And the rains came

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Last night, sometime after 10:30 in the evening, my husband and I cuddled in bed while watching an episode of Horatio Hornblower off of YouTube. The episode ended, and as my sweetie got up to turn off the computer, my super smeller pregnant nose picked up the faint odor of dirt.

“I smell dirt…or maybe dust. Oh it’s awful, it feels like it’s in my face and hard to breath. Can you smell that?”

He looks at me, “Nope.”

“Really?” I asked, pulling the sheets up over my head. “Wait, wasn’t there supposed to be a dust storm today?”

He pulls back the curtains of our bedroom and… sure enough! Nothing but palms and ficus trees swaying in a haze of brown. Woa! We hadn’t been able to hear the wind through our window, but there was obviously enough of it to toss around all of the sand in town. I figured if I could smell it inside the house it must be seeping in from somewhere. I asked my husband to shut the cat door so that it wouldn’t let in any of the dust that way.

5:00am KABOOM!!! Thunder, lightening, and torrential downpour … and seemingly right above our home. It was so loud… and awesome! Having just finished that George MacDonald book, it brought to memory the scene of little 8 yr old Sir Gibby climbing as high as he could up a cliff, and standing there as a storm thundered around him… too enthralled and enchanted to be scared.

Just then I heard a little “mew” and figured the cat had been left outside when Aaron shut the cat door. Sure enough, I got up to open it and in came a very wet Rose. The two older kids had woken up, and like Sir Gibby, were utterly taken in by the whole noisy event (we don’t get much rain in the desert, after all)… not scared at all. The two younger ones slept through the whole thing.

I reread an article the other day on the role that the weather plays in stories… or should play. That when writing, you should treat the elements like one of your characters, allowing it to weave throughout your story and interact with those that come into contact with it. How would one of your characters react to a thunderstorm? Would they love it? Hate it? Would they be frightened? Could you use it to change your character’s mood so that he/she starts an argument for no good reason? Or make them more likely to become amorous?

Speaking to my sister-in-law about it today, she mentioned how scary it was for her feeling like the storm was just above their heads. She didn’t like it all. That was certainly different from my reaction, but probably not that uncommon. The article suggested, that when writing a story, you might want to ask friends and family how they would feel in such or such weather. Different people react different ways. What’s the personality of your character?

In my first book, Beneath Outstretched Arms, my husband caught some of this for me. I had written that it was Christmas time in December when Velena left her family’s manor, but had described the wagon rolling along a dusty road. He pointed out that in England the ground would have been covered in snow. I had totally missed this, and was once again grateful for his help. I was then able to go back and have her interact more with her cold surroundings… adding in that she pulled a fur lined cloak closer about her body, or that she was warmer by the fire than in her tent, etc… I think that I probably could have used weather a whole lot more than I did, and hope to improve on this in the future. Weather was used hugely in George MacDonalds book, The Baronet’s Song, and I could tell how fine a book it was because of it.

Guarding their time

This post has to do with a conversation I had with a friend. Last night, the thoughts were hers, but they’re one’s I’ve had before, and appreciated having to think about again.

One of the things that I’ve enjoyed the most about homeschooling is the freedom I’ve had to do life with people. If someone called and invited us over, dropping what we were doing or putting it off till later that day seemed an easy enough thing to do.

…only we usually didn’t get around to doing it later, and then we’d lost a day of study. Well, no matter, right? Like most years, I’d just planned on homeschooling through the summer to catch up. It’s not like you can do much else outside in 120 degrees. Except, I’m not homeschooling through the summer this year. Being unexpectedly pregnant and nauseous has changed all those plans. *sigh* Reminds me of that verse that says instead of us saying with certainty what we’re going to do in the future, that we should instead be saying “As the Lord wills…” we shall do this or that.

So, the plans of this woman have been thwarted… and rightly so. It was pure lack of resolve that got me here. Resolve to finish what we’d started for the school year in a timely manner. And I’m really not a stickler for getting all the way through text books, but trust me… I had more to do. So, what my friend said to me yesterday finally hit home.

It’s not fair to my kids to put off what is so important to their education… not even for some social interaction (and if I’m honest, it was always as much for me as for them. I need to see another adult now and again 🙂 ).

So this year, I’m going to guard their time. I’m going to be jealous for their education until they know enough to be so for themselves. I will set aside certain hours in the day for school and protect them. I will not multitask during this time period by doing housework, working on my book, or checking fb. I have a whole semester to set the tone before the baby comes. There again will be a time of change, but not in my resolve. I may be cuddling, nursing or toting around a newborn, but I won’t give up their time… I mean, if the Lord wills, I will set aside the time He directs me to set aside 😉 and then guard it like a she-wolf!

That sounds a bit extreme, but I won’t do it if I guard it like a golden retriever. Nope. LIKE A SHE-WOLF!!! That’s right, baby. …like a big, fat, lumbering, pregnant she-wolf. I’m really hoping uncomfortable and grumpy translates to resolve and tenacity. Lord, help me, I’m going to need You to create a refined me!!! 🙂

Any homeschooling mamma’s out there who’ve already learned this lesson and can offer me up some good advice? Wolves run in packs you know. Help a sister out 😉

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Five Day Club

Update: my van decided to magically work again once it was towed to the mechanics. He drove it that day and the next, so today I went and picked it back up. No charge. I’m happy that we didn’t have to spend any money on it…and slightly worried because I don’t know if/when it will break down again suddenly. Such is life. I’ll just have to stay off the freeways and bring lots of water with us just in case. Or stay home 😉

We didn’t stay home today though. My mother lent us her car again this morning before ours was ready and we headed out the door to our second day of the 5 day club. I’ve never taken my kids to one before, and I have to say that I was very impressed.

The team of teens that came from out of town to put on several clubs in town were with Children’s Evangelism Fellowship. To steel a term used commonly in Classical Conversation circles, it was very “stick in the sand.” No bells, no whistles… no overhead projectors or music on cd. It was just a bunch of teens singing off key and doing hand motions with the kids, telling them stories and teaching them Bible verses. It was so great! They were all listening so well, and my two oldest could tell me exactly what they’d learned afterwards. This does not always work when there are a lot of distractions around.

If anyone else has never gone to one of these, I highly recommend it. I know that not all 5 day clubs are run exactly the same, but their messages seems very solid.

In other news, my brain has been imagining my illusive prologue all day, and I think that tomorrow I might actually be able to right something 😉 It’s all a part of the process.

…and I tried out my cool curler things. First picture after just taking them out (a little unruly). Second picture after being out in the humidity for ten minutes (…but Yuma has a dry heat). Oh well, I like wavy too 🙂

Breaking down

Today was quite a day. I left the house. That is amazing in and of itself 🙂

I left the house at 9:30am to take the kids to a five day club. It was at one end of town… I then went to the other end of town to help a friend in her new classroom she was getting ready. I was there an hour than had to go back to the other end of town.

Then I went back to the other end of town to get my brother in law and take him to a doctor appointment… somewhere in the middle of town (very poor planning on my part).

Somewhere between deciding to get something to eat first and go to the bank before the appointment, my van stopped working. We coasted into the bank! We had already pulled over twice trying to make it to the bank, so I decided to get it towed from there. It was 114 degrees today and I couldn’t chance being stranded with the four kids at a mini mart, so I called my daddy, who said that it wasn’t every day he had the chance to rescue his daughter anymore and he was happy to get us.

We all went to lunch at Chic Fillet. Someone’s kid had an “accident” inside the play area, and all the children were booted out so they could clean it. No more play place, hahaha. I laugh.

Took my dad back to work, kept his car, took brother to the appointment, went to the library to wait for him, husband called so I took them back home, went to get brother, writing blog, and waiting for my mother to get here to collect her vehicle and myself to go to Bible study. It’s 5:15 and really just want to sleep… but I think I need Jesus more 😉

So while I wait for her, my hubby took the kids down to a neighbors house to play water balloons, and they just invited their neighbor over who is a man transitioning into a woman. Currently looking very much like a woman, but speaking very much like a man. I caught my kids on their way over and hugged them and told them there is a man who wants to be girl over there, so please don’t say anything rude, but show God’s love and be nice. I haven’t the energy to really say more, but rest in the fact that my husband is a very tactful man, and will guide the kids questions should they come up.

What a day! This is why I stay home, lol. I’m not built for hectic days, but I suppose it’s only right that I have my quota of them.

Thank you Jesus for hectic days… they teach me to appreciate the calm.

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Color vs. creative writing

My husband’s aunt passed away a number of years ago, but before she did, she found out of my interest in writing and handed me a pile of old magazines that she’d been a part of putting together. They were titled, Housewife-Writer’s Forum. I thanked her profusely, but didn’t end up reading through many of them until last year.

Thumbing through them again today, I found an article called “Is Creativity a Gray Matter?” It sited some research done by the Wagner Institute For Color Research, in which it states that, “creative people are more creative in a gray environment than any other color tested. People will create more and be creative over a longer period of time.”

This seems counter-intuitive to me, but perhaps it is the lack of imagination in the color that causes our mind to want to fill it… or the lack of distraction in color that keeps our brain wanting to focus on anything other than the drab color before us. I really don’t know.

Just a little further on, the writer of the article, Laurie Lynett, says, “When I painted my work area from off white to gray and green, I noticed a remarkable difference in my attitude towards writing. Foggy ideas began taking shape. I found myself finishing projects that I had previously given up on. I’m sending out more and more material and most importantly, I feel confident about my writing.”

This part caught my eye, because when I went online to see if there was any other research on the color gray, I found a study on the Huffington posted titled, http://Color Me Creative: study says green sparks inventiveness. Well, I don’t know if inventiveness counts towards writing or not, per say, but you do need a certain amount of it to come up with characters and plots, so let’s just say that it does. I noticed that  in the first article I read the woman had painted her room gray and green. Hmmm… coincidence??? Perhaps. There is only one way to try it out.

Instead of heading to the store for an expensive can of paint before really knowing what helps your brain be creative/inventive, Lynett suggests something much cheaper and easier. Get a large piece of cardboard (one of those trifold ones would work nicely since they can stay propped up on their own), a few colors of craft paint to try out, and set up your small sized wall in a place where your eye naturally falls while working. Try several colors out over the course of the week while working, and see what inspires you the most. I’m definitely tempted to give this a try.

Do you have any colors that seem to spur you on to creativity? Have you even thought of color as playing a role in it before? Let me know what you think.

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Life Update

~I am back from my trip to CA to see my grandmother, safe and sound. My mother and I listened to two sermons by John MacArthur in a series on the Lord’s return to pass the time… and that of course, was wonderful. My two youngest slept through at least half of the trip and were very pleasant for the rest. My morning sickness was present, my leg cramped and my butt was sore… but I was very proud of myself for pushing through it. I’ve been laying around the house for so long, I was happy to get out and do something productive 🙂

~I have decided not to perm my hair, but I am going to try putting it in some funky curler things, and will post a fun picture when I do if it comes out looking at all decent.

~I am still really enjoying The Baronet’s Song by George MacDonald. A little angsty at the lack of the sort of dialogue that I’m used to, but his writing is so beautiful. It’s not so much that he describes “things” beautifully (with long or lengthy descriptions), but that most every sentence he writes is written beautifully, if that makes sense. Has anyone else enjoyed any books by him? If so, what was your favorite?

~I had a doctor’s appointment today and am 13 weeks… I didn’t have an ultrasound, but did hear the very lovely sound of a heart beat! So my mamma heart is blessed, and I was able to tell my eldest that, yes, we are (Lord willing) past the first trimester danger zone. I am now going to try and submit a trial blog to a baby blogging site that a friend told me about. They want people who are in their first or early second trimester to blog their way through their pregnancy. Hopefully, this blogging experience has helped prepare me for that. I hope I qualify.

~Last, but not least, I am trying to build up the mental energy to really start my prologue and epilogue for book 2. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks…trying to play out different story lines. I have a rough idea of what I want to happen, but as of yet, no surge of inspiration. Sir Makaias and Sir Britton are late comers to the novels…not really entering the direct story line until book 3. I need them to be just as likable and rooted for as any of my other main characters, so how I write these two chapters for book 2 is of the utmost importance to me… and perhaps the reason for my procrastination. I want them to be perfect! Okay, I’m going to start a rough draft tomorrow!!! Please someone remind me, haha.

Anyone else out there building up the mental energy to get to a project? Any goals for finishing it yet, and/or what’s your next move to getting it done?

Happy Monday, everyone.cropped-cropped-games-4.jpg