Monday, July 29, 2013

Answering the Knock

It's time!

Yes folks after months of preparation and paperwork, this week is the week of my very first writer's conference!

I will be attending a Christian Writer's conference here in Pennsylvania from Wednesday to Saturday. Lucky for me I'm close enough to commute! The conference will be chock full of personal interviews, workshops and all kinds of schmoozing opportunities to help get my foot in the door of the publishing industry.

Part of me is more excited than a tween at a Justin Bieber concert, but the other part of me is scared to death!

Here are some of the things that are going through my mind at the moment:

What if they don't like my work? 
What if they think I'm so bad that I am dubbed 'That Moose Drool Writer' and am blacklisted from ever publishing anything for forever? 

And worse yet, what if they do like my work? What if they like me so much, I'll be swamped by people wanting me to publish with them? And what would happen if they all hired me, each for a different project, and all the deadlines were at the same time?

Okay, so that last one I would learn to deal with, but still....

I fear both failure and fame- that's the funny part. I just hope I don't babble or stutter when I talk to all those people!

Just a few days ago I found out that a door might be closing in my life. Might be. And part of me wonders if this is one of God's 'perfect timing' moments- why would I get this information right before a writer's conference? Was it to let me know that I'm free to accept any writing opportunities in my very near future? And if this door does close, does that mean this conference is my window to success as a writer?

That realization alone has put me in a more determined mind set- this conference isn't just for me to learn, but to also gain confidence and show these people that my writing has merit, and that I am worthy of being published. This is what I love, and this is my job- so I'd better start acting like it!

I'm going to answer that knock. It's doesn't matter if that knock makes me an author or not. What does matter is that whatever happens, I come away from this conference having learned something- not only about the publishing industry, but more importantly about myself.

And that, my dear friends, is the best opportunity of all!

Please pray for me as I attend this conference. I'm still a bit nervous!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Time Warped

This summer was fraught with promise. I was going to be the Best Mom Ever and do things outside with the kids, and be the Social Butterfly of the Year by having friends and family over. We have a fire pit and outdoor furniture for those cool, nights perfect for weenie and marshmallow roasting. It was going to be the summer of summers!

Where has the time gone?

Part of me wonders if it was the heat- I replaced the outdoor thermometer with the one from the oven, because the little bulb exploded. Saunas don't contain as much humidity as the outside air, and heat warnings from the weather service keep telling me and mine to stay inside, or your feet will melt. So I decided to wait for the heat wave to be over before I invited anyone over. 

I'm still waiting!

I think the heat has warped the space/time continuum, for all my friends are now too busy to come over. Things are just going at too fast a pace to slow down, and when things do settle, the heat has sapped any excess energy for them to do anything social. And forget about tempting them with roasting marshmallows- no one wants to be in this heat! And if they don't die of heat exposure, they'll be sucked dry by the mosquitoes, because it has rained every day since spring.

The summer is half over, and I have yet to attain even one friendly visit or outing with the kids.

Now I'm hearing ads for back to school sales and getting paperwork for school registrations, and I'm printing out unending lists of school supplies and uniforms they'll need for school because they grew out of everything a month before school ended last year.

They're growing up, and I'm running out of time! Yet my kids tell me they are bored to death on a consistent basis, while I sit in a pool of sweat wondering how I'm going to get everything done by September.

I remember being a kid and time dragged on forever during the summer. But my parents never seemed to have a lot of time on their hands. I wonder if as we age, the time continuum changes as physical maturity ensues. I bet you it does.
(Please note I said 'as physical maturity ensues' not mental maturity- acting immature doesn't count!)

So where has the time gone? Sucked down a vortex from our bodies and into our children. Our time goes faster, while their time goes slower. It makes perfect sense. And the heat speeds the process along.

I'm wondering if I can stop the warped time vortex by inviting my kids out in the yard while being armed with an ice-cold hose. I think it would do wonders for all of us! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

50 Shades of Tan

Facebook is flooded with images of 'this race did this to that race' and the injustice of it all. 

My question is this- why is race even a factor? What if we took the color away and then looked at the situation? I think many people would stop crying racism and get a better perspective.

After all, God made flowers in many different shades, as He did us- a wonderful garden filled with 50 shades of tan!

Unfortunately racism is a factor in some cases. Segregation ran rampant in our not-so-far past, and though there is much more racial acceptance (especially with mixed-races), we still have the influence of the older generations that were brought up to dislike races other than their own. 

Don't blame the race, blame the individual.

It's so easy for us to stereotype someone by how they dress, how neat and clean they are, and yes, sometimes the color of their skin. I wonder just how much society as a whole would change if this was non-existent and we based our reactions to their actions and attitudes instead. 

The richly dressed and well groomed people can be thieves or con-artists.
The ragged, rank smelling homeless man can be a hero.
The everyday girl next door could be a pedophile.
And an at-home mother involved in the PTA and the community can be a serial killer.

Please note I didn't mention race- but I bet you formed a profile of someone in your head that is of a particular race. It's human nature to do so, depending on our upbringing and sense of stereotypes.

I wish the race card would stop being played. Period.

I wish we could see the heart of a person, and not their skin tone.

Injustice is injustice, and actions really do speak louder than words.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Riding the Heat Wave

I have to admit, I'm spoiled.

It's about 700 degrees in the shade outside, and we're in the middle of a heat wave. And here I am sitting next to an air conditioner in my home still hot and sweaty, because God has a sense of humor- especially when it comes to pre-menopausal hot flashes. Great. Two heat waves all in one hot and sweaty package.

It's hard to see the blessings of God when my cellular structures are melting, but in a moment of clarity, they do come to the surface of my frying brain cells. For instance:

I don't live in the South. Not that there's anything wrong with the South per se- I just can't handle the warmer climes. Not just the humidity either- it can be 70 here and I'll be sweating like a racehorse if it's humid- but add heat and I am just a big puddle of misery.
Not that dry heat is good for me either- fire is dry heat, and you won't catch me near one during the summer- unless it's pitch black and I have marshmallows.

I have air conditioning. I didn't use to. In fact, for the first few years of marriage all we had were fans- and we were truly grateful for those fans! We'd turn them on and fill a spray bottle with cold water, and as long as we didn't move, we managed to keep our blood from boiling.

Cold showers. When it gets to the point of where I just can not get cool, cold showers tame the fiery beast. In fact, it drowns that sucker in soothing frigidness. The only time this backfires is when I have sunburn, and that first deep gasp makes me choke on the gallon of water I just sucked into my lungs.

A large living room. Oh the blessing of a living space where no one has to touch you! Often my kids like to lean against me when we watch a movie during the summer- but when I'm hot, even a pinky-length of body contact is too much. They have learned that when I give them the 'Touch Me and Die' look, they can seat themselves elsewhere quite comfortably- though this doesn't work with the cats (one in particular) who decides that despite his fur coat, he needs to lay on me when I'm my sweatiest.

And now, though my house is cool and I no longer need a spray bottle to keep from imploding, God decides to let the hot flashes cometh. I swear I can fry an egg on my head right now! Why can't He do this to me in the winter, when I can heat the house all by myself and save on the gas bill?

Like I said before, I'm getting spoiled- and God doesn't like that. He wants me appreciate what I have, and not gripe about what I don't. And believe me, I'm truly grateful when the hot flashes stop for a while!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Positivity 101

It all started with an idea for a party.

A few months back, I wanted to thank all of my kids' teachers for their help in getting us through a rough time (my husband's accident and the move). They helped my kids finish homework and projects, and helped them get better grades. I made cookie boxes for them, and they expressed such joy with several comments that parents didn't often express their appreciation for teachers.

So before school let out, I spoke with a few teachers about inviting them to an Appreciation Picnic.

I asked when they would be available, made invitations, and had hopes that out of the twenty teachers (and their families) that were invited, we would have a great picnic. There were a few no's, a lot of maybes and a few yeses.

I prepared food for three days. The day came, and we were all very excited to welcome our guests.

But no one came. Not One. Not even those that said they were coming. 

My family ate a very large lunch and put all of the food away.

I was not a happy camper. I was ready to become a hermit in the Appalachians and give up on the human race as a whole. And who was going to eat all this potato salad? But my husband had a better idea. He started inviting the neighbors for a picnic dinner.

We didn't have many, but those few that came had a blast! We started a campfire in our fire pit, ate ourselves stupid, and roasted marshmallows while getting to know each other. Everyone went to bed late that night.

The next day we gave some of the food away to those in need, and kept what we thought we would eat for the next few days. We turned our lemons into lemonade and drank our fill.

And my hope for humanity was restored.

He helped me to see that any bad situation can be turned around to the good. Sometimes I need to be reminded of that.

I am so very glad I married my husband! He has a much more rosy look on life, and helps me daily to see that shiny side of the coin. If you have someone like this in your life, please cherish them and tell them you love them- they are rarer than gold!