Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas!

I hope that each of you find blessings and joy in this season and the year to come!
Merry Christmas!
-From Elizabeth and her cats =^..^=
Here are some photos I took of Christmas light displays and my mischievous cats:
Garden of Lights, Muskogee, Oklahoma

More Garden of Lights

Rhema Bible College, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Sophie (Yes, that is a lamp shade)

Kitty finding warmth under the tree



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG: Writing Goals

            Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month. The IWSG poses a question for us to answer in our monthly posts. Here is the question for December:
In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?
            This has just been a week of future-oriented questions. First, the Question of the Month was about retirement, and now this. Maybe this is God’s way of telling me to start thinking more about the future in my life. I must admit that this is a tough question to answer because I have not set many definitive goals with my writing. I’ve allowed stress and many distractions to get in the way of my search for writing contests and publications to submit to. The book that I started sometime in the last year has been put on hold because it was loosely based on some of my own experiences and I’m not ready to write a character that is too much like myself. So, those are the things I’m not doing, but what am I doing? What are my writing plans? These are questions that really get me thinking and I actually have been thinking about these things a lot more the last few months than I was previously.
            Five years from now, I hope to be a lot more writing-oriented, and in order to get to that point, I will need to make some changes with my current job situation. I hope to turn one of the ideas floating around in my head into a novel and I want to participate in NaNoWriMo at least once in the next five years. In the meantime, I have decided that I really enjoy writing short stories after the two anthology entries I’ve written. My entry from last year was mostly an experiment and I’m not sure I like it anymore, but I plan to steal one of the characters from that story and give him his own new story. In fact, I may introduce him in a blog post in the next couple months. As for this year’s entry, my brain has already created a prequel and multiple character continuations of the story I wrote and these ideas could have novel potential. Although, the idea of writing a fantasy novel is quite intimidating. I also hope to have at least one thing published somewhere; an article, a story, or even a book. I know in order to get something published I need to write more and submit more, which would mean scheduling my writing time better. These goals may not seem very big to those who are career writers, but for me these sound doable under my current circumstances. I’m a slow writer, so each step I take with my writing feels like a big step for me! If some other life circumstances change, I may be able to shift to writing on a more full-time basis and then I would have a whole new set of goals to share.
Do you like to keep your goals small or do you think big? Any other slow writers out there?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Question of the Month: Retirement, What's That?

The Question of the Month is a bloghop that occurs the first Monday of each month and it is hosted by Michael G D'Agostino from A Life Examined. Here is this month’s question:

“What does retirement look like for you?”

            When I was in high school, I would have said I wanted to sell everything and travel the continental United States in an RV with my husband. As I’ve gotten older, I still love traveling and road trips, but I also like to have a place to call home, so I think I would have a more permanent residence and travel occasionally. I do hope I’ll be married with children by the time I retire and I imagine I would enjoy hosting family get-togethers or visiting relatives a lot. On quiet days at home, I would still be writing and probably take up knitting or quilting, and keep a small garden. I would like to have a home in a quiet, secluded area, preferably near some mountains. As to what I’d be retiring from, that all depends on if I ever get married. If I were married, I would be a homemaker, so technically, I would never really retire, because I would want to continue to have the grandkids over to visit. I guess, married or not, if my writing career takes off, I might eventually come to a point where I slow down and let the royalties continue to roll in (LOL), but I would not completely stop writing. In other words, I’m probably never going to retire :)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Flashback Friday

            **It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's time for Flashback Friday. Participants repost an old post that needed more attention, that you're very proud of, that you think is still relevant, etc. It was hosted by Michael G D'Agostino, but he has opted out, though you can still find a list of participants on his blog. Today is also a day known as Black Friday, although the last few years, many stores have moved their sales to Thursday, which is a shame. If you're like me, you've given up on shopping in stores and have already snagged some deals online throughout the week. For those who are out and about: Stay safe and I hope you can still find some deals today! This post is from November 30, 2011.**

Finding Peace in the Chaos

Psalm for the Troubled Spirit
        In times of trouble, You are there.
You, O Lord, bring me friendships when I need them the most.
You encourage me when life is at its worst.
When I feel like I'm at the end of my rope, You give me more slack.
When I pray, You give me a peace that passes all understanding.
You are always with me, even when my heart isn't fully with You.
When I'm struggling or confused, Your Word provides me with encouragement and wisdom.
Even when the answer isn't clear, You still give me endurance to keep on the straight path.
Sometimes this world is a scary place and the future looks bleak, but You are still there.
Your presence is what truly brings me hope and peace in a chaotic world.

          So, as we enter the month of the December, let's remember what is truly important. Some people get depressed this time of year, but don't let circumstances bring you down. Remember that Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas and that He is always with you; during the highs and the lows of life. Focus on the blessings in life instead of the negative things. Allow God's love and the comfort of friends and family to carry you through this month full of frantic shoppers, busy schedules, and stressful deadlines. If you get a moment, slow down and savor the magic of Christmas. Look at Christmas through the eyes of a child again. The snow, the lights, the beautiful decorations, the music, and most of all the love that comes from the hearts of those around you. Taking the time to find joy in the midst of pandemonium can help you to spread that joy to others, and maybe together we can shine the light that so often gets burned out.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Change is Coming

            I started writing out a fairly long post for today until I came to my conclusion and realized I cannot share it publicly, at least not right now. To sum it up, I was thinking over the last year or so and realized that I have not been handling things very well. I've allowed changes in my job to make too much of an impact on more important areas of my life. In my conclusion, I realized what needs to be done in order to reclaim my life. But first, there are a few steps I'll have to take to reach that point. If you pray, please think of my unspoken request in your prayers and pray that if this is God's will for my life that He will work out the details involved.

            In the meantime, I am trying to push myself back into the blogging and social media world. I've been lurking around most of this year without making very many attempts to connect with people. I do get tired of being a hermit, but like in physical conversation, online networking can wear me out. I guess I've taken my introversion to a new level, but really, once I get into commenting on posts again, it's not so bad. It is certainly easier than talking to people in person. I plan on eventually getting a new profile picture up and possibly changing my blog name, if I can come up with something. Until then, I have many future post ideas that are still lingering in my head, and writing my thoughts out today has helped me feel more motivated, even though I cannot share it all just yet.

*I hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving! I will see you next week with my Flashback Friday post. *Have you ever come to a point where you know you have to make some changes in your life?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

IWSG: Why I Love Writing

            Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month. The IWSG poses a question for us to answer in our monthly posts. Here is November's question:

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

            I have been thoroughly reminded of why I love writing over the last few weeks. I was writing my story for the anthology contest, and once I finally got the plot working, I found the time to finish it. I have been in a slump the last few months and I kept telling myself I don’t have time to write. But, my actual problem was that I wasn’t making the time. Having a motivated purpose (i.e. contest deadline, topic I enjoy, journaling) makes the time blocks so much more apparent. Not that I don’t have something I could be writing during those times every day, but sometimes, I need an extra push.

            Anyway, back to the question at hand. What I love about writing is that it is a form of release and of expressing myself. As a socially-awkward introvert, I tend to hold up a lot of thoughts and feelings inside my head throughout the day. I have had many moments where I just have to unleash the anger, frustration, anxiety, sadness, excitement, joy, etc., or I might just burst. That is why I find journal entries, story ideas and starts, and prayers written or typed out everywhere. I use whatever paper or note-taking app is near me when the urge comes. I also love it when something comes together to a point that it’s worth sharing. I have a lot of ideas that seem interesting, but sometimes it’s hard to take them from my mind palace to the page in front of me; everything gets jumbled into nonsense. So, when those pent-up feelings actually produce something worthwhile, I do like to share the experience with others.
            Good luck to all those participating in NaNoWriMo! I’m not participating, but I will aim to write more often this month. I need to keep the flow going now that my short story is finished and submitted. Here are about 400 words written on November 1, so I’m off to a good start :)

Story of my life last month

Friday, October 28, 2016

Flashback Friday

            **Is it really time for Flashback Friday already? I have spent most of the past week in my personal bubble of solitude trying to simultaneously finish, edit, and revise my story for the IWSG anthology contest. I will try to come back up for air when this thing is submitted! Back to Flashback Friday, participants use the last Friday of each month to repost an old post that needed more attention, that you're very proud of, that you think is still relevant, etc. It is hosted by Michael G D'Agostino at A Life Examined. This is my post about my insecurities from last year's anthology contest. The only difference this year is that I have no mixed feelings about my entry, I just got to get it ready for submission!**

October IWSG  (October 7, 2015)

            Time for another posting with the Insecure Writers Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another.  IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month.  The co-hosts for October are:

TB Markinson, Tamara Narayan, Shannon Lawrence, Stephanie Faris, and Eva E. Solar.

            In September, IWSG announced that they would be having an anthology contest for group members.  We have until November 1 to submit a short story about a parallel universe or alternative history.  This is my insecurity this month.  As soon as I saw the contest, I was so excited about it, but now I’m having mixed feelings/second thoughts.  I really want to submit a story, I have an idea, I have the characters lined up, and I even started writing.  I am just not sure if I can pull this all together in a sensible way by November!  During this process, I realized that I have not written any fiction since high school, beyond a list of ideas and a couple opening paragraphs to stories that may never come to be.  I don’t even know if my fiction will be likeable, but I guess this is an opportunity to find out.  I have to start somewhere.  I hope I can get it done. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

If I Were a Mobster Blogfest

Today, I’m participating in Chrys Fey’s If I Were a Mobster Blogfest. She decided to do a blogfest to celebrate the release of her latest novella, 30 Seconds Before. I thought this sounded like fun and it was also a great opportunity to practice character creation. Here is my mobster:

Mobster Name: Joanie Fiotta

Rank: The hacker/undercover agent

Crime Zone: Orlando, Florida

Look/Disguise: Operating from the shadows and a master of disguise, Joanie can create any identity she wants for herself and her partners.

Weapon of Choice: Computer

Mobster Vehicle: The most technologically-advanced vehicle available, like the Batmobile, except less obvious.

What She’s Known For: She is able to hack into complex systems and create new identities. She can supply passports and get her cohorts wherever they need to go, including overseas locations. She also excels at undercover field work because of her keen observation skills.

Catch Phrase: “Don’t worry boys, I can hack this!”

            I read Chrys Fey's 30 Seconds and I liked it. It was action-packed and had some interesting twists and turns. And, guess what? She has it on sale for 99 cents until Nov. 4! Now, I'm turning this post over to Chrys:


Blake Herro is a cop in the Cleveland Police Force. Ever since he was a child he wanted to do right by the city he loved by cleaning up the streets and protecting its citizens. Red, a notorious mobster, has other plans.

On a bitter December night, ten police officers are drawn into a trap and killed by Red’s followers. Blake wants to bring down the Mob to avenge his fallen brothers and to prevent other cops from being murdered. Except the only way he can do that is by infiltrating the Mob.

Every minute he’s with these mobsters he’s in danger. Around every corner lies the threat of coming face to face with a gun. Will he make it out of the Mob alive or will he be their next victim?


To celebrate, 30 Seconds, the follow up story, is on sale for 99 cents!

Sale Oct. 21st – Nov. 4th



Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series (Hurricane Crimes and Seismic Crimes), as well as these releases from The Wild Rose Press: 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter

Now please hop around to the other participants:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

IWSG: Is It Ready?

            Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month. The IWSG poses a question for us to answer in our monthly posts. Here is the question for October:

When do you know your story is ready?
            Honestly, I have not completed enough stories to know how to answer this question. Most of my stories remain incomplete swimming around in my head. I think I have a chronic start-a-project-and-never-complete-it problem. Is there a word for that? There should be. I have so many blog posts and stories that I’ve started and never finished. And this problem is not exclusive to writing, I also have incomplete craft and sewing projects, organizational projects, and other substantial projects on my to do list. That being said, I will know when my current IWSG anthology entry is ready when I figure out which way it’s going to end. Of course, with the story I entered in last year’s contest I knew the ending before I had a plot, and since I decided that I want to try to fix that story, it has gone back to not ready mode. I think it depends on the story.

            On a side note: My brother used up most of our monthly 4G data the last week of September (yes, I still share a cell phone plan with my family, it's more economical this way) and our data does not reset until the 10th. So, I am stuck with the Wi-Fi that only works part-time :(   I have also been feeling slightly under the weather due to allergy and sinus problems this week and have been going to sleep a little earlier. The late night is my usual blog visiting time. I have visited and read some posts that managed to load in the past couple weeks, but I did not leave any comments. I'm hoping to visit/revisit and comment tomorrow on my day off, if the Wi-Fi agrees with me. In the meantime, congrats to all those who have released new books recently, I noticed quite a few blog tours going on.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Question of the Month: Looking Back

The Question of the Month is a bloghop that occurs the first Monday of each month and this is the last one that will be hosted by Michael G D'Agostino from A Life Examined. I’ll miss having Michael as our host, but I wish him well in all his future endeavors. Here is the last question he posed for us:

“What’s a decision you’ve made in the past that you know, logically, was the right decision to make, but which you still feel guilty or regretful about?”

            Looking back on the decision I’m writing about today, I also have to go back to my thought process at that time. Now, I can see many other paths I could have chosen, but at that time my choice seemed perfectly logical. It was choosing to major in education at college. First of all, for most of high school, there was this constant pressure to get ready for college. We were bombarded with questions: “Where are you going to go?” “What are you going to major in?” “How are you going to pay for it?” By my junior year, at the ripe old age of 17, I had already made my final decisions. "I’m going to OBU and I’m majoring in Elementary Education." At first, I thought it might be nice to take a year off, but then I had a case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and I didn’t want to be “behind” my peers. I don’t regret my choice of school. I enjoyed OBU’s small class sizes, variety of curriculum within my major, and integration of Christian faith. I chose to teach because people told me I was good with kids, and I liked kids, and the only job I could think of that involved working with kids was teaching. I realized the summer before my final year of college that I did not really want to teach and there were other directions I could have gone. At that point, it was too late to change majors and still finish in a year. My parents and I could not afford to keep me in college longer. Yes, I probably was too quick to give up and give in to my circumstances, but I stuck to my initial plan and even taught kindergarten for a year before calling it quits. After that, I somehow ended up stuck in a pharmacy, and I often look back and wonder what else I could have done. The positive of this path I’m still on is that I have a job with no homework (unless regaining energy counts). So, over time, I have been able to reanalyze my life, I have grown closer to God, and I have renewed my interest, and gained a passion, in writing, all of which can help me pursue a new path in life.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Flashback Friday: Fiery Trials

            **This post is a part of the Flashback Friday series. Participants use the last Friday of each month to repost an old post that needed more attention, that you're very proud of, that you think is still relevant, etc. It is hosted by Michael G D'Agostino at A Life Examined. I wrote this post exactly 4 years ago on September 30, 2012, and it only got 2 views, so I thought it should be resurfaced.**

Fiery Trials
            Do you ever get the feeling that you've been outdone by someone else?  Maybe that's not exactly the right way to phrase it...Has there ever been a time that you have felt down-in-the-dumps depressed and then you come across a story or some news that is far worse than what you are going through?  When you hear about someone whose life is harder than yours, do you feel upset with yourself for feeling down about your own situation?  Or maybe it's the opposite: Do you ever feel like other people have it too easy and barely have any problems?  Of course, there are many different levels of pain both emotionally and physically and each of us handles things differently, so I guess we can't really put our trials on a scale. 

            God knows everything about us, so He knows what we can and cannot handle.  Maybe, when you are in the midst of the fire, you may not feel like you will make it through the flames.  But, if you call out to God for help, He will not let the flames completely consume you.  He discerns and assesses your situation and knows exactly how much oxygen you have left and when to pull you out.  I've heard it said in church that God uses the trials in life to refine us.  Just like pottery, we have to go through the fire to become a finished piece.  1 Peter 1:6-7 says, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith -- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire -- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." 

            Christians will all go through trials and tests of their faith.  I'm speaking to myself when I say there is absolutely no reason for us to compare our troubles to one another.  Each person is unique and struggles with different things.  Romans 12:15 says, "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."  So, instead of trying to judge what seems fair or who is better off, we should just be encouraging and comforting to one another regardless of our own situation.  And when you feel like the flames are surrounding you, just remember all the blessings God has given you. 

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail."
-Lamentations 4:11

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
-James 1:2-4

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Regaining Energy

            “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NIV1984)

            That verse has so often applied to my life, especially this summer. I thought I had some great posts planned out and ready to be scheduled during the past few months, however, the summer turned out to be a lot busier than I thought it would outside of the blogging community. In the last eight to ten weeks, I have had two, maybe three, full 24-hour days spent at home. I have been constantly on the go to work, church activities, shopping trips, and outings with friends and family. In early August, I went to an amazing youth conference as a youth worker/leader, and I am really glad I decided to go. Besides my job, I do enjoy all these aforementioned activities, but my introverted self is in desperate need of some alone time to recharge my energy. Without being recharged, I feel strained socially, mentally, and emotionally. If you have come across me, whether in person or online, I apologize if I seemed cross or unpleasant; it may have been one of those completely drained moments.

An important part of the blogging experience is the community, and I enjoy reading comments and posts from my fellow bloggers. Even though it is a lot easier for me to interact with people in writing, I do still consider blogging a form of social engagement and it has been hard to get into an interactive mood lately. So, what have I been doing with those seemly few hours I have at home? Mostly, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching. I’ve been thinking about my personality and how it affects my choices and goals. I’ve been thinking about majors I should have picked in college, like psychology, neurology, or journalism. I’ve been thinking about my dreams and desires and wondering if some will ever be reached, like marriage. I’ve also spent a lot of time in prayer during this introspective process. I think God did use this socially-overwhelmed time to help me to spend my leftover time away from communicative activities and more into studying and learning by myself. I cannot say that this process is over, but I am ready to attempt to get back on a regular blog post schedule. I have been trying to get this particular post written for the last month, and here it finally is! The thing that has bothered me the most is all the work I put in to visit and meet new bloggers in April’s A to Z Challenge seems to have fallen apart during the summer. That is another area I should work on, consistency. Thanks to those of you who continue to bear with me! You are great friends!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

September IWSG and Belated Question of the Month

            Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month. The IWSG poses a question for us to answer in our monthly posts. Here is the question for September: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

            This question represents something I like about the IWSG, because it proposes a great way for us to share advice with one another. I look forward to reading as many posts as I can get to. But, you are probably here to read my answer, and honestly, I do not make very much time for writing on busy days. I usually squeeze it in around bedtime (when most of my ideas suddenly hit) and jot down a few senseless notes before dozing off. There were a couple times when I was being a little more proactive and recorded some of my thoughts on my phone as I drove to work. I’ve been listening to The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy by Chris Bailey, and I am beginning to see more and more that my problem is not a lack of time as much as it is a lack of energy. As an introvert working at a job designed for extroverts, I am feeling the energy drain more and more when I do not get time alone at home to recharge. When I actually do get a day off to myself, depending on how long I’ve gone without my recharge time, I can sometimes find my energy again which leads to writing motivation. I know sometimes, motivated or not, I just have to write, which I can do fairly well when I have a deadline, like a monthly blog post or an anthology contest. In an ideal energy situation, I would probably set about 30 minutes to an hour aside to write in the evenings before rewarding myself with a TV show or computer game. Speaking of technology, I often shut my computer down and write by hand because my computer is full of distractions and writing in a notebook helps me to focus better.

I missed the Question of the Month on Monday. I left for a conference the day that our host Michael G D’Agostino emailed the question and I did not see the question until posts went up. The question was: What kind of music best speaks to you?

I’m going to try to keep this answer condensed, it usually depends on my mood. My music collection is very eclectic, but most of it falls into three different genres: classical, Christian, or soundtracks/musicals. When I’m feeling sad, I like softer Christian artists like Selah or Casting Crowns. When I want something more upbeat, my favorite Christian bands are Audio Adrenaline and dc Talk. When I’m feeling reflective or need to be calmed, I enjoy classical music, and I shared many of my favorites during the A to Z Challenge this year. When I’m in the mood for some fun (or sing-a-longs in the car), I listen to my soundtracks. I own the movie soundtracks for Phantom of the Opera, The Music Man, Les Miserables, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and a collection of Disney songs.

*As Chris Bailey would ask, how do you balance your time, energy, and attention?
*Does your music vary with your mood?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Flashback Friday: Deja Vu

            **This post is a part of the Flashback Friday series. Participants use the last Friday of each month to repost an old post that needed more attention, that you're very proud of, that you think is still relevant, etc. It is hosted by Michael G D'Agostino at A Life Examined. I had to laugh to myself when I came across this post titled "Not Again" from September 30, 2011. I forgot how often my life would veer off course from my blog back in that first year of blogging, and sadly, still today. I actually will be addressing my unforeseen time away and making some very long overdue visits in the next week.**

Not Again

           I cannot believe another month has passed by and I haven't managed to get a post up. I have got to get myself on some kind of schedule. To all of those potential readers out there who have probably given up on me: I have ideas...I really do! The problem is getting them out of my mind and into words that make sense to the rest of the world. I can't believe that it has been a year since I started this journey. I was rereading my post and I remembered how enthusiastic I was. I had (still have) so many ideas of stories and topics to write about and I was ready to share them...or so I thought. I guess the past year has been kind of like a long distance race and I didn't pace myself the right way. I started out as fast as I could, I posted twice a month and at least one of those posts was something new. Then, I started losing wind and started searching for diary entries or poems I had already written. Now, I am barely moving forward and only trying to keep pace just to get my monthly time stamp. My last entry was in the middle of August and it was an obituary for my dog with mostly pictures. Look at me now, I am sitting here summarizing my blog...The motivation has disappeared and I am trying to find my second wind. As the Bible says, “...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."(Heb. 12:1, KJV) Ok, so I guess I'm taking that verse a little out of context, but in this race that is set before me, I have been weighed down. Instead of writing for fun and inspiration, I have only been writing out of obligation and thoroughness. I have allowed my enthusiasm to dissolve into the pool of all my other thoughts and tasks. I want to get motivated again, so, I know I've said this before, but don't give up on me yet. I still plan to keep this going. I hope that stories and poems from my past are at least mildly entertaining, and I do hope to get some more intriguing new material out in the future.

Here's a past post about getting motivated in a race (maybe I should read it again): Attaining the Prize

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August IWSG

            Time for another posting with the Insecure Writers Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month. The IWSG now poses a question for us to answer in our monthly posts. The question for our August 3rd posting is: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?
            Honestly, this question makes me a little sad. When I was in sixth grade, we had a time period set aside each day for Writer’s Workshop. It was the first time I had ever heard of and kept a portfolio and the first time I ever considered pursuing writing. I wrote some short stories, essays, and poems for the assignments I kept in my portfolio. One of my poems was chosen to be printed in our sixth grade class poetry booklet. About 8-10 years ago, my mom found my Writer’s Workshop portfolio in storage and I held it in my hands and flipped through it nostalgically. But then, I was only home for the weekend and had to go back to college and I forgot about the portfolio. I don’t know what happened to it after that. If it was returned to storage, my family’s garage had a rodent infestation, so it was most likely ruined. I wish I would have put it in a safe place with some of my other keepsakes as soon as I saw it that day. The moral of this story: Always save your writing and back it up!
            July was not a productive month for me. It’s not exactly a time issue, I think it’s a lack of brain energy and motivation at the end of the day. I think the summer heat is getting to me, that and constantly having to help cover vacations and a coworker’s pregnancy leave at work. I’m hoping things will settle down a little as schools start back up and the weather cools down. Maybe then I will be able to focus more on my writing again.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Question of the Month: Favorite Beach

The Question of the Month is a bloghop that occurs the first Monday of each month and it is hosted by Michael G D'Agostino from A Life Examined. Here is this month’s question:

 "What's your favourite beach?"

            I have had the privilege to visit a handful of beaches on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and along the Gulf of Mexico. I enjoyed aspects of each of the beaches I’ve been too, but the one I enjoyed the most was in Cape Canaveral, Florida. My friends and I had access to a semi-private beach with the resort we were staying at and it was such a peaceful place. Plus, we saw a manatee, which was awesome! For the rest of my post, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. And if you want more pictures, I featured some in one of my Throwback Thursday Photos posts last year.



Friday, July 29, 2016

Flashback Friday: Fasten Seatbelts, Please

**This post is a part of the new Flashback Friday series. Participants use the last Friday of each month to repost an old post that needed more attention, that you're very proud of, that you think is still relevant, etc. It is hosted by Michael G D'Agostino at A Life Examined. This post from November 15, 2010 really struck a chord for me with how my life has been the past few months.**
Fasten Seatbelts, Please
 “Be still and know that I am God.” Those words from Psalm 46:10 have always made an impact in my life, and most of the time I never realized it. I can’t remember when I first learned that verse, but it has come back to me at many of the toughest points of my life. Over the past few years, the impact of those words and their meaning has impressed itself upon me. It usually happens when I start getting worked up and worried. I over-think everything going on in my life and start asking all those “why,” “how,” and “what if” questions. I finally drive myself to a state of total confusion and frustration, and that’s when God reminds me of His Word. He said, “Be still.” Calm down, breathe, let go of those anxious thoughts. And here’s the best part: “Know that I am God.” No matter what I’m going through, whatever is troubling me, God is there. He knows everything that is going on, and He is in control. Knowing that really does bring me back to a sense of peace and comfort. Here’s another way I look at it: I have no idea how to fly a plane. I could sit in the cockpit and mess with all the buttons and knobs, but I doubt I’d get anywhere without a real pilot in control. Life can be the same way sometimes. It’s better to sit back and enjoy the ride instead of trying to rush to the front of the plane and fly it myself at the first sign of turbulence. I just got to trust that my pilot (God) knows what He’s doing and I could really crash and burn if I try to take matters into my own hands.

            There are times when we become overwhelmed or fed up with the circumstances we’re in and frustration and worry begin to overthrow our emotional state. If we remain in this state of imbalance, where anger or depression rules, we can end up making rash decisions, saying things we don’t mean, or worse, becoming apathetic toward God. I’ve been there, and believe me, it is much better to capture these thoughts before they lead you down the road of depression and self-pity. So, with God’s help, I remind myself of the words He gave us to comfort us and bring us peace in the midst of trials. There are many verses in the Bible that talk about dealing with trials because the authors of those words had trials, fears, and worries just like us. Here are some other verses that have been particularly meaningful to me in times of trouble:

*"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)
*"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
*“Cast all your cares (anxiety) on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
*“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:6)
*“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Pets

            I don't know about you, but June seemed like it just disappeared and July isn't looking much better since we are already about half-way through the month. Wal-Mart put out it's back-to-school displays on July 2nd or 3rd, and I'm not currently going to school or teaching at a school and that sight still makes me feel squeamish! I'm still trying to work on that whole time/balance thing with work, church, writing, blogging, etc. and I have been absent from online communities a lot lately. I think I forgot how quick and busy summers can get! And the internet around the lake community I live in can get really slow at times, but thankfully it seems to be working ok at the moment. So maybe these pictures will upload quickly. Without further ado, here are some older pictures of my cats and some gone but not forgotten pets.

Kitty was fairly content as a solo cat
 But, she seemed happy to gain a new friend in Sawyer

Even though Sawyer was quite the mischief-maker!
This was Zoe playing with her favorite ball
I miss her so much!
These were Zazzles (black) and Link (orange), they were indoor/outdoor brothers who made a great addition to the clowder (group of cats) for a short time
And finally, here's Sophie as a kitten right after hearing the vacuum for the first time :)
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