Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A MOTHER'S HEART


A Mother’s Heart
Sometimes bearing our hearts is so painful, it’s tough to share. Every mother faces heartbreak in some form. It might be when she feels for her child when he’s picked on at school, waving good-bye on the first day of kindergarten or when dropping her off at college. There are bigger difficulties: Illnesses of children, some incurable, others ongoing; drug addiction, rebellion, alcoholism, mental illness, estrangement. Mothers feel it differently than fathers—for the most part. My wonderful husband, Jack, refers to it as the invisible umbilical cord, which is quite a bit different than the proverbial apron strings.
Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt {PD}

Unfortunately, moms often feel they should take the blame for everything their child does. We wonder if we had done something different, if they’d have made better decisions. What we don’t know is, if they would have made worse decisions without our nurturing. God, with His sovereign knowledge, gave us just the right kids and he gave our children the parents he deemed necessary. He fits us together. Not that that gives parents the right to mistreat their children. They aren’t our property, but they are loaned to us for a time.

So often the stories I write surround mothers and children. Orphans being fit into the right family, just as God adopted His children through His son, Jesus—His sacrifice on the cross, our faith—His gift of grace.

As I’ve been going over a biblical story I’ve been writing about Moses relationship with his mothers, I’ve been thinking about faith and sacrifice. As he is placed in a basket on the river, what faith Jochebed had to completely let go of him, knowing she had to trust the Lord to keep him safe. Then, after she placed him back into the hands of Pharaoh’s daughter after weaning him, she had to completely release Moses again.  
Moses' Mother by Alexey Tyranov {PD}

We read a few lines in the book of Exodus that span a few years. How much family time was packed in there? How many emotions? And yet, God allowed Jochebed to have her baby back for a couple of years as his wet nurse. I’ve tried to get into her head and heart, trying to experience what she must have felt. I’m not sure I could ever do her feelings complete justice, because I live in such a completely different time and culture. However, a mother’s heart is universal. Whether borne from our bodies or adopted, we want the best for our children. If are no longer able to fill that role, or it’s time for them to leave the nest, mother’s feel as though a piece of their heart is being taken from them. That’s how close we feel to our children.

Jochebed’s faith challenges me to release my children’s care to the Lord, even if I have to do it several times a day. It gives me the opportunity to tell Him I trust His plan. Praying isn’t just the only thing we can do sometimes, it’s the most we can do!

About this time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months.  But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River.  The baby’s sister then stood at a distance, watching to see what would happen to him. Exodus 2:1-4, NLT


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday Whimsy: It's Been a Long Summer, but We're Back!


Lilybits--not large, but in
charge!
It’s been a long summer . . .
Well, Mom says it hasn’t been, because summer weather came so late and winter lasted so long. We were a bit busy. Okay, Mom says she was busy, but I have to keep an eye on her and Dad, when I’m not busy getting my beauty sleep. Sometimes I sleep with one eye open.

I only escaped once this summer and Mom’s friend caught me. I like to give Mom extra worry. She insists I can’t wander outside, because I am small and delicate and that a coyote would like to make lunch out of me, yadda, yadda, yadda. She still calls me “baby girl” and doesn’t realize I am a purr-fectly mature adult cat, who can be responsible for myself! At least as long as I’m fed three times a day, brushed and petted when I give permission.

Mom spent most of June on her laptop, when I should be her laptop, period! She wrote lots of words on her latest manuscript. Boooring! Her next project was learning how to make wire wrap jewelry. She quickly learned not to leave beads or other small components uncovered, because I like to roll them onto the floor. Hee hee!

Sea glass earrings!
As for going places, she got to meet my friend, Toby the monkey, when she went to meet his human, Patty Wysong, at the Belleville Strawberry Festival. She said Toby was sweet and charming. I decided to ignore her for a couple of days after that. Mom says she never takes me any place to meet monkeys or other creatures, because I don’t like being tethered in my harness or riding in the car. I’m thinking that’s her fault for not figuring out how to make them more pleasant experiences.
Patty Wysong and Toby

Speaking of going places, they do take me up north to the cottage they rent near Mackinaw City. First they sneak something that makes me feel really weird, and my paws look really big, into food I can’t resist. Then I go hide, because I know the harness is coming . . . and the car ride. However, when I was feeling a little less sedated, I was able to help Dad drive! He wouldn’t let me drive by myself, because I was still under the influence and he said something about needing a driver’s license. I thought those were only for humans.  
Lily helping Dad drive.
I did enjoy watching the birds at the lake, and the chipmunks, though they can be annoying. It also gives me an opportunity to hunt fresh dust bunnies under the beds and have new countertops to walk on without permission.

View from the cottage.
Mom plans on writing more blog posts this fall and is imploring me to do the same. We hope you’ll visit us again soon! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

I've Been Tagged in the Empty Purse Challenge!


Purse Challenge 
Though this may not be the typical Monday Motivation, it should motivate you to occasionally clean out your purse. This way you won’t get caught revealing just a little more than is comfortable like I was!

Last weekend was the perfect time to be tagged in the “purse challenge”, since I was changing purses as I prepared for the Maranatha Christian Writer’s Conference. Of course, I was a little squeamish about divulging the contents of my purse. This situation is kind of like inviting people into a cluttered room and apologizing for the mess.
Blue Rhapsody pattern!

While my friend Karla Akins prefers large purses, I’d rather use a small cross-body bag. I usually wind up with something in-between, by the time you include a place for a case for my glasses, phone, keys, and id/coin purse.
Hipster and coin purse in Marseilles
pattern.

My sister started me on a longstanding, budget-debilitating addiction to Vera Bradley bags. She didn’t purposely do it—she started giving them to me as gifts. Then I became spoiled. When I was working, I found some good deals on their online store. At that time I acquired a matching purse and lunch bag in the Pink Paisley pattern. I still enjoy perusing their online “up 75% off” sales.

While visiting the local Vera Bradley habit recovery/support group, where I had to say, “Hi, my name is Kathy and I am addicted to pretty quilted purses and tote bags made from colorful fabrics . . . usually in a paisley pattern,” I was confused about which pattern was my favorite. The facilitator insisted I needed to admit what it was before I could be freed from the habit. Recovery means no longer sweating and having shaky hands when I delete one of Vera Bradley’s emails, or walk by one of their stores without a glance.  



Now for the contents of my purse:


  1.    Old grocery lists.
  2.   Outback gift card.
  3.   Inhaler, in case my asthma acted up from bonfires up north.
  4.   Two coin purses—one holds my license and other important stuff, the one underneath it holds stuff like my Barnes and Noble card.
  5.  Hand sanitizer.
  6. Tieback from my new family room curtains, so I could show it to my sister when I met her for lunch.
  7.   One tube of hand cream.
  8.   Old receipts.
  9.   Old coupons.¨   
  10.   Two mini-packets of tissues.
  11.  Disposable toothbrush.
  12. Case for my glasses.
  13.   Flash drive.
  14. Comb with a pick, some black thing that I don’t remember what it is?
  15. A large blue hair pick—this comes in handy when I let my hair go wavy.
  16.  Car key and fob.
  17. Change.
  18. One tube pink lipstick.
  19. Mascara.
  20. One tube pink lip-gloss.
  21. Two pens and a pencil. How did my highlighter disappear?
  22. One sample paint card.
  23. One 2014-15 calendar with cute kitty on the front.
  24. Two old appointment cards.

Not even sure how I fit all that into one of my favorite purses. Of course, there had to have been a purpose for each item at one point or another.

As far as a favorite pattern goes, I’m still trying to figure that out. The question is: Do I really have to, when purses, totes and other things are useful objects? Maybe it won’t hurt to delay my recovery . . . a little longer.

Friday, August 22, 2014

BOOKS 'N' BLURBS

YA HISTORICAL ROMANCE OUT TODAY FROM PRISM BOOK GROUP:

by Lynn Lovegreen!



Gold mining is in Jeannie Kelly’s blood. But it’s a dangerous time to be an honest miner in Nome, Alaska—claim jumpers have invaded the territory. Jeannie has set her sights on Clint Tilghman, the strong, quiet man next door to her family’s claim. Clint fights his feelings for the impulsive lady miner, fearing he’ll lose his independence. Jeannie tries to change her tomboyish ways to attract Clint and gain respect from others, but there’s a lot to learn amidst gunplay and bar fights. Jeannie must woo Clint and beat the claim jumpers before summer’s end.



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lilybits Chats with Ophelia



Lilybits, not large, but in charge.
Hello, Ophelia, thanks for joining me on Wednesday Whimsy. How long have you owned your humans? How did you come to them?

I’ve known them since their daughter and son-in-law rescued me. When they went away to college, I got to take over the parents’ house. And take over, I did. Now they think I belong to them. Right…

What’s the best way to train your human?

I sit and stare at the goodie bag. I have these to die for gorgeous eyes, and when I stare from the bag to them and back again, they can’t resist. It’s hilarious to listen to them. “Oh, look at those pretty eyes. Do you wanna treat, Princess? Such a precious little girl.” Gag me, but it gets the job done. Oh yeah, I own ‘em.

All that baby-talk is humiliating, isn't it! But you're right, those adorable looks
we give them work every time!

What does Linda like to write?

She writes romance but wants to write suspense. She’s all about spine tingling and scary stuff. I, personally, think all of it’s rather silly. I find stalking a mouse much for satisfying and scary for the mouse. That’s the way it should be. And in this 150 year old house, there is always a mouse or two to catch…if I’m in the mood.
Ophelia, being beautiful!

How do you help her write? Or do you help more with her agent’s job?

I really try not to distract her much. She is so ADHD that if I spot a fly on the wall, she, too, will soon be tracking it all over the room. So I just lay across my blanket on her office chair and look beautiful. It’s not hard. Just one of the perks of being me! After all, I WAS named after a great Shakespearean character. Beautiful, elegant, tragic…Ophelia.

Ahh! Nothing better than a cat's life!

Do you have any advice for fellow canine muses to get the most out of their jobs?

Canine? This is a clean, family-friendly post. Let’s not use such nasty words!

Oh, well, I thought I'd give it a shot since dogs need all the help they can get from
a more cunning species such as ours! 

What’s the best way to stay out of trouble?

Hahaha. While you’re laughing inside after being caught on a counter, you just look remorseful. Give them the old “I am sooo sorry. What WAS I thinking?” look and then wait for them to hike on out of the room so you can do whatever you like. And they fall for the “I’m sorry” like a hiker over the edge of a cliff. OR, and this is important, just let them think they run the show. It gives them some strange sense of self-importance. If only they knew…

Maybe I should try that "I'm sorry" look. Thank you for the tip! I appreciate the time you took for our little chat. 

About Linda S. Glaz: 

Linda S. Glaz, a Hartline agent, is an experienced editor, reviewer and writer, has participated as a final reader for Wild Rose Press, then for White Rose Publishing all the while reviewing for online sites. She has worked as an editorial assistant for Hartline Agent Terry Burns. She's extremely active in the judging community and speaks at conferences  nationwide.  She is also a member of  AWSA. Linda understands writers, because she IS a writer.








Monday, July 14, 2014

First Timer - News and Writing Prompt


First, I need to make an announcement. The winner of
of last week's drawing for Brave New Century is Elaine Stock!

I would say, “Lucky me!” However, I believe I’m blessed, not lucky. Anyway, I had my first book signing at Blue Frog Books and More in Howell, Michigan on Saturday, July 12th. It’s an awesome little mom and pop bookstore where they’re always glad to see you. Old-fashioned service and a passion for books are their hallmark. Our tables were set up in the back. The store walls are lined with beautiful wood bookshelves and you can inhale the fragrance of new paper and fresh ink—something you can’t do with ebooks! Thank you,
Rob and Penny, for hosting us!
Kathy Rouser, Linda Glaz, Gail Martin and Marianne Evans
Marianne Evans, Linda Glaz and Gail Gaymer Martin, all lovely Great Lakes authors, joined me. We were only missing Jerry Slauter, who had to cancel. But we had a lovely Christian fiction afternoon, allowing us to gab about writing and the market and meet new readers. Lots of fun!



Your writing prompt challenge this week is to think of a “first” in your life. Examples: First day of school, first kiss, first day behind the driver’s wheel, first house, birth of a first child . . . only limited by what you can come up with. Take five to ten minutes and think of the impressions that “first” left on you—the scents, the sounds, what you saw or tasted, how did the day feel? Have fun on your trip down memory lane. 


Linda Glaz and Marianne Evans

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Motivation for July - Writer's Terror!


Is writer’s block just that? Let me word it another way: Is there really such a thing as writer’s block? I have never liked that term. I know I can write when I put my mind to it. There are so many characters and stories in my mind, waiting to get out, that it’s not for lack of material.

Then there were the times that I was drained physically or emotionally that, try as I might, it didn’t seem I had enough emotion to write into my character’s lives. At one point, I even felt the Lord’s gentle voice telling me to “rest”—at least from writing fiction—and I began to write devotionals for a time. That was a good learning experience for me.

After I became unemployed again in early February, I thought how great it would be to have plenty of time to work on my writing. However, that was part of my problem. I no longer had to reserve my writing time for twenty minutes or so at Starbucks before work, or during lunch and hope to find additional time on the weekend. I had a whole day before me, so why not start with coffee and email, then write a blog post. When I was done with all that I needed to get going and run errands, clean or cook. Before I knew it, another day was gone and I would go to sleep with thoughts in my head of how wonderful it would be to write tomorrow.
"The Scream" by Edvard Munch {PD in the US}

Some days I accomplished a little, but what was stopping me from digging in and racking up those word counts? I read books that encouraged writers to keep writing, saying encouraging me to write over 2,000 words a day, that it wasn’t that difficult. I took the advice of keeping a writing appointment each day, but still wasn’t making the kind of progress I wanted.

Each day I would look at that rectangle of white on the screen and the words rolled around in my mind, but they didn’t make it quickly onto the page. I’d ask myself where I should start or what should come next, but I would begin with trepidation. Only after I had taken some time and worked myself into the “zone” was I able to relax.

What was causing this block to my productivity? Fear caused my lack of confidence and snail like pace. My internal editor was on high alert and critical of everything.  The fear of failure lurked within, holding me back.

Then I decided to read Jim Denney’s, Writing in Overdrive, where he hypothesizes that some of the world’s greatest writers did their best work in compressed amounts of time, giving themselves to the pure joy of writing. Hmm . . . I’d also read over and over that if you write a first draft, you give yourself something to work with—it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around.

Talking with other inspirational writers who were very productive, I was invited to participate in a group, which keeps you accountable for daily word count, but most importantly, they prayed for me. It was the first time in my writing life I prayed a different way for my productivity—and for others’.

Making a word count goal for the month, giving it to the Lord and sharing it with others made a difference. I started to take off and really enjoy writing again. No longer was it a mechanical process to be feared, but a story freely taking shape. Mind you, my draft will need plenty of editing and rewriting, but I have another novel manuscript first draft nearly finished.

What made the most difference in curing my writer’s terror? Accountability, prayer and allowing myself to enjoy writing again each played a big part. I still have my slower days, but pushing and challenging myself to a larger word count than usual helped turn writer’s terror into creative productivity.

May you go and achieve even more!

Leave a comment or follow for a chance to win Brave New Century this week!