“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

In Between the Beginnings

There are two beginnings for man - one in Genesis and one in Revelation. Everything else is the process - the middle of the story. And there's a lot of ick in there.

 But there's also a lot - A LOT - of love. I'm over at Jewels of Encouragement today, talking about just that. Come see what we have to learn In Between the Beginnings.

My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1

A Blog Nap, of Sorts

This post is part of Patty Wysong's 
 A to Z meme. This week's letter is "Z."
A to Z blog hop at Patterings. 
I started blogging five and a half years ago (somewhat reluctantly, and slightly pessimistically - see my first post if you don't believe me!), and I have been doing it pretty faithfully ever since. I have accumulated over a thousand posts on my blog - believe it or not, that's an average of a post every two days since I started!

And I realized something last week. While I really do enjoy blogging much of the time, I've been treating it as my "job." I'll get my post done before I do other things I need to do. I'll feel guilty if I have to skip one of my "regular" posts. And I've been doing it - almost every time - before I get serious writing done.

Photo Source
Well, that's stopping. I am declaring now, to the world (at least those in it who are reading this!) that my blog is no longer my job. It's a hobby. Something I do when I'm in the mood, and I have time. My blog is taking a nap. (Zzzzzz)

I'll still be writing some posts  - and you can see them at three other sites I write for (I have a "standing appointment" at the Midwest blog the Barn Door on the 9th of each month, a couple posts a month at the devotional blog Jewels of Encouragement on the 10th and 22nd of the month, and one devotional a month at the Internet Cafe - different date each month). I'll put up short "teaser" posts here to remind you to go check them out. But, as far as this blog, that's all I'm committing to.

Cuz, you see, my blog deserves a nap. And I need to change my focus. My blog is no longer my job.

So, what is my job, you ask? Well, as far as writing and/or income, I have three of them.
  1. FaithWriters (I'm the blogger over there, plus I'm a moderator on the forums, and do some critiques in the critique circle)
  2. Editing
  3. Learning as much as I can about writing picture books, and WRITING them (the only one I'm
    photo credit: Camera on autopilot via photopin cc
    not getting paid to do - yet ;))
So, keep stopping by the blog if you'd like. Who knows, I might have something new up at some point. But, as I said 2,036 days ago, "Don't hold your breath."

(Oh, and be sure to follow/like, etc., me on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest, etc - whatever floats your boat. Links are at the top on my sidebar. I'm not disappearing.)
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
Read more Z posts below, or add your own! 


In One Year and Out the Other

This post is part of Patty Wysong's 
 A to Z meme. This week's letter is "Y."
A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Most people I know have already done their "New Year's post." It is, after all, the tenth of the month already! BUT - did you know the year is only 2.7% over? (And besides, what better for the letter Y??) So, here I am.

This post is going to mostly be about 2014 - cuz that's what I'm really excited about. I'm going to start with the year that past, though. Cuz, well, that's what I've decided.

When I started 2013, I set a few writing goals - to finish the rough draft of my Biblical fiction manuscript, build my platform/focus around my tagline (Scripture Stories, Timeless Truths), and interact in my blog comments. Of those three, I accomplished only the last. But that's okay - because, starting around the second quarter of last year, the Lord started changing my direction.

More info on ACFW here!
Partly through my incredible opportunity (thanks to some AMAZING sisters in Christ) to attend the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, I discovered that, for now anyway, my writing focus needs to change from adult Christian fiction to children's writing - more specifically picture book writing. Because of this, I decided (with some sadness) to leave ACFW (an EXCELLENT organization for Christian novel writers) and instead join the Society for Children's Writers and Book Illustrators (which I did in December). My biblical fiction is on the back burner - and I need me a new tagline and blog design (working on that - mentally anyway).

Get more info on SCBWI
And that takes me to 2014. I'm planning to make this year a year of learning about writing picture books. To that end, I plan to make as much use of SCWBI as I can (including, hopefully, attending in-person meetups with local children's writers, gleaning info from their fabulous message boards, and combing their website for gems and jewels).

I'm also participating in not one, not two, but THREE challenges (so far :::r:::) related to picture book writing.

Join the challenge!
Start the Year Off Write is a 21-day extravaganza featuring a different writing exercise each day, provided by published picture book writer and illustrators, from January 5 to 25 at host Shannon Ambercrombie's website. It's been a fabulous way to hone my craft so far - and there will be PRIZES too!

Learn more here!
ReviMo (Revise More Picture Books Week) runs from Sunday, January 12 through Saturday the 18th, and encourages the writer to revise picture book manuscripts every day that week. According to Meg Miller, the lovely host, there will be blogs and vlogs encouraging you to take out that poopy first (second, third, fifteenth) draft and breathe new life into it. And, of course, PRIZES :D. Though I am new at the whole picture book writing thing, I do have a couple of "finished" picture books that could use some fixing up, so this should be fun AND educational.

Learn more about 12 x 12!
And then there's the one I am SUPER DUPER excited about. A serious challenge with amazing fellowship and assistance and cheerleaders and resources and learning and....yeah, you guessed it - PRIZES. 12 x 12 in 2014 is a yearlong challenge, cheering section, conference, pajama party, and accountability group all wrapped into one. Picture book author Julie Hedlund runs this program, which encourages members to write a total of twelve picture book drafts in twelve months (not finished, polished work - but DRAFTS). There are three levels of membership (I'm signed up at the Margaret Wise BRONZE level) with different amounts of perks. I am already loving it - and I've only been in the group since Monday! (And it's not too late to sign up - she takes new members through the end of February - if you're a picture book writer, give it a look!)

So, there's my year in review - and my plans for 2014. Am I crazy? Or maybe just motivated? ;)

How was your 2013? Any plans for 2014?
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
Check out more Y posts below, or add your own!


Appreciating a Nice Day

I've often said I never appreciated a nice day until I moved to Michigan. And lately, I've been hoping that one will show up - so I can appreciate it :)

The Barn Door

I'm over at the Midwest blog The Barn Door today, talking about winter and appreciating the season (which, I must admit, is tough to do at times). Hope you'll come by and see!
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1

He Grew - and So Should We

The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40, NASB

Some things about Jesus I am convinced I will never grasp this side of heaven (and maybe not even on the other side!). The verse above? Definitely one of them.

The Child in this verse is Jesus - the perfect, omnicient, all-powerful Son of God. Yet, He grew. He BECAME strong. He increased in wisdom. Sounds impossible. But He said it - so it's so.

One thing is clear, though. If Jesus could grow, then we certainly should.

I'm over at the Internet Cafe today, talking about just this. Won't you stop by and see how we also should Continue to Grow?
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1

Xmas With the Shers

This post is part of Patty Wysong's 
 A to Z meme. This week's letter is "X."

A to Z blog hop at Patterings. Guessing I won't be the only person to use this particular word for this particular letter :) (And just in case you're curious - the abbreviation is NOT a way to take Christ out of Christmas - see this explanation of its origins)
Our Christmas season starts the weekend after Thanksgiving, when we put up the tree (I, naturally, forgot to take pictures of most of the process, but do have one). We've had the same artificial tree since the hubby and I got saved in '99 (though we MAY have not gotten it until 2000. Not positive!).
My son helped put it up :)
I also display a couple nativity sets, a Christmas clock (plays a different Christmas tune every hour on the hour), Christmas placemats, and probably a couple other small things I've forgotten about (and, of course, neglected to take pictures of).

Our actual celebration begins on Christmas eve, when we go to my husband's brother's family's home about an hour and a half away by car and celebrate with his side of the family. Always lots of fun and fellowship with them. We then hop to Marc's folks' home and spend the night.
The few pix I took came out bad. This one is the best of them.
We head home Christmas day and have our own family Christmas when we get home. This year was especially fun, because we got my daughter a fun, unexpected, and VERY MUCH DESIRED gift. My son liked his stuff too :) (But he's nearly a teenager - you know how THAT is, right? ;))
But first - MY parents bought both of the kids laptops. Were they EVER excited! Up until now, they had been sharing one pretty-low-end machine. Now they each have nice shiny new ones! They love 'em- thanks Grandma and Grandpa Weiner!
They LOVE their computers!
Okay - back to my daughter. For almost a year now, she has had an interest in unicycles.  She had never ridden one, but kept asking about them. We never really gave her any encouragement one way or another (and we even let her birthday slip by - four weeks exactly before Christmas - without getting her one, or even mentioning it). But for Christmas, we gave her QUITE the surprise - and was she ever happy!
Love that look of pure delight on her face!

She immediately started playing and trying it out, and was clearly having a blast as she did. She was hardly off it the rest of the day (in fact, scroll up and check out the picture of both my kids on their computers. How do you like her chair??).

I have no doubt she'll be an expert in no time (and even if she isn't, she will have LOTS of fun with it!).

Overall, it was a wonderful Christmas. (And, just FYI, we took down all the decorations on Monday, December 30 - we generally do it around that time)

How Was Your Christmas?
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
Read more X posts below, or add your own! 


My One Word: 2016 and 2017

Most who know me know I am a very goal-oriented person (in fact, I already shared my goal wrap-up for 2016 and my new ones for 2017 on this...