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Showing posts from June, 2012

Dance dance dance


My girls have both been taking dance classes since they were three years old. That means I've been a dance mom for twelve years.

Twelve years of tights, bobby pins, pink ballet shoes and black and tan tap shoes, jazz moves and handstands and cartwheels, pointe shoes and "look what I learned in class today, Mom!" Storybook ballets like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, Nutcracker performances with professionals, competitions, and recitals every spring.

We've been in seven dance studios in four states, with probably twenty teachers between both girls.

I'm still amazed that the girls can be so talented, when I have lived such an uncoordinated life. Not just physically, although I know now that I can blame my ear condition for a lot of my balance issues. But I know that I've lived my life believing that I could not achieve coordination through dancing. It's tough to let go of all that, and I didn't want my daughters to deal with all that baggage.

So t…

Doctor's Devotion by Cheryl Wyatt

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingDoctor's DevotionLove Inspired (June 19, 2012) byCheryl Wyatt


Born Valentine’s Day on a Navy base, Cheryl Wyatt writes military romance. Her Steeple Hill debuts earned RT Top Picks plus #1 and #4 on eHarlequin's Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists including NYT Bestsellers. Cheryl loves interacting with her readers and can be found almost daily on Facebook.

Word from the Author:
I do regular giveaways including a Kindle for every 250 people who join (aka "Like) my Facebook author page: and I'd LOVE for word to spread about that. We have a lot of fun there as I ask for frequent reader input on current books, with helpers being mentioned in the acknowledgements and fun stuff like that.


A Doctor’s Vow.

When he fled Eagle Point years ago, former air force trauma surgeon Mitch Wellington left only broken dreams behind. Now he’s back with a …

Five Miles South of Peculiar

Book Blog Tour Post for Angela Hunt's Five Miles South of Peculiar

About the Novel: Darlene Caldwell has spent a lifetime tending Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of a small town called Peculiar. She raised a family in the spacious home that was her grandfather's legacy and she enjoys being a pillar of the community . . . until her limelight-stealing twin sister unexpectedly returns.

Carlene Caldwell, veteran of the Broadway stage, is devastated when she realizes that a botched throat surgery has spelled the end of her musical career. Searching for a new purpose in life, she retreats to Sycamores, her childhood home.

Haunted by a tragic romance, Magnolia Caldwell is the youngest of the Caldwell girls. Nolie spends her days caring for her dogs and the magnificent gardens she's created, but when she meets a man haunted by tragedy, she must find the courage to either deny her heart or cut the apron strings that tie her to a dear and familiar place.
About the …

Hope Springs Book Review

Welcome to the blog tour for Kim Cash Tate's Hope Springs.
About the book:

In a small community where everyone is holding tight to something, the biggest challenge may be learning to let go.

Hope Springs, North Carolina, is the epitome of small town life-a place filled with quiet streets, a place where there's not a lot of change. Until three women suddenly find themselves planted there for a season.

Janelle hasn't gone back to Hope Springs for family reunions since losing her husband. But when she arrives for Christmas and learns that her grandmother is gravely ill, she decides to extend the stay. It isn't long before she runs into her first love, and feelings that have been dormant for more than a decade are reawakened.

Becca is finally on the trajectory she's longed for. Having been in the ministry trenches for years, she's been recruited as the newest speaker of a large Christian women's conference. But her husband feels called to become the pastor of h…

Day 15 of 15 Habits

Service. Finally an idea I can stand behind. I spend my life in service to God, my family, and others. In fact, in a couple of hours, I'll be volunteering for a new organization.

Except, I don't know what to offer for free right now, HERE at Fresh-Brewed Writer.

Once I have a platform and a niche, I could offer a download. But I'm just a woman of a small blog, with a small audience and barely a soapbox on which to stand.

This is definitely something over which to ponder...

In the meantime, perhaps some book giveaways are in order soon...

Bible in 90 Days or more

I have fallen behind in my reading plan, but I'm not giving up!

Risk (5-Minute Friday)

5-Minute Friday on a Saturday Morning

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud  was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anais Nin~
It's tough taking a risk. I risk embarrassment by saying something stupid, or embarrassment by wearing or doing the wrong thing. I risk failure. I risk bruising my pride.

I risk imperfection.

I'll admit, I'm chicken when it comes to risk. The few times I've risked something really large, I've failed. {Submitting to regional parenting magazines, for example. Or the One Big Christian Women's magazine a few years ago--again, rejection.}

I allow those failures to color grey over my self-confidence, my not-adventurous but dreaming spirit, my God-given personality.

This is something I'd change about myself if I could. But I can't do it on my own.

I feel very strongly at this moment that this summer will be about the risk to blossom, instead of remaining in my tight little secure bud. Because sitting in…

Day 14 of 15 Habits

Here is what Jeff Goins has to say about branding:
A brand is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an impression you leave on a customer or reader; it’s a mental imprint. We all have them. You’ve likely heard some adage about the importance of first impressions. This is branding — the belief that people get an idea in their mind of your personality based on an experience they had. Sometimes, the impression is accurate; sometimes, it’s not. But it’s never the full picture of the person, (that’s impossible). And that’s okay. It’s what branding is all about. A brand is the simplest, most memorable part of yourself you can give. So what does a small-time, little book reviewing blogger like me do with this?

Think, pray, and pray some more. Because this isn't something I can just hammer out in one day. But at least the idea has taken root in my mind and heart, and perhaps soon I'll have some clarity in what to do.

Rome wasn't built in a day--and neither will my brand.

Day 13 of 15 Habits

So. I haven't done this. No, wait, I did... I submitted a blog to BSF, but haven't heard back. I submitted a devotional to my editor of an as-yet-unannounced project, but no edits back yet.

Methinks I need to do more. But it will have to wait till tomorrow. Hold me to that.

After all, tomorrow is another day.

SRT 2012 Wrap-Up

Here is the link to my original post, and my final list is also copied at the end of this wrap-up blog.

So in typical Pattie reading fashion, I love making a list--and I love breaking up with my list and making changes along the way. (I think it's my inner rebel.)

Another pattern emerged once again--it's so easy for me to sit down and read a fiction novel. But when it comes to reading meaningful nonfiction, the kind that will kick my butt and rock my world, I hesitate because I feel like I need to give it my full attention, journal and pen at the ready.

So I don't read it.

This is why I didn't finish my original list by two nonfiction books. One remains in my "to read" this summer stack: 7 by Jen Hatmaker. The 1001 Things to Love About Military Life book will probably wait for a later time.

My summer reading list can be found here, on my summer checklist post.

Thank you once again to Katrina of Callapidder Days, for hosting a twice-yearly romp into literary …

Day 12 of 15 Habits

Great Writers...Provoke

I hate provocation. Conflict. Emotional displays. Craziness. Arguing. Did I mention conflict?

All of this makes me literally feel sick. Just typing this makes me have that familiar unease in the pit of my stomach.

In my family, I became the peacemaker when my parents split up. For a long time I was their go-between. Both my husband and my counselor at the time told me to stop, so I did. But I kept on with my role as the family peacemaker.

I know I'm wounded from many events and people, and the desire for everyone to be happy is so strong that I often deny myself the very peace I crave by tamping down my own feelings and wants and thoughts in order to make peace with others, to make sure everyone else is happy.

This tendency has spilled over into many of my friendships as well. My friends know this about me, and some of them probably unconsciously (or who knows, maybe consciously) use this to their own advantage. Or not. I don't know because we don…

Day 11 of 15

(Better late than never, right?)
On his blog today, Jeff Goins quotes something I just saw last week--in the movie Midnight in Paris. I laughed and laughed, as would anyone who had to study Ernest Hemingway in high school, college, AND grad school (such is the burden we American lit lovers face....).
No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure.
—Fake Ernest Hemingway (via Midnight in Paris)
It's funny because first of all, it's true--and second of all, it's like he's teaching about himself while he's living his own expatriate life!

If there is any writer alive who didn't need to declutter, it's Hemingway. Short, sweet, to the point--with a few beers.

(Now Faulkner, on the other, don't get me started. He'll never be my favorite novelist, even though his short story "A Rose For Emily" will probably always be on my syllabus. That story is delightful…

Day 10 of 15 Habits

Sharing some friends with you:

Dana at Deepening Years. She's a cancer survivor, a pastor's wife with tattoos and a nose ring, and she is a loyal and devoted friend. Oh, and she's giving me my fix on sunset photos since I will not see sunsets again for many weeks. :)
Teri Lynne at She is a great friend, a wonderful writer, and also an amazing pastor's wife. She is also the reason I did not fail debate class in college. True story. She is a great friend and a fine scholar (and the fact that I called her that proves I, too, am a graduate of the Dr. Bob Derryberry school of public speaking!).
Stacey at Stacey's Daze. I've known Stacey online for many years, and we met in person two summers ago in Texas, right before her family moved to Oklahoma (where the wind...well, you know). She's been a great encouragement to me, not only as a friend, but as a fellow writer. She has a great way with words.

Day 9 of 15 Habits

I'm writing this a bit late--I got slammed with fluff. Cottonwood fluff, that is. It's one of my pollen allergies (along with Texas mountain cedar and Midwest ragweed). I can finally breathe today (Sunday), but I sound awful, so we stayed home from church today.

I'm a small blogger on a very small blog. I've had this blog as a personal writing outlet for several years. I'm okay with being a small woman in a small space on the vast internet. Because in many ways, I can control what I do here.

Thus, branching out by doing prompts that I'm linking up on a growing blog like GoinsWriter is a huge, huge step of faith for me. Almost wild and crazy, to be honest.

So if you have found me via the link-ups on, please leave a comment and let me know. Because we're making connections as writers.

And today's post from Jeff Goins reminds me to follow up on a guest post invite I had from another military wife that arrived during finals week, when I was…

5 Minute Friday: Sunday Edition

Path Path

When I saw the topic for this week's Five Minute Friday, all I could think about was Robert Frost.

You know the one. The poet. "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood." That guy.

But instead of waxing philosophical, I'll write about an actual path. Snowy. Blocked by a moose.

This year our spring break was in March. But March in Alaska is not very springy. In fact, it was still quite chilly, very snowy, and dark-ish in the mornings and evenings.

On the last day of that week, I announced to my family that we were NOT going to stay home and be bored. We were going to go do something new.

We drove about thirteen miles down a road, where it ended at the nature center. We paid our parking fee, looked around the inside room at the displays, then headed outside to look at the great outdoors.

It was really awesome. We saw the glacier in the distance, the remaining piles of snow from our record-breaking snowfall that winter, birds galore, and lovely scenery.

Taking one…

Day 8 of 15 Habits

Building, not just starting. Generally speaking, this is where I tend to break down and not finish things. Get discouraged and quit. Start out with grand plans and goals galore, then hit the brakes at the first few signs of discouragement.

Today I am going to finish my guest blog post for Blue Star Families. I have had an idea for many months, but haven't finished it. I'm updating a piece I wrote for an online writing class a few years ago. Off I go. I'll link to it if and when it's published.

**edited to add**
I not only added to it and finished it, I sent it off to the BSF editor! Yay me!

Day 7 of 15 Habits

Start. Start ugly. I always tell my students that I can't do much with a blank piece of paper, but get something on there and we can make it pretty later.

So off I go to write what Anne Lamott calls a "s****y first draft."

Day 6 of 15 Habits

So while I'm not a fan of the word "steal," in this context I know where Goins is going. He's asking us to find inspiration from another artist and use it as a springboard for our own writing.

Right now I'm on deadline. I'm using God's Word as my springboard. :)

Till then, if you'd like to see how I responded to a prompt (a word I am a fan of), click here to see this post.

Day 5 of 15 Habits

Prepare. This makes me think of John the Baptist in Mark chapter 1: Prepare the way of the Lord! Make a straight path for him!
I may not be preparing the same path, but I can see why preparation can make the path more clear and straight. It goes back to the same message for me: QUIT PROCRASTINATING!

Today is full. I have some non-negotiables on my calendar, commitments our family has made, that will take the bulk of my day. But this evening--ah, this evening. Writing. A deadline at the end of the week that must be met. I want the draft mostly finished so I can read it Tuesday again with fresh eyes and then send it to my editor for revision or approval--most likely revision *grin*.

To quote Frost's famous poem's closure:

But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Summer Checklist

Many of my military wife friends call this the Summer "Bucket" List, but I tend to think of a Bucket List as long-term goals. This is a "to do in the next 80 days" list.

Finish my devotional for its deadline in June. Done! Early hours of 13 June. Now waiting for probable edits/rewrite suggestions.Read the entire Bible! ** I will not finish this. Sigh. **Watch the British miniseries Fortysomething and return it into the Swap a DVD system. I tried, watched a couple of the episodes, but just couldn't get into it. It should be funny with the cast it has, but it just isn't. Disappointed.Watch the movie Lost in Austen. Turns out it was a 4-part TV miniseries. Not all that super--they could have done a lot more with the idea that would have made it much more fun. Alex Kingston was awesome, though. **Finished 21-22 June 2012**Visit the local nursery and buy a mint plant, cactus soil, and a new pot for my oldest daughter's cactus from Little Shop of Horrors. Done…

Day 4 of 15 Habits


The challenge: Find a way to practice in public. OK. Well, in lieu of actually throwing a rough draft out on my blog, or something like that, I will say that I have opportunity to do this right now.

I am a contributor for Wives of Faith, a supportive website for Christian military wives. I contribute as often as I'm able.I also have a deadline next week for a piece I have agreed to contribute to a collaborative project. I have an opportunity coming up very soon to guest post for someone I met on my chaplain wife blog. I guess the difference with this and what Mr. Goins has in mind is that none of these are particularly risky ventures (well, except for #2, as I don't have a rough draft yet and I'm really procrastinating!).
I touched upon this in the Day 3 post: I need to establish these new habits of really being a writer instead of merely calling myself a writer, or being a "wannabe."
So do it. Now. Today. Fail fast, and then tell us what you learned. …

Day 3 of 15 Habits

Initiate. Take the initiative.

Every day, you have a decision: to start or stop the things worth doing. To continue building habits that make you more of your truest self, or to break the ones you’ve been doing for awhile. ~ Jeff Goins

I signed up for this challenge knowing I would be free to set a new schedule, perhaps set up some new habits, figure out a new normal. Well, of course, things don't always go the way we imagine or plan, and this did not happen. So in typical me fashion, I wrestled around with the idea that I needed to quit.

Then I decided, NO. I am not going to quit. I'm just going to delay.

Often we need to set aside the good things we want to do, in favor of the more immediate needs that need to be met. This week is just such a week for that.

So I will post my thoughts about each of these habits, but it will be next week sometime before I can really, seriously, wholeheartedly, put them into practice.

Life is like that sometimes.

Day 2 of 15 Habits

While day 1 was declaration, day 2 is belief and faith in myself as a writer. This is where I always break down in my resolve, in my practice, in my self-talk, and in my heart.

I am insecure.

There, I admit it. I'm insecure about myself and my writing. It's not my career, but it's more than a hobby to me. So I'm left floating aimlessly in the sea of "why do I do this?"

I am a trained, certified, experienced secondary English teacher, currently working as a college composition instructor. Most of my students now are between the ages of 25-55, and many are my own age. I have incredible joy in my job, and I believe it's where God wants me. It's that "sweet spot" where even when it's hard, it's still good. Taking time off from education was the right thing for me at the time, and going back last fall was the absolutely right thing to do.

Herein lies the irony.

I teach others to write, but I don't follow my own advice.

I don't wri…

Day 1 of 15 Habits

I am a writer. I just need to get back into the habit of writing every day. Even if it's not public.