Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Well, looking at the last week of November, I got the bright idea yesterday morning, that if I just average a little over 6000 words a day for the week, I could actually come out on top with 50,000! I came in just under 6000 yesterday, so now I need to average 6500 for the next four days. I've done over 3000 today and I'm TIRED. My hands are tired, by eyes are tired, my brain is tired. I really don't have time even for this short of a post, but I just needed to complain a little.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I can't forget to mention...

... on this particular day: I am thankful for Doug, and our 17 year journey which began on this date in 1990.

I always think of Doug when I read in Proverbs 20, "A faithful man who can find?" and I'm very grateful to God for finding him for me!


Well, we got through another Thanksgiving! Actually, I really enjoy hosting our family dinner, but since cooking and domestic activities are not one of my strong points, I always approach the date with some degree of trepidation. Added to the sheer amount of work involved, and I'm always glad it's over.

We did not have a dinnertime discussion of what we're thankful for this year. If we had, after acknowledging the primacy of gratitude for the Lord and my family, I'd have said that I'm most thankful for freedom.

Perhaps that's because of the current story I'm writing, which envisions America in the future as a very statist nation with little respect for privacy or freedom. It definitely causes me to think about things.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nano is not gonna happen this year!

O.k., I'm making dinner tomorrow for 12-15, which, taking into account the shopping, cleaning, and cooking, means I'm losing about 4 days. Last weekend we spend three days at Niagara Falls, and the weekend before that I was sick for a couple of days...

All of which means, I'm just under 18K words, and probably won't get much above 20. I guess 50,000 words in a month is not in the cards for me until I no longer have kids at home and/or I no longer host the family's Thanksgiving Dinner.

I'm still glad I'm doing it. First, it has the potential to be a great resource in terms of asking questions on the forums. I haven't done it yet, nor spent much time reading there, since I didn't discover them until November had already started and time was precious. I noticed that a lot of folks post in October, so that might be a good opportunity to get some information.

The biggest benefit, though, is getting my Jairus story out of my head and onto paper. I don't know if I'll ever do much with it. At the moment, it's short-story length, and I'm inclined to leave it that way. Like most Nano writing, it's pretty awful, but I want to use my editing time on Onesimus. I also am quite enjoying the new and totally different story I had to begin when Jairus petered out. It's unlike anything I've done before, and does have potential to be a book-length story, although perhaps not one I'm capable of writing.

Oh, well... lots of housecleaning yet to do. I've done four things on a list of about 50 for today, and I'm already tired, so this was just a break. I'll get out the whip and try to spur myself on, now.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Yesterday's Election

Okay, here's the scenario: You're standing at a voting booth, reading the ballot. Three tax issues are on it: One is a school tax. I don't remember exactly what it said, but it was pretty straightforward. It also failed. They just raises our school taxes a year or two ago.

BUT, the other two both had at the top, "Tax replacement and decrease." Doesn't that make it sound like the tax will go down? But, no.... in both cases it goes up. One of them approximately doubled the tax. Surprise, surprise... they both passed.

Argghh! No wonder Ohio is one of the most heavily taxes states in the country.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad

I was so pleased when my 12 year old daughter decided to do her own NaNoWriMo. I'd never have thought of doing something like that at such a young age! And she was doing it well. Three days into it, she had over 5000 words written, which put her a little ahead of the pace. She's been ahead of me a lot of the time.

The first night, we backed both of our stories onto a flash drive... but neglected this minor detail the next two days. (Can you guess where this lovely story is going?)

Morning #4: her laptop is completely dead.

There's a little history here. First, you should know that she used three years of paper route savings to buy this laptop over the summer. Second, you should know that this is the fourth time it has died like this. They keep replacing the hard drive (taking weeks in the process), but clearly something else is causing this.

So, I'm MAD at myself for not backing her story up every day, and I'm MAD that this keeps happening, and I'm MAD that something she sacrificed so much to buy turned out to be such a lemon, and I'm MAD that her story is lost, and I'm MAD that even if it's recovered, it will miss the November NaNo window. I'm also really hoping that her wonderful talent and interest in writing isn't discouraged by this setback.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

And They're Off!

It's five o'clock in the afternoon on November 1st, and I've been writing off and on all day. I got almost 900 words done during my son's karate lesson this morning. I skipped lifting weights, shortened my walk, and didn't do either the Grammar or Spanish study I normally would. (I've also ignored some pending housework, but I'll keep ignoring that, thanks!)

So, my current grand total is.... (drum roll, suspense, etc.) 2106 words written! It's fun, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep this pace up for a month.

I'm enjoying my story, though I'm having the same problem I've had with the Onesimus stories. I have an overall direction for the work, and several 'stops' on the journey in my mind, but I sometimes struggle with connecting the dots. I wonder if that's normal for writers?

Okay, I'm truly sick of typing, so I'm done now.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Two more days...

Okay, I was pretty iffy about the NaNoWriMo. It's difficult to imagine where the time to do this will come from, BUT... I was poking about the website today, and noticed in the rules that although you're not allowed to start writing until Thursday, working on a plot outline beforehand is allowed (and even encouraged!)

Trudge, trudge, trudge. As I walked my pleasant, but not too exciting circuit through our neighborhood this afternoon, I turned off my radio and started thinking through the plot of the story I'm planning to write. WAY COOL! Now I'm all kinds of excited about doing it.

I'll try to put updates of how I'm doing. I figured out one would have to write 1666 words per day to reach 50,000 in thirty days. Since there will doubtless be days I can't do it, that means I'll need to have quite a few 3K plus days... Yikes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Language Arts

Everyone has their own strengths, and Language Arts isn't Tim's! Unfortunately, while someone who isn't good at science, or even math, can often thrive in well-chosen career paths, being able to write and speak well is important in any occupation. (Fortunately, his weakness doesn't include reading, except that he's somewhat slow.)

So it seems that this year, in an attempt to begin compensating for this weakness, we are spending about one-third of our time on it! His primary curriculum, the one that we are following exactly, is called Put That In Writing. As you might guess, it's a writing course. For some reason, although IEW is big with a lot of homeschool families, it has never appealed to me. Fortunately, I've been very pleased with PTIW. Level 1 teaches the paragraph. It takes a very systematic approach to writing; perhaps more so than would be necessary for a student who is naturally a good writer, but it's perfect for us. We began it last Spring, and in just that short time, I noticed decided improvement in his writing. So, this year, we went back to the beginning and are going through it again. I did skip through some of the early parts we'd done last year, as I'm hoping to get to Level 2 (essays) in early 2008. I'm especially grateful that the creators of PTIW have a yahoo group to which I can post questions about using the curriculum.

In addition to PTIW, we're going through the first half of Rod & Staff English 8. The current plan is to finish it next year. Don't let the '8' fool you. We're using this primarily to beef up grammar and do fun things like diagramming sentences, and it's more in depth than some high school texts in those areas. R&S is only done three days per week.

Of course, in high school, one ought to be doing some formal literature study, so he's also doing most of Lightning Literature and Composition 8. We skip a lot of the composition; although as he gets further along in PTIW, I'll start using LL8 to practice writing skills learned elsewhere. In this case, the '8' level is a bit of a problem. Since this is a weak area, I wanted to start him off more gently. I'm trying to beef it up with high school level literature guides for some of the books he has to read for Notgrass Exploring World History. Fortunately, from his perspective at least, the pace of LL8 isn't too difficult.

And just in case that isn't enough... vocabulary is important, too, right? With ACTs, PSATs, SATs and whatever other alphabet soup tests looming, he also does a separate vocabulary program each day -- Vocabulary for Achievement. I've used both this and Wordly Wise. I don't have a strong preference for either; I just managed to get these very inexpensively (used) at Follett.

He rarely spends less than two hours on Language Arts, and usually more. I feel like this both subtracts from his ability to give his best work to other subjects, and also causes him to feel/be overloaded at times. I'm hoping that we'll be able to lessen this load over time, but it seems both necessary and beneficial for him at present.

He does have a lot of strengths, by the way. In 9th grade, he's taking Chemistry and Algebra II and doing well in both. (He will do Geometry next year.) A year and a half ago, he built his own computer, buying the components with money earned from a paper route. (I just had to add all this, after talking so much about his weaknesses above!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


What in the world is that???

It stands for National Novel Writing Month. The idea behind it is to commit to write -- just write -- from November 1 - November 30. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel. Of course, it would have to be pretty rough writing; there'll be no time for agonizing over just the right word, no time for editing, and no time for revising.

I've signed up, although I'm not entirely certain I'm going to do it. If so, I'll give up my English and Spanish study (see previous post) to make time. The reason I'm thinking of attempting it is that I've been carrying a story around in my head for at least a year, but I haven't wanted to start it while still finishing and revising my first two books.

If you're interested in trying, check it out:


I'll try and post on my progress, although 50K words in a month -- or even anything close -- will severely limit blogging time.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Homeschooling Just One

This year, my 7th grade daughter is at a small Christian school, so it's just me and Tim, my 9th grader, at home during the days.

It's been two months, and I still feel like crying every day when I see my daughter get on a big yellow school bus; yet we made the decision to have her there for good reasons, and I still think it has the potential to be a good place for her.

I'm using the time I would have been homeschooling her to.... homeschool myself! Seriously, I've often envied the kids their education, but I've only had time to supervise, rather than learn it with them. So this year, I'm 'taking' English and Spanish. Last year, my son started in Rod & Staff English, and I realized how much I don't know! I'm sure it will be beneficial for my writing to get a more solid grasp of grammar and punctuation.

The reason I'm learning Spanish is just that when I tested the Rosetta Stone software in preparation for Tim to use it, I thought it seemed like a fun and easy way to learn a language.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Computer literate kitten?

Lesson to be learned... a laptop is a warm place in a cool house; don't leave it sitting open!

I'll bet you didn't know that a kitten sleeping on a keyboard can not only open a help file, but print it, too. I'm just glad it was only a couple of pages.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bad timing!

It's not that I don't ever think deeply about things -- it's just that it generally happens either in the shower, or during my daily devotions! Neither are ideal times to hop on the old keyboard, unfortunately.

That's another reason my blog has been so neglected.

A third reason (the first was in yesterday's post) is that I have so little time for writing much of anything lately that I save it for working on my book.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


It's been a long time since I've posted anything here or updated my webpage. I probably jumped the gun by trying to do all this at a time when my life is too busy to keep up with it...

I'm hoping to find a little more time this year, however....

Saturday, March 10, 2007


A couple of months ago, I sent a portion of my book to the Christian Writers' Guild critique service. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I thought it would give me a good idea if I should push forward with the idea of getting it published, and continuing to write.

I was quite nervous when the critique arrived in the mail... To be honest, I expected more criticism than encouragement, and wouldn't have been surprised if the overall gist was something to the effect of, "Don't waste your time!"

Instead, I was so encouraged. The best part was the statement that they suspect I am already a published author, based on the strength of what I gave them. Wow!

So, I'm very excited, but now I have to figure out what my next step should be!

Monday, February 26, 2007


I loved the movie Amazing Grace. William Wilberforce is a wonderful image of tenacious righteousness!

Would that the whiny, wimpy politicians of today might exchange their spinelessness and self-absorption for his self-sacrificing courage...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Are you the One?

In my ABF -- Adult Bible Fellowship, basically adult Sunday school -- this morning, our teacher was talking about John the Baptist's question of Jesus, "Are you the one, or should we expect someone else?" It's an odd question, considering that John was the first to recognize the Lord, "Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

The discussion as to why one who knew Jesus would ask such a question focussed on the times when life and circumstances leave us doubting God's goodness or faithfulness. But my thoughts were different. It occurred to me that each time we find ourselves in a difficult situation and try to deal with it without God we are, in a sense, doubting whether Jesus is the One: the One who is all the answer to our problems we truly need.

As a woman, I'm thinking of women who think a man in their life is the answer to their problems, or closer to home, looking for rest and comfort in distractions like entertainment and food instead of finding our rest and comfort in Him. In a sense, we're asking, "Are you the One?" when we turn for the answer to our problems to anything or anyone but Christ.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Church growth

Our church is facing the blessing of being a bit crowded in our facility. This has been the case more or less in the 3.5 years since we moved here. I like the way it's been handled.

First, when we were still quite new here, a couple of church planters in the area were invited to come to our services and make appeals for people to come help plant. I was impressed at the willingness of our pastors to encourage the congregation to leave and help get new churches established.

I'm not sure how many left then, though I know of some who did. But a year or two later, the blessing (being overcrowded) was back. This time, they introduced the idea of 'venues.' That is, of holding the church service in more than one location. Another large room in the church was opened up. In it, coffee and pastries are served, a live worship band plays (more upbeat than in the sanctuary) and the sermon is piped in from the sanctuary on two large screens in the room. It was also very successful. In fact, after six months, they started doing it during two of our morning services, 10: a.m. and 11:30 a.m. (The 8:45 a.m. service, which we attend, is *not* overcrowded!)

Now, they're wanting to expand the concept of the venues, and using internet and video-streaming technology, enable venues at further distances, so we can get bigger and get smaller at the same time! For lots of reasons, I kind of like the whole idea.

More later, I hope.

Monday, February 12, 2007

On being blind

An epiphany yesterday! I read about a newly diagnosable 'disease' the medical community has come up with: face blindness. (It has a long name that begins with a 'p' but I'm better at the layman's terminology.

It's not that I never remember faces -- there are actually quite a number of people whom I recognize by sight, but it seems I require excessive exposure to someone before I can do so. And if I don't see someone in a while, I can 'lose' who they are. Example: We spent two years meeting once or twice a month with a group of about 3-4 other couples. Several months after our last meeting, we ran into one of the men in a store. I stood with my husband and talked to him for 10 minutes. (Fortunately, my husband did most of the talking!)

Just as we wound up the conversation, he said something which made me realize that I'd mistaken him for a totally different acquaintance, with somewhat of a similar hairstyle. The man I thought he was is the husband of a good friend... We've had them over for dinner, I've been in their house, we've done a number of social activities in a group with them... If it was only once, I might not think anything of it, but this sort of thing happens often to me. I was beginning to think I had some sort of mental disability. I guess I do, but now it has a name, prosopagnosia. (I went and looked it up.)

Another impact it makes: When I'm in a restaurant, and I want to summon our server for something, I find it very difficult, because I never know which of the waiter/waitresses running around is ours.

But, it's really encouraging to know I'm not the only one. The newspaper I read about it in says that 1 in 50 people have it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Things got so busy this past fall that I went several months without working on my book. I'm really hoping I'll have more time this winter and spring...

I worked on it last weekend, and decided that it was a good thing to have gone for so many months without looking at it, though. Having started the sequel just after finishing the first book, I'd not re-introduced some characters and situations adequately. It took reading it fresh to see that, though.

The other thing I've not had any time for is looking for a publisher. I'm hoping to find time for that too, one of these days, but if I can only do one, I'd rather just do the writing.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


It's amazing how much of an impact one person can have in the world. In the case of the founder of Islam, I doubt that anyone has ever brought so much suffering and evil to the world...

If I believed in Dante's 'circles of hell,' I'd expect to find him at the bottom!

Monday, January 08, 2007


A townhall article by Michael Barone got me thinking... Although the change in power to the Democrats leaves me feeling a bit queasy, and I know it leaves others feeling much worse, we're not in the streets demonstrating and Pelosi didn't have to point a gun at anyone to get that gavel. What a truly wonderful country America is!

Here's the column, BTW:

Friday, January 05, 2007

Dumb cat!

Have you ever noticed how well those two words go together?

Here's what happened... I am blessed with a wonderful husband who wakes me up every morning with a cup of coffee. So, I usually sit partway up in bed, and take sips of coffee until my eyes can stay open.

However, this CAT we acquired a few months ago is one those who demands pets by ramming her head into peoples' hands. Visualize: semi-prone position in bed, hot cup of coffee held in hand resting on upper abdomen, cat approaches half-awake person looking for love....


Monday, January 01, 2007

Goals for 2007

Like my skeptical daughter, I'm not a huge fan of New Year's resolutions. One reason is that for myself, in most areas at least, I feel like I'm already doing the best I can. A better reason has a somewhat scriptural basis. In Romans 9:16, these words referring to salvation can be applied to most 'self-improvement' plans, I think: "It does not depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy."

With that in mind, I have the following four goals for myself this year. (I also have the word 'grace' written all over the page in a manner reminiscent of falling rain, just to make sure I remember the source!)

1. Live a life of sacrifice, service, and self-denial instead of ease and self-indulgence.
2. Work more on non-academics (e.g. character, spiritual life) in our homeschool.
3. Finish Faithful unto Death, the sequel to Free Indeed.
4. Work on finding a publisher.

I'd also say that they are more or less listed in order of importance.