Tuesday, January 24, 2012


If you've read this blog recently, you've noticed a new theme in my posts.  It is, of course, writing.  Lately, I have had several people asking about it.  So, the answer is yes, I'm writing a novel.  Christian fiction, to be precise, with a modern day setting.  Although I love to read historical fiction, I don't know if I could write it.

Some background:  I've had a life long love affair with words.  All words.  Spoken and written.  Especially written.  Since my teen years I've wanted to write.  I had a dream of moving to Paris and living there for 3 years in a garret apartment over a bakery or coffee shop while I wrote my first novel.  It was going to be a world wide best seller as it was going to be translated into practically every known language. 

Hey, as a teen when I had a dream, it was a BIG dream. Truth be told, I still dream big.  :)  If you're going to go to the trouble of dreaming, you might as well make it spectacular, right?

All through the years, I've filled notebooks with ideas for books and stashed them all over.  In boxes.  In book shelves.  In the top of my closet.  In a briefcase. Everywhere.  Most of them are not well thought out with few redeeming qualities.  Except for one children's book I started, but never finished.  One day....maybe....I will go back and see what I can do with it. 

So, almost a year ago, I went on a girl's weekend to the beach with several wonderful ladies from my church. While I was there, an idea started forming in my mind and as usual I made notes on the idea before I forgot it.  I played with it off an on, making notes over the next few weeks before putting it away.  I knew it was a good idea, but with my part time job, hubby's retirement from the military and our impending move to TX, I didn't have time to write my name, much less a book. 

Thus, it was put away until October when I pulled it out and wrote the first half of chapter one.  It was good. It was a book I would want to read if I saw it at my local book store.  I was excited.  So, I shared it with a friend, who also liked what she saw and encouraged me.  But, soon, life intervened and writing fell to the wayside. 

Then, 2 weeks ago, my husband and I were discussing whether or not I should go back to work. I begin this discussion at the beginning of every new year. Anyway, mid way through the conversation I said "Do you know what I REALLY want to do as my career?"  He looked at me a moment and said "You want to write."  It wasn't a question. But, he followed it with one.  "Why don't you?  You have time.  You have an idea.  Do it." 

That was the beginning.  I pulled out the notes and started the next day.  A couple of days later, I learned about a Christian Writers Conference and weekly workshop being held at one of our local churches. I immediately registered to attend. I've been writing almost daily since then.  My Facebook status updates and this blog are where I hold myself accountable in public to continue writing.  I want to be one of the people who FINISHES the manuscript.  It may be rejected repeatedly, but I am determined to write a complete novel, find an agent and attempt getting it published, with hopes to follow it with 4 more books to complete the series - I told you I still dream big.

What does all this have to do with the title "Inspiration"...  Well, first of all, I was inspired by God with this story during that lovely weekend with my friends.  Then, I was inspired and encouraged by my friend.  Next, hubby inspired me to begin writing in earnest every day - even if it's only for a couple of hours.  And, he inspires me to continue when I wonder if this is a ridiculously stupid dream and one I should toss to the way side and get a "real" job. 

I also draw inspiration from friends and family.  It is said you should "write what you know."  Beware.  I am doing that, to an extent.  Thankfully, I have a vivid imagination and have scenes in my book that have never ever happened.  BUT, during my mornings out writing, I've seen and heard some of the most wonderful snippets of conversations.  And,  people at the grocery store have given me fodder for different scenes for my characters to either witness or actually do.  HEB is quickly becoming one of my favorite places as people are so interesting there!  I've written down a few really funny incidents I've witnessed lately to include at some point.  Who knows, these moments may be a jumping off point for a new book.

Thus, the moral of the story is...  people are interesting and inspirational if you pay attention to them.  A quick moment talking to someone, doing a good deed or simply watching and listening to an interaction between two strangers can be so inspiring. 

So, thank you to all my friends, family and the strangers I see (and hear) in town.  You are inspiring me every day. 

Coffee:  Yes.  Cafe Ole blend.  Basic, but good.  A full pot of it as I didn't leave the house today - except for a quick trip to HEB. 

I usually leave to do my writing, but the weather was icky, so I stayed home.  I still wrote though.  I have a good start on Chapter 3 as I managed to write over 900 words in about 90 minutes.  When I think of how much I get done in these short writing sessions, I sometimes wonder how quickly I could finish a book if I devoted my entire day Monday through Friday to writing. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This and that...

Happy Thursday! Welcome to my corner of the world today. 

This morning I had some fun playing with the blow dryer and this is what happened.  I think I like it.  I told my hubby that I'm channeling my inner "Mod Girl".  I think it looks better in person, but you get the idea of how it looked today. 

I like it more than I did a couple days ago.  In another week or so, I may actually love it. That's one nice thing about having hair that grows so quickly.  A too short cut soon grows out.  :)

Since I haven't posted an OOTD in a while, I snapped this picture in the dressing room at Marshall's today. 

See the blue t-shirt behind me?  I bought it.  It's so cute and looks great with jeans, khakis, shorts, etc.  Plus, I have 3 cardigans that look great with it.  Love it when I find a piece that integrates into my wardrobe so well.  :)  Even better when it's something I've been wanting - in this case, a patterned t-shirt. For those who care, it's DKNY and was on clearance.  Love picking up a bargain. :) 
This morning I mentioned on Facebook that I was experimenting with dinner tonight. The verdict is "just okay" so I'm not including the recipe.  It wasn't a disaster, but neither was it fabulous.  Once I've perfected the recipe and it's perfectly scrumptious, I will share it.  Promise.

Enjoyed quite a bit of coffee today.  Also enjoyed quite a bit of writing/editing.  More editing than writing, truth be told.  It's not happening quickly, but it is happening one day at a time. Speaking of writing, last night Lisa Wingate, who was speaking at a Christian Writers Workshop, said only 1 out of every 200 people who say they want to write a book actually complete the manuscript.  Funny, no one asked how many of those people got their manuscript published.  I think we were all afraid to hear the answer!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Day In The Life

What a day!  The hubby and boys all had the day off from school.  A three day weekend for the entire family!  Ahhhhh.....  It was lovely.  We all slept in this morning.  No alarms, no reason/need to get up early.  Just rest and relaxation. It was wonderful.  Well, I did have to get up a few minutes for the whining dogs.  They needed to make a quick trip outside to do their business.  But, afterward, they were happy to go back to bed and sleep longer too! 

After all that wonderful sleep, we had lunch.  Seriously.  Hubby had a bowl of cereal, but the rest of us went for lunch type foods.  Then, Patrick and I headed over to Books A Million so I could spend some time writing.  We had a deal, he could along if he didn't talk to me.  For the most part, he stuck to it, only interrupting me 2-3 times.  Funny, but it's so much easier to write when I'm not home.  Probably because there aren't as many distractions when I'm not home.  No laundry waiting, no food to cook, no dogs needing to go out, etc.  It makes such a difference. 

This morning, I told my husband how much I HATE my hair.  I have been so disappointed with this cut. The stylist apparently forgot my hair is naturally curly and cut it way too short.  Once it grows out an inch or two, I'm sure I will like it better.  Now, the question is....do I return to her?  My hair trust issues are really being tested.  *sigh*  This is what it looks like tonight.  It's better than the previous two days hair, but.......

As I was taking this, I had a couple people want to get in on the action.... In the process, we got a little crazy.  To prove I am not always prim and proper, I am including our crazy face pictures.  Be warned.  They are ugly.  LOL

And, yes, we can be sweet too. 

So, that's our day off.  Sleeping, eating, writing, more eating, watching tv, spending time on the computer .... and soon, sleeping again.  See a pattern?  :)

Coffee:  Yup, and about to drink my last cup....after 10 PM.  What am I thinking??  That I want coffee.  Obviously.  :)  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Projects in coffee

That I have a love affair with all things coffee is no surprise to those who know me personally, are my friends on Facebook or who read this blog.  So, when I tell you that yesterday I ventured into the realm of making my own flavored creamers, you will not be shocked or have a sense of awe.

What prompted this sudden interest in creating my own flavored coffee creamers? It happened when a friend from high school commented on my facebook status to tell me about an episode of Mythbusters where they proved Coffeemate is explosive. This sent me scurrying to read the ingredients in my favorite flavor.  Seeing it contained mostly water, artificial colors and flavors andpreservatives, I decided that no matter how wonderful it tastes, it can't be good for me and should be replaced.  Immediately. 

Thus, I began an online search for the perfect recipe.  No.  No.  No.  No....and NO!  Was my reaction to most of the recipes I saw.  Most contained sweetened condensed milk which contains concentrated whole milk and sugar.  This can not be good for you if they put it in a can and it is presumably good for 2 years.  Without refrigeration???  Real milk?? Seriously???

Deciding there must be a better alternative, I continued reading recipes.  Later, another friend sent a link to pinterest and a blog page where the creater made her own half and half with milk and whipping cream and then flavored it.  Having already decided to develop my own recipe, I bookmarked the pages and went into the kitchen to create. 

My first attempts were unsuccessful.  Not complete failures, but definitely not recipes I want to share. Crazy fact - they tasted good until I added coffee....Then, those recipes went into the failure column. I made notes concerning the pros and cons for changes next time around.  I will continue with this project until I get it right. Promise!  And, yes, I will share the recipes here.  :)

That was yesterday.  Today, I did something I've long wanted to do.  I went to a writer's conference.  It was a wonderful morning.  I loved every moment of it.  It was a great kick off to a class I'll be attending over the next 8-9 weeks, teaching various aspects of what is needed to write successfully and how to get published.  I'm really looking forward to it. 

Since I've not included an OOTD in a while, I had hubby snap a photo this morning. I felt "artsy" wearing it to the conference.  Just wish I'd had a long pendant necklace to wear with the ensemble.  Oh well, something to look for as I shop this spring. :)

Speaking of writing, let me update you. So far, I've completed writing the first chapter and started the second.  There has been a lot of editing with more needed.  However, I've looked at C1 so much I need to let it marinate in my brain a while before I attempt finishing it.  Basically, I need more descriptive passages. 

Chapter 2 is coming along nicely. This morning while waiting for the workshop to begin, I had a couple of really good ideas.  So, I opened my notebook and jotted them down to incorporate them into the story next time I write.  I'm still leaving home to write Monday - Friday. Leaving home is difficult.  Almost as hard is finding a place with room to write.  I planned to go to Starbucks the past couple of days but couldn't as they were filled to capacity.

In case you wondered, I always, ALWAYS have a cup of coffee with me when writing.  If I'm inspired and the words are coming fast and furious, my cup of coffee gets cold.  If I'm stuck, it's wonderful to hold a warm mug of coffee in my hands while staring into the distance considering possibilities until inspiration strikes again.  If no words come, I edit until I am happy (for the moment) or until inspiration strikes and I begin to create again.
Coffee:  Yes, but not until 11 this morning. I've since made up for it (drinking the last cup right now).  Fake creamer this morning...my not so good homemade creamer now.  But, the coffee is good. Coffee is always good.  :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Words, words, words.....

It's a beautiful day outside!  Sunshine, blue skies and so wonderfully warm.  I had to double check the calendar this morning.  Yes, it is January.  Of course, tomorrow will feel like it again, but today it is Spring and I am loving it!  Loving it, I tell you!

Right now I'm watching Julie and Julia with the doors and windows open.  I love this movie.  It's an inspiration to keep me going in the blogosphere.  However, it makes me long for a "reason" to write - beyond life in general, that is.  I know people who write blogs with actual subjects - food, fashion, etc.  I just write about whatever is on my mind. 

One line early on in the movie resonates with me, when she starts her blog and no one is reading it - except her mother, who doesn't count - and she says "Are you listening....whoever you are?"  Sometimes I wonder if anyone is reading this other than the 3 friends I've paid to do so.  BTW, if you haven't received your money yet, the check is in the mail. Just joking!!!  :) 

If you are a blogger, do you ever wonder if anyone reads your blog?  Does it matter to you?  Do you write for yourself?  Do you do a family blog so family and friends can keep up with your life?  Do you want to be a blog success story?  Comment, please and answer these questions.  I really want to know. 

On to another topic.  I have made a commitment to myself to write Monday through Friday for at least 2 hours per morning.  Books, words, have always been a source of great happiness to me.  My first job out of college was as a reporter for our local newspaper.  I absolutely, positively loved that job.  Why did I quit?  Money.  Pure and simple.  It paid pennies and I had to live with my parents just so the ends of my budget could see each other.  Seriously. 

One of my dreams is to be an Author.  You know what I mean.  Author with a capital A which denotes being a Published Author.  I've played with different book ideas over the years.  About 10 years ago I wrote about half of a children's book.  It was a good idea/story.  But, I lost "the muse" and never found it again.  It is packed away in my closet waiting to be pulled it out and completed.  Someday.  Maybe. 

Currently, however, I am excited and working daily on another idea.  Thus far, I've written about 5500 words - or one chapter, plus the beginning of a second.  It's going well.  Hopefully, one day I will be announcing that I'm a published author.  That's my goal.  So, to accomplish being able to write every day, I decided I had to leave the house during those hours.  Let's face it, if I stay home, I'm going to get distracted by the things that need to be done around the house, the tv, the computer, cooking, laundry, the dogs, etc.  If I leave and only have the computer with me (and my phone, of course) my chances of being distracted are significantly less. 

Unless you consider the varied and interesting conversations I hear as I sit at a table, my laptop and a cup of coffee as my only companions.  You would not believe what people will talk about in public! 

So, where do I go for these outings? Various places. Yesterday I sat at Panera for a few hours, editing and writing and editing and drinking coffee and listening to people.  It was fun.  Today I went to a new place called Cafe Cappuccino.  I ordered a bagel and cream cheese.  They buttered and toasted the bagel to perfection.  The fruit cup, ordered on the side was okay.  It would have been better minus the pink grapefruit, which was sour.  The grapes were super sweet and wonderful.  They were so wonderful, I thought about asking for a bowl of just grapes.  Too bad there were only 4 grapes total in my small bowl.  Yes, I counted. 

Oh, the coffee.  Yes, I had coffee.  I ordered their bottomless cup of coffee.  It was delicious!  Just plain coffee and cream.  Yum.  They had a nice selection of cappuccinos and lattes.  Tons of flavored syrups.  Next time, I will try one of those, definitely.  And, yes, there will definitely be a next time.

Monday, January 9, 2012

All Good Things Must Do WHAT?

It's time for all good things to come to an end.  No, I'm not giving up my coffee addiction in favor of doing something crazy like, say, drinking green tea.  *shudder*  Nothing against drinking green tea, but I can't imagine drinking it all day every day.  It's just so, well, not ME. 

And, no, I'm not giving up my blog.  How else would I get rid of those pesky thoughts that swim around in my head demanding attention until I write them down.  Facebook is an option, but a status update can only hold a certain amount of words....and I'm rather wordy, so that wouldn't work.  Not to mention all the people who complain about my status updates being about coffee and/or what I'm cooking that day.  At least no one has complained about that here.  Yet. If it ever happens, I will return to approving comments before they can post to my blog so I can remove them.  Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!

So, what is coming to an end?  Sleeping in. *gasp*  Yes, that's right.  Tomorrow my children return to school after their Christmas Break.  I know, it's officially called "Winter Break" but I'm old school.  I got out for Christmas, they are getting out for Christmas, so why not call it what it is?  Oh....I might offend someone. Okay.  Fine.  Consider yourself offended.  I'm frequently offended but it doesn't stop others from saying what they think and feel....  But, that's another post for another day.

Back to my moaning and groaning. 

I have to get up early tomorrow.  What's worse, I have to STAY up and do things like wake up teenagers, repeatedly, so they make it to school on time and cook a nutritious breakfast to fuel their brains so they can think and function in class all day long and THEN, I have to drive at least one of them to school as he has to return the marching snare his band teacher so lovingly loaned to him for the entire 17 days they were on Christmas Break.  17 days....  with a marching snare in the house....  We had to give permission for him to bring it home.  All I can say was I obviously didn't have enough coffee that day and was in a fuzzy state of mind. 

Actually, it wasn't that bad.  But, now I'm moaning and groaning because tomorrow morning I have to get up early, wake up teen age boys who will NOT want to get up, cook breakfast, get dressed and go out in the cold, wet world to drive them to school.  Before 8 AM.  Hello?  I've been sleeping in until 10 most days.  I like sleeping until 10.  I am a much nicer person when I can sleep until 10, drink coffee for a couple of hours and then...say around 1:00 pm start my day. 

I am not joking.  Just ask my hubby, or my parents, or my kids.  Even my dogs will verify the truth of this.

So....that's it.  That's the bad news from my home.  I'm sorry. I wanted to keep it to myself, but knew it was information I must share.  Otherwise it was going to keep going around in my head until I broke out with a very long FB status.  You know how that gets people riled....

Coffee:  Yup.  Still loving my Bunn.  Alternating creamers between the Peppermint Mocha and the all natural sweet cream. 

Off to watch the BCS Championship game with hubby and then go to bed and try to get enough sleep so I'm not *too* grumpy in the AM.  :) And, my boys just grabbed me and asked (demanded) to have hair cuts before returning to school tomorrow.  Busy evening.  Night y'all!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Image... How do you present yourself?

This morning I was sitting in a medical office waiting room and was an unwilling listener to several people's conversations.  I say unwilling because I did not want to hear them, nor did I try to hear them.  However,  the room was small, it was quiet and the people involved were speaking loudly.  Thus, I now know about people being fired, hired, quitting, financial situations, health problems and relationship difficulties. Perhaps these people don't mind publicizing their personal issues to strangers.  However, I do not want to be privvy to this information.  Unfortunately, I don't know how to stop it from happening unless I say "I can hear you, please speak quietly so I don't have to listen to your personal business." Somehow I don't think that is a viable option. I could take ear phones and listen to my iPod so I'm not subjected to these personal conversations.  But, when I'm reading, I don't want to listen to music - although it is preferable to the alternative.  Plus, when at the doctor's office, I want to be readily available if the nurse/doctor/whomever needs to speak with me.  It's a dilemma.   

How do you handle the above situation?  I'm seriously looking for alternatives.

While reading Facebook status updates in an attempt to distract myself from the above conversations, I read a thread from the KLOVE morning crew asking if you believe that people present a refined image of themselves on-line or if they are being honest about themselves.  Most people stated they think the majority are putting on a mask to the world at large - both on-line and in person (smiling and saying everything's fine when it isn't, the "church mask", etc) while others maintained that the true person comes out over time and some said (and I paraphrase) "I can only speak for myself and what you see is what you get with me."

I mention the above because a few weeks ago something happened and my youngest said "Oh great, I bet you are going to blog about this too, huh?" and I said "No, I don't blog about everything.  Especially if it's negative or if it will embarass someone in the family or make us look 'bad'."  His response was "Oh, so you only say things to make you look good, huh?" This has made me evaluate how I present myself and my family on-line - both on Facebook and in my blog.  I try to be honest about myself and my thoughts and feelings.  I've definitely let out some "ugly" at times.  But, I try to be thoughtful and careful as I write.  I don't want them to read something and be embarrassed.  Or worse, have someone else read it and ridicule them about a blog post I wrote. I don't consider it being fake.  More like considerate.  Am I wrong?  Is that fake and presenting only a polished image that is a mere shell of my reality?

Thinking about that, knowing how cruel people can sometimes be, sometimes makes me want to censor myself even further.  But, if I do that, is this blog worth writing?  Is it worth reading?  Where does editing end so honesty isn't compromised?  It's an interesting question I will continue to ponder.  I may never have the "right" answer but I will strive to find it.  Until then I will stumble along as best I can.

While I'm searching for the answer, I promise the following:  I will endeavor to be present myself as I am.  I will endeavor to choose my words carefully but honestly when mentioning family and friends.  I will endeavor to be kind and considerate as I answer your comments.  If I have hurt or embarrassed anyone, either in the blog or comment section, it was unintentional and I apologize.  I will continue to ask hard questions of myself (and you) at times.  I will be light hearted and hopefully witty at others.  My silly OOTDs will still be here along with pics of the house, dogs and other things which capture my attention. 

Okay, moving on...  OOTD time.  It is a nice warm day and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.  The forecast high today is 73.  Nice!  So, if you are wondering why I look Spring-ish, that's why.  It FEELS like Spring, so why not?  Right?  And, if that's a fashion faux pas, give me a citation.  :)

Yes, I do have feet.  LOL
Hubby was my official photographer this morning.
I prefer the top pic....but didn't have feet, so asked him to take a second.

Coffee:  Yes, it's good today.  It's good every day.  But, enjoying it like this makes it even better.
I just love this cup I bought at Anthropologie.
It's so pretty and feminine.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New in the New Year

So, it's that time of year again.  Last year it was in March or April when I hit this point.  Guess I'm ahead of the curve this year.  :)  It's time for some changing.  Attitude, style, hair...  make up will be coming next.  I need to have a fashion consultant or two on speed dial.  Seriously. 

This was my first change this year.  I was in the mall a couple days ago and bought this outfit at American Eagle.  It was on clearance plus an additional 40% off!!  The entire outfit was under $33!!  I do love a bargain. What do you think? 

The belt is from Anthropologie. 
It goes really well with the outfit, don't you think?  :)

Okay, so here is the evolution of my hair....
This was in October just after my first hair cut here in Waco.

Jan 4.  I am so tired of my hair in this picture. 
 It's grown a lot since October.

This morning JUST after I made my hair appointment. 

After my hair appointment.
It's okay.  Just shorter than I asked her to cut it.
In a week it will be better.

After I worked with my hair a bit....
and retouched the make up...
The following two are more of the same... 

Next change will be to up the fashion factor in my closet yet again.  Some things are not being worn at all and need to go.  Others have been worn too much and need to hit the trash can.  Others need to go to a different home where they will be appreciated.  When all these items leave, there won't be much remaining.  Scary thought! 

And, the haircut revealed something else....I am in desperate need of new make up.  Definitely new colors for my eyes...and maybe a few new lip colors too.  Not sure I'm excited about my foundation either.  Probably because I'm still wearing my summer color and it's winter - when I rarely go outside except to check the mail or hop in the van to go somewhere. 

Coffee:  Of course.  Basic stuff.  Nothing special.  The usual creamers.  However, I did buy Coffee Mate Natural Bliss in the sweet cream flavor.  I can't wait to try it after dinner!!!