Writing retreat

I’m on a writing retreat with three friends at a cabin in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. It’s beautiful here. We sat around a fire earlier in the burn pit (I made the fire and it actually happened, whoot!) and now we’ve retreated to our own spaces to write. I’m excited about getting more work done on my novel, and I think this might be just the way to get it really going.

I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be here, and for the opportunity it’s giving me. I just wanted to get on here and warm up a little before I dive in. I’m hoping I write a little on the blog each day. As usual, we’ll see.

Anyway, on to the novel.

All kinds of writing

The last two days I’ve been writing, but not fiction. My children’s dance teacher, who had been an important part of all our lives for more than a decade, died last week after a long battle with cancer. I have been writing the obituary. It’s the first one I’ve written in a while. I guess the last ones I wrote was when I was working for the newspaper in the early part of the 2010s. The last one I wrote that wasn’t work-related was my sister’s in 2009.

So I’ve been working on the full and brief versions of this obituary for two days, talking to the family and sending them drafts for revisions. I’ll be sending it to the local newspaper this evening, and then the others will be submitted in the coming days. In the meantime, I’ve been working on my new manuscript, reading and revising, and creating a few new words.. I went to my writing group on Saturday afternoon. Church was cancelled due to paint fumes on Sunday, thankfully, because it gave me more obituary writing time. Then we went to my husband’s family’s home for the Superbowl, and the ladies all went to the movies (The Greatest Showman, by the way, was AMAZING). Then more obituary writing.

Today’s co-op day, so I’m with the rest of the homeschool moms, manning the greeters table while revising the obit and talking to the family.

And blogging.

And working on SCBWI Oklahoma blog parade details and publicity for the upcoming conference. And helping to sell snacks as a fundraiser for the senior class, lol.

I’m thankful, though. I’m thankful this family trusts me enough to allow me to write the obituary for them. I’m introverted and awkward sometimes, so I don’t know if I’m the best person to lean on in a time of grief. I’m not good at knowing when to hug, or when to bring a meal, or when to say something. I am good at writing, and being able to use that gift to help the people I care about is something I’m very grateful about.

Thirty Days of Gratitute 30

So I never go around to finishing this. And now it is halfway through January. But I have a blog post to publish about our amazing SCBWI Oklahoma Spring Conference Blog Parade (!) so I guess it’s time to wrap this puppy up.

So without further ado:

What talent or skill do you have that you are grateful for?

Writing, I guess. I mean, I know I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for other skills too, but I suppose that’s the numero uno. It should be, right? On a writer’s website?

It’s been hard lately. I haven’t felt the muse for about two years now. I don’t know how to get it back. My super-smart published author friend Kim says I need to keep writing, and it’ll lift the fog I feel in my mind these days. I’m sure she’s right.

And I keep plugging away. I’m not as far into my new novel as I’d like to be, but I’ve gotten good feedback and when I read it, I can see that the skill is still there. It’s just not as easy to do at the moment. I’m still thankful for it, though.

What do you do when your creativity isn’t flowing easily? Ideas?

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What song are you most grateful for?

I don’t know. It varies a lot. Christian songs. I really like listening to Christian radio. The songs really seem to relate to me and what I am dealing with. There’s one called “Thy Will Be Done” that’s on the radio quite a bit right now that helped me through some difficult times. And I also like the song “God Help Me.” It really speaks to me. Sometimes I sing along and I feel almost like I am expressing my own thoughts to God as a prayer of my own. I like that.


30 days of gratitude 20

Twenty things! That’s a lot to be grateful for. Even if these are freaking weird.

So…what’s on the agenda for this post?

Who in your life are you grateful for?

Whoa. That’s a big one. And it’s a good one. A real one.

And a hard one. Because it’s basically endless. I’m thankful for so many people in my life, and I don’t want to just select one because how can I choose? And I don’t want to do a big list because I will definitely forget someone.

Dang. My family. My friends. People who love my kids. People who Ben works with. People we homeschool with, and go to church with, and do theatre and dance and martial arts with. My writing friends. My online friends. My school friends.

It’s impossible.

My mom. I’ll go with that. I am thankful for my mom.

And everyone else.

Seriously, you all, I am really, really blessed. All joking aside, it’s pretty mind-blowing. <3

30 days of gratitude 19

Thanksgiving is over, and the month of thankfulness is nearly complete. Even though I’ve been weird about when I actually have done these posts, I’m glad that I’m getting them done. I don’t consider myself too behind because I made the conscious decision not to take the computer on our trips to see family over the holidays. We had a nice time.

Anyway. Back to the grind.

What touch are you thankful for today?

I find this one weird. I find a lot of these weird, actually. Maybe next year I should go back to my own ideas instead of using something like this. But I want to finish what I’ve started.

Does this mean like the feel of something? Like fabric? Didn’t I already do one like that? Or like touched in the head? Ha ha.

Well, honestly, I’m thankful for the times that I am very still and quiet and I meditate on God and I can feel His spirit infusing my body with peace, joy, and love. And I don’t know if that’s what this question was asking and I don’t care.


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What book are you most grateful for?

I should probably say the Bible, and I suppose that it is true, because I believe it is truly the Word of God and that we should pay attention and follow it’s teachings. And when I read it, I do feel close to God. I read it every day, but I should read more. I don’t read much. I’ve read the entire thing twice, and the New Testament more than that, but I learn something new every time I open it, it seems like.

The book I am the second most grateful for is a book by Gene Neill called “I’m Gonna Bury You.” It was given to me when I was teenager, and I kept it for years. It’s not my regular type of book but it is very important to me. It has also taught me many things about life and I feel very connected to the author when I read it. It makes me want to be a better person, and to be closer to God in every way.

I could also mention that I’m thankful for the first book I wrote, Pairs, even though it’s not published or anything. It was the book that made me realize that I could actually write and finish a novel, and I will always be grateful for that. I hope I can get it to a point where it can be published one day. I would love to share it with the world.

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What in nature are you grateful for today?

First off, disclaimer that this is actually Nov. 8 and I’m going to roll the publish date back to the sixth. Just trying to be honest there.

I already did leaves, and fall.

Snow, I guess. I love the snow. Actually, strike that. I want to be thankful for how seasons change. I don’t like it when people complain about how hot it is in the summer and how cold it is in the winter. Yes, I too do not like extreme hot or cold temperatures. But I don’t see any reason in complaining about it.

I like how the seasons change. I like how it’s always something different. Sometimes I’ve thought that I’d like to live in a real temperate climate year-round, but how boring would that be? Snow is cool. And really hot days are cool. (Even though fall is best and spring is second best, duh.) But I’d rather have it be different all the time than the same all the time, even if it’s nice all the time.

Maybe I should think about how life should be like that. Or my outlook on life. I want it to be nice and temperate all the time. But if it wasn’t for the extremes, maybe it would be boring. I don’t know.

Anyway. Thankful for changing seasons.

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What sound are you grateful for today?

Today I am grateful for the sound that autumn leaves make when they are rustling in the trees.

I was having a hard time with something this evening and I went for a drive. Several times I saw autumn leaves on the road or blowing across the street, and I was instantly calmed. The leaves in autumn are so incredibly serene and beautiful. I would like to go visit the northeast part of the country someday in autumn. We have a nice season here but the colors in some of the photographs from the northeast absolutely blow me away.

I very much love the idea of walking along trails in the woods during autumn, going down a path lined with beautiful trees of various colors while the wind blows through the leaves and they gently drift into the pathway all around me. Maybe tie in a little woodsmoke from Day 1, lol.

And yes, I’m also very grateful for the voices of my family and loved ones, and them singing, and that kind of thing, but I’m also grateful for the sound of leaves in the trees. In autumn. <3