Monday, August 31, 2009

Gone to Green


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Gone To Green

Abingdon Press (August 2009)

by

Judy Christie



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Judy Pace Christie, after working as a journalist for twenty-five years, left the daily news business to open a consulting firm that works with individuals, businesses, and churches on strategies for meaningful life and work, including goal-setting, living fully, and balancing personal and professional lives. She is the author of Hurry Less, Worry Less; Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmastime; and co-author of Awesome Altars. Judy and her husband live in northwest Louisiana.




ABOUT THE BOOK

Lois goes from being a corporate journalist at a large paper in the Midwest to the owner of The Green News-Item, a small twice-weekly newspaper in rural North Louisiana. The paper was an unexpected inheritance from a close colleague, and Lois must keep it for at least a year, bringing a host of challenges, lessons, and blessings into her life.

When Lois pulls into Green on New Year’s Day, she expects a charming little town full of smiling people. She quickly realizes her mistake. After settling into a loaned house out on Route 2, she finds herself battling town prejudices and inner doubts and making friends with the most surprising people: troubled teenager Katy, good-looking catfish farmer Chris, wise and feisty Aunt Helen, and a female African-American physician named Kevin.

Whether fighting a greedy, deceitful politician or rescuing a dog she fears, Lois notices the headlines in her life have definitely improved. She learns how to provide small-town news in a big-hearted way and realizes that life is full of newsworthy moments. When she encounters racial prejudice and financial corruption, Lois also discovers more about the goodness of real people and the importance of being part of a community.

While secretly preparing the paper for a sale, Lois begins to realize that God might indeed have a plan for her life and that perhaps the allure of city life and career ambition are not what she wants after all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Gone To Green, go HERE

Pattie's Review:

I liked this book. The story line was engrossing and kept me reading late a couple of nights until I finished the novel. Judy Christie has absolutely nailed small towns. This book brought back memories of when I taught journalism for three years in Arkansas, and the students produced a page in the local paper each week (with paper, photos, and glue, no less! Yes, the old-fashioned way).

This is the first book in what is sure to be a bestselling series. I'd like to see more of the spiritual development of Lois, and I suspect it will be explored in future books.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Storycrafters from My Book Therapy


Welcome to the tour for My Book Therapy!

My Book Therapy is offering a Storytellers Retreat in Minnesota this fall. To give you a taste of what is in store, I sent in three questions to author Susan May Warren and I'm happy to give her answers! Just keep on reading; they're after the retreat info. Enjoy!

From Here to There –

Going from raw idea to a drawn-out plot

How do you take your ideas and turn them into a story?

How do you know if your idea will sell?

Where do you start?


This working storytellers retreat, set just outside of
Minneapolis during the beautiful fall season is designed for a writer who has an idea…but needs help putting it together into a plot.

Come with your idea, leave with a game plan. We’ll teach you story structure, and then go step by step in the character creation and plotting process, explaining how to determine each step, and then show you how to apply it to your story.

We’ll brainstorm your ideas with you, share essential secrets of storytelling, and finally, you'll take home a filled-out workbook that will act as a map as you write your novel.

For beginners to advanced writers who just want a guide along the way, the From Here to There Storycrafter's Retreat will jumpstart your novel further down the road to publication.

Storycrafting & Coaching Retreat for Writers

Friday, October 23, 2009 1:00 pm -
Sunday, October 25, 2009 11:00 am (Central Time)


Riverwood Inn & Conference Center
10990
95th St. NE
Otsego, MN 55362


For more information, visit here for more information.

And now, here are my questions and answers!

___

Pattie asks:

1. How can I stay organized while I'm writing a book? I have notes everywhere!

Oh, me too! I am a “horizontal” organizer – I like to have my notes everywhere. For a month or two as I am hashing out my rough draft, I have sort of a “nest” around me that I simply climb in and out of. However, sometimes to keep the craziness down, I create a notebook – a three ring binder that holds my story notes, my character sheets, my research notes and a devotional that I usually write for every story (think of it as my own spiritual journey as I write). Then it is all in one place and not quite as messy. But I still keep my research books open…

2. All I ever hear about fiction is "show, don't tell." Well, I need help determining if I'm showing instead of telling. My novel must have some description and conversation, after all!


Oh, my favorite topic!! I know this is so hard to wrap your brain around. Let’s see if I can help.

Basically: Telling is when you TELL someone how to feel. It relates to the emotion to the story. With Showing, the key is to let them into the pov character’s head and communicate enough for them to experience with the character --their emotions, their journey.

Let’s take a common issue: conveying emotions.

If you say: She felt grief, or even eg; (and this is more common), “Grief overtook her”, you are pinpointing one emotion your reader must feel with the character. Instead, show us how despair makes her feel – physically, or act, or think, or even see the word. Let us into their heads:

Eg: She stood at the edge of the closet and stared at his polished shoes, at his pressed wool suits, at his crisp silky red ties. A tidy man. Not the kind to wrap his car around a tree. But there, in the back…she pushed aside the shirts and pulled out his letter jacket, the one he’d wrapped around her the night they’d met. She inhaled. Thirty years, and still his scent lingered. Please, let it linger. Please let her rewind, go back to the fight, erase her words. Erase his anger. Without a word, she stepped inside the closet, closed the door behind her, pulled the jacket over her, and wept.

Never once do I say that she is grieving – but (hopefully) you get it. The point of not telling, and showing isn’t to dumb down the reading, but rather to connect us more to the POV character.

If I had said: She stood in front of the closet and grieved, that would be telling the reader her emotion.

Further from that, but also a bit telling: is She stood in front of the closet and felt grief course through her.

Better would be: She stood in front of the closet and wept.

Best would be to use the action – the example I gave.

Here’s a rule of thumb, also – Tell actions that are common to all of us – she tied her shoe, she made coffee, she answered the phone. SHOW things that you want to make impact.

Eg – if you want the answering the phone to have impact, then have her reach for the phone, check the caller id, maybe hover her thumb over the receive button. Then push it before her courage fails (or whatever).

***Physical Description and Dialogue IS NOT TELLING.

Narrative can be telling, if it is a long passage of back-story. But two lines of back-story are not telling. Can they be conveyed better? Sure – put them into dialogue – a much better way to convey back-story. Or even, inner thought. But that is also not telling.

Again, telling is all about telling us what the character feels.

The bottom line is… What does a POV character DO because of what it is (aka, feels).

Does that help?

3. How do I know if I am really doing a good job with writing fiction? When should I hang up my pen and just stick with nonfiction blog stuff?

This is a good question. Hmm…I think it is when your writing sings, and you know it. When it makes you think…I wrote that? When you say, I really understand that character. Maybe put it away for a while, read sometimes else, maybe from your favorite author…then come back to it. If you love it when you come back to it, then I think you are on the right track.

Thanks to Susie for her visit, and be sure to find out more about My Book Therapy visit the website!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sunflower Serenade and Giveaway


Welcome to the blog book tour for Tricia Goyer's latest fiction release, SUNFLOWER SERENADE.

About Sunflower Serenade: A small-town summer...

The days are long and lazy, the corn is high, the sunflowers are in bloom, and everyone in Bedford is gearing up for the biggest event of the summer: the annual county fair. But when a Nashville music producer approaches Bob about using Heather Creek Farm to film a country star's new music video, he and Charlotte are faced with a dilemma. Will they allow the glamour and enticements of big-city life to encroach upon their peaceful home? Will the excitement of celebrity drown out the simple joys of summer?

About the Home to Heather Creek series:
Charlotte Stevenson's world is turned upside down when her daughter, Denise, dies in a tragic car accident. She ran away at eighteen and Charlotte has never forgiven herself. Now, Denise's children, abandoned by their father, are coming from California to live on Heather Creek Farm in Bedford, Nebraska.

Charlotte is uncertain about her ability to care for three grandchildren who are not thrilled to give up the beach and sunshine for snow and farm chores! But she sees a chance to make amends and will do whatever it takes to keep her fragile family together. Feel the courage, strength and commitment of this family as their lives unfold in the Home to Heather Creek series.

Pattie's Review:

I have enjoyed reading this book. Tricia captures the essence of the small town (and I've lived in very small towns as a pastor's wife for 14 of the 18 years I've been married), focusing primarily on the positives, but also pointing out a few of the negatives when tension is needed.

The dichotomy between the small-town fair and city life is just fun to read! The Nashville folks on the farm! Funny! San Diego Jordan learning about chores and Sam's new life, very good! And the fair....mmmm....I can smell the corn dogs and elephant ears now! (Which makes me really excited we're going to the Minnesota State Fair in a few weeks!)

All in all, a fun, sweet read with plenty of spunk and fun and love.

Giveaway:
I will be giving away my copy of the book because I think it should be read during these last dog days of summer, while it's still fair season! So please leave a comment with a way to contact you and your favorite fair food, and I'll draw a winner Sunday.

Contest:
Playing on one element of the book - big city entertainers vs. old county fair – the contest for this blog tour is City Girl Goes Country! Share your funniest story (about you or someone you know) about a time when you as the “city girl” goes to the country or “country girl” goes to the city. Enter the contest here:

Link to buy book:
http://www.guideposts.org/heathercreek/linked_pages/book7.html
The books come in a series and you can order those at the link. However, if you just want to order Every Sunrise you must call the customer service number (1-800-431-2344)

To visit other blogs on the tour, visit:
http://www.litfusegroup.com/latest/current-blog-tours/88-sunflower-serenade-blog-tour

Monday, August 24, 2009

Catching Up a Bit

Before the whirlwind of the school year which begins on Wednesday, I thought I'd catch up on a few things here.

  • Spiritual journaling is going well thus far. I feel much more focused when I begin my day with the Word and writing down key verses, thoughts, and tags. The tag idea? Genius.
  • Everything Austen challenge, not so well. I'm only one-sixth of my way through!
  • Other reading challenges: by the wayside. I've been focusing on all my book review books lately!
  • Writing: nonfiction, going okay. I've been waylaid by some editing for my husband, but he more than met his deadline; now for my own! I have two pieces to work on this week, deadline is next week. AHHH!
  • Writing: fiction, nonexistent. Maybe November? (snort)
  • Summer List: Well...not too terrible. But not great either. I guess some of those were more long-term goals than I originally anticipated.

And as for my theme, being brave, well, I've been (figuratively speaking) stepping out a bit more on faith in a few things. :)

Austen Giveaway

Everything Austen Challenge 2009

This morning I was checking my Twitter feed and found out about a fabulous giveaway! Our hostess for this challenge, Stephanie, has a post up about it here.

So what are you waiting for? GO! READ! ENTER! And tell her Pattie sent you.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

too fun

Go visit my friend Andy (who is the husband of my former fab-o talented roommate Donna) and share the
coffee junkie love! <--click here

What time is it?

Back to School Giveaway Time!

Over at Christina Katz's blog, the Writer Mama is giving away a prize a day (mostly books, but some other writerly stuff too) over at her blog:

THE WRITER MAMA RIFFS

So be sure to stop in and see what the prizes are and how to enter!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Felicities




Tough to make a list when that overwhelming feeling of "Oh my goodness, I have so much to do!" threatens to take over.

Deep breath, slow down, and list.

  • Boysenberry yogurt
  • My new spiritual journaling habit
  • Spending time with my oldest daughter as we drove to and from base last night
  • My husband, who works very, very hard to take care of us (even when he saddles me with all his editing *wink*)
  • My job, even though I don't want to go today

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spiritual Journal

Anyone who knows me in real life has probably received a journal from me at some point. I love journals! I have been a diarist/journal-keeper since around fifth grade or so, but not consistently through the past 25-plus years. I've been more faithful to the craft since around 2000, when I first read Nicole Johnson's Fresh-Brewed Life: A Stirring Invitation to Wake Up Your Soul. This was an important book to me (revisit the top of this blog and see its title to see how much!).

Unfortunately, this year has not been a good journaling year. Normally I'm halfway through my second blank book by mid-August, but this year, I still have plenty of space in my journal. I just haven't been writing as much by hand. While that saddens me, I didn't do anything about it.

Until today.

Stephanie is one of my Women at Home friends, one of those gals who's walked through fire with me but whom I've never met in person. I visit her blog regularly, and yet, I missed this honey of a link before today, when I accidentally clicked on it in the margin of her blog.

Journaling as Spiritual Discipline.

Oh my goodness!

I was amazed. How did I miss it before? I don't know. But what I can say is, I've had as a goal all summer to read and study the Word more closely, but I just haven't gotten it done. I just haven't, and no excuse is good enough. But this blog, this entry, reawakened the desire in me to track my spiritual life so I can STAY on track with my spiritual life, and not let it go by the wayside, neglected.

I found an unused journal in my box of unused journals that closely matches the size of my Bible. I printed out portions of the journal entry so I'd have a couple of the examples and the suggested guidelines, and glued them into the first several pages of my journal.

Then I began:


Ann Voskamp? I don't know you, but I thank you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

questions for marriage expert

I am formulating a list of questions to send to a woman who is a Christian writer and speaker about marriage.

What question would you ask, if you could ask a marriage question? Please post in the comments.

If you want to ask "anonymously" please email to me at freshbrewedwriter (at) gmail.com.

Thanks!

Montana Rose

My review and note about meeting Mary in Fargo are at the bottom of this post! Please scroll down and enjoy!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Montana Rose

Barbour Publishing, Inc (July 1, 2009)

by

Mary Connealy




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary's writing journey is similar to a lot of others. Boil it down to persistence, oh, go ahead and call it stubbornness. She just kept typing away. She think the reason she did it was because she was more or less a dunce around people—prone to sit silently when she really ought to speak up(or far worse, speak up when she ought to sit silently).

So, Mary had all these things, she want to say, in her head; the perfect zinger to the rude cashier, which you think of an hour after you’ve left the store, the perfect bit of wisdom when someone needs help, which doesn’t occur to you until they solve their problems themselves, the perfect guilt trip for the kids, which you don’t say because you’re not an idiot. She keep all this wit to herself, much to the relief of all who know her, and then wrote all her great ideas into books. It’s therapeutic if nothing else, and more affordable than a psychiatrist.

So then a very nice, oh so nice publishing company like Barbour Heartsong comes along and says, “Hey, we’ll pay you money for this 45,000 word therapy session.” That’s as sweet as it gets.

Mary's journey to publication is the same as everyone’s except for a few geniuses out there who make it hard for all of us. And even they probably have an Ode to Roast Beef or two in their past.

Mary has signed an exclusive contract with Barbour that will have her writing eighteen (18) books for them over the next four years! This book is the first in the Montana Marriage Series. The second book will be the Husband Tree, and the third will be Wildflower Bride



ABOUT THE BOOK


Fire up your love of romance with Montana Rose.

When surrounded by a mob of ill-bred, foul-smelling, women-hungry men, the newly widowed and seemingly spoiled Cassie “China Doll” Griffin has no choice. Marrying handyman Red Dawson seems the only alternative to Cassie’s being hitched to a brutal rancher. But can this “China doll” bear exchanging smooth silk for coarse calico? Red was reluctant to be yoked to an unbeliever, but sometimes a man has no choice. Will Red change Cassie’s heart by changing her name? Wade Sawyer is obsessed with saving Cassie from a marriage of convenience. How far will he go make her his own?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Montana Rose, go HERE





I met Mary in Fargo a couple of weeks ago at the Parable bookstore there, before I had actually finished Montana Rose... I had to put the book down to drive down there...but oh, it was so worth the trip to meet her. I had a great time! I was a bit shy, as all new and unpublished authors probably are, to talk about my current writing (which frankly, I haven't written fiction in way too long!). But she was so encouraging to me! I really appreciated her honesty, her humor, and her absolute love of all things bookish. (Can't wait to try those recipes, either!)


Later, I found her stalking me--er, I ran into her at another Large Chain Book Store after my girls and I ate dinner. She said, "HEY!" and startled me! I met her nephew when he came up and said, "HEY aren't you MARY CONNEALY???" and then laughed. THEN, while Mary was signing her books in the store, I literally ran into a friendly bookstore employee in the Christian fiction aisle, and told her Mary was there in the store. She went to see, and fortunately she--the employee, not our Mary!--was not limping too badly (just kidding! I didn't really hurt her...).

So...Montana Rose. I really enjoyed it! I think it's my favorite of all Mary's books thus far. I enjoyed the premise (a more humorous take on Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly), the characters, the struggles, the resolution...all of it! I highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical prairie romances. There's plenty of Mary's signature humor, and of course our hero and heroine have a long and winding path to True Love, but it's such a fun journey!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Friday List

Yeah, I know some of these are repeats on the list. So what. It's my list! If you don't like it, [insert whiny Napoleon Dynamite voice] make your own!!!

  • Zebra Sarasa gel pens. I found my super-secret stash of blue ones and I'm so glad I did! Yay! Enough pens to last awhile!
  • French-roast coffee. Really, no other roast will do...not even the darker Italian. C'est bon!
  • Lists. They are helping me get things done. Plus, there's nothing like crossing something off a list! And seeing the mostly-complete list from this week...
  • Eggs and toast, a good breakfast.
  • Books and blogs. Never at a loss to find something good to read!


    What makes you happy? Make a list and then post it to Becky's site.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friendship and Leadership

Welcome to the blog tour for The Friends We Keep/40-Minute Bible Studies Blog Tour!

Today we're taking a peek into two books: The Friends We Keep : A Woman's Quest for the Soul of Friendship by Sarah Zacharias Davis, and Rising to the Call of Leadership by Kay Arthur, David and BJ Lawson, a volume in a 40-minute Study series.

Summary for The Friends We Keep:

During a particularly painful time in her life, Sarah Zacharias Davis learned how delightful–and wounding–women can be in friendship. She saw how some friendships end badly, others die slow deaths, and how a chance acquaintance can become that enduring friend you need.

The Friends We Keep is Sarah’s thoughtful account of her own story and the stories of other women about navigating friendship. Her revealing discoveries tackle the questions every woman asks:

• Why do we long so for women friends?
• Do we need friends like we need air or food or water?
• What causes cattiness, competition, and co-dependency in too many friendships?
• Why do some friendships last forever and others only a season?
• How do I foster friendship?
• When is it time to let a friend go, and how do I do so?

With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores these questions and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process, she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why we need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous.

Pattie's Review

Wow. What can I say? I wish I'd had this book as a teenager, when I was trying to figure out what friendship really was!

This is a terrific resource for all women. The author takes examples from real women as well as from the "ideal" friendships we find in literature, film, and popular culture. She lovingly shows us what the word of God says, and gives suggestions for dealing with particular issues in female friendship.

This is a book I will read again, savoring each chapter.

Summary of Bible Study series:
The 40 Minute Bible Study series from beloved Bible teacher Kay Arthur and the teaching staff of Precept Ministries tackles important issues in brief, easy-to-grasp lessons you can use personally or for small-group discussion. Each book in the series includes six 40-minute studies designed to draw you into God’s Word through basic inductive Bible study. There are 16 titles in the series, with topics ranging from fasting and forgiveness to prayer and worship. With no homework required, everyone in the group can work through the lesson together at the same time. Let these respected Bible teachers lead you in a study that will transform your thinking—and your life.

Titles Include:
•The Essentials of Effective Prayer •Being a Disciple: Counting the Cost
•Building a Marriage That Really Works •Discovering What the Future Holds
•Forgiveness: Breaking the Power of the Past •Having a Real Relationship with God
•How Do You Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk? •Living a Life of Real Worship
•How to Make Choices You Won’t Regret •Living Victoriously in Difficult Times
•Money & Possessions: The Quest for Contentment •Rising to the Call of Leadership
•How Do You Know God’s Your Father? •Key Principles of Biblical Fasting
•A Man’s Strategy for Conquering Temptation •What Does the Bible Say About Sex?

Pattie's Review:

While I have not had the time to go through this study yet, I will say that after paging through it, it looks to be a REALLY good series. Designed for small groups, yet still something one could do on one's own, this little book seems like a great example for the series. I'd recommend it. It appeals to me. The length, the layout, all seem very exciting, as well as nonthreatening (and anyone who has gone through a Kay Arthur study probably knows what I mean! They're really deep!).

Many thanks to Random House for the opportunity to review these books!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

(in)courage

In courage. Encourage. Homophones, both with the same root word of courage. I love that!

(In)Courage is a new blogging community and it looks to be a great (pun intended) encouragement for women. The website is www.incourage.me/ (which I also love! "encourage" me, give me courage.)

For the six or so people who read my blog, you know that my 2009 theme continues to be BRAVE. I am trying to be braver in my life. (If you are new, you can click here to read my original December 2008 post about brave).

The (In)Courage gals want to know what encourages me.

That's a tough question.

Because I see myself as the servant, the one who builds others up, the one who comes alongside to strengthen and encourage others.

What encourages me? Words of affirmation. And it's not like I don't hear them--I do. I have some cheerleaders in my life, and they are important. But often in the muck and mire of life, those voices are silenced by the negative voices in my head, the ones that say I am not smart enough, or that I'm not good enough, or that I never finish things anyway so why start something new at this point.

The best encouragement, however, is from Scripture. Psalm 139 says it all best. He searches me, and He knows me. He loves me, He knit me together in my mother's womb. He made me to be a bit neurotic about details, and made me excited about new projects and not so enthusiastic about finishing things. He made me to love my family and friends wholeheartedly, even when it means I am the one who is hurt.

And that, my friends and readers, is that.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Julie and Julia

It's the eternal question: If you had an afternoon to yourself, what would you do?

I took myself to the movies. The newer and nicer of the two local movie theaters had a matinee of Julie and Julia, and a British gal who comes to the Curves where I work pronounced it a "brilliant film." She was right.

I loved it! I laughed (a LOT, I might add...out loud...often as the only one laughing, even though the theater was about 1/3 full). I cried. It was, indeed, brilliant.

Meryl Streep was amazing as Julia Child, and Stanley Tucci was perfect as her husband. In many ways, his supporting husband reminded me of Nathan Lane's supporting husband to Bette Midler's Jacqueline Susann in Isn't She Great. He completely supported his wife's desire to do SOMEthing (emphasis Streep's). He should play more nice guy roles...he's good at them!

I liked Amy Adams as the blogger Julie Powell, and while I'd heard of Powell's book, I have not yet read it. Many of the things she said and wrote resonated with me, particularly her penchant for not finishing projects and her fear of having developed attention deficit. I admire that she and her husband stuck things out (and from what I have been able to skim online, they've weathered much worse than dropped casseroles since the events of the film ended) and worked on their marriage and stayed together. In a culture of prevalent divorce, this is something unique and admirable. I loved how Eric (played by Chris Messina) devoured all of her cooking and was also supportive (up to a point, and even beyond that point, I might add) of his wife's endeavor.

All in all, I left the theater smiling and feeling very full and happy--even though I did not eat during the film.

So, last night I decided it was time to introduce my almost-teen to the world of Jane Austen. I figured the BBC Pride & Prejudice might be too long, so I chose Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility instead.

I had to laugh when she laughed at the same parts I find funny, and I was always ready to hit the pause button to explain a bit about the time or the culture (for example, why did the Dashwood women have to leave in the first place?).

What I did NOT expect was to hear:

"Mom! Is that Professor Trelawney?"

or

"That's Snape! He looks better without black hair!"

or even

"I know her! She's that mean professor." (That would be Professor Umbridge, by the way...)

and of course,

"That's Dr. House!"

Many apologies to Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Imelda Staunton, and of course Hugh Laurie...but it's all your own fault for doing the Harry Potter films (excepting Hugh Laurie, and that's just because I love Dr. House in all his curmudgeon-liness).

Thursday, August 06, 2009

It's a jungle out there.

I don't know how many of my readers are Monk fans...anyone? anyone? We are definitely fans of Monk at the Chaplain's house and have been since sometime during season two.

(In case you are wondering, the title to this post is the opening line to the series theme song, written and performed by the incomparable Randy Newman, and it first appeared in the second season of the show.)

Tomorrow night begins the first part of season eight, which USA Network has announced is Monk's last. While I'm really sad that the show is ending, I am happy for the writers to resolve Trudy's murder at long last.

I found out about this lovely giveaway on Twitter, so if you visit Chelsea's blog, you too can enter to win.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Simplify, simplify.

One of the first online friends I ever met in person was author Ann Kroeker. She wrote the book The Contemplative Mom, and if you are a mom longing to find more time with God and haven't read it, I recommend it.

Well, I follow Ann on Twitter and found out she has a new book out this month! It's called Not So Fast, and it looks to be a fabulous book. You can find out more about it here on Ann's book blog.

Naturally, the little writer in me said "Hey! Blog about this!" So here I am, my few but faithful readers, to talk about slowing down.

This is actually funny, because last night I was thinking it's time to kick up the workouts a notch; all the ice cream and vacation eating has settled where I'd rather it not be. But I don't think that's what people mean by slowing down and taking time out and simplifying life . . . do you?

The first thing that came to mind was the quotation I used as the title for this post: "Simplify, simplify." Do you know where it comes from? Dr. James Saucerman. OK, not really (he was my grad school American Transcendentalism professor at NWMSU, in case you wondered who he is!). Really it's from Henry David Thoreau's Walden. I'm not recommending we all sell everything and live in the woods in a cabin we built for $28.12 1/2, but the principle is still a valid one. Why else would we all have "declutter" and "recycle" and "donate" in our blog posts this year, in a less-than-sterling (pun intended) economy?

Begin another month, begin a new habit, break an old habit, make a new resolution. It's all good. Just don't beat yourself up about it if you miss a day, like I tend to do.

Here are a couple of resources for you:

Additionally, on Twitter through my friend Carmyn I found a challenge from author Laurie H. Anderson to write fifteen minutes a day. Today's post fulfilled today's 15 minutes and then some! :)