relationship (one was a napkin from the restaurant he took me to on our first date, another one was a ticket stub to a basketball game we went to). Prince charming was the one to bring me rose number 12 and with fifteen 4 year old's looking on confused, he proposed to me right where we had first met. AWWWWW!

I love romantic stories and sweet beginnings! Please share yours with me too!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Preschool Days

Today is the first day of preschool for my little munchkin, Ava. We originally had her enrolled at a different preschool (the one her brother attended). I'm beginning to realize that not all of our decisions as parents get to be "cookie cutter". Bummer!

Chris and I agonized for a long time about where and when to enroll Cody in preschool and knew that since he was more timid socially, he would grow and benefit more in a large classroom setting. Turns out that's not the case for Ava. She doesn't struggle socially but we feel she'll benefit more from a leg up in the academic world.

We found a wonderful little preschool run by a lady that attends our church. She offers a more structured curriculum and after many questions and tours and requests for more information and hours spent praying and deliberating, my husband and I decided it would be the best fit for Ava. I'm disappointed that she won't be attending the same preschool as her brother did but I'm excited that she'll have her own independent experience, one tailored just for her.

I'm experiencing a mix of emotions right now; awe that she is almost four years old and ready to attend preschool, motherly pride that she is just as cute and perfect as she can be, selfish sadness that she will no longer be with me every minute of every day, excitement that she gets to experience new things - make new friends, learn new lessons, and a smidgen of guilt for being slightly relieved that I will have time to write during the day. (Did I just admit that out loud?)

It's hard to imagine that in one week, when Cody starts Jr. Kindergarten, I will only have one child with me at all times. Where did the time go? I have a very distinct awareness that the time Chris and I have with our kids is fleeting. Knowing that makes these milestones in their lives bittersweet. I want to savor every second I have with them...soak up as much of their "baby" years as I possibly can so in ten years I have no regrets when I look back.

In the future, when they're grown and gone, I'd like to be able to say that I was fully present, fully invested and fully appreciative of every moment we had together. Unfortunately, there just aren't enough moments to satisfy this mommy.

What emotions do you feel when you think about your kids growing up? If you're a stay at home parent, how do you plan to occupy your time when you have more of it for yourself?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oregon City

We're stuck! My husband's work is taking longer than originally anticipated and what was supposed to be a 4 night stay has turned into a 6 night stay (and counting). In an attempt to focus on the highlights of this trip (and not to dwell on the fact that I'm stuck in a 10x10 foot room with three toddlers and limited activities) I have decided to share a few of our pictures depicting the things we learned about pioneers and their original journey.

Chris, Cody and Ava grinding corn into cornmeal.

Chris and Cody sawing logs (yes, with mean faces).

Lexie crawling in the grass. What did pioneers do with babies? I'm sure they ate a lot of dirt.

We were able to build a log cabin...sort of. The Phillip Foster Farm in Eagle Creek, OR has a giant version of Lincoln Logs. What fun!

Still building...

Okay, so this was as far as we got. Partly because we didn't want the whole thing to fall on Lex and partly because it was really hot!

We took a trolley around Oregon City.

The main reason for the visit...The End of the Oregon Trail Museum. Just my luck, it was closed due to lack of funding.

However, we did have a little fun in the gift shop (yes, that was still open). Cody and Ava being silly.

They even had dress up clothes. Chris and I opted to pass.

Willamette Falls

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wagons West...

Well, more like north for us.

I have mentioned before that I am writing a Christian historical fiction. The beginning of my story takes place on the Oregon Trail (I'm very fascinated by this event in history) while the remaining story is set in Oregon City, a popular ending point on the trail. I have been asking my husband if we could squeeze in a short trip to Oregon (before the kids start school) in order for me to do some research up there. It wasn't looking good.

I'm happy to report that God had other plans and we are leaving today for Oregon City. It just so happened that my husband has to take care of some last minute, unplanned work in Portland, which is a mere 25 minutes away from the area that I want to research.

The only downside that I can see about this upcoming trip is that we will be making a 10 hour drive with a 5 year old, a 3 year old, a 1 year old and way too much baby gear. (What on earth would you do with a baby in a wagon?)

We must be crazy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Goals...or chaos?

There are never enough hours in the day. I always seem to feel this way. When you combine my daily tasks (cleaning, laundry, cooking, errands, and chasing, feeding, disciplining and playing with three kids) with my need to accomplish personal goals, it can be a recipe for disaster. I often ask myself (at around 4:00 in the afternoon, "Where did the day go?)

I've had three goals that I always wanted to complete before my 30th birthday (which leaves me a little over one year).

Goal 1 - Be finished with my "baby" years. I always wanted to have three or four kids. Now that I have my three, I've decided I could go on indefinitely if given the choice. The design of bringing a baby into this world never ceases to amaze me and the emotional bond between baby and mommy is one of the purest forms of love I have ever experienced. Having said that, Chris (my hubby) is quite sure he's done having children...which I suppose makes my decision to be "done" very easy.

The main reason this goal was so important to me is because Chris and I love to travel. The list of places we'd like to see together could fill 100 books easily. We'd like to be relatively young when we get the opportunity to explore the world (not that I'm particularly excited about having an empty any time of life). More importantly, we want to see our grandchildren grow up and have their own families. I feel like I couldn't have accomplished this particular goal any better than I already did.

Goal 2 - Run a marathon. This thought has always bounced around in my head. I'm not hugely excited about running, probably because I hate to sweat but I am determined to check this off my list before next September. In order to do that, I have a lot (A LOT!!!) of training to do. I've never been a very dedicated exerciser, however I love a freshly baked, gooey brownie so I realize that my need for exercise will only increase as I get older and my metabolism slows down (which I have already begun to notice. Poor me!).

About three months ago I registered to run a half marathon in La Jolla, CA in April of 2011. This will be my practice/trial for the full marathon which I have yet to register for. (Let's see how I do on this one first, shall we?) My main goal in April is to NOT be the last runner to cross the finish line. How deflating to have a truck slowly following behind you, picking up the bright orange safety cones as you gradually pass each one. Lord, don't let this be me!

Goal 3 - To have a wonderfully creative piece of Christian fiction published. Okay, so I'm currently working the hardest on this specific goal. However, I fear I waited to long to begin the process so this goal will have to be amended slightly. Maybe my book won't be on the shelves by the time I hit 30 but let's shoot for a contract at least! If God opens doors sooner than that I'd be over the moon.

Do any of you have any personal goals in which you have assigned a deadline? If so, please share.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

To Go or Not To Go...

I'm notoriously impetuous. I'm famous for it actually. Any time a fun, exciting idea wiggles its way into my head, I clamp down on it like a bulldog with a locked jaw.

About three weeks ago, my "hot idea" was to organize a family cruise vacation. (I've been known to attempt this at least three times a year...its sad really). It started with an ad I received in the mail advertising wonderfully discounted prices. My heart was immediately invested. I called/emailed my family to get the budget and time restraints for each group. Then I spent literally hours...wasted time!!...attempting to narrow down the options that fit the criteria. The outcome is always the same (I've only been able to organize one successful cruise for my family in all the years I've tried) "we can't go", "we can't afford that", "I can't take any more time off of work", etc. Thankfully, I have a wonderfully, supportive family and their judgement is limited to "Lace, where do you get these crazy ideas?"

About six months ago, I was going to conquer the food business world with my Italian Grandmother's unique pasta sauce recipe. The idea came and stuck immediately. I organized comparative tastings including all the sauce competition, I researched prices on the best place to purchase my supplies in bulk, I set up a business relationship with a local shipping company (the first nail in my coffin), I created a website, I read piles of books on creating a successful business plan and running a start up company, I spent weeks and weeks researching and planning. I'll give you one guess what happened. I FELL FLAT ON MY FACE!

There is a very important, four day, Christian writing conference coming up in September. I'm sure most people register for this event months in advance, allowing plenty of time to prepare. However, I only found out about this conference two weeks ago, so I don't have months and months of time to decide if I should go or not. I need to decide. Do I go or do I wait for next year? My heart tells me to go, my fear tells me I'm ridiculous and my head is just confused. This is one decision that I don't want to make impetuously. I would really like to hear the clear, directive voice of God right about now. So God, if you read this...I'm available to chat any time. My schedule is completely open!

On a writing note...I'm having a very hard time writing dialogue for the hero of my book. Every time I read what I have him saying, I'm just unimpressed. He sounds like a wimp. He sounds like a girl. Probably because the person writing a girl! But who wants to read a book with a lame hero...definitely not me. I need him to be bold and commanding. I need to capture the spirit of John Wayne and I'm ending up with Fred Astaire. I need to learn how to speak like a rugged cowboy. Any suggestions, anyone?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

There is a first time for everything

This is my first time blogging...and I'm a bit nervous about it. I'm quite certain that no one cares what I have to say. But I'm going to try and we'll see where God takes this. After all "there are no limits when we place our future in God's hands," that is what my pastor said in yesterday's sermon. It struck me as very profound especially since I am attempting to break into the writing world with little to no experience...just a story in my head and a desire to entertain and touch another life.

Is my story any good? I hope so. Do I have the time to write while chasing down three kids under the age of five? Probably not. But all things are possible with God and I'm hanging onto that verse like it's a life preserver.

So today's overarching theme is "try again". Yesterday's sermon was about how Jesus blessed his fishing disciples (John 21). They had spent the entire night fishing with no luck. They were probably exhausted and wet and weary. Suddenly they hear someone say "throw your net on the right side of the boat." Now if you're like me you hear that and think "don't you think I've tried that already? I've been out here all night. Believe me, I tried the right side!"

Well as many of you know, when they obeyed, they couldn't even haul in the net. It was so full of fish (the Bible tells us later in verse 11 that they caught 153). Finally Peter realized who had spoken to them and says "It is the Lord!"

Now isn't that just like us? We work so hard, all night sometimes, banging our heads into a wall, trying the same things over and over. Then when we finally get the results we're looking for, we're shocked when it's God that made the pieces fit all along.

As I was battling a bout of insomnia last night, flipping through the channels on our television, I came across the movie Shrek the Third, not something I would normally watch but in a very chaotic scene that caught my eye, someone says "each of you is standing in your own way".

My point is: nothing is accomplished on our own strength and by our own doing. God orchestrates everything according to His plan for each individual life. Am I meant to write? Who knows...except God. I will surely have setbacks in my endeavors but that doesn't define me. What defines me is whether or not I try again.