About Me

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I'm a published author of short fiction for kids and adults. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. I'm a former content writer for Spirit and Truth publishing on their Living the Word series. I've also worked as a paid book reviewer and as a student editor for The Louisville Review literary magazine. I'm a wife and mom to two great kids, three dogs, and a cat. I love books, movies, gardening, kids, and animals.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A World of Endless Wonders Awaits

In just a few short days summer vacation will officially begin. For two whole days my children will glory in the fact they can sleep in and not be on a set schedule. Then I will hear the dreaded question, "So Mom, what are we gonna do now?"

I used to show my kids a calendar that listed all the things we had to look forward to in the summer time. Summer reading at the library, maybe a camp for one of them. That just initiated count downs for the entire summer. So much so I was asked to literally look at the calendar and count weeks of my life away with my children. I stopped showing them calendars after that. Now I just ask them what chore they'd like to do first. When they groan I shamelessly bribe them with going to the pool to swim or offering to take them to whichever summer movie is out that we all really wanted to see.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   My oldest child has already begun worrying about what new thing we can come up with to celebrate her birthday this year. To which I very patiently remind her that we don't need to worry about that until my birthday has passed. Of course I remember being their age and the world of endless possibilities summer seemed to hold. Until you were told by one of your parents it was your turn to weed the garden and you were rudely ejected from your bed at a much earlier hour of the day than you wanted. Then the summer became a row of endless weeds some of which were prickly and awful unidentifiable bugs that bit you. But each season has its drawbacks. 

Over the last few summers I've come to realize that you just can't do all the things you think you will in a few short weeks. It seems like in the spring that summer will never begin and you wait so long for the school year to end. Then it does and you blink and its over and you are shopping for school supplies again. So this year with our summer vacation already planned and our reservations made we have 9 weeks of unplanned fun to enjoy. Partly, because it is too exhausting running around trying to cram a bunch of activities into two and a half months, and partly to continue my resolution to live in the moment, I'm planning to concentrate our efforts on exploring the endless wonders closer to home. 

By that I don't just mean the wonders in our hometown, though there are fun ones to explore here. I mean within a reasonable drive time of home, possibly where there might be family to stay with. When we go to visit my parents for instance we can maybe make a point of visiting a place close to them that we've never explored. Or when we go to Georgia to spend time with my sister we can do all the fun touristy things we've never done with the kids before, like taking them to the World of Coca Cola.                                                                                                                                                          And though both my kids are old enough that they will roll their eyes at me, I still plan to take us to some of the summer reading fun at the local library. One of my kids will give me a very deep sigh at hearing it, but I also plan to delve into lots of joint reading with him to help him improve his reading skills. What can I say? Smart as he is there is still room for improvement. 

I am looking forward to summer and unfettered play time with my kids again. The world of endless wonders awaits us.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Sound of Voice

photo courtesy of amenic 181/ freedigitalphotos.net

Someone asked me an interesting question the other day. They asked, "What does my voice sound like to you?"

Being the clever person that I am I answered, "It sounds like you."

The person asking rolled their eyes at me and asked again, "What does it sound like? Does it sound like a stream or a waterfall?"

I sighed. It was late in the evening. Why were they asking me hard questions like this now? As the silence lengthened I knew they would just wait me out if I didn't answer. I thought about the question. What did this person's voice sound like to me? What did it remind me of? I smiled. "Maple syrup," I said. "Rich, sweet, maple syrup, the pure kind, and pancakes."

"Is my voice cloying or sticky?" they asked me.

"No," I said. "It is sweet and rich like a really well made syrup. But not cloying or sticky. Pure maple syrup isn't as sweet as the store bought corn syrup stuff with food dye in it. And pancakes are happy. They smell and taste good and they make the maple syrup taste even better."

Not only does this person remind me of maple syrup and pancakes. Sometimes they smell like them too. We don't know why that is, but they do.

The question was a fascinating one. At least, it was once I took the time to really think about it. We all get very focused on what we see. Even our sense of smell tends to be stronger and evoke more emotion from us that our hearing or sense of touch. Maybe the reason for this is the constant noise that surrounds us. We learn to tune it out. We also tend to get caught up in our routines and nowadays rather than living in a community we live in a world of strangers, somewhat isolated. Our sense of touch has become under utilized. Even though we may do things with our hands everyday we don't focus on the sensation of touch.

But what would we do if we couldn't see? How would we figure out things then?

photo courtesy of J. Fry/ freedigitalphotos.net

People who can't see are still able to live quite well. They listen, and smell, and touch to figure things out. When they listen to or read a book they do it with their ears or their fingers. Some of my favorite books have been heard instead of read. I've listened to them as I did housework or traveled in my car. The characters are still visualized in my mind, but they have a voice too. Whether you read or write a story you hear the character's voice before you see them in your mind. I do anyway. It is a persistent sound. One that is my constant companion until I get it written out on paper. Then comes the revision and tweaking. And the voice is more coherent and even more demanding, wanting me to get the facts of their existence just right.

So, this week before you delve into your normal routine take a moment to consider the people you love most. What do they sound like to you? Do their voices sound like the feeling of a gentle breeze against your cheek? Do they announce their presence with fanfare like a trumpet? If you like to read think about what your favorite character's voice sounds like in your mind as you think about their story. What is it about that voice that draws you into the story and makes it real in your mind? It is a hard question to answer. Voice is so much more than what we see and hear. But I think it is a good question to think about and ponder. If for no other reason it forces us to pause and be still. To focus on who we are and who or what makes our heart want to continue beating...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Procrastination Tuesday

Like many people who work from home, one of my biggest challenges is working where I live. Which is really great! But it doesn't always mean I'm as productive as I could be. Let's face it working where you have all of your favorite stuff means you have to ignore said favorite stuff and actually work. Even when you try really hard to get an early start on things you wind up being distracted from the task at hand. Case in point:

Ted the Turtle

What you wonder does a picture of my turtle Ted have to do with anything. Well, I was originally going to post today about the slow emergence of spring this year and how one of my favorite signs of the season was Ted's awakening from her long hibernation. Then I decided I'd talk about procrastinating. So I went out and took a picture of Ted. She was going to be my example of ways I find myself procrastinating. This led to me uploading said picture of Ted onto my computer, then deciding I needed to put all my Ted photos in one file. This caused me to start a search for that one elusive Ted picture I took of her last summer, and that got me started on organizing and labeling all my picture folders. Now hopefully I'll be able to find the ones I want next time I need them. See what happened there? A domino effect of classic procrastination. Forty minutes gone that I won't get back doing something other than writing my blog post. 

And that wasn't even me intentionally goofing off and then rationalizing it to myself later. You may wonder how I ever get any work done. 

I hide my camera where I can't find it? Nope.

Seriously, I set goals for myself and I try very hard to set limits on doing the things I love most. Besides writing of course, which I truly do enjoy. I limit my TV watching of my favorite shows that I recorded the night before to breakfast time. I make myself do a little bit of exercise after that to get the juices flowing. Then I'm ready for my day and I start working. It might be writing, it might be housework, or gardening outside. Usually it lasts about two hours. If I do housework first, I reward myself by listening to an audiobook while I'm working. Unless of course I'm vacuuming. If I'm doing that I count that toward doing some of my cardio for the day which cuts down on my exercise time some. Usually, after lunch I sit down and really start working on my writing project for the day. I get in two solid hours of work at that point without feeling guilty. I know, I know, why should I feel guilty about working at my writing? That is what I do--and actually get paid for. It doesn't matter. I work where I live and if where I live looks like a pigsty, or if my flowerbeds or garden outside are being choked out by weeds, I see it and I feel guilty. So, if I'm really productive in the morning, I can get started writing if I'm lucky at eleven, get in an hour. Take a lunch break with my hubby, and then get back to work after he leaves. If I don't get the other stuff done before lunch I still make a point of committing butt to chair and working for two solid hours after lunch. 

My hubby, with me and my goofball daughter.

I'm certain that these sorts of things don't just happen to us work from homers. I know there are people out there working out of an office or away from home right this very minute who are doing something other than actual work. You know who you are. You're the one reading this blog post right now. It's OKAY. I won't tell. Thanks for following me by the way.

So, next time you procrastinate, own it. It is human nature to get distracted by things. Maybe it is something we need to do in order to fully live in the moment. Or maybe all of us need to give our serious side a break from time-to-time in order to be able to focus better later. Whatever the case, admit to yourself that checking Facebook for a couple of minutes isn't actually essential to achieving your work goal for the day, then move on. Or maybe take a peek at a fun link like this one: If the Disney Villains Won. After all, figuring out how the Disney story would end if the villains won, or which Alice in Wonderland character you most identify with, might come in handy later. Really it might. Or if that isn't your thing share a comment with me on some of your favorite ways to procrastinate. :P