Thirty Days of Gratitude 2

Day 2.

What technology are you grateful for?

I was planning on saying I was grateful for cellular phones and the way they connect us, but suddenly I don’t think that’s what I want to put. I am grateful for that, but I think I am more grateful for photographs.

I love photographs. I also love video but photos are so convenient. I love taking photos, saving photos, and looking at photos. I love looking at other people’s photos on facebook, instagram, and snapchat. I love finding a photo of my ancestors and thinking about how they lived, what they thought, what they did. And the incredible photos of people I’ll never meet and places I’ll never go? I’ve experienced a thousand lifetimes looking at the photographs of others. Cities, deserts, the ocean, even outer space…photographs have taken me there.

I love that I can look at pictures of people I have lost and I can remember them. Even if that person isn’t in my life anymore for whatever reason, I can still look back and remember, and photographs help with that. I wish I had more pictures of those I have lost. Maybe that’s what drives me to take so many, and save so many.

Not much more to say about that. But I am incredibly grateful for photographs.

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NaNo Day 2

Day one went okay. I didn’t meet goal but I wrote about 530 words. That’s not great but it still beats 0. Plus, this is a hard spot in the novel (which is why I got stuck, obviously) so I’ll gladly take what I can get. I feel more positive today. Maybe I’ll even reach goal and make up what I missed yesterday! (This is doubtful, because 2,000 words is usually my max (although I hit more than 8,000 one time) but who knows, right? Anything is possible.tumblr_n6svkplOxC1r34qiso1_500

Thirty Days of Gratitude

So I decided to do this Thirty Days of Gratitude thing. My friend Donna posted this on her facebook and I absolutely LOVED the idea. See, I’ve been really keeping my focus on being thankful and praising God in all circumstances, even when it’s something I would categorize as “bad,” and it has helped me in more ways that I can say. The idea is from 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” and Romans 5:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” So even if things seem to be going lousy, I remember to have joy in all things because it’s all working together for good, even if I don’t understand it or see how. So it’s a “let go and let God” kind of thing, really.

Anyway, it’s working for me. Most of the time. And so when November rolled around and my facebook posse began listing the things they were thankful for, I didn’t know quite what I wanted to do. It seemed like if I did the biggest ones – God, family, friends, health, etc. – it would be the same things I’d done in Novembers past. But this list was different. And I like it. I like that it’s showing me things to be thankful for that I don’t usually think about.

So here’s the list. This is the same one Donna posted, but I went and googled and found it on this site: Text My Journal (although I don’t know if it originated here for sure).

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Now. My thanks. I’m actually writing this on Nov. 2 but I’m going to postdate it to Nov. 1, which would be sooo sneaky if I hadn’t just said what I’m doing.

What smell are you thankful for today?

Today I am thankful for the smell of a wood burning stove. When I smell that scent, I am instantly transported back to my grandparents’ house in Stilwell, Oklahoma. This was my dad’s parents, and they had a place on forty acres that my grandpa built himself. There was a stove in the living room and the house always seemed to have that scent in it, even in the summertime. Maybe that is just my memory, or maybe it was embedded in the walls and carpet after so many years. But when I smell that, it’s family and cousins and dominoes and walks out to the pond or out into the woods. It’s playing on the metal swingset and climbing on the doghouse and poking around the the barn. Reading Grandma’s book of headlines from the Tulsa World and hiding in the bushes with cousins. Watching Grandma cook and going with Grandpa to look at his garden or cows. Playing hide and go seek and sitting at the kids table for Thanksgiving and loving every minute of it. It was amazing and simple and perfect, every time. And every time I smell a wood burning stove, I’m there.

NaNoWriMo ’17

So. It’s November 1 and yesterday I decided to do NaNo. I didn’t think I could because of my unfinished wip. Then I decided I could finish the wip for NaNo. I’m about 16K in and if I add 50K it would be dynamite. Of course, I had this same goal in 2015. And in ’16 I didn’t even attempt NaNo. I had a lot of weird stuff going on then though.

I have some trepidation because I haven’t written much in so long. I was so full of words before…now I’m just full of it, ha ha.

Maybe this will help me get my mind off of things that I can’t change. I’m generally content and peaceful, but there are a few things that still swirl in my mind and won’t let go. I believe I need to continue to learn how to live with the things I can’t change, but it’s easier said that done.

Anyway, I haven’t written yet, so I should probably save the words for NaNo right now.

Good luck to me.

Thirty-nine and feelin fine

Here we go. I’ve had a very busy couple of weeks, getting a novel posted to Swoon Reads, traveling to Denver to see Frozen the musical, and doing the alumni band thing for our college homecoming. I’d like to write about those things on here…we’ll see if I actually get that done, though. I keep trying!!

Today, however, I’m going to tackle another of the hundred journal topics. So without further ado:

39. Write about a time as a child when you played in one of the following: a treehouse, a cornfield, a construction site, a junkyard, an abandoned house or barn, a stream, a cemetery, a pasture, railroad tracks.

Okay. I’m gonna go through each of these in turn.

Treehouse: I do not think I have ever been in a real, honest-to-goodness treehouse. I sure wished I had one as a kid. I even went so far as to attempt it, but only got a flat piece of wood in a mimosa tree in the backyard. I also really wanted our own kids to have one, but that didn’t happen either. It’s too bad. Treehouses rock.

Cornfield: Nope. The first time I was in a cornfield was probably as an adult, in a corn maze during the fall. The only thing I remember as a kid was a wheat field and I was told to be dang careful and not damage the wheat. When I watch movies and people run into fields like that I cringe because DON’T DAMAGE THE CROPS!! Next.

A Construction Site: Okay, first though was nope, that’s not anything a kid should do, but then I remembered that once, when I was a kid, my sister and I went to an empty lot and climbed up a huge pile of gravel and slid down. It was kind of fun but we were terrified of getting yelled at by someone so we only did it once.

Junkyard: I’m not able to think of much involving a junkyard. I can remember being a teenager after my sister wrecked my car, and I got my stuff out of the car at the junkyard after it was towed. I think that’s how it went down. That was a pretty miserable time.

An abandoned house or barn: We went to my grandmother’s farm sometimes growing up. We only went a couple of times. Grandma didn’t live there; nobody did. There was an old house with a cistern, a old barn with an old truck in it, an outhouse, trees, and a broken down fence. It was surrounded by the wheat field that I wasn’t supposed to go in. We didn’t so much play there as explore each time we went. I remember that the truck belonged to the man who leased the farmland to grow the wheat on, so we weren’t supposed to touch it. He also had some hay stored in there. There was a sidewalk leading up to the house, and an old stove inside and some broken plates and jars. When I was a girl, the house was pretty much intact, but now a tree has fallen on one side of it and caved in the roof, and some bees have set up residence. So it’s not really visit-able in the warmer months. I had to use the outhouse once there when I was a little girl. Now the outhouse has collapsed. The barn is gone now, too. My friends and I went and camped out there when we were in college. We slept on top of the cellar. Now that concrete slab has cracked as well and isn’t safe. I used to dream of having my own home there, in the stand of trees, but I don’t think that will probably happen anymore. The people who rent the farmland from my mom now want to tear down the house and trees so that acre will be farmable too. I don’t really want that to happen. It probably will some day and that’ll be sad.

A stream: When I was about eight I went with my mom and sister to Falls Creek youth camp. I was not old enough to be there but mom was playing the piano or cooking or something so I went with her. While we were there I met a nice boy and he took me down to the creek and taught me how to catch crawdads. We were gone for a long time and when I got back my mom was really bothered by the whole thing and I wasn’t allowed to go off with him again.

A cemetery: I’ve been to lots of cemeteries but I don’t think I ever played in one as a child. I was always very interested in them though, reading all the markers and being careful to walk on the correct side so I didn’t walk on anyone. I remember when we went to the Maple Grove Cemetery in Alfalfa County we would always stay a long time and my legs would hurt, but there were stickers so you couldn’t sit down. And sitting on gravestones was wrong. And sitting in the station wagon was out because it was a zillion degrees out there and the vinyl seats were hot as fire and glued themselves to your thighs. There was an outhouse there too, and I also used that once. It’s not there anymore either, so it’s hold it or hide behind a tree at the cemetery now.

A pasture: Okay, so I like played in a pasture all the time, sort of. I mean, we had the four acres growing up, and it was sort of a pasture. I think we called it a field but basically the same thing. Again, there were stickers, but I kind of liked hanging out there. There was a big metal box of some kind that I enjoyed playing in and making it my house or den or whatever I was imagining. I really liked it but it seems kind of boring to share. I guess because it was mostly all in my head.

Railroad tracks: My most vivid memory of railroad tracks is when I was about 13 and Marissa and I were out driving around. She only had a permit but it didn’t stop her. She liked to stick to the back roads though. Anyway, we decided to go to the video store. We took the back roads there, only going into town for the actual video return and rental. On the way back, she took a different route and we got stuck in some really bad mud. And we were like two miles from town. We were near the train tracks so I took charge and decided we were going to walk back to town. Oh, and I also had this somewhat wild kitten, Oliver, with us that we had just found a week ago or so and was still kind of afraid of us. Also, he turned out to be a little half-witted later. And it was dusk, bonus. And Marissa wasn’t wearing any shoes. So we followed the tracks back to town. She was complaining the entire time about not having shoes, and she asked me to give her one of mine so she could have one foot not hurt. Then we would be even, she said. I reminded her that her shoe size was like three sizes bigger and it wouldn’t work. She then wanted me to take a shoe off anyway, out of sympathy for her. I think I actually tried it for a while and then gave up because that was dumb. Oliver freaked out when we tried to carry him so we had to just let him walk behind us, crying because he was afraid of being alone but also too afraid to be held while we walked. We went on like this until we got to town, well after dark. At that point, I tried picking up Oliver again and he completely complied and fell asleep in my arms, sweet baby. We went to my Grandma’s house and banged on the door but she didn’t wake up and answer. So then we walked to Main Street and used the phone on the street corner in front of city hall. It was probably like midnight at this point. I can’t remember if our parents were worried or if they even noticed we were missing, ha ha. Anyway, that was an adventure.

Here is a bonus picture of Oliver, the railroad travelin' kitten, sharing a treat of some kind with Corky, my rat terrier puppy.

Here is a bonus picture of Oliver, the railroad travelin’ kitten, sharing a treat of some kind with Corky, my rat terrier puppy.

Thirty-eight soooo great

So in 2009, before my sister died and my life changed forever, I had a livejournal, and I tried to post there regularly. Sometimes I did well, sometimes not. One thing I tried doing was 100 journal topics that I found on this old angelfire site.

I did all right posting those. And then my sister died. And then I kind of stopped doing anything for a while. I tried to resurrect the 100 in 2010. Then, when I was getting this website going and really getting things happening with my big superfun wannabe author career, I did them again.

And now I want to get back into this blogging thing, I think, so get the creativity flowing again or whatever, and so I’m going to give it another try. Because I can’t just post about my regular life or where my mind is lately. Because it’s just too freaky deaky and I’m not ready to just blare that all over the place.

So. Presenting number 38 in the 100 Journal Topics project.

38. Did you ever know someone who had “everything?”

No. Ha ha, done.

Seriously, though. I don’t really think so. I mean, surely I had some jealousies about things other people had when I was younger, but I never really thought someone had everything. Oh sure, my neighbors to the north had HBO, back when it was actually called Home Box Office and was its own separate thing, not part of a cable package…and my neighbor to the south had horses, and a three wheeler, and a pool, but we had a pool too. And we had our ponies. And I had a sweet fort thing in the middle of a stand of mulberry trees, and like two hundred My Little Ponies, and the coolest swingset known to man. I didn’t have a treehouse, and that grieved me, but I still had it all right.

In high school, I had a car. Not the best car or the newest car, but I had a car. So again, yeah. I had it all right. Not the richest kid in school but not the poorest either. Not by a long shot. I had friends, I had reasonably cool clothes, I had parents who were pretty understanding and lenient. Things were all right.

You guys, this is basically what my car looked like and it was so big and old and flippin' sweet and I'm still a little peeved that my sister wrecked it. Its name was Tiger and it was such a good car. <3

You guys, this is basically what my car looked like and it was so big and old and flippin’ sweet and I’m still a little peeved that my sister wrecked it. Its name was Tiger and it was such a good car. <3


But I’ve always been like that. I’ve always been basically satisfied. Sure, there’s better stuff, and that would be nice, but at least I’m not starving or homeless or whatever. I’m a long way from that life.

Nowadays, I suppose I could look to my writing friends and look at what others have. Sometimes I do; I’m not gonna lie. But I still think that if I’m patient and cool, my time will come. It’s kind of fun enjoying my friends’ successes anyway. Like my friend Kim…her amazing book is coming out this month and I’m so excited for her! Yes, it’d be cool if I’d gotten there too already…but I also believe that all things happen for a reason, and there is divine timing. If I haven’t gotten published yet, it’s just because the time isn’t right. And that’s okay. I just have to keep trying so I’ll be ready when the time is right.

Anyway, when you get right down to it, I guess I personally have everything. Okay, see, I wrote this thing back when I was in high school, where we had to say what our life would be like so many years down the road. It was for our journals, for our English class. I said that I would be a writer, living in a two story old house, married with children. And there it is. That’s what I wanted, and that’s what I got. So I should be pretty dad gum satisfied. And I am. I still want more, you know, but I’m content with where I am right now. The future will surely hold all kinds of surprises, and that’s cool too, even though I don’t really know what they are. I’m thankful. Thankful to God, thankful to others, thankful for basically everything in life. It’s a pretty sweet place to be.

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So…that’s my step back into my 100 journal topics. Maybe this time I will do more than two before lapsing again. Here’s hoping!

Two stickers

I have two stickers on my calendar as of today. One for yesterday, and one for today.

At some point in my past, I decided it would be an EXCELLENT idea to mark “good writing days” with a sticker on a calendar. I got the idea from someone on twitter. I don’t remember who, because I am rude like that, ha ha.

Anyway, I did really well with it at the time and finished the project I was working on. But since then, there have been some sticker days, yay, but more non-sticker days. Today is the first time in a long time that there have been two sticker days in a row. It looks nice.

I’m awfully melancholy though. It’s probably somewhat due to the playlist I’m using for this novel. It’s soulful and something my late sister enjoyed. This book is about sisters – identical twins, actually – and this playlist is perfect. The book is going to be melancholy too, I guess. I’m feeling quite a bit of the emotions of my characters right now, which is also causing my disquiet.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still in my good place. I really am. But of course, there always has to be SOMETHING, doesn’t there, or life would be awfully bland after a while. Like a good book, there has to be conflict. It can’t be beautiful weather every day, or how would we appreciate the gloriousness of a perfect day?

There’s so much I want to say, to write, to release out of my mind. To reach out into the silence of the internet and ask who hears me. Who understands me. Who knows me. Who loves me unconditionally. I used to have anonymous places where I could cry out. But I don’t anymore. I can only think my innermost thoughts in my head or whisper them to God. That should be enough. But right now it isn’t quite.

I guess I should stop. Sorry that this got weird.

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Coffee shop musings

So I’m at this cool coffee shop in OKC while I’m typing this. I am, however, too chicken to ask the baristas if I can get the wifi password, so I’m going to post this later. I might use my phone’s hotspot. Depends on my mood when I get done, maybe. I’ve got a hot cocoa and biscotti and a glass of water. Plug in is nearby but I haven’t taken advantage. I’m in pretty good shape, battery-wise.

Anyway. I came into town early to help Ben with something at lunch. And now I have our SCBWI Oklahoma OKC Connect meeting in three hours, so it seemed kind of crazy to go home and basically turn back around. So I got brave and entered a place I’d never been before. Vintage Coffee. And it had one of my greatest fears – front doors you can’t see into. So there’s no way to really know what’s inside. But I got smart and looked the place up on facebook, so at least I had an idea of what to except. Once inside, I figured out where to stand to get my order taken and then I relocated to a plushy chair in the corner where I can observe everyone easily. Bliss.

I have several things I can work on today. I read through my wip the other day and got a good vibe for it again. I dislike some of the things that happen – it seems very surface in some spots – but I remember it was that way when I first did it but I just decided to do the rough draft and then go back and fix. It’s just such a complicated, issues-heavy book. I didn’t want to get bogged down on the first time through. I did, anyway, though. So I’ve been trying to decide if I was going to go back and try to fix the shallow parts, or if I would just keep powering through. I guess I’ll just keep going. I’m not even a third of the way through, so I really need to keep after it. So that’s project one.
Project two is the fanfic that I haven’t worked on. But that one should probably wait until I work on the wip. I mean, if I was desperate to work on the fanfic, I’d probably put it first, but this is actually a hard premise for me, so I don’t mind waiting on it. And that’s better anyway. I used to do fic on weekends and the real stuff during the week. That would be a nice rut to get back into.

Project three is the blog. I have lots of things I do each day, so I don’t see why I can’t do this that way too. I just need to have a plan. I still want to the 100 journal entries. And I like doing things to promote my local SCBWI and the members. And I have a new idea to start giving snaps to my agent’s other clients, because a lot of them are doing AMAZING things and deserve the recognition…even if it’s just from my obscure blog.

Mondays I’m probably not going to do anything, due to our homeschool co-op. But I should be able to blog other days, though. But should I do it multiple times a week or just once, at a minimum? I don’t know what schedule would keep me at it in a more consistent manner. I know it’s important to write regularly, to stretch that writing muscle. Of course, I also have journals and things that I write and just keep at home, either on the computer or in a book. Those are generally personal enough that they will not be appearing on the blog. And how much do people really want from my personal thoughts anyway?

I used to be more open with things, I guess. I did livejournal regularly and was very active on social media. But now I’ve pulled back. Maybe because I have a lesser need for external validation? I also think I have less of a need lately to please everyone. My biggest reason to be on social media so much before was to please people and FOMO. Honestly, there’s pretty much only one reason for me to be on social media anymore – apart from work-related things – and it is FOMO in a way, but not like it used to be. Missing out on most things doesn’t really concern me any more.

Anyway, enough cryptic talk for now.
Muse is on the speakers at the coffee shop. I’m going to take that as a sign. A sign of what, I don’t know. But I think it’s positive.

In like a lion

So it’s March!

Biggest news for me so far is that I finished my final revisions for Maybe, Baby and sent them to my agent. That was yesterday. Fingers crossed that she thinks we’re ready to go on submission.

I’m ready to get back into a regular writing schedule (FINALLY). That’s good because I have a couple of projects that have been simmering for a while. I thought it might be a good idea to put them right here and maybe have a little bit of accountability, lolz.

So. Things I want to accomplish – ideally in 2017.

–I want to finish my halfway completed first draft of Liddy Chatterley’s Lover. I know what I need to go back and fix, and where I want to go from there. It’s really a matter of just powering through the tough middle parts.

–Project two is writing the first draft of a novel I’ve been playing around with in my head for a year now. Working title is Hunting Down Dylan.

–After I get that one done, I get to write the first draft of my newest idea. Working title is Taco Bell Wedding.

–Keep updating the blog with better regularity. Like…once a week would be crackerjack. Once a month would be acceptable. I’m not a machine, ya’ll.

–Doing more and better publicity for SCBWI Oklahoma.

–I also want to continue working on my fanfic, but just a little bit. I can’t believe I haven’t done anything there in more than a year. I want to write more on at least one of my unfinished fics. More would be nice but I’m not going to make myself crazy over that. I hope to work on this when I’m taking a break from my main projects. Keep my writing fresh and all that.

–And, of course, I know there will be lots of editing and revising on these and other projects. Plus, you know, real life.

Here we go.

Writing and other abstract things

So I have this new checklist app thingy on my phone. I have several different checklists on it for myself, like a to-do list, a shopping list, and a list of things I need to deep clean (shed, I’m looking at YOU). The most important list, though, is my every day list. It’s helping me to have more focus to my day, and a sense of accomplishment in the small things of life. Brush teeth? Check. Make sure my son does his math? Check. Brush the little one’s hair? Check. Exercise? Well…sometimes I get that one. I’m not perfect, ha ha.

Also on the list is “Write Something.” I have to admit on some days I am much more lenient on this than others. There have been days that I have decided to consider posting on the SCBWI Oklahoma Facebook page as “writing something.” And technically that’s true, right?

I’m going to do better though. Much better. Turning that corner a few months ago has brought me to a new place. And happily, it’s a place where I once again feel the desire and need to write. I know this blog post will earn my checkmark, but I already know that I’m going to do a little fanfic after this. I haven’t written any fanfic since February 2016. But I really want to stretch my writing muscle. I don’t want to start anything new, because my agent is going to be sending me some edits in a few days and I want to be completely ready for those. But fanfic isn’t quite the insistent mistress that an actual novel is. I can leave her for a while and she doesn’t put up much of a fuss.

Ha ha, I just went to add some animated gifs to this and then remembered that I accidentally copied all of those over to my external hard drive and then deleted them off my computer. And the external hard drive is all the way over on the other side of the room. Guess that’s not gonna be happening this time.

Well, on with the fanfic!