Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Friday!

I'm doing a 31-day challenge to write something every day during the month of October, over at my other blog.

There was snow on the mountain this morning across from our house, that's been mostly green and gold for the past 3 weeks. So winter, she is nigh...

31 Days

To see all of the 31 Day-ers, click here.

I've seen a LOT of 31 Days of Change posts lately, but wasn't sure if I wanted to step on the bandwagon or just run fast, and run far. Particularly since I have not really blogged a lot lately and have pretty much lost whatever following I used to have.

But the idea of 31 Days of SOMETHING intrigues me.

I made a few personal goals for the last 100 days of 2011. One of my goals is to write something every day. Another is to find good writing prompts for my composition classes (I've gone back into the teaching profession and rather quickly too; not as much time to prepare as I would have liked to have).

So here, on the Fresh-Brewed Writer Blog, I think I'll do

31 Days of Writing (you can click on that link for all my 31 days of writing posts)

I know, I know, not original at all. But necessary for me where I am right now.

Stephanie's 31 Days of Reading to her Adorable Children (ok, I sort of changed that description a bit... ;))

Happy Chaos

I'll admit it, I'm often a sucker for celebrity autobiographies. So when I saw Happy Chaos with a grown-up Soleil Moon Frye and her daughters on the cover, I was intrigued.

This book, however, is less celeb-bio than parenting how-to guide. I did appreciate much of what she had to say--and I wonder if it's a testimony to the celebrity culture in California that she felt like she was the only mom in the entire world to feel like a failure. Really? I've felt like that before. Often. So have my friends, and I count many friends in three states. And we talk it through and encourage one another. This makes me wonder about her feeling like she had no one to share her doubts with, even just five years ago when her oldest was born. I am glad she found support online. (My oldest is about to turn 15, for the record.)

The best parts of this book are when she ties real-life experiences from her permissive upbringing into her real-life parenting experiences. The rest was just okay for me.

A final note: the title is awesome: Happy Chaos. May all our homes be filled with both happy chaos and forgiveness for our own myriad mistakes as parents.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Fiction Class

The Fiction Class is a novel by Susan Breen, which tells the story of Arabella Hicks and her mother Vera. And Arabella and her fiction writing class that she teaches one afternoon a week, while working on her own novel at home. I found the book to be easy to read, easy to get into, and I enjoyed it. I particularly liked the characters in her class--and yes, they were characters as in a novel, but "characters" as in different and vibrant people too.

I enjoyed this book.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Into Reading 2011

For participation info, click here.

My List:

Books I Also Read But Which Are Not On the List:

  • Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK by Betsy St. Amant (NetGalley on Kindle)
  • The Shakespeare Manuscript by Stewart Buettner (Kindle)--did not really like all that much.
  • Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares (library find)
  • Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook (library find)
  • My Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure (This was my first library loan on my Kindle! What an awesome program!!!)
  • Murder by Mocha by Cleo Coyle (10th Coffeehouse Mystery book--original ones recommended to me by my Nattie, back in the day...)
  • All That is Bitter and Sweet by Ashley Judd (it was okay, difficult read)
  • Delivery by Diana Prusik (disliked the book until the very end....)
  • Give it All, Give it Now by Annie Dillard (short gift book)
  • Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos
  • Harsh Pink by Melody Carlson
  • The Pioneer Women, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story by Ree Drummond
  • One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Extreme Makeover Home Edition Review
I was given the opportunity to review the season premiere of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Here is the link to my review at Wives of Faith.

100 Days Left

There area 100 days left in 2011. I was going to make a list of 100 things to do over the course of those days, but that list seemed too daunting. So I whittled it down to 50 things.

Now, this is not a list of things to DO, to accomplish, exactly. I mean, some of the things are things I need to do. Things that need to be done, and then they will be complete and out of my head. Off my shoulders. Crossed and markered off my haunting, taunting ever-lovin' never-endin' to-do list!

But it's also a list including some habits I intend to cultivate. To help change my attitude, to turn my life toward service and away from my self.

Some things I'll share, some will be private, but all of them will help me be a better Pattie.

One thing I'm doing on my Facebook page is listing random Alaska facts of the day. One goal is to learn something new about my new state each day. This means I should have a nice long list when I'm finished.

I'm also dusting off my gratitude journal and working on that 1000 Gifts list again. Remembering that all is grace.

One other thing I'll be seeking is my 2012 theme.

How about you...will you have a personal challenge over the course of the last 100 days of 2011?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Military Life

Good morning! Welcome to my moderately-active blog about being a chaplain's wife!

My name is Pattie and I'm a military chaplain's wife, a mom of two girls (a teen and a tween), a teacher, a writer, a many hats, and only one head on which to perch them!

We recently relocated to Alaska (the Last Frontier) courtesy of the US Air Force. So lately it's been about settling in, and learning the area, and figuring out the schedule of chapel activities, dance taxi, work, etc.

I am back in the classroom this fall after 5 years outside the classroom. I love teaching again. Such a gift!

So as I stick my big toe into the blog waters again, put your link in the comments and I'll stop by when I'm not driving to the dance studio or grading essays :)

Friday, September 16, 2011


Life in Alaska is not that much different than life anywhere. We still go to work, take the kids to school and dance, drive to chapel, all the things of 21st century life.

But there are several key differences.

First of all, not everything is priced the way we're used to in the Midwestern US. This means we occasionally suffer some "sticker shock."

Second, I can't just hop in my car and drive 6 hours to visit my mom and sister. Or hop a train and 12 hours later hop off and visit my dad.

Third, our cell phones just don't work as well up here as they did before (We have Verizon, and well, Verizon isn't here).

And finally, the scenery is VERY very cool. Mountains and trees changing their leaves to fall colors, streams and rivers, and beauty all around me.

But otherwise, I am juggling the same things I did before: wife-ing, mom-ing, driving the mom taxi, PWOC, chapel, and part-time employment.

Quick Friday Takes

  • I haven't blogged in so long, I've forgotten how...almost!
  • I spend most of my online time on Facebook, or email, or researching for my class I'm teaching (Reading and Writing).
  • I'm thinking about a break from Facebook.
  • By deactivating my account.
  • Just during the weeks I'm grading research papers and finals.
  • Because what I discovered is, if I have to, I can work hard when the computer is off.
  • I'm behind on my Wives of Faith editorial stuff.
  • Just looking at the emails piling up stresses me out.
  • I'm about to take my dog to the groomer's.
  • We're settling into life here in our new state.
  • It's pretty much just as busy as everywhere else---school, work, chapel activities, base activities.
  • Except surrounded by mountains and trees changing colors to suit the autumn.
  • We're fine.
  • Really.
  • I do miss my friends in the "lower 48" a lot.
  • I'm making new friends.
  • But that takes time.
  • I haven't been writing and I feel all pent up with words.
  • I also feel like I'm missing opportunities for expression.
  • But I'm not sure.
  • I still fight the spectre of insecurity, the sin of not trusting.
  • But in many other ways, our life is blessed, and happy, and busy, and good.
  • How about you?

Monday, September 05, 2011

CFBA presents A Whisper of Peace

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Whisper of Peace
Bethany House (September 1, 2011)
Kim Vogel Sawyer


Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.


Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the mountains of Alaska, practicing the ways of her people even as she resides in the small cabin her father built for her mother. She dreams of reconciling with her grandparents to fulfill her mother's dying request, but she has not yet found a way to bridge the gap that separate her from her tribe.

Clay Selby has always wanted to be like his father, a missionary who holds a great love for the native people and has brought many to God. Clay and his stepsister, Vivian, arrive in Alaska to set up a church and school among the Athbascan people. Clay is totally focused on this goal...until he meets a young, independent Indian woman with the most striking blue eyes he's ever seen.

But Lizzie is clearly not part of the tribe, and befriending her might have dire consequences for his mission. Will Clay be forced to choose between his desire to minister to the natives and the quiet nudging of his heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Whisper of Peace, go HERE.

Sadly, I have not received my copy of this book. I can't wait to read it, since I just moved to Alaska! Hopefully soon. That is one of the downsides to living here, however: The mail can potentially take a LONG time. Often it doesn't, but sometimes it does.

UPDATE: I did receive the book finally, and I did read it (finished it Dec. 2). It took me awhile to get into the story, and even with the historical and geographical detail, the story didn't really capture me as I thought it would. I don't know if it's my changing fiction taste, or just that I am finding some historical fiction in the CBA market to be predictable, but there were no surprises in this novel for me, and the characters, while likeable, weren't loveable. So with apologies to Kim Vogel Sawyer, this was just not my favorite book this year.

That said, however, I do think that if you're a fan of gentle romance and historical Christian fiction as comfort reading for yourself, this would be a good choice for you.