Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 31: What I've Learned

What have I learned from writing every day? Let's see....
  • I like it.
  • Sometimes it's hard.
  • I CAN do it!
  • Some people actually like what I write!
  • (That's encouraging. I need encouragement.)
  • I need the discipline of daily writing, even if I don't publish it daily.
  • It's okay not to publish everything I write.
  • It's also okay to turn off the internal editor.
  • Which is hard!!!
  • Facebook is a huge distraction from actual writing.
  • Listening to God is harder with distractions.
  • Being open to inspiration is important. (I credit inspiration as divine, because really, I have nothing without God. And my writing is His.)
  • I am proud of myself for accomplishing this October 31 Days of Writing.
  • And I don't mean that in a prideful way, either.
  • I stuck with it and accomplished a goal. That's a big deal!
Thanks to The Nester for hosting all the 31 Days blogs. To read all my blogs for the month of writing, click here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 30: A month of writing.

I've written something every day this month.


I am really happy I fulfilled this portion of my end-of-the-year push toward achieving some goals.

On the minus side, listing 5 things I'm grateful for every day has been a bust. This past week And I allowed the circumstances of this week to get in the way of my attitude of eucharisteo. So I failed at giving the hard thanks.

Some part of me thinks this is the stuff that keeps me humble.

(Some days it feels like it's the stuff that keeps me downtrodden.)

Mostly, though, I know that the Lord keeps me in His hand. And the sun will come up tomorrow (maybe not out, but it will rise).

I will keep writing. Because it's in my heart and my hands and my soul.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 29: Paper

I have a love/hate relationship with paper. It piles up. It's hard to get rid of. It's a comfort and the bane of my existence. It's heavy. It's portable. It's shreddable and scannable and pretty.

And that's about all I have to say right now. This week I'll be re-organizing my filing cabinets and shredding things we no longer need.

Day 28: Regular Blogging

It's been interesting blogging regularly this month. For a few years, I regularly posted on this blog, both personal posts and book reviews, and it was a nice quiet blog with a small following. Then I went through a really rough patch with a friend about three years ago, and I felt it was no longer safe to blog because her other friends were "reporting" back to her what I wrote, and it was feeding into the drama.

So, I got scared. And I got quiet.

And then, God started giving me a yearly theme. (I've written about them here and here. Oh, and here too.) Those themes have kept me more focused on Him instead of growing a blog. With actual followers and stuff.

Then I ended up accepting a position with Wives of Faith as the blog editor, and the bulk of my writing went toward that ministry. That's not necessarily bad, but neither is it as much of my own personal writing.

So to write every day this month has been good for me. It proved to me again that yes, daily practice does make me a better writer. Having an audience for that practice is just a bonus.

If you are on Facebook with me, you might notice I do not publish these entries on my Facebook wall. This is sort of lame, but my extended family doesn't know about this blog. It's just something that has been very quiet and personal in a weird and public way, as blogging tends to be.

One thing that I'd love to do eventually is move a lot of this over to an author blog (and I have the blogspot address for my full name already saved!). But to do that, I need to actually BE an author. In my mind, that is someone who has finished a book. Mine are all pieces, saved on a flash drive here, an external hard drive there . . . certainly nothing concrete and definitely not anything worthy of sending out to an agent! Someday, maybe. Definitely something worth striving for.

Pretty soon I won't be posting as much--my writing energies will be poured into writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month. I am determined to win this year! I think I can do it, even though I am starting to teach two classes in about a week and a half. However, if my recently discovered health issues get in the way, I will give myself grace to bow out . . . well, gracefully.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 27: Lost and Found

I had a really rough night on Sunday night. I had a stack of student papers I thought I would start grading, and when I went to get them, I couldn't find them.


I don't know about you, but I can't stand making mistakes. At all. Losing my students' papers was a big mistake.

I also cannot abide when something is lost. Drives me nuts.

I went through the office, the house, and found nothing.

I went through my car, my tote bags, my filing cabinets. Nothing.

I went to bed. I didn't sleep well at all.

The next morning, I did the same thing as I'd done the night before: looked, looked again, and looked high and low. No papers.

I emailed the dance studio. They looked. Nothing.

I had a hearing test on Monday in town, and afterwards I turned on the GPS and found I was only 2 miles from the studio. I went by. I looked. No papers.

Last night, the students were pretty much united in two things: the belief that the papers would turn up, and the deep and abiding desire to know their grade.

Tonight as I sat in the dance studio watching the last few minutes of M2's class, the office lady gave them to me! She said they'd been shoved to the back of the "lost and found" standing crate!

Praise the Lord!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dear Students (Day 26)

To my first college class in Alaska:

I was scared to death to fail, but I was even more scared not to try. So much you would never know was on the line: my self-esteem, my confidence in latent abilities I was afraid I'd lost forever (or at least for a while), my earning potential, my husband's view of me. In my mind, all were riding on how well I did as a teacher.

How well would I teach you how to write about literature? Could I teach a classroom of military professionals and self-professed nonfiction readers how to appreciate poetry, short stories, and Shakespearean tragedy? I may not have succeeded with every one of you - a couple of you were really tough nuts - but I think I won over a few others of you - the ones who laughed at my jokes, who teased me a little bit, who liked that I cared.

Thank you for sticking with me, for showing me that yes, I've still got it - the teaching part of me I gave up five years ago to follow my husband and where I was not able to find a teaching position. Where I thought I lost the teacher-me, traded in on the coach-me. Thank you for letting me make mistakes (way too many for my own standards), and for giving me a little grace as the new-to-Alaska girl. Thanks for the tips and the advice, for laughing with me about the butchered moose, and for being concerned about my hearing.

I hope I gave you the useful tools, and I pray you are able to complete your next classes well and successfully.

Mrs. R

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Days 24 and 25

Yesterday's writing was not for public consumption--it was for my class! I finished writing their final exam. Today's writing is here, and to be honest, I'm not yet ready to make today's information public. I found out that something in our lives that was a possibility is now a big certainty. And it's not a fun thing, either! I hate being vague, but I'm not ready to make it public on an open forum, so "vague-blogging" will be the order of the day.

In other things...moving on...I have just had a cruddy week. I have a friend, a very dear friend, who is really big right now on choices. We have a choice in our attitude, in how we handle things. It's a hard thing, this choice. And sometimes, to borrow a toddler's expression, I don't wanna! I don't wanna be a grown up. I don't wanna deal with the hard things in life. I don't wanna choose the higher road, or the mature way. But there it is: Choice. Free will. The ability to choose how we react, not on the whims of our emotions, but on the certainty that God loves us and we do not have to allow someone else's emotions or whims or choices to affect us to the core.

I'm still dealing with that.

As Nattie would say, onward and upward. Tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 23: Sunday, Sunday

So for Day 22, I wrote this book review as well as this one. So while I didn't write a post for "31 Days of Writing," I did write. :D

Today is Sunday. It's a day I'd normally try to rest, but that was imposed upon me yesterday instead, having gotten sick. So today, back to work to finish the final exam for my class, as well as grade sheets for the students' essays, which also need graded by Wednesday night.

I hope to get it all finished, and still have time for the family. It's a busy, busy week ahead, with medical appointments, parent-teacher conferences, and the wrapping up of the fall term.

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Welcome to the Lit Fuse blog tour for Susan May Warren's latest,
Baby, It's Cold Outside!

About the Novel:

Hope finds the hopeless when a storm hits.

It's Christmas weekend 1949, and despite the threat of a storm, the townspeople of Frost are determined to continue their holiday traditions, if only as a means to forget the war that they had all just suffered through. But the suffering hasn't ended for Dottie Morgan who lost her only son in the war. She's preparing to wallow in her isolation for the weekend, when Violet, nearly a spinster at age 29, dares to make a request that will force Dottie to publicly revive the memory of her dead son.

When a storm traps the two women at home with a strange young man who has an unbelievable confession and a neighbor with more to do with Violet's past than she would like, no one can predict how this Christmas will give them all a second chance.

Read an excerpt here and find out the story behind the novel.

Pattie's Review:

I know I'm inextricably wrapped up in the story of a novel when it's tough for me to go to bed without finishing the book. That's where I found myself the other night: up way too late, finishing the book!

I completely sympathized with Dottie. And while she's far from an "old woman" at 44 (I'm almost there myself, and despite the silver peeking through my roots, I refuse to consider myself an old woman!), I can completely understand why she feels like her life is over.

The characters were believable and perfectly flawed. The feel of the novel is still WWII, even though it takes place after the war is over. Definitely a new period, a rarely explored few years in-between WWII and the glory of the growth and expansion of the 1950s. Having gone through the Johnson Presidential Library in Austin this past spring, I can tell you it's consistent with the state of the country at that time.

Overall, a wonderful cozy read, perfect for the holidays. And to all the WAACS, God bless you.

The Contest:

Enter 10/14-10/26!

Thank you to LitFuse, Susan May Warren, and Summerside Press
for a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Married Mom Solo Parent

Welcome to the Lit Fuse blog tour for Carla Coroy's new book Married Mom, Solo Parent.

About the book:

For married women who feel like single parents.

Bookstore shelves are full of parenting resources for moms who are newly divorced or widowed. But where do moms turn if they feel like a single parent--but they’re not? Whether he is away on business, deployed in the military, or obsessing over a computer game, Dad may not be available for a variety of reasons. Moms who parent in this situation still need help and don’t necessarily relate to the advice given in divorce recovery or single parenting resources.

Married Mom, Solo Parent is a common-sense, down-to-earth look at the struggles wives and mothers face when their husband is not actively involved in family life. Writing from her own experience as a married single mom, Carla Anne Coroy will help wives and mothers sort through their questions, such as: Can I do this alone? How do I raise kids to honor their father? How do I give my children a healthy perspective of marriage if they never see one in action? With practical suggestions, anecdotes, and biblical teaching, this book will encourage moms to see their position as a high calling, to find healing for their worries and frustrations, and to tap into God’s strength for help in facing the daily challenge of being a married mom, solo parent.

About Carla:

Carla Anne Coroy runs the Married Single Mom blog at She speaks regularly and serves as a staff writer for an online Christian women’s magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women. Carla Anne lives in Canada with her husband and four homeschooled children. For more information, visit

Pattie's Review:

As a military wife, I thought this might be a good resource to review. Turns out, I was right. It's written for any woman who feels like she solo parents because of her husband's job, whatever it is, that takes him away from the family for periods of time. So there are personal stories from other women included, which gives this book more of a universal appeal.

While I haven't had time to finish reading the book, what I have read makes me want to read more. I've also recommended it already on Facebook to some women who are struggling with how to best honor their deployed husbands.

Carla Anne pulls no punches. She is honest, very honest in a way that is not off-putting but definitely needed when dealing with difficult issues like emotional divorce and infidelity, honoring her husband, and parenting issues like discipline.

I think this book is a much-needed resource for women who find themselves parenting mostly by themselves.

Random fact: I realized that Carla Anne now lives near where I used to live--too bad we didn't know each other 2 yrs. ago or we could have met in real life! I emailed her and she graciously responded to me right away. (Hi Carla Anne!) I wish her all good things.

Personal Reflection Journal for the book, available on the author's website.

Small Group Study Guide for the book, available on the author's website.

Don't miss Carla Coroy's MomChat Facebook Party on 10/25!

Come to an encouraging MomChat party on Facebook…you could win a KindleTouch!

To celebrate the release of her new book Carla has partnered with her publisher, Kregel, to host a live MomChat party on Facebook!

The party will wrap up the blog tour ( and Carla will be hosting an encouraging MomChat about all things mom and wife related. There will also be a fun contest and she’s giving away a KindleTouch and a ton of other fun stuff (books, gift certificates and more!).

So RSVP today and then come back on 10/25 at 5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern for the party.

Don't miss the fun ... and tell your friends.

Special thanks to LitFuse, Carla Anne Coroy, and Kregel Publications
for a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 21: It's Friday!

I'm so glad it's Friday.

Even as a work-from-home Mom, Friday still feels like a fun day, like a day when I get out early from school, or take off early from work.

I ordered a couple of books online that I think will help me come up with some more original material for my composition classes. (Let's hope, right?)

Today as I made my own spreadsheet-thing (pictured to the right) to figure out which elements of fiction I really wanted to teach, I realized what I really needed to do was overhaul the whole dang syllabus (I borrowed heavily from the English professor at my college, because I had to get my syllabus turned in a few days after I learned I had been hired; consequently, it has a lot of Dr. W and not a whole lot of Pattie).

So what started as a few minor tweaks has turned into a major project that remains unfinished. I sure hope the dean's administrative assistant doesn't dock my pay for not getting the final syllabus in on time!

Thankfully, as I have to stop now and pick up my daughter from school, I think all I really need to "fix" is about 5 class sessions. The remaining 6 are fine (First and last sessions and midterm are set, as are the two sessions of Hamlet and the Life poetry set I'd already overhauled from the original syllabus).

Update: I finished by 6 pm ADT! Yay!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 20: Exercise Part Three

In case you missed them: Part One and Part Two

In the fall of 2009, we found out we were leaving North Dakota, which meant I was going to have to leave my job. I gave my notice in the spring and left at the end of April. I had been taking a class at the local community college, so I planned to leave my job the week before my final portfolio and paper was due. It worked out well. I continued my workouts until we moved, and said a reluctant goodbye to the friends I'd made there over the past 3 1/2 years.

Curves headquarters is in Waco, Texas, and I had it in my head that the Texas clubs would be hard-core into sales. Because we were fairly certain we'd only be in Texas for a year, I didn't pursue employment. Instead, we used the gym on base (convenient because I drove the girls to school there each day), where I could take yoga classes. I bought a punch-card, which lasted me all year, and I took yoga at the base gym.

Now there's been a lot of talk about yoga in the Christian community. To be honest, I have waffled about it for years--is it okay, is it not okay, for Christians to take yoga classes. I did not feel uncomfortable taking classes at the gym, because the instructor was strictly working on muscles. She rarely used the Sanskrit names for poses, and she talked all the time about the muscle groups we were working. It took me a few weeks, but I could gradually see improvement and felt more comfortable with the process of going through the classes. My flexibility improved quite a bit!

We found out we were moving again, this time to Alaska. When I began exploring my exercise options, I was not comfortable with yoga. There are many yoga studios here in the area, but they all seem to be very focused on the religious aspects of yoga, rather than the exercise-centered classes I'd been attending (that's my perception alone, not based on anything but my gut feeling after overhearing at the dance studio and visiting websites). Curves costs quite a bit more here, as well.

I found out about the Jazzercise studio from one of my new friends here who loves going. I found out about their special, and even the unlimited classes at the 12-month contract was a significant cost cut from Curves here in town--and less than driving to the base gym.

So I stumble and make mistakes, and am feeling sore muscles from not being used in this way for a long time! But I'm slowly starting to get the hang of it, after only taking a class every summer or two with my sister (who has been Jazzercising for something like 13 years).

So there it is: my exercise autobiography. :D My ultimate goals are: to keep from gaining weight, and improve my cholesterol levels, and improve my heart strength. I want to be healthier than I am without exercise. No sluggishness for me! Plus, with the darkness of winter upon us, I want to stay happy too.

Day 19: I'm too sore to write!

I'll finish the exercise post tomorrow. I'm tired tonight!I exercised today and my hips and arms are sore.

I spent all the rest of the day preparing for class, and still feel like I did a mediocre job with the poetry. Ugh. I need to seriously overhaul my lessons for next term...which starts in 3 weeks! It is hard to plan for 2 classes next term while still teaching this term AND writing a final exam from scratch.

So there is my little rant for tonight. I'm tired. It's been a very long day. I'm going to go to bed and work tomorrow. And write. I promise.

PS: My students have noticed they've improved in their writing. So it's not just me :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wonderland Creek

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wonderland Creek
Bethany House (October 1, 2011)
Lynn Austin


For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother (age 98), and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. And two of her inspirational fiction books were chosen by Library Journal for their top picks in 2003, and 2005. One of Lynn's novels has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.


Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But happily-ever-after life she's planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend, Gordon, breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real world. Then to top it off, Alice loses her beloved job at the library because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression.

Fleeing small-town gossip, Alice heads to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the library in the tiny coal-mining village of Acorn. Dropped off by her relatives, Alice volunteers to stay for two weeks to help the librarian, Leslie McDougal.

But the librarian turns out to be far different than she anticipated--not to mention the four lady librarians who travel to the remote homes to deliver the much-desired books. While Alice is trapped in Acorn against her will, she soon finds that real-life adventure and myster--and especially romance--are far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wonderland Creek, go HERE.

Pattie's Review:

From the beginning, I found Allie to be a "kindred spirit" of books. I'm the girl who used to take a book to baseball games as a teen. I love reading. But I'm glad Allie realizes eventually that life is to be lived in person, not from behind a book.

I thought the story was just plausible enough for enjoyment, while also fantastic enough to enjoy a great deal. I liked the mystery portion of the storyline as well; it reminded me a bit of Catherine Marshall's Julie.

Overall, Wonderland Creek was a delightful book and an enjoyable story. And a good reminder, too, that we should pay attention to the life going on around us, and take a chance every so often.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 18: Exercise, Part Two

So there I was, winter in North Dakota, and I was feeling fat and sluggish. I already deal with thyroid issues, so it was like adding insult to injury (without a literal injury).

After taking my daughter to dance class one January evening (the studio was in the "older" mall in town, in part of what apparently used to be Sears), I noticed some sort of fair or something going on in the center of the mall. I wandered over to the people and the chatter, and I discovered it was the annual health fair. I walked around, gathering a few free pencils and picking up brochures from the Y and the health club next door to the gymnastics studio where my youngest was taking classes.

Then, I saw the Curves table. I'd tried a free session at a Curves a few years ago, and while I thought it was nice, the hours weren't compatible with my teaching job at the time (for which I commuted 30 miles one way). Then when I left teaching, it wasn't compatible with our budget. My good friend Nattie worked at a Curves in Indiana, so I stopped and talked to the woman (who turned out to be the owner). She gave me their special, and I gave her my phone number.

The next week, I was a member. Because joining was cheaper than me driving to the base to work out. And I knew I had to stay active or I'd turn into a depressed lump.

I ended up really enjoying my workouts, and after my husband's deployment was over, I ended up going to work for the new owner, who is one of the most wonderful women I've known, and who mentored me (without knowing it) in dealing with people and handling a business and a family at the same time.

By this time too, my friend Nattie was gone, and I knew in some odd and peaceful way, that my job was meant to be, to carry on her legacy in a way.

What I liked about Curves was the encouraging atmosphere, and the fact that I could do cardio and strength training in 30 minutes. Oh, and I also loved working there for the same reasons. Plus my membership was included as an employee "perk."

When we found out we were moving, I was so sad to leave.

*Part Three tomorrow*

Guest Post: Emotions of the Married Single Mom

Please welcome guest blogger Carla Coroy to Fresh-Brewed Writer today!

Emotions of the Married, Single Mom

A recent survey done by and reveals that between 25% and 65% of both working and stay-at-home moms sometimes feel like married single moms. Reading the responses to this report and comments on blogs, it is quite clear that emotions run high. The deeply felt emotions these women deal with may have been birthed in an unequal distribution of chores, however as time goes on these emotions reveal there is something more significant going on. It’s no longer just about the chores. The emotions reveal cracks in fabric of the relationship. These emotions – loneliness, anger, jealousy, grief, etc – can have a profound impact on a married single mom and her marriage.

No girl grows up dreaming of a marriage where she feels abandoned by her man. Perhaps his job pulls him away from home for days, weeks or months at a time. Maybe he is gaming his time away, or drinking away the possibility of an intimate relationship. Regardless of why husbands are absent (or uninvolved), their wives experience a roller-coaster of emotions that can wreck havoc and disaster within their marriage.

Loneliness is a painful wound many married single moms quietly carry every day. Companionship and conversation are critical components of a happy marriage. When this isn’t available, a wife feels lonely and separated from her husband.

Disney Princesses trained us for ‘happily ever after’, but when Prince Charming doesn’t come home our hearts ache for our unmet expectations. Those unmet expectations become dashed dreams that may never be fulfilled and need to be grieved. There is a deep sense of loss and often questions and fears about what the future will hold.

Fear also raises its ugly head in other ways. She wonders about his activities. She worries about his safety and health. Concern for her kids becomes paramount. She becomes insecure in her role as a wife and mother. Insecurity in her marriage, in her purpose, and in her belief system begins to erode her confidence. Married single moms wonder if they still have what it takes to attract their husband’s love and attention.

It doesn’t take long for the twinges of insecurity to grow into soul-shaking jealousy. Husbands who are home every evening, who co-parent their children and date their wives become objects of comparison. Watching a husband and wife deep in intimate conversation can ignite a spark of jealousy. This envy can become a consuming fire tearing down whatever good might exist in her marriage.

Then shame sets in. When others question her situation, it validates her pain and points out the failure she feels. She’s embarrassed about her husband’s choices, often feeling she must make excuses for him. Blog comments regarding married single moms contain some deeply wounding words that cast blame on her because she chose to marry and stay with him.

For many, this growing burden of emotional pain becomes a cancer deep in the heart. All the emotional pain is fashioned into a sharpened sword called anger. They are angry with their husband’s choices. Angry about living married life alone. Angry about how Daddy’s absence affects the kids. Angry about everything.

There is so much grief that fills the heart of a married single mom. She’s said good-bye to dreams for herself and her children. She’s sad about the hours, days, and special moments that will never happen. She needs to grieve the what-if’s and the dreams she had as a bride. This grief needs to be addressed. Grieving our dreams includes being honest about those dreams, realizing they may never be fulfilled, and asking God for new dreams firmly planted in reality and truth.
Married single moms are not a new phenomenon. I have lived this life and many others have, too. We even find examples of married single moms throughout the Old and New Testaments. We can no longer avoid reality – married single moms are prevalent and their situations and burdens are real. But how have they survived and even thrived? Through the strength God provides. Through Christian community. Through the healing of wounded hearts. Through the hope provided by Jesus Christ.


Carla Anne Coroy runs the Married Single Mom blog at She speaks regularly and serves as a staff writer for an online Christian women’s magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women. Carla Anne lives in Canada with her husband and four homeschooled children. For more information, visit

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 17: Exercise Part One

I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. By that I mean, hate/hate. Because I hate it. I hate everything about exercising--sweat, accelerated heart rate and breathing, sore muscles, sore feet . . . all of it.

I've tried many, many things: walking, running (shin splints--ow!), a traditional gym, tae-bo, yoga, Zumba, Curves, and Jazzercise. Oh, and Wii Fit.

As anyone will tell you, finding something you enjoy doing is the key to a successful fitness program.

The sad fact is, however, I dislike it all.

It wasn't until I lived in North Dakota in the winter that I needed to exercise for my mental as well as physical health. Nothing like hibernating and packing on pounds to wake a girl up!

**part two tomorrow**

Guest Post at Kathi Lipp's Book Club

The other day, speaker and author Kathi Lipp graciously asked me to contribute to the countdown to her military book club for the Husband Project on her is that post.

I have to tell you, God gave me that acronym and I'm so grateful He did! I pray it helps many women to pray for their military husbands, on the homefront or on the front lines.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 16: Practice Makes Better

This summer, I was able to reconnect with my former cubicle-mate and birthday-buddy, Liz. We taught together at CMSU one year, and we have remained friends ever since. It's been awesome to watch how God's worked in her life.

We got together one day this summer, and we chatted about teaching college students. I was so glad she reminded me of daily writing (or in this case, weekly--I see my students only one night a week).

The freewriting at the beginning of class has become a great warm-up and a good way to see how my students have each improved in their formal writing--especially heartening since the freewriting portion of class is most definitely not formal, nor do I grade the grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax, or diction.

I think the past two weeks of accountability in writing here at my blog, which had gone neglected other than book reviews for months, has helped me as a writer. In a way, it's proving my own theories that I've seen played out in others.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 15: Learning New Stuff

As my friends and regular readers know, our family experienced two cross-country moves (one is actually cross-continent!) in 15 months. That's a whole lot of change right there. Add in some job changes and challenges, a couple of new computers, and new cell phones, and a new exercise program (Jazzercise, which is a huge challenge to someone as uncoordinated as I am) and my brain is just about full!

My brain is full

Is it any wonder that we feel stressed out in our 21st century culture? New technologies, new gadgets, new jobs, news in general.

That's why some of my last 100 days goals had to do with taking moments to reflect (write 5 things I'm thankful for at the end of each day; journaling a page a day/this blog), moments to relax (reading what I enjoy and finishing books that taunt me with their bookmarks halfway through), and moments to spiritually recharge (still reading through the Bible, and still seem stuck in Ezekiel, quite probably one of the saddest books in the Scriptures).

Today will be another busy day, but I hope to live in the grace of today and enjoy each moment--even when I get frustrated with all the new stuff I have to learn and do.

Day 14: Push it, push it to the limit, limit

I'm tired. And I don't want to write. I don't want to do anything, actually, but I did. I cleaned all the tile and laminate floors tonight.

I finished a book tonight that was about friendship, and it was sad. And it made me melancholy. Put that together with being tired, and my hubby working late, and I'm ready for bed.

So with that, I'll close and write more hopefully tomorrow.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Guest Post: Martyr Mom or Servant Model?

Please welcome guest blogger Carla Coroy to Fresh-Brewed Writer today.

Martyr Mom or Servant Model?

Do you know a martyr mom? She does her teens’ laundry and makes their lunches. She cleans the house from top to bottom—all by herself. She stays up late, day in and day out, doing all of the unfinished work.

She’s the mom who ‘sacrificially’ gives up a family outing—even though they were her kids' chores she stayed home to do. She recites her arm-length to-do list after telling you about how she agreed to help her kids with their various projects.

You likely know a martyr mom. But have you ever wondered if you might be one?
We started serving our families out of love. We loved them as we did their laundry. We served them as we packed lunches, cleaned bathrooms, drove carpools, and fixed bicycles . . . And then somewhere along the line, our serving morphed into martyrdom.

Is doing everything for everyone really loving? How can we protect ourselves from becoming martyr moms?

What would Jesus advise you to do? He taught his disciples to do what he was doing. He took them along wherever he went. He let them do some work. He sent them out to preach, heal, and cast out demons. Sometimes they did well, other times they came back wondering what went wrong. Jesus knew they needed plenty of room to try, and sometimes to fail. He didn’t hover to make sure they did things perfectly and neither did he rush to fix things when their attempts went awry.

To be servant models, we need to imitate Jesus. We need to give our children the tools to work hard and develop responsibility. Let your children watch you work, then work with you, and eventually you can watch them work and succeed without you. Give them household chores and tasks so they can develop skills, recognize what they are capable of, and discover their contribution is valuable.

We need to teach our children to set boundaries. Let your children see you turn down requests to serve sometimes. Do you really need to volunteer on every committee? Healthy boundaries encourage your kids to experience the joy of serving and to choose best over good.

Serving our families requires us to teach our kids to do their best. If we expect their best and then accept what they do, we are setting them up to succeed and persevere. If your children do their best but it isn’t as good as you would do it, leave it alone. Don’t redo the job! If Jesus only accepted perfect work from his people, he wouldn’t have chosen the rag-tag team of men he did. He expects our best, and then accepts it, even when our efforts fall short.

Love sometimes says no. When we are exhausted and we do for our kids what they could do for themselves, we are teaching them they don’t need to care about how they affect others. We are also saying that our poorest effort is better than their best. Occasionally saying no to our children also gives them permission to say no when a request butts up against their limits.
Serving also means looking around to see how you might bless someone. It means bringing a meal to a sick family, or clothes to the family who needs some, or giving Daddy a backrub. Teach your children to ask, “How could I serve someone today?” Give them the joy of serving others at home, and by volunteering at church or in the community.

Let’s leave the Martyr Mom complex behind and be like Jesus—Servant Models.

Carla Anne Coroy runs the Married Single Mom blog at She speaks regularly and serves as a staff writer for an online Christian women’s magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women. Carla Anne lives in Canada with her husband and four homeschooled children. For more information, visit

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 13: Stuff

  • A hodgepodge of stuff completed today.
  • Random around the house.
  • Didn't even make a list.
  • Have to leave soon, too.
  • Hope you had a good day!
  • I'll have guest posts coming up.
  • And a link to a writing opportunity I had today, that won't be published till next week.
  • It's a very cool opportunity that I was given.
  • I hope you will like it!
  • I'm sure you will. Who am I kidding? Only a handful of my friends even come here, and each one of you is completely supportive of me.
  • Off to get ready to take the younger girl to dance!

Day 12: A Dance Mom, but not like the show.

Sometimes when there's a full moon, I get insomnia. That's sort of where I am right now: I taught class tonight, and now I'm kind of wound up.

What also doesn't help is watching "Dance Moms" on Lifetime.

I actually told two of my close friends that they have permission to slap me upside the head if I ever act all crazy like these moms do. Yes, this is "reality tv" and it's not in any way real; it's very staged and the editors are airing all the crazy moments.

My girls are good dancers and they love dancing.

But if I EVER push my girls that hard, or act that crazy in public, someone better come alongside me and give me an ever-lovin' reality check.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 11: At last, my moose has come along...

Last night I was up late reading, as usual, and around 10 p.m. I started getting really sleepy. I placed my bookmark in my book, turned out the reading lamp, and put the reclining footrest back in its place. When I stood up, I noticed extra light outside the front window, so I moved closer toward the window to investigate. There was a car parked in the middle of the street with its lights on. Weird, I thought.

So I opened the sheers and saw movement. In just a moment I knew what it was--a moose was crossing the street! I began to smile and yes, jump up and down a bit.

The moose had ambled (yes, moose amble) over and was on the curb. The car with its lights on was waiting for any other moose that might be along for a 10 p.m. stroll, I suppose (the smart thing to do) before it finally slowly drove past our house. So the moose stood in the neighbor's yard for a while, a dark 3D outline against the white house, with its only illumination from the street lamp. Then the moose ambled off into the shadows, out of my vision.

So it wasn't the best view because of the dark, but I saw a moose from my living room window. I had my happy moment right then! I woke my husband in my excitement, which he did not share (since he was in Alaska a full month before we arrived, he has already seen moose mamas, moose babies, and moose butts).

And because it was so late I couldn't call anyone...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 10: Second Person

I think I'll briefly pontificate upon something that drives me nuts: using the second person in essay writing.

I don't like being lectured. Never have. And that's exactly how I feel when someone uses the second person "you" (or worse, you "understood").

You know what I mean, right? When you're reading along and suddenly out of the blue, the writer says "When you read Hawthorne, you know he will use obvious symbols" or something like that. Then you can feel your hackles start to rise and you grab that pen of some other color than red, and you circle every occurrence of "you." You emphatically write in the margin, "Avoid using second person in formal writing."

(See what I did? I used it. As an illustration only, mind you...)

So imagine my surprise when I turn to the story I'm teaching this week (which is on the syllabus I borrowed in large part from our resident professor and have fallen behind in re-planning) and it's written in the imperative. The "you, understood" second person.

Talk about feeling like nails grating on a chalkboard. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Since I've gotten onto my students already for using that in their essays, I can't wait to hear what they have to say about this story.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Day 9: Working

One of the great debates of the 21st century among women is the debate of "at home" vs. "working outside the home." I do not really want to engage in that fight, because I've been on both sides. I've been an at-home mom and a full-time (and part-time) work-outside-the-home mom, and in my experience there are pros and cons to both places. My "sweet spot" is wherever I feel that God has led me, doing what I believe in my heart the work He has for me to do.

I'm a firm believer in seasons in life. During the season I taught full-time outside our home, my husband worked either from church or from home (and at that church, his office was literally four steps across the yard) and was able to keep the baby with him. The next teaching job I had following that one was half-time. When our children needed care during the day, we were blessed with women within our churches who had in-home daycare, where the girls were cared for in love and by familiar faces. In the season I was at home, I strugged greatly with a loss of identity in my job, found some healing, but also weathered not a few storms.

Now that the girls are older, and I am too, we aren't in need of daycare. I'm also happy to work part-time once again. This season of life brings many challenges, and the past 18 months have wrought so much change it sometimes feels like my head might literally start spinning if I think about it all.

But when I consider my new job in our new location, I realize once again it's the "sweet spot" that God gave me, wherein I am able to build a career that will help us save money for the girls' college educations, as well as help make a dent in the dance and orthodontist expenses. More than that, I have the opportunity each week to minister to my students.

I've spoken with many women over the years who struggle with this working issue. The important thing for us to remember, in my opinion, is that each woman must answer to God and her husband (or if she is not married, to God alone), not to each other. And when in doubt, extend grace rather than condemnation or judgment.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Day 8: Musings on Reading

Day 7 was a book review, even though I didn't label it as Day 7.

For my 8th day of writing, I wasn't sure what to write about. I don't want to rehash the things about today that made it less than a good day. I am sore because I began a new exercise program that is not only working me hard, but is frustrating and sometimes difficult as all new exercise programs are for someone as uncoordinated as I tend to be--so that is not a great topic either.

So, a positive topic: reading. I love reading. I love reading fiction because I can, for a while, get lost in a world or a place different from my own. In a way it's escapist, but more often than not it's just an enjoyable pastime. I enjoy nonfiction because I love voices--written voices. I am not as fond of instructional nonfiction as I am personal narrative, particularly creative essays. I took a look at my bookshelves a few minutes ago while looking for inspiration for today's blog entry--and while I do have quite a few reference books for teaching and for the girls' schooling, I also have a lot of writing books and anthologies of personal narratives.

All my books make me happy.

I guess it stems from the "extrovert" part of me--I enjoy listening to people and their stories. They fascinate me. But reading those stories feeds the "introvert" part of me.

Friday, October 07, 2011

2007 Fall Into Reading

Fall Into Reading

Get Ready, Get Set, Let's READ!!!

Katrina at Callapidder Days has a Mr. Linky ready to go if you're interested in signing up for this reading challenge! Click on the adorable graphic to the left for "the rules," and clickhere to sign up.

AND...there are going to be prizes! I will consider it a fall cleaning of out the TBR pile that threatens to take over my living room. Plus, finishing books helps clear the mind clutter. Enjoy the crisp fall weather, because especially here in North Dakota, it won't be long before fall turns into a snowy, below-freezing winter.

The Friday Night Knitting Club - Kate Jacobs (been in the TBR pile for a while, and I think I'll save it for the plane ride going to Roma's wedding. Also, did you know Julia Roberts optioned the film rights for this book?)

Knitting Under the Influence - Claire LeZebnik (finish - Reading at the same time as Roma)

Get Out of That Pit - Beth Moore (finish)

The Begotten and The Betrayed - Lisa Tawn Bergren (review; begun "The Begotten" and it's intense.)

The Tenth Circle - Jodi Picoult (also a Reading the Author challenge book)

Sacred Marriage - Gary Thomas (reading with a group of gals from W@H)

2008 Spring Reading Thing

Found this on my Xanga. Funny!

Spring Reading Thing

Spring Reading Thing - the reading challenge that, for me, started it all, last year....
March 20-June 19, 2008

Info here. To sign up on Mr. Linky, click here.

I have a lot of unread books, and several other challenges I'm working on. However, these are a few I think I'll try to finish during this Spring challenge time (since more often than not, I don't finish my challenges on time!).

*Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck
*The Secret of Us by Roxanne Henke
*Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson

*Blue Heart Blessed by Susan Meissner
*Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore (finish - ironically, from last year...heh)
*Generation NeXt Marriage by Tricia Goyer (for an upcoming blog tour)

*Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (had to return to the library, so who knows if I'll be able to get through it!)
*The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
*The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

Book Review: Addison Blakely, Confessions of a PK

Book Review of Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK

What it's about:

Addison Blakely has never had much trouble pleasing her widowed, overprotective father. After all, he’s a pastor, and she knows her reputation is closely linked to his. But when the bad boy next door, the cute but arrogant quarterback, and a charming new guy all vie for Addison’s attention, she begins to doubt her resolve. To make matters worse, Addison’s best friend suddenly seems to hate her, a talent show has the entire school at odds, and an exotic exchange student from Germany is shaking everyone up. Addison attempts to separate love from lust, faith from facts, and keep her head above water in her murky, fishbowl existence.

What I thought:

As a minister's wife and self-professed "good girl" I have to say I was very curious--and a bit apprehensive--about a book with "Confessions of a PK" as part of the title. I didn't know if the author was herself a former "PK" (preacher's kid), or how she would handle depiction of life in a minister's home. (My apprehension is founded on a few Christian fiction books I've read in recent years that provided less than stellar views inside the parsonage.)

I'm happy to report that my apprehension was unfounded. Betsy St. Amant has created a good, likeable character in Addison Blakely. She is a delightful character, full of spunk and honesty. I can identify with some of her struggles, for I went through many of the same sorts of mental and spiritual struggles about God and Jesus and boys and school when I was seventeen. I thought the spiritual content was handled quite well. Again, my own experiences might color my views here.

Addison lives in a great small town unlike some I've lived in--due to the suburban-style coffee shop. Since I've lived in Midwestern small towns ranging from 95 to 1900 and none of those had a coffee shop outside the gas station, I can only assume that Crooked Hollow is on the larger side of small. I loved the coffee shop scenes, though--and the shop itself reminds me of my favorite in Warrensburg (population over 19,000). The small-town church that Addison's dad pastors is spot on.

The ending was left wide open for a sequel, and I believe I read somewhere on the author's blog that she has a contract for a series. I hope so!

If you liked Robin Jones Gunn's young adult books, or Lisa Samson's "Hollywood Nobody" series, you will enjoy this novel. It's also similar in tone to Erynn Mangum's "Match" series, but for the high school instead of post-college set.

I'm definitely going to pass this book along to my teen.

The author's website:

Thanks to Net Galley and Barbour Publishing for a Kindle galley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Day 6: Why Fresh-Brewed Writer?

When I first started this blog six and a half years ago, it was meant to be my writing blog. I had an "everyday" blog on Xanga at the time, with my own small following--but I wanted a place to vent and whine about my attempts at--and lack of--a writing career.

I chose the title because of Nicole Johnson's first book Fresh-Brewed Life. It was one of those books that I devoured the first time I read it, and then I went back through it with my journal in hand and savored it. It is a book I've read over and over, referred to, recommended, led book clubs through, and given as a gift. I even got the mug and coffee set one year for myself for my birthday (that's the photo you see). I volunteered at Nicole's book table two years running at Women of Faith in Kansas City back in the early 2000s, and I had an absolute ball with her mom and stepdad behind the table.

You can imagine my immense joy to see that the book is now updated (Guess where some of my birthday money is going this year?).

Because I'm such a coffee fanatic, the coffee metaphor in the book spoke to me strongly and continues to do so, even now. I must choose to submit to being roasted and finely ground by God, living each day to its fullest, savoring life and relationships and friendships as much as I can. I think it's even more meaningful to me now that I am thousands of miles from the home I've always known, from my family and close friends.

I hope that my writing will encourage and inspire, but more than that, I pray that I communicate God's love through my words. I know I've spent more time whining than I ever should have . . . maybe that makes me more real, or at least gives you a glimpse that I'm far from the "Perfect Pattie" I've been accused of being! But I will keep plugging along with writing, both in practice as this month is for me, and in publication, Lord willing.

To learn more about Nicole, you can follow her on Facebook or visit her website.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Day 5: Accumulation

Just some random thoughts on accumulation.

I tend to accumulate things.
Pencils and Pens.

And when my desk or living area gets cluttered, I get frustrated. But it's my own fault in most cases.

So I spend a lot more time than I should, clearing out the cluttered paper and books and pens that don't work.

Moving twice in just over a year has helped me with everything but the paper monster. But the monster's tamed into one filing basket on top of my filing cabinets which have room thanks to the big paper purge of the 2010-11 winter months in Texas.

Nothing profound today, just some thoughts to say I wrote something today.

Hey, I never promised GOOD writing every day--just SOME writing ;)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Day 4: Moose: The Other White Meat?

Fair warning: This story involves a dead animal and its inevitable demise to become food for someone. Don't read if you don't want to know what I saw today.

Today was one of those days when I had a lot of driving in town: drive the girls to the orthodontist, then take them back to school. Because they could fit my oldest in for the impressions and diagnostic things right after her appointment, I drove on the same stretch of road several times within an hour. This is why I saw the steps involved, as described below. (Again, if you're of tender stomach, don't read. I mean it.)

So, on our way to the orthodontist, we have to slow down and pull over for an ambulance, siren wailing and lights flashing. After getting back on the road, we turned the bend and saw why there was an ambulance: a pick-up truck with its front end dented and windshield shattered within its protective covering, and a dead moose.

You may remember just a couple days ago I lamented not having seen any moose in our two months living in Alaska. So imagine how dismayed I was that the first moose my oldest daughter and I get to see, is lying dead on the side of the road.

I already knew from both the Alaska Highway Patrol show on National Geographic AND the Alaska driving manual that roadkill belong to the state. The state then distributes the meat from the dead animal to charity.

What I did NOT know until today was that the animal is not taken to a butcher and processed, after which the meat is delivered to the charity. Ohhh no, my friends. Read on.

On my trip to take my youngest to school, we see different trucks by the dead moose and see some men poking at it and lifting its leg. We speculated about it, thinking they must be seeing if the meat is edible or something.

Driving back from this side trip to pick up my oldest, who was getting impressions done in preparation for braces in a few weeks, I see that the moose no longer has any skin on. And that one of the men I saw was hacking at the leg. I was horrified and repulsed. The skinned moose was white, as if it was layered in fat, and I saw the bone and muscle below the white (fat?) layer.

I go into the orthodontist office again, and as I'm writing the first of several large checks, I ask the office manager about the dead moose. She informs me that the people who "get" the meat as charity have to pick it up on the side of the road where the animal is freshly dead, so the meat doesn't spoil. If you're on "the list" and you can't come, they call the next person on the list till they find someone. This includes charities as was stated earlier, and people on subsistence.

They literally butcher that dead animal roadkill ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.

So that, my friends, is what I learned about moose today.


I'm bad at Sabbath-ing. I'm good at wasting time, but not good at resting. My friend Dana posted a link to this blog today, and I want to share it with you.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Loving My Husband

You've probably noticed the button on the right, the super-cute one that says laughing is a given...well, that's from my friend Sara Horn's new book, My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife. It's an excellent book, one of my favorite one-year memoirs, made even more special to my heart because I remember talking to Sara about some of the things that made it into the book. Kind of like "It's Shake-n-Bake...and I hayelped!" but not. OK, not at all. But still!

Anyway, this week's challenge is to show love to our husbands. I have to say, I know how I try to show love to my husband, and I know how he receives love from me, and they are NOT the same thing. Our love languages are, shall we say, not always in sync. But that's okay. What will make this a bit easier this week is that his birthday is on Thursday. While our middle week days are quite crazy (Tuesdays and Thursdays are dance nights, and Wednesdays involve the chapel's religious education program and the night I teach each week), Mondays and Fridays are generally much slower.

The results of this week may not make it to the blog, but I wanted you all to know I'm participating in the challenge.

Day 3: Teaching

For most of my childhood, I wanted to be a teacher. I dreamed of helping others learn, of being in charge of lessons, of grading with a juicy red pen, and imparting knowledge.

Fast forward to my senior year of high school. My school didn't have a formal Future Teachers of America club, but they did have a program where those who wanted to be teachers could sign up to be a student teacher of sorts. I spent one semester with my French V teacher in a French II class, and one semester with my former English teacher in her English 9 class. Both of these ladies poured themselves into me and allowed me to do things they probably shouldn't have: grade papers, tutor students, supervise make-up tests, and teach actual lessons.

When I got to college, I knew I wanted to teach English and French. Sadly, my college lost their French professor, and the teaching minor in French disappeared. So I chose Speech and Theatre as my second teaching field. (Years later, when the grades 7-9 "junior high" certificate in my home state disappeared, I was able to apply my graduate course in modern drama toward extending my certification through grade 12.)

I wasn't able to find a job right out of college, so I substituted. What great training for a new teacher. I always tell people if they don't get a job right out of college, there is no shame in subbing. It's great if for no other reason than it tests those classroom management skills that may not have been used much during student teaching (when the regular teacher is in the room all the time for liability reasons, the student teacher doesn't always get a true test). Also, being in so many others' classrooms gave me some strong ideas of what NOT to do in my own room.

Fast forward to the spring 2004 semester. After losing a student to suicide, and having over 150 students in my care (all of whom were either seniors I was preparing for college, or juniors I was preparing for mandated state testing - in English classes, that equals a TON of grading), and seeing how my classes grew because Mr. Perfect Teacher and Coach next door had tiny classes and I got all the new students, I had a meltdown in the counselor's office. I finally said "Enough" to one student who transferred from Mr. Perfect next door and denied her transfer, only to be told by Mr. Counselor that if I didn't take this student, I risked being sued. I finally told him I'd gone beyond my limit and could not do it. He agreed, and I found out the only reason I kept getting new students was because my name came alphabetically first before Mr. Perfect, and so he was just letting the computer choose me instead of using the drop-down menu to choose Mr. Perfect, who had at least 35 fewer students than I did.

I quit after that year, and Mr. Perfect became Mr. Assistant Principal.

The year off from teaching was probably the best thing for my sanity and healing. And when I did return to the classroom, it was at the local university as an adjunct. Adjuncts rate lower than grad students on the scale of importance, but I enjoyed teaching again--no parents calling, no state mandated testing... I only had a fall semester contract, but was asked back in the spring a few weeks into the semester when a professor suddenly took FMLA leave, even though everyone knew he was looking for another job in a larger university.

Then we moved.

And we moved again.

And we moved AGAIN, this time to our current home in Alaska. About two weeks before flying up here to live, my husband found out I had been hired for a job I'd applied for online and interviewed for on the phone. It wasn't official, but they had me on the schedule! I spent a large chunk of our plane ride familiarizing myself with the Norton Anthology of Literature the bookstore manager graciously mailed to me at my inlaws' house.

So I'm teaching again. And I am enjoying it again. What a precious gift.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Day 2: Moose? I don't think they exist.

When I found out we were moving to Alaska, I was so excited to see moose in the wild. My friend Cheryl used to live up here and has a moose collection, and the stuff was so darn cute I imagined I'd be able to do the same thing.

Imagine my surprise when I have yet to see a moose. We've lived here two months now. TWO MONTHS. And no moose.

A couple weeks ago I was talking to my class (many of whom are my age, so they "get" my cultural references for the most part), and I was saying something about "these mythical creatures called moose." They were all warning me about them--they walk into the road and stand, the mama moose are super-crazy around their babies, that sort of thing.

I got a lot of laughs when I said, "Moose are like ROUSes. I don't think they exist."

(If you didn't catch The Princess Bride reference there, then I have nothing more to say to you today.)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

31 Days: Day 1

Last night after I logged off my computer, I figured I'd have plenty to write about this morning (no scheduling posts early for me this month, oh no; if the point is to write something every day, by golly, it will be written every day!). Now as I sit here with the blank window, my mind also is blank.

I have many things in my head and on my heart, and while I am probably nicer than most and more diplomatic than others might be, I do have pretty strong opinions on a plethora of topics. Perhaps now I should explore those things. And keep a list of ideas alongside my computer for the blank-mind mornings.

I don't remember if I ever published my "2011 theme" post [note: It was a draft, never published, but it's published now!], and if I did, it's been too long since I read it. I wrote it in the beginning of January and posted it, then have had a crazy year since! When I felt the Lord giving me the grace theme, I had no idea how it would manifest in "real life." Would He grant me grace? (yes) Would I be granting grace to others? (yes) And would I be teaching my girls to do the same? (yes)

I knew when I received that theme for the year, that I would be moving. We figured if our oldest made it into her ballet intensive program again, that we would have an unusual moving experience. But in January, we didn't know where we were going, or if she would make it. In time, we learned about our move to Alaska, and that once a dancer is in the program, she's always invited back. So as we made our crazy plans, we knew it'd be a stressful time. And it was, but it could have been so much worse if I hadn't always had "grace" on my mind and heart.

As the year begins to wind down, and I am once again in the classroom, I find myself talking about grace a lot with my students. I extend a lot of grace. But there comes a point where the assignments are due, and that's the end. So I have a couple who are "borderline" if they will pass or not.

**There are a great many of us 31-Dayers. You can find more that may interest you here.**