Woe! It’s Wednesday: The Big Time

Just about the time this posts, Stud Muffin and I should be pulling into San Antonio for the Romance Writers of America national conference.

toesI think I’ve mentioned that I’m a finalist in the Golden Heart ® contest.

:-D

God willing, we’ve had a good trip, no breakdowns. I’m writing this in faith and hope because right now the car is still in the garage, my dress is still at the seamstress’s, and my mind is still in a fog.

I’ve been to writing conferences before, so I kinda-sorta think I know what to expect. But the emails have been flying furiously and I’m having all kinds of doubts and differing ideas.

I bought a portable phone-recharger, in case I run out of battery power during the day.

I’ve downloaded the RWA® app, so I can plug in my meetings and appointments and the workshops I don’t want to miss.

I missed the deadline to pre-order the conference recordings. Guess I didn’t need them after all. Or at least not at the bargain price.

I bought a fan to keep in the hotel bathroom so I can hopefully do my hair and makeup and stay cool enough that everything doesn’t melt off as soon as I finish.

I’ve gotten my last pedicure and added gold hearts to my toes.

I’m as ready as I can be.

Onward to San Antonio!

 

Book Talk Tuesday: A Distant Melody

This one sat on my Kindle far too long before I finally read it.

adm

A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin is delightful.

World War II pilot Walter Novack is home on leave for his buddy’s wedding. He’s often tongue-tied around unattached women. The only exception seems to be the bride’s friend, Allie.

Except Allie is spoken for. She’s expected to marry her father’s top executive and keep the business in the family. Allie has always gone along with her parents’ wishes. Until she meets Walt and he awakens something in her. Not rebellion, exactly, but more like the desire to do what God asks of her.

When Walt learns Allie has a boyfriend, he retreats but his affection is too strong. He would rather be her friend, then not to talk to her at all. Walt and Allie trade letters for months, while Allie learns more about God and what it means to be an obedient Christian.

I really enjoyed this one.

Sarah Sundin’s research and familiarity with World War II is impeccable. The characters are real and full. I highly recommend  A Distant Melody.

Media Monday: The Good Wife

After sharing the slime last week, I wanted to focus on something slightly more uplifting.

But only slightly.

gwThe Good Wife.

Again, we’re late to the party. We’re bingewatching via DVD and we’re only partway through Season One. I know what happened this season, but hubby doesn’t, so remember, SHHHH!

Alicia’s husband was caught up in one of those sex and drugs scandals, was disgraced, expelled from his elected office, and sent to prison. Alicia stood by him (sort of – he’s still in the maid’s quarters) and went back to work.

In some ways, TGW is a typical television crime/legal drama. Each week tends to focus on a case-of-the-week, but there is also the bigger story arc of what happened to Alicia’s husband, who turned him in, who even maybe, sort of, fabricated additional evidence.

Over all, we like it. This shows us that the people behind the headlines are real people. They work, they have families, in-laws. Sometimes life is good. Sometimes it’s hard. It’s often both, even at the same time.

I like the reminder.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Mid-month Check-in

This is the month I’ve been anticipating and dreading since March. hair

Anticipating because of several birthday celebrations and a trip to San Antonio for the Romance Writers of America national conference. And the announcement of the Golden Heart® winners.

You may have heard, I’m a finalist in the Inspirational category?

Dreading because I tend to obsess over details and brood and double triple check all my lists. I get so wrapped up in what’s coming that I forget to enjoy what’s happening now.

But I’ve made it halfway through the month with my sanity still in place and my hair mostly on my head.

I was (mostly) fully present for the first birthday celebration. The next one is this coming weekend, and then we leave for San Antonio. I’ve got the house sitter and dog sitter lined up. My dress is almost done being altered. My business cards arrived, albeit they could be a bit more distinctive with my books’ blurbs on the back, but I’m not going to stress over what’s not.

I’m going to focus on what is.

If it kills me.

What stresses you out?

Book Talk Tuesday: The Lawyer’s Luck

The Lawyer’s Luck is a historical novella, a prequel to Piper Huguley’s new series, Home to Milford College.

llRealie is on the run from the slave catchers. She meets up with freeman Lawrence, a circuit lawyer, studying for his exams. Actually, she tries to steal Lawrence’s horse and gets herself shot.

While she heals, she and Lawrence discover things about the other that they never expected.

I’m thrilled to be a Golden Heart® finalist in the Inspirational category along with Piper. She knows her market and her characters and I’m excited for this new series. The Lawyer’s Luck is a lovely introduction.

Media Monday: Ducks and Cards

We’re fans of Duck Dynasty, the show that people love or hate or love to hate.

They are a family of gleeful gun-toting, conservative, Bible-believing, hunting and fishing, rednecks.

dd

The patriarch is Phil Robertson and he started a duck call empire.

His son Willie took over the business and they’ve launched from a reality television show to all kinds of cross-marketed products. I’ve seen wine, books, calendars, chia pets, and of course, duck calls.

They’re (in my not-so-humble opinion) dangerously close to over-saturation.

Sometimes the humor is a bit gross and I know one episode in particular (with lingering shots of a buck’s rear anatomy) drew some ire from fans. But overall, the show is family-safe and fun.

Not so with House of Cards. hc

As a “good” Christian (what is that anyway? I’m not good, I’m bad and I need a Savior which is the whole point of being a Christian – but I digress), I’m a little uneasy just admitting to watching the thing.

Francis Underwood is evil personified who will stop at nothing (and I do mean nothing) to achieve his goals. His wife is just as bad, if not worse.

We’d heard from a few sources, “Oh, it’s great. He’s horrible, you hate him, but I can’t wait to see what he does next.”

So we plunged in.

All I can say is, if even 25% of what is depicted on the show is actually going on in Washington D.C., we are in trouble. Big trouble. As a nation. As a culture. As people governed by the notion of right and wrong.

We finished season two and I felt slimed and went and showered immediately. And yes, when season three is released, I’ll likely watch. But I’ll have the water running. And I won’t like myself.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Paralysis

I’ve been writing all my life.

I’ve been writing with purpose for sixteen years.

tumblr_llcf39VU4I1qdj0hbo1_500signI’ve been working at learning and perfecting my writing for twelve years.

In those years, I’ve seen other, more talented writers, give up and move on to something else.

I’ve known other writers who have gone on to publish and I’ve celebrated with them and bought and read and reviewed their books.

I’ve submitted, queried, entered contests, joined critique groups, attended conferences, and had online critique partners.

I self-published a collection of short stories.

For all that I’ve done, I also feel stuck.

I recently attended a live Beth Moore event and she spoke about the, “paralysis of perpetual preparation.” That resonated with me.

Then I ran into this quote:

Violin_bridge

 

I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung. –R. Tagore

 

 

 

I don’t wanna be a wanna be or a gonna be.

I am a writer.

Writers write.

Writers submit.

Writers publish.

I’m a writer. Time to get to work.

 

 

Book Talk Tuesday: Havah

Havan-the-Story-of-Eve-Tosca-Lee.jpgHavah by Tosca Lee is an excellent read.

The story is a first-person account from Eve’s point of view.

It took me a few chapters to really get into and enjoy the story. But once I did, I was hooked.

As a reader, I was intrigued with Lee’s take on life in Eden before the Fall and the changes that ensued when Adam and Eve bit the forbidden fruit.

The writing is lovely. Lyrical, nearly poetry in many areas. Lee’s research is obvious, but not obtrusively so. More in an oh-of-course-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that? way.

When God told Eve that her seed would crush the serpent’s head, she must have believed that her son would be the fulfillment of that promise. Which made Cain’s murder of Abel even more tragic for her.

A friend recommended this book. I don’t usually read biblical fiction, but I’m glad I made an exception for Havah.

 

Media Monday: Home of the Disgruntled, Land of the Angry

We started our Fourth of July weekend going to see Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie America: Imagine the World Without Her

america

We saw D’Souza’s last movie, 2016, when it was released in 2014. It was good. I had a few objections to some of the sweeping generalizations that made up the final quarter of the movie, but over all I enjoyed it. I wish now I could remember those objections, but in truth, I’m just glad I remember what the movie was about and that I saw it.

America, the movie, begins with various charges that are leveled at this country.

 

  • Columbus conquered the natives he discovered already living in America.
  • Southern whites built their plantations by enslaving their fellow man.
  • America grabbed land and forced the native inhabitants off their home lands.
  • America forces their ideology on the rest of the world by butting in on armed conflicts around the globe.

D’Souza makes his case, cogently laying out the charges and showing clips of respected historians and sociologists who list the evidence.

Then D’Souza moves on to show the fallacies inherent in each charge. Included in some of his defenses:

  • Columbus never even reached mainland America.
  • Free black plantation owners also enslaved their fellow man.
  • There were many  indentured English servants brought to this country, making slavery not a race issue as much as an issue of man’s inhumanity to man.
  • Native tribes were at war with each other long before Europeans landed here.
  • Conquering and obliterating enemy cultures has roots stretching back hundreds of years ago, long before … well, see above.

D’Souza’s 2016 raised some questions with me. I didn’t have any similar reactions to America.

It’s well-researched and well-done. The production values are excellent, although some of the re-enactments came off a bit cheesy. Overall, America is worth watching. Especially during this season of remembering our history and what makes us the country that so many people are (literally) dying to enter and be a part of.

In one of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, he says that our nation was founded by brave, adventurous, and innovative people. Some of those pioneer genes continue to live and thrive in present day Americans. In other words, our forebears were great men and women and we still have greatness in our national DNA.

I think D’Souza would agree. After all, he’s a 21st century pioneer and new American.

 

Woe! It’s Wednesday: If I Have Not Love …

Beyond the flannel board stories in Sunday School, my first real introduction to Scripture was in high school when a fellow student read I Corinthians 13 to a drama class as his poetry selection.

The words spoke to me and I believe that was when God first used His Word to draw me close.

Love always draws us close, doesn’t it?

At church, our adult Sunday School class (or flock) has been studying I Corinthians 12 and 13 and spiritual gifts. This week we finished up a discussion of love.

I have a confession to make:

I left class feeling more beat up than encouraged or exhorted.

I’m not saying any of what follows as a bid for attention or kudos or sympathy. I’m not whining. I love that I can do these things and I love doing them.

But … just this week, I have done or will do the following:

  • driving some extended family to the San Francisco airport and returning the same day
  • cooking and delivering a meal to a friend who just had surgery
  • helping Stud Muffin prepare his baked beans for a July 4th party
  • having three different meetings, with different groups, for different purposes
  • Having physical therapy twice

In the next few weeks, I’ll be:

  • planning, shopping, and preparing for a family weekend/birthday party at a friend’s cabin
  • helping plan a second weekend/birthday party
  • helping plan another birthday party  (Yes, that makes three and I didn’t include the one that I’m hosting but not planning)

That’s all for other people.

For myself, I’m:

  • seeing a physical therapist twice a week
  • preparing for a national conference in another state (this involves more than packing and driving. I’ve ordered new business cards, I have a dress that needs alterations, pitches to polish, dog/house sitting arrangements to finalize, and a checklist that makes a nuclear test look simple)

Add the regular stuff like keeping on top of laundry, cleaning, dishes, shopping, and meals and I’m not in a place to hear that I need to do more, love more, support more, come alongside more.

I need grace. I need mercy.

And don’t we all?

Is there a scripture or teaching topic that discourages you more than encourages?

Thanks for reading.