Little people…

I had a really difficult night last night. My mind was racing and getting very distracted by thoughts that I wished I could have just pushed aside until morning. It started around 3am when our eldest came into our room to say that our youngest was crying in bed. This led to the little one crawling up into bed with us. Just as I was falling back to sleep she rolled over and said she had to go potty. I got up to take her to our bathroom and realized that she felt warm.

Being a little paranoid of getting a fever while pregnant, I chose to take her back to her room… and then slept at the end of the full bed she shares with her sister until she finally drifted off. Well, I didn’t sleep… I lied there listening to the Jonathan Park CD that my eldest daughter had put in the player after she was woken up by the crying. Something about Galapagos Sea Turtles 🙂

After about 10 minutes, I returned to bed feeling nauseous, so at around 4:30 I gave up and got up to eat some cereal. I went back to bed as Aaron was getting up for work, and slept in until 9:30am when my littlest came back in, asking me if I could “pretty please” help her clean her room so she could find her blankie. I did this for a bit, while talking long distance to a friend who was trying to pack up her house for a move. Our conversation was cut short, though, because her kids kept playing in the packing boxes and eventually she saw poop in one of them (from a diaper malfunction, I assume). I love her so much, and I laugh even now, thinking about what her day is going to be like.

Insomnia’s not so fun, but I’m thankful that my kids tend to sleep in late if I don’t get down to wake them up. Summer hours are awesome! Vienna is still warmish, but seems to be doing fine, playing with a new (used) jewelry box with her sister that my mother just got rid of.  They just finished some shredded cheese (because that tastes better than sliced cheese) and I’m watching them skip around in their jammies even though it’s noon. I need them to get dressed, but am putting it off because I have to get the laundry out of the dryer and sort it so I can find them some clean undies, lol. Oh, the choices we make.

I don’t know when I became this low stress, but I certainly am enjoying it. At some point, I think I just decided that being wound up wasn’t worth it, and so I take a lot of joy in watching them play with jewelry in their jammies and enjoy their shredded cheese. There are moments where I get envious of other moms taking their kids to early morning swim lessons, soccer practice or a fun summer dance classes…but I get over it pretty quickly. I like not being busy. In fact, one of my goals in life is to be unbusy. This is not a passive thing for me. I like calm mornings, and having no errands to run that will take us away from the house. I’m not sure the kids appreciate my love of calm as much as I do, haha, as they have all the energy in the world for play dates and library visits, but summer time in the desert sucks all the life out of you as soon as you walk out the front door. Today’s going to be 108… and that’s a nice day, lol. So, I’m thinking sprinkler time and cleaning out the bathroom closet are my goals for the day. You don’t need undies with bathing suites 😉 Just kidding, I’ll get to the laundry… eventually.

Oh, and for some very exciting news before I forget, one of my new beta readers has read both my first book (because I asked her to read it before editing my manuscript for book 2) and my second book in the space of one week! She already sent the edited copy back to me and said she’s ready for the third 🙂 Me too… I just need to finish writing it. She had very positive things to say and I’m all aglow (and it’s not a pregnancy glow…I don’t have that yet 😉 ). I wanted to stay away from looking at my book for the rest of the month, but honestly I didn’t think I’d receive anything back from any of my beta readers so fast… so I may have to give it a little peek, as I am very curious about what edits she made.

Well, this is the end of my blog. Vienna just put a snap bead bracelet on my wrist, and when I didn’t respond right away, she said, “Mom, can you kiss me.” Haha… time for me to sign off and join the family (also the water for the macaroni and cheese is boiling).

Have a blessed day everyone! Little people are such a blessing!

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Deadlines

I literally have four minutes to type something and post it. What if any, are the deadlines that you have almost missed but just barely made them by the skin of your teeth? …and how high was your blood pressure, because mine is through the roof!

Spent the day with my honey out to lunch and doing the budget. Ahh, marital bliss! Loving life and happy to finally get into my site. Password troubles.

We forgot our anniversary… again.

This wasn’t twice in a row, but we have managed to completely forget our wedding anniversary twice now. Once, Aaron and I were on our way to CA for a homeschooling convention when my sister-in-law texts me, “happy anniversary.” I turn to look at Aaron dumbfounded. “Today’s our anniversary. Did you remember that?” Nope. He was equally as surprised. Neither of us were mad, but actually kind of thankful that we had the chance to be alone on our anniversary, even if it was at a convention. Hey, when you have kids, alone is alone, and a date can be anything as long as … you know, you’re alone together.

That must have been maybe three years ago, I think. Today is our 11 year anniversary. We were ahead of the curve this time, though. I remembered, yesterday, haha. I was cuddling up to him just as he was falling asleep, and for some reason asked, “What’s the date?”

Him: “The 15th.”

Me: “Are you serious? We did it again. Do you know what tomorrow is?”

Him: “the 16th.”

Me: “And what’s the 16th?”

Him: “The day after the 15th.”

Me: “Our 11 year anniversary.”

Him: <groan>

Me: “Don’t worry about it, I didn’t expect anything.”

Him: “I’m sorry you didn’t expect anything.”

In his defense (since I have none), my mom had let loose a couple of months ago that I could tell Aaron, yes, they could watch the kids for us in July. “Why are you watching the kids for us in July.” Oops. She didn’t know it was a surprise. I feigned ignorance, and sometime later Aaron mentioned that he wanted us to go to a Weekend To Remember. It’s a really nice marriage retreat that we went on when we first got married. Sadly, I bust his bubble and asked if we could reschedule it for when my morning sickness was over. It would be a complete waste of a nice hotel room, if I had to spend most of it in the bathroom. So, my honey had the sweetest of intentions… then we both completely forgot. Again, neither of us were mad. Well, I think he felt like he let me down…but that is the furthest from the truth. I just don’t feel good.

So, while he made breakfast, I made a trip to the grocery store for some milk, and partly to escape the smell of cooking bacon. As it was, I still had to carry a lemon around with me. But I got the milk, ingredients to make lasagna (which I made! very proud of myself for being able to handle it… ok, he had to brown the meat, but still), brownie mix, a card for him and roses for me. I thanked him for them when I got home. He looked confused, but I told him that I didn’t earn the money to buy them, so they were clearly from him. There was a great big bunch of them in all colors…but with one orange one, which is my favorite color on roses (reminds me of orange sherbet). It was the only one at the store with an orange rose…and consequently, the orange one was the only one that had a smell. Store bought roses never smell good…but my bunch had one that did! Yay!

I’m sorry that we didn’t have better plans for today. I’m sorry I don’t feel better for better plans. But I’ve had a love filled 11 years with the man I love and who loves me back. He is my knight and shining armor… the greatest gift the Lord has ever given me (second to Himself, of course 😉

Hope all of your anniversaries represent years of blessings… no matter how the exact date turns out. Praise God!

Book Review

I met Bethany Riehl during one of my last semesters at Multnomah Bible College (Multnomah University now). It was under some strange circumstances that we became friends (sharing the same ex-boyfriend), but there was just something about her that drew me in. She was only there for one semester, but I felt she was a real kindred spirit, and enjoyed our moments together.

Much later (about 12 years) I got online to announce that I was starting a career as an author, and a mutual friend said, “hey, did you know Bethany is writing too?” I hadn’t spoken to her since she’d left Multnomah, but we soon got in touch and swapped 12 years of goings on, making me wish that we lived in the same state. She is still someone I would love to spend my time with!

She had already published two books, and I’m very happy to say that I have read them both and love, love, love them! How she came up with the idea for these books is amazing, and I hope to someday interview her so that I can post the whole thing. But for now, here is my review of book two. Well worth your while to look it up!

The Heavens Are Telling

“This is not a book full of fluff. It is deep, thought evoking, encouraging, raw, emotional, joyful, vivid, triumphant, and full of praise for our God. I read the first book, The Earth Is Full, and loved it. This one was even better. The amount of detail Bethany Riehl puts into these books really makes it what it is. I feel like I’ve been to Thailand, to Cambodia–to the jungles, shrines and stilted houses of the villages. I read The Heavens Are Telling in three days…and it is not a short book. I highly, highly recommend it for absolutely anyone. In fact, if you have been called to work in the rescue of those lost to sex-trafficking, know someone who is, or know someone you would like to introduce to that line of ministry, you can’t go wrong with reading this book. It will inspire you to get on your knees in prayer for those tangled in the horrific chains of sin. There is power in prayer! Let us never doubt that!”

The Heavens Are Telling on Amazon

Lie, lay, lain

Today, I will lie down, much more than I ought to. Yesterday, I lay down even more than that, and if I’m not careful, I will have lain around doing nothing for far too long… (Their is no object to the action…only a subject. The subject is lying down.)

and lay, laid, laid. Today, I lay my book writing aside one more time. Much to my frustration, I laid it aside yesterday as well. This should not surprise me, as I have laid my work aside for months. (The subject is doing something to an object. The subject is laying down an object.)

Haha… I looked this up today, and thought I’d share. It’s very fitting because lying around  and laying aside my work is, indeed, what I’ve been doing for months. I’m 11 weeks pregnant and so very… very, very sick. It always happens this way for me. My body does not do pregnant well, and I just sort of fall off the planet for 3-5 months. Fortunately, the Lord has given me the sweetest of men. My husband does all of the grocery shopping for me, and has completely taken over dinners (while I shut myself into our bedroom to escape the smells, and occasionally into the bathroom for a 20 min shower if I can still smell dinner through the door). For a while there I could smell my kids skin… and my own, which was really awful because I couldn’t get away from me. I had to douse myself in lotion and lavender oil until it finally passed. Thankfully, I’m doing better than that now (despite my continual weight loss due to the nausea). I still can’t join my family at the dinner table as much as I’d like… and I have to hold my breath whenever I open the fridge or freezer, but I’m holding breakfast down. Yay!!! Small pleasures.

I also have four really sweet and crazy children who are a big help to me. My oldest is 10, then 8, 6, and 3. That last one will be 4 by the time this new one comes along. Why the gap? Two years ago, we had an “oops”… and I was terribly ungrateful for it, I’m ashamed to admit. We lost that one early in the first trimester, and the guilt (as you might imagine) was all the more overwhelming because of it. The next year, my husband and I decided to have another child on purpose. I’d never had trouble getting pregnant (usually on the first try), but not staying pregnant was something I hadn’t experienced before. We lost that one too. Thankfully, the second loss healed me from the first one, as the Lord brought my very special long-distance friend along side me, to whisper some truth into my ear. I’m grateful for the words that God gave her, and I’m thankful for my sweet little ones in Heaven. It’s funny, because I think that we are prone to think that if a child isn’t born to this earth, something awful has happened. But I think now, that the Lord desired a soul for His own purposes in Heaven (never meant for this world), and that He used Aaron and I as the means to create it. What an honor. I will see my precious Alex and Macaiah again, someday, and I can hardly wait to hear how the Lord’s been using them for His glory.

Now, a year later, I’m pregnant again. It was unexpected (as my husband was disheartened about trying for more), but not unwanted. I won’t lie and say that I haven’t been a bit paranoid about the whole thing, but I continue to “lie” at His feet, and “lay” (haha…thought I’d throw those in there again) its future in the Lord’s hands. My doctor has been very sweet, and allowed me to come in every two weeks instead of monthly until I’m out of my first trimester… which I almost am. So this is why I will have a four year gap in between my last set of kids. And between you and me (and everyone I come into contact with) I couldn’t be happier!!! I’ve never had such a big gap! What will I do with myself? My three year old is potty trained, three out of four can buckle and unbuckle  themselves in the car (a huge mile stone!), and I don’t even have to dress my youngest… who on occasion sneaks out of the bathtub un-shampooed and un-washed to dry herself off and get dressed on her own because she was tired of playing. I may or may not put her back in to finish the job… just sayin.

I love to write, but I can’t breath without my children, and sometimes I feel like I’m letting quality time with them slip through my fingers as I stare at my phone and lap top. I did manage to edit my second book and send it off to some friends and beta readers for further corrections, but I’ve given myself a solid month off. I may feel too sick to interact with them as much as I’d like to, but I can hug and cuddle and squeeze them, and look them in the eye when they come to me with a question or discovery. Thank you, Lord, for our children, and forgive us as a people for not valuing these precious lives as much as we should.

 

Singing the praises of Scrivener

When I first started writing the Walk With Me series in 2006, I did a lot of jumping around. A scene would come to me, and I would watch it playing out in my head like a movie… so I’d write it down. Some weeks or months later, I would get another inspiration and then write that down. Whatever I saw, I’d write, and it continued this way all the way up until 2015 when I realized that I couldn’t write any more chapters because I was no longer entirely sure how to connect my scenes. Also, I had scenes with repeated information, sometimes liking the way a  conversation played out in one place better than another.

So, when I got serious about writing, I grabbed all of my chapters (either printed or handwritten) and stretched them out across the floor. I then inserted blank pieces of paper in between chapters that needed to be connected, and then proceeded to write down a quick summary of what needed to still be written to get from point A to point B in my story. This was a very exciting process for me, because that’s when I realized I needed over 100 chapters to complete my story, which of course meant multiple books. I was nearly jumping out of my skin. But as mentioned before, I hadn’t done any research to this point so all those scenes and chapters were basically just dialogue. I hadn’t put any work into the setting yet.

It was around this time that I reconnected with one of my best friends from high school. Back then we had both written several stories, though I remember that she had also been big into poetry. It was the mid 90s and grunge was the thing, so they were all very emo. I’d always admired her talent, so when we reconnected I was quick to ask her if she was still writing, and was very pleased to hear that she was. We went to a self-publishing lecture of sorts at our local library together and it was there that we were introduced to Scrivener.

Scrivener is a writing program, with all the bells and whistles of something amazing that I will never fully use, but with  just enough simplicity and usefulness that I would never want to write without it. It’s not free, but neither will it break the bank, and it’s completely worth it. One of the greatest needs that I had, it easily met. Scrivener allows you to break up your project into independent chapters that you can work in and move around if necessary. So, once I rewrote my handwritten chapters in and cut and pasted from my online documents, I was able to work chapter by chapter in any order I wanted, rather than scrolling down through one long word document trying to find where I was or wanted to be. Scrivener also gives me the ability to take a snap shot of my work as I edit, so later if I feel that I have totally butchered my re-edit, I can go back to my old one and start over fresh, or relook at a sentence I preferred before I changed it.

It also allows you to view things in story board form or line up two different chapters side by side to compare material if need be. It has a great search option, which I used multiple times whenever I changed a characters name and had to make sure there was none of the old name left over, as well as a place to download research and photos for quick reference. Then, when I was finished with my project and was ready to start the editing process with my publisher, Scrivener compiled all of my chapters into a WORD document (or a PDF if you’d like). I think there were a few other options too, but those were the only two I needed.

Eventually, WORD is really what you need for editing back and forth with someone, but during the process of writing (especially for someone who tends towards writing out of order), Scrivener has been invaluable to me. Book one in my series is published, book two is being edited, but I have all of my chapters for books three and four of my series still in Scrivener. I know exactly how many chapters I need for each book, and at any time I can click on any one of them at random and see the little summary I placed in each, thus telling me what I need to write (so far I have 7-10 chapters in each book accomplished). Sometimes I try for a more linear approach and go chronologically from one chapter to the next, but if I get stumped, I just click on one further down the line and pick it up there. Not everyone writes like this, but whatever your bent (linear or random), I think that Scrivener is an amazing tool to have working for you 🙂

https://www.writersstore.com/scrivener?gclid=COnNg_jF8c0CFYqPfgodZvUBtA