Showing posts from 2014

NaNo 2014

Once again, I am participating in NaNoWriMo.  I know it's probably bad form to admit this, but I don't expect I'll win.  I'm already struggling to find a balance between work, teaching, and home life. Adding in a 1,667 word count expectation every day borders on masochism.

But I want to be a writer and writers write.  
Other writers are busy.  They have families, jobs, and random obligations that threaten to derail their writing.  The difference between those who regularly produce words and those who don't is that those who produce refuse to put the writing aside.  They make it work.  Somehow. 
So, that's my plan.  I'm going to make this work.  Somehow.

Summer Recap

Hello, world!  Terrible blogger here!  It's been awhile, but I'm in the mood to share, so I thought I'd put together a little recap of our summer adventures.

We started camping in late spring and didn't stop until Labor Day weekend.  I'd love one last trip, but I'm not sure that will be possible with Gage's football and my teaching schedule.

I also was lucky enough to be sent out to California for training.  Even better?  My mom decided to make a six-hour one-way drive to come spend some time with me while I was "nearby".  We went to Disney and the San Diego Zoo.  It was great mother-daughter time.

In the middle of all this camping fun, but after my trip to California, we also managed to squeeze in a concert.  This year's headliners were KISS and Def Leppard.  In order to avoid the need for a designated driver (or three), we decided to rent a party bus.  The trip down was fine; the trip home was not so great.  We ended up with two stranded gr…

Reading Habits

So, I was totally inspired by this post, and as a result I decided to write up my own reading rules or habits. As Jeanette mentions, these reading rules really do seem to reveal a little something about my personality as well as my habits.

Habit #1:  If I love the book and have to have a copy on my keeper shelf, I will not loan it out to just anyone.  This was not always the case.  I used to loan out books all the time.  This changed, though, when the books I loaned out failed to make their way back to me, leaving me no choice but to purchase the book again.  
Habit #2:  If I loan someone a book, I try to be very clear about whether or not I want it back.  If I say I don't, I don't. However, this also means I think the book was less than worthy of my keeper shelf.  
Habit #3: I tend to read multiple books at a time.  For instance, at this moment in time, I am in the middle of four books.  It's ridiculous, but true.   A paperback copy of Hood by Stephen Lawhead.  This book is &…

The Gifts of Imperfection - A Reader's Response

I recently finished BrenĂ© Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.I was drawn to the book because of these two Ted Talks. Go ahead and watch them.  I'll wait.

I've watched those two videos multiple times. I find Brene a charming and authentic storyteller.  As her talk moves from the academic to the personal, as she lets the audience into the vulnerable areas of her life, I am amazed at her courage.  I don't think I could stand in front of an auditorium full of strangers and admit I had a breakdown spiritual awakening.  Fear of being judged, of being vulnerable to attack, would prevent me from admitting such a personal weakness.  Yet, Brene does so with humor and grace. She appears powerful, not weak.  Her time on stage is riveting because her revelation brings with it keen insights into the human condition.
Her talks left me wanting to know more about the power of vulnerability, fear, shame, an…

Travel Bucket List

I've split this into two categories - Travel Abroad and Travel within the US. I figure the destinations in the latter category are, for the most part, doable.  The hubby and I love to travel, but our pocket book only allows us to do so much.  
Travel Abroad

1.  Egypt
This is why it's at the top of the bucket list: it's the one trip I fear I will never take.  Given the political climate there, it's a little too dangerous for my liking.  However, I am fascinated by Ancient Egypt and would love, love, love to visit some of the historical landmarks that make that country so famous.

2.  England / Scotland / Wales I'm lumping these together because I have this idea that visiting all three would be possible if we gave ourselves enough time.  I'd want to rent a car and drive from the big cities, like London, to the more rural areas.  I'd want to see as many castles as possible and perhaps indulge in a guided tour or two. 
3.  Ireland Again, the history nut in me wou…

I Think I'll Just Ramble A Bit...and Call it a Blog Post

It's been awhile.  I haven't really been able to come up with any riveting topics, so I've pretty much been in avoidance mode.

We're in the process of planning our summer.  Vacations of varying length have been scheduled or are being discussed. Other than Myrtle Beach, all of these trips will take place in our home state because it's expensive to pull that camper too far!  Although, one of our yet-to-be-finalized trips will take us on a nice 8-9 hour journey.  That is, if the trip gets finalized before all our weekends are booked elsewhere.  
Let's see.  We have two open houses that I know of so far.  A concert to attend.  Motor City ComicCon to marvel at; although that's in May, so maybe it doesn't count in the summer tally.  
Of course, I have yet to buy the tickets for those last two events.  

I really want to do both this summer.  I've always wanted to attend the Motor City ComicCon, but either money or prior engagements have prevented me from …

Winter Isn't Coming...It's Here!

This will likely be a Christmas many in our area will remember for many years to come.  While we were one of the fortunate ones Christmas morning, a lot of people in the surrounding areas were without power before, during, and after the holiday festivities.  Not that we didn't lose power.  We did.  Ours went out and stayed out for a couple of days, but we had heat, water, and limited electricity thanks to the generator.  We could even watch television and play offline video games, if we felt so inclined.  Food was either served cold, picked up from the gas station's Subway station, or cooked on the Coleman stove. 

The reason for these less than ideal living conditions was a beautiful, but destructive ice storm that rained down on us just days before the Jolly Old Elf and his flying reindeer were expected to arrive.  These pictures don't do the scenery any kind of justice.  The light shining on and through the ice was simply stunning. 

While we lost power for a few days, w…

Writing Confessions

Today's First Writing Confession: 
I worry that my new novel is taking too long to get to the good stuff.  I feel as if I'm still laying the groundwork, which might not be bad thing, but likely is.  The potential for conflict is there, but I've yet to heighten the tension or raise the stakes, and those two things need to happen.  Soon.   
I keep reminding myself that this is the first roughest of drafts.  It's okay if I'm taking too long because I can edit out the unnecessary bits later or rewrite what's there. 
I'm tempted to give what I've written to my sister.  She's biased because she loves me, but she doesn't pull punches when she thinks I've managed to derail a project.  She'll tell me if she's bored or just getting impatient.

Today's Second Writing Confession:  I haven't worked on the story in a good week and a half.  Finger pointing and scolding encouraged. 

Photo Book

Edited to say: 
I didn't realize this actually attempted to post yesterday.  I thought the system malfunctioned, and I decided it wasn't worth the effort to battle it out.  Seems the system fooled me!

Anyhow, even though I love scrapbooking and have at least a dozen bulky 12x12 photo albums completed, I don't display them because they can be a bit unwieldy.  That's why I've opted to create these little 8x8 photo books from Shutterfly.  Unlike my handmade scrapbooks, these display nicely on my shelf.  For this reason, I've decided to start doing a Year in Review style book each January.  The trick, though, is to work on it throughout the year and have it ready to print when Shutterfly sends me a half-off coupon.

Click here to view this photo book larger Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at

Reading Goals for 2014

It's time to set new reading goals!

Over on Goodreads, I've already challenged myself to read 100 books in 2014.  It sounds like a lot, but I think it's doable.  Being done with school has really freed up my evenings and weekends.  I no longer have to set aside time to read theory, research topics, or write out assignments of various length and difficulty. Another benefit of finally being done with school is that I am able to select my reading material based on whatever sounds good or catches my eye.  Unless I get a teaching job, there will be no syllabus demanding my attention. 
So, looking at 2014, I'd like to start out with revisiting last year's reading goals and focus on completing the books I had hoped to read in 2013.  There were both Kindle Books I'd Like to Read and  Books on the TBR shelf
I did an okay job with the Kindle books.  Of those listed, these are the only ones I did not attempt: 

However, they are downloaded to the device and ready to be a…