Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Grandma Rose

As I flipped through old family photos this morning, I came across
a few that included my dear Grandma Rose. She passed away a 
few years ago, and losing her was incredibly tough. She had been
my last living grandparent for a while, but she was also my favorite.
She had a petite stature, wore a size 5 shoe, had a sparkle in her 
bright blue eyes, a constant upward turn to the corners of her mouth, 
an unconditional love for her family, and was the most selfless 
person I have ever met. 

At times, I still can't believe she's gone. I find myself wondering how
she made her scrumptious home-made mac'n cheese, and I pick
up my phone to ask her about it. Then it hits me like a two by four,
she's not there. I can't bring myself to delete her contact information
from my cell. 

The fond memories I have of Grandma Rose are really too many to
count. From amazing egg hunts at Easter, swinging on her porch
swing while watching birds accustomed to left over toast crumbles, 
listening to her many wind chimes on a breezy afternoon, raiding 
her closet for dress-up apparel, eating still warm cook and serve 
chocolate pudding, to even the obligatory dish washing duty after 
delectably delicious family dinners, each one is a treasure I will 
carry with me always. 

I didn't even mention the holiday Thanksgiving and Christmas
celebrations, and since my grandma had five children, twelve 
grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren by the time she left
us to be with our Savior, you can imagine the organized chaos of it
all. There was a "kid" table and a "grown up" table set up in the 
partially finished basement of her 800 or so square foot home. The
adult table was really a ping pong table with a huge or multiple 
table clothes over it. The kid table was set up near the washer and
dryer and sat us younger grandkids quite nicely. I think I was in 
college before I made it to the adult table, and then it was only 
because we had extended family members who had moved out of 
state and didn't make it home every year. 

I love my family. I love the legacy of kindness and graciousness my
grandma passed on to the rest of us. I love the person my grandma
was and the values she never let go of. I loved her unwavering devotion 
to our Lord, Jesus Christ, and her generosity towards all those around
her. I want to carry on that legacy of love of our Lord and of our neighbors,
as she did so well. 

Although the reality of her absence is painful, the knowledge that she
lived life as she was called to and that she is enjoying her reward
in Heaven is a great comfort. I am thankful for the impact she had on 
my life and the opportunity that I now have to make an impact for 
good on those around me as well. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Inspiration from an Uninspired Tuesday

What do you say when you feel like you have nothing to say?
You sit at your desk or on your couch and stare seemingly
mindlessly at a computer screen void of characters or thoughts 
and wonder what to do next. I'm sitting here, you think, at least 
trying whip up some sort of literary delight, something inspiring, 
something thought provoking. Yet nothing comes. 

This describes me perfectly this week. I've sat down many times
to write this post, but currently I feel completely unoriginal and 
uninspired. I'd much rather curl up with my Boxer-Schnauzer mix,
Hobbes, and dream the afternoon away. The soft sounds of strings 
and piano from my son's lullaby CD only encourage my sleepy state. 

Yet a writer must write, right? Despite how we feel or what we
may think, we must write, even if we think we have nothing to say. 
It comes down to self discipline. We all have God-given talents,
and we must exercise them. I don't know if practice really makes
perfect, but is sure helps. Because blogging forces we who are
aspiring authors to accountability with ourselves and others, 
I consider it essential to those of us attempting to break into the
literary world. It's Tuesday, I think to myself, it's been a week.
I have to write something... . 

Beyond the dullness fogging my mind I know there is more. Colorful 
creativity and playful prose are waiting for me to break through walls 
of mediocrity and melancholy, walls otherwise known at writer's block.
Will I succumb to these walls that attempt to intimidate? Not a bit. After 
all, a writer must write. 

Does anyone else ever struggle with brainstorming fun and interesting 
topics to blog or write about? How do you combat non-inspired times?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hearing God's Voice: In the Ringer... Again.

Remember times in your life when you had to learn something over 
and over... and over again. I feel like I'm in a repeat wash cycle of 
life. Similar to how a washer with an agitator uses movement  to 
remove the unwanted from clothes, I'm irritated by events in my life 
that are causing an uncomfortable friction in my soul. 

One of the things God is teaching me is to hear His voice verses what 
I want Him to say. Last week I had a small possibility of going to
writing conference. I'm writing a children's picture book series that 
incorporates prayer into each story. So when I happened upon Writing 
for the Agesa conference specifically for Christian children's writers, 
naturally, I was excited. The main feature that drew me to this conference 
was that it focuses on the the craft of writing, not on "how to be published,"
but simply writing itself. 

Don't get me wrong. Learning how to become published is important, 
and one needs to know the business side of writing. However, I feel 
like the stronger one's writing is, the better chance one has at achieving 
published author status. Let's not forget why we're blogging and networking, 
let's not forget out love of crafting a story so that it touches the hearts of 
those who read it.

I so wanted to go to this conference, but limited finances available, I prayed 
if it was God's will that He would make a way. Days passed, and I became 
nervous. I was having difficulty scraping funds together and securing 
childcare. After an emotional conversation with God last friday, I concluded 
it wasn't His timing for me to go this year. After a few tears, I felt peace erase 
my fatigue and regret. God is all powerful, omniscient, and above all good.
He wants what's best for me, and I must rest in that knowledge. Now this
week, I'm once more facing a situation where I must put my wants aside
and truly listen for God's voice to guide me, hence the rewash cycle. 
With His grace, I'll make the right choice. If I'm seeking His will, God 
won't lead me down the wrong path. 

As far as the Writing for the Ages conference, I'll be saving up to go 
next year (they're fairly certain they'll have it again).  I've attached 
a link for anyone who wants to save their pennies for next year
as well. 


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Why Write for Children?

Why write for children? Over the last year or so, I've read from differing 
sources that children's books are on a decline and that writing for adults
is more profitable. So why branch out of my comfort zone of a part time
nurse and full time mom to write in a classification of books on a decline?
I love children. I love children's books. I love that one can create fun 
stories with morals woven through the fabric of fun plots and dreamy 
fairy tales. 

It seems cliche to say that children are our future, but I'll say it. Children
are our future! Reading to them from a young age, even infancy, benefits
them tremendously. I've read to my children before naps, bedtimes, and 
in between since they were small babies, and now they both love books.
It seems they are constantly begging me to read to them. Although, 
attention spans vary according by age and activity levels, even if 
you can only get a few lines in before your young one dashes off to 
chase dust particles ignited by sunlight, you've reinforced his/her love 
of books and reading. 

Reading children's stories is also a great way to reinforce morals you're
trying to teach your children, important stuff like sharing, listening,
courage and friendship. I want to read my children stories that 
portray these kinds of qualities, so naturally, when I decided to write
for children, I incorporated these favorable character traits into my 
stories. But one can't just fill a book with lessons of character, there
also has to be exciting adventures and far away places. 

Imagine being a child, what would you want to be? Where would 
you want to go? This is what I think about when beginning a new 
story. I run my ideas across my kids, as they are brutally honest, to 
be sure the ideas are winners. Recently, I've begun brewing ideas  
for new characters and scenes for my fifth story in my children's 
picture book series. I'm excited to start it sometime in the next 
couple weeks. The beginning of the school year is always a bit 
chaotic. Soon we'll be in a routine, and I'll carve out time for a 
new adventure.