Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's What's on My mind

Y'all know what I'm talking about, if I say I have a plastic container like you get sauce in from a pizza place, right? Well, just FYI, if you put it in the microwave with the lid on, after 5 seconds, the lid will pop off and scare you to death. lol

During Sunday School the other day, the children handed out treat bags for everyone. They were just the run-of-the-mill brown, paper bags, but inside was an orange, an apple and a Hershey bar - at least, that was what was in mine. :) So, this morning, I was thinking... Hmm, melt some chocolate, slice the oranges and dip them in the melted chocolate. Put them in the fridge, and a couple of hours later, we'll have us a snack. I have some bananas, too. Wonder if that would be good? But, what about the apples? Apples and chocolate...I don't think so. lol Hey, but I just realized, I do have a can of biscuits. Wonder if I pealed and sliced the apples and then put cinnamon and sugar on them and wrapped them in the biscuits? Hmm, not sure about that They are those big, red apples that are pretty sweet to start with, so I'd better just eat them as is. :)

Sunday evening, we went to my mother and father-in-laws' for an early Christmas. Needless to say, Monday morning was spent fighting with boxes in order to get those toys opened. The 3 boxes of barbies were the worst, and they weren't even from the grandparents but a friend from church. Back when I was a little girl, I remember being so happy that I could open my own barbies without any help. Now, because so many dishonest people have ruined things for the honest, I can't hardly get those barbies loose for nothing. Finally, I got the scissors and went at it. I am firmly convinced that if a person is bound and determined to steal, let them, but for goodness sake, stop making it hard for the rest of us to free Barbie and Ken! When the happy couple were finally free of restraint, poor Ken's leg popped off. I dutifully removed his shorts, reattached his appendage and gave him back to my 6-year-old, saying, "Now, put his shorts back on him so he won't be naked." Haha!

Speaking of Barbie's man, my 6-year-old insists on calling him Kem. What is up with that? I keep telling her that his name is Ken, but she thinks I'm lying to her. She told me it was spelled K e m. I'm like, no it isn't. She said, "Well, you're blind and can't read it."

"Yeah," I said, "but I've kind of been around a bit longer than you, and I know his name is Ken."

Yesterday, my mom even told her I was right, but she wouldn't listen. Deed! She's 6 going on 25. And, poor Ken is going to end up with a complex, if she doesn't stop. lol

Just because I want to share something with y'all that I think is so funny, I'm placing a teensy excerpt below. This is one of my many WIP's,. Feel free to comment, critique, boo or like. :) I wrote this piece this morning, and couldn't stop laughing.

Work in Progress that doesn't have a name yet
“Pizza, huh? Hope you brought a truck load; these kids are like wolves when it comes to food.”
“I counted on that when I ordered it,” he said, following her toward the sounds of children’s voices and the smell of pepperoni and cheese.
The smiles on the children’s faces, Megan decided, were enough to make Jace’s surprise visit worth any discomfort on her part. It wasn’t often they got take out for dinner, and because her favorite people were happy, she was happy.
“So, if you used to live around here, why did it take you so long to come back home?”
It was Cathy who asked it, and because she had been preoccupied with watching Jace and Cody, Megan almost missed it. But, when Jace opened his mouth to answer, she felt her breath catch in her throat.
“Well, Cathy, I was in college for four years. Then, I went to medical school for four years. After that, I did a couple of internships, and I guess, as they say, the rest is history.”
“Wow,” Amy said. “If becoming a doctor takes that long, you can count me out!”
Jace laughed.
“So, how do you and my mom know one another?”
“Yeah,” Missie piped up, “did you two like each other?”
If the floor had opened up and swallowed her whole, Megan would have gladly let it. But, it it stayed in place. Her heart, on the other hand, got caught somewhere in her throat, and she almost choked on her bite of pizza. She could feel her face turning red, but before she could say anything, Jace was answering.
“The first time I ever saw your mom, Cody, was at a church youth raly. She was new around here, and all the guys thought she was the prettiest thing they’d ever seen. The youth director told us to line up for a game, and I was the lucky guy who got to stand behind her. The game was one of those where you have to pass a tooth pick from person to person using only your teeth. If you used your hands, you were disqualified.”
Snickers of laughter echoed around the room, and Megan gave up and laughed out loud.
“Well,” Jace continued, “your mom turns to me with that tooth pick between her teeth, and I thought I was going to die from embarrassment. But, I wanted our team to win, so I leaned forward and took the other end of the tooth pick between my teeth. I mean, our noses were so close. I was about to pull away, when I felt my nose start to tickle. And, before i knew it, i was sneezing all over the prettiest girl in church.”
“Oo! Yuck!” all the girls said before collapsing in to fits of laughter along with the boys.
“Oh, that is so gross!” Amy said. “Were you embarrassed, Aunt Megan?”
“Yes, I was. But, that wasn’t the only time he did that.”
“No way!”
“Yes, way,” Megan said, nodding toward Jace. “He was the snottiest kid I had ever seen. He was always sneezing on me. One time, he even barfed on me.”
That had all the kids snorting and laughing, and Megan grinned.
“That is so gross!” Cathy said around giggles. “I don’t know if I would let him sit at your table, after all that.”
“Hey, I got better after seventh grade.”
“Not much,” Megan said. “Why do you think I started carrying tissues around with me all the time?”
“Prettiest girl or not,” Chris said, “I’ll bet you didn’t have the guts to ask her out, after all that.”
The room grew quiet, then, as all eyes turned toward Jace and Megan, waiting for an answer.
“Well, by the time I had a car and could take her on a proper date, I was on some strong allergy medicine.”
“So, you two did like each other.”
From across the table, Megan met Cody’s eyes, only then realizing how intent his gaze was and had been during the entire conversation.
Jace must have realized it, as well.

Y'all have a happy Wednesday, and you be sure to come back and see me here real soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On Books and Writing

I am not a superstitious person. I don't believe in bad luck or good luck. But, I am firmly convinced that if I talk about a story too much without writing it, it will never get written. It's almost like talking about it, jinxes it or something. If I reveal my secrets too soon, I never finish the book.

Here lately, it seems I can't finish any story, talked about or not. Maybe, depression has had some part in this, but I think it's more of a lack of direction on my part. When I published "Wild Heart", there for a while I was on cloud nine. I was ready to get the word out about my book. I wrote the sequel within eighteen months and published it through CreateSpace. I have sold less than fifty copies of that book, I would guess. Publish America says I haven't sold a book in over a year and want to know if I want to pay $149 to have my contract back. Those idiots need a wake up call, if you ask me. I didn't pay to have it published, they have made more money off me already. No way am I paying them for my contract, when I can have it back for free in a couple of years. CreateSpace, on the other hand isn't asking for any money, but my book isn't selling, either. I don't like how it came out, actually. So, what to do?

My friend, Peggy Hoy has her own Christian publishing company and has agreed to publish the second edition of "To Tame A Heart". I would like to do this for a couple of reasons, not the least of which, I could bring the price of the book down, and she can make it look better. But, what keeps running through my mind, is why pay all that money to have it printed? Will I sell enough copies to make it worth while? If I held on to the manuscript, could I submit it to Harlequin or pitch it to a literary agent?

Here are some hard truths I am coming to understand:
1. While "Wild Heart" and "To Tame A Heart" are my babies, they are not my best. I can do better.
2. People, no matter what these vanity presses are saying, do not want to buy books, and if they do, they don't want to pay more than $7.99 for it.
3. Even if I manage to wow an agent or an editor with my log line, signing a contract with a mainstream publisher means a full-time job, which means I will need babysitters in order to meet deadlines. Working full-time doesn't leave a lot of room for homeschooling. I'm not sure that is the route I want to take.
4. I just don't have hundreds of dollars lying around to spend whenever I finish a book.

So, do I sound depressed to you? Or, are these things to consider, things that make sense?

I believe I am called to sing. I believe I am called to play the piano. I believe I am called to be a stay-at-home wife and mom. I believe I am called to homeschool my kids. I believe I am called to write. All I need now, is for the Lord to reveal unto me, just what He wants me to do with it all. :)

Just so you won't think I'm totally negative, I am writing. I had a manuscript lying around here with 6k words. Monday, four days ago, I started working on it in earnest. It's up to 12,393 words, now. It's not a Western, it's not a historical at all, unless you consider the 1980's to be a long time ago. lol I don't have any plans for it, just to finish it and do my best. Maybe, that's all I need to worry about. Maybe, the problem is I wrote "To Tame A Heart" for a few someones. Maybe, this WIP is working because it is for me. But, then again, maybe not. I don't know. I do know, however, I keep praying, and God keeps the ideas coming. I need y'all's prayers that I finished this one. Maybe, when it's done, the third book in the "Wild Heart" series will happen, or the mail-order-bride story will happen, or...well, I could name a number of stories I've started, but I won't. :)

Just for your amusement, here's a story Kierstin, my 4-year-old told me this morning. I transcribed it, just as she told it to me.

"Devils and Pigs" by Kierstin Wells Transcribed by Shannon Wells
the big man that's named Deck. he was so crazy like the crazy man from the Bible. He hurt hisself with rocks like the crazy man did. people tried to chain him up with ropes and chains but he broke them with his teeth, not like the crazy man. The demons got out of him and he broke the chains for kids. The kids had loose pants so they had chains for belts. and then, the demons got in the pigs, then they were crazy like the crazy man. After the demons got in the pigs, they got bad and shouted out like evil crazy pigs. then they hurt thereselfs with chains. they were crazy awful. The pigs were crazy and that's all.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to join the conversation with your two cents worth. Until next time, keep on keeping on. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

After the Weekend

So, I guess by now y'all realized I took a few days off from blogging. My best excuse is that I really could not think of anything to write about. The good news is I'm back, I'm ready to write and I have something to say.

Friday was one busy day. I did laundry, swiffered my house, straightened up the living room, made a pot of chili which I'll tell you about later and made some cheese-filled bread. I bathed my girls and after dinner, went to a Christmas play at my dad's church. Due to the inadequacy of the chili, we had to get cheeseburgers from Burger King on the way home.

On Saturday, I washed dishes, did laundry and thought a lot about baking. I never did bake, though. I kept wondering why my tongue was so sore. I even had the hubby to look at it to see if something was obviously wrong. It burned every time I ate or drank anything even remotely acidic, and every time I turned around my mouth was watering. What on earth was going on? Ha! It was that crazy chili. See, I accidentally put too much chili powder in it. As a result, it set my tongue on fire. It's still sore today, but not as much, thankfully. As for the cheese bread, my girls and I finished an entire loaf on Saturday, mostly because it didn't hurt my mouth to eat it. lol

So, Saturday night rolls around, and the 6-year-old is coughing. I gave medicine for it, sent her to bed and prayed. The next morning, she gets up with a fever and a bad cough. No Sunday School for us. Instead, her daddy took her to the doctor who gave her an antibiotic and offered to write a note for her teacher so she could miss school the next day. This teacher plans to take it easy for the poor, lil thang. lol

So, while the man of the house and the 6-year-old were at the doctor, the 4-year-old and I played barbie, watched some TV and made 2 batches of cookies. Ok, I made the cookies, but she helped. The Christmas tree was lit, and the house smelled yummy. By the time Dad and Sis got home, cookies were ready to be tasted. I made chocolate chip and chocolate sugar. After cleaning up from my bake fest, I did more laundry, then sat down to rest. Bedtime came, we gave meds and tried to settle down for a long winter's nap...uh, wait a minute - wrong story. What I meant was, we tried to get some sleep, but the 6-year-old was wound up. She got up to go to the bath room; she got up to get a drink. She got up to blow her nose, and walked back and forth before the sink...oh, dear, I'm rhyming. Somebody stop me! lol

Needless to say, it was a long night, but not a sleep-filled one. But, this cold Monday morning, we're awake, at least the 4-year-old, the man of the place and I are. My man's off to work, I'm blogging at the kitchen table, the youngest is eating coco puffs cereal and gabbing my ear off, and the big baby is still sleeping away. No plans to wake her up anytime soon, I can tell you.

Since y'all seem to like to hear about my books, I've started working on another one that has been on the back burner for a while. This one is a contemporary Christian Romance. Well, it's contemporary if you think 1989 is modern-day. :) I have about 6k words written, but most of that was when I started it months ago. For the past few days, the storyline has been running around in my head, I've changed some names, and I've written a paragraph or two. One thing I'm slowly learning, writing full time and homeschooling full-time is almost impossible. :) Is it ok to take a day off from school and write? Is it ok to take time off from school, when you've already taken some time off this year? Hmm, I don't know.

When I start thinking of making sure my first grader is doing first grade stuff, I feel like hyperventilating. Am I covering everything I should be? Am I missing something vital? Should I consider having her tested either now or at the end of the year to see if she is really on a first grade level? Ok, I'm getting wound up. Let's talk about something else.

Let's see, baking, homeschooling, writing... What else do y'all wanna hear about? Tell y'all what, you drop me comments letting me know what you want to know, and I'll do my best to write about them. Have a question about blindness or blindness related issues? Ask away.

Until next time, keep smiling, keep praying, and hang in there. We have something to be thankful for, after all; we're not pushing up daisies! Amen?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just the Everyday

A few minutes ago, my 6-year-old said she saw a spider in the floor. I told her to go get a shoe and smash him. She and her 4-year-old sister ran to get a shoe. They came back, but by that time, the spider had ran and hid under my husband's desk. They sat there for about five minutes, waiting for him to come out. He never did. I told them the spider was probably afraid, and wouldn't come out from under there until their daddy came home, and when he did come home, I'd tell him to stomp on that spider. They were happy about that and ran to the other room to play. As they ran off, I heard the 4-year-old say, "I don't wike spidas, cause day are cweepy." Hahahaha!

A couple of days ago, I read a book just for the pure enjoyment of it. We didn't do school, I didn't bother with laundry, I just read and washed up a few dishes. I didn't even cook dinner. Had the man of the house to bring pizzas home. It was nice to read a book, it was nice to be lazy, but I tell you, I was out of sorts all day long. I couldn't concentrate on anything, and I didn't want to do anything, either. Was the book worth it? Maybe, maybe not. Ok, probably not.

Once, a friend's husband told me that entertainment wasn't good for him. I remember thinking, "Are you crazy?" I mean, who doesn't like to enjoy some free time for entertainment. After all, nothing wrong if it's clean. As it turns out, he isn't crazy. The other day was a prime example, for me, anyway. Ignoring my responsibilities just for my own pleasure was not the best decision. Reading for enjoyment, now there's nothing wrong with that, but I could have been a bit less selfish while reading.

Note to self: If you want to read a book, do so, but don't be so selfish while you do it. :)

What else has been going through my head? Oh yeah, we're supposed to get some snow. At least, the mountains are, but I don't think this valley will see much of it. For one, the ground is too wet and warm for anything to stick. Yeah, I know they are calling for it to be a heavy, wet snow, but it has been raining cats and dogs for like the last two or three days. Everything is sopping wet. It would have to be freezing if anything was to stick. Hope it snows some, for the girls, anyway. They love to see it snow.

Haha, that reminds me, my mamaw used to say, "sopping wet." You ever heard that one before? Sopping wet...or how about this one? "Do ye want to sop ye biscuit?" lol Mamaw used to fry eggs so that the white was just done and the yellow (yalla) was done but easily broken. She'd "bust the yalla" and I'd "sop" my bread in it. Wow, I want some breakfast! lol

Nowhere else, I don't think, except the hills and hollers of the Appalachians will you hear such biblical sayings as "sop" "ye" and "reckon". Here, I used to think that it was old-fashioned for my grandparents to say, "I reckon I'll sop my biscuits in gravy", and turns out Jesus might have said the same thing. Hahaha!

Well, once again I have switched which WIP I'm working on. Having good ideas for the third book in the Wild Heart series. Haven't done much work on it, but school does come first, ya know. Maybe, I'm crazy, maybe I'm ADD when it comes to writing, but going from one book to another seems to keep the boredom away. :) Usually, if I give myself a couple of weeks and go back to a problem story, the parts i thought were real bad aren't so bad after all.

Oh, my, well, the 4-year-old is whining today, the dirty dishes are taunting me, I need to make more koolade and sweet tea, and I should listen to my first grader read to me, one more time before saying school is out for the day. If that big snow doesn't come, we're taking the girls to youth tonight at a local church to practice for the Christmas program. If it does snow, we're staying home. Either way, there's dinner to cook. I think we're having chili. Not sure. Y'all have a happy Wednesday, and remember Jesus loves you. Be sure and come back again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday's Random Thoughts

People, like characters in books, are multidimensional. That is a big word for a Monday, I know, but it simply means that there are a lot of different things that make up our likes and dislikes, our hopes, our dreams, and how we feel about everything. People are not like numbers, always the same no matter what. We can't be classified, even though some would like us to be.

Where didd this observation come from? I have no idea. Hahaha! I guess I was just thinking about myself and realizing that I, and everyone else enjoys or does not enjoy a lot of different things for a lot of different reasons.

I believe we can think we know someone. We can know their likes and dislikes, what they believe in, what they were like as a child, and why they have a passion for this or that, but even then, there are things about us that remain a mystery. Maybe, if my husband and I are blessed with 50 plus years of marriage, we might know each other pretty well, but I'm not so sure.

I developed a liking for hot tea with sugar in it, because my mom always drank it. She likes so much sugar in hers, though that if you let it sit in the fridge long enough it would turn to pure sugar. lol Me, on the other hand, now I like it a little less sweet. I also like a drop of milk in my hot tea. I do not like milk in my iced tea, though. My grandparents always liked coffee, and now I like it, too. I grew up drinking Pepsi, but I'd rather have Coke. My mom always salted my food so much when I was a kid, because that's the way she liked it. Now, though, I don't use salt hardly at all. I wore jeans when I was a teenager, and I like wearing them now. I grew up in a 14 by 70 trailer with 3 younger sisters, and now I really need a few minutes a day without any noise at all. I used to like to sit in the dark in my bedroom as a kid and listen to audio books. Now, I am totally blind and still like to be read to. Speaking of that, I think I developed a love of audio books, because my mom always read out loud to me. I don't mind the smell of perm solution, because my mom is a beautician. I like music, because I grew up hearing so much of it. From Southern Gospel to Bruce Springsteen, I was exposed to a lot of different genres and styles.

We're all like that, different and as complex as ever.

. I asked a lady once what her favorite kind of music was. Her answer made me laugh. She said, "I like country and heavy metal." lol
I still can't find the connection, there, but - whatever.

I grew up in a mostly white community. Most of the folks who lived around me were very prejudiced. But, because I am blind, I went to a school 20 miles away in a community that was not mostly white. Most of the kids I went to elementary school with were black. Most of my friends were black. All of the kids in my classes at school were the same to me. I did not grow up to be prejudiced against someone because of the color of their skin. As I have mentioned in a previous entry, I had a teacher who was Jewish. Therefore, I did not grow up thinking that someone who believes different from me is a "bad person". Experiences we have as children help shape what we will become, but they do not define who we will be.

The one thing I know for a fact, the one thing I am sure of, is that God knows me better than I know myself. He knows you, too. He created us and knows what makes us tick. He also knows who and what we will be in 10 or 20 years. I am glad I do not know.

This entry seems random, and I can't seem to keep my mind on it. When I drank my coffee this morning, I felt the heat of it in my ears. What's up with that? My ears don't hurt, but it felt good to swallow something hot. My kids won't stop fighting, and i had to separate them. Why do they fight after such a good day, yesterday? Why do I feel like it's wrong to want some time to myself? I guess we all need to do our own thing and be left alone for a while. Y'all take care, keep us in prayer, and come back Wednesday.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Are You Happy?

What does it mean to be happy? Does it mean having everything you ever wanted? Does it mean being with that special someone? Does it mean having everything to suit you? What about everything going the way you want it too, is that being happy?

Now, y'all should know me better than to think any of the above are true. Of course, being with the man or woman we love is happiness, or it can be. ;) Having things we like can make us happy. We would all agree that a day where everything goes our way feels good. We all like to be entertained, and certainly a good story or funny joke can bring a smile to our faces, but are these things what make us happy?

I heard someone in a Sunday School class say once, "Well, I think God wants us to be happy."

The teacher of the class ignored the woman, which in my opinion was a mistake. But, maybe the answer strikes a little too close to home for us to be able to talk about it, comfortably.

This morning, I was listening to some music, and all of a sudden, I felt this overwhelming joy. Chills ran over me and I smiled for no apparent reason. I thought, "Oh, Lord, I am so happy!" And I am. But, why am I?

Is it the place where I live? Um, no. I live in a house that is too small. The town i live in is so rural, I can't afford even a cab to go to the Walmart. I have to rely on others to go anywhere, unless it is the Post Office the doctor or the playground. Is it my family that brings me happiness? Well, yeah, sometimes they do, but being a stay-at-home mom of 2 can be challenging and hard, sometimes. I don't always feel like laughing. And, yet, I am still happy.

I think that sometimes, folks have trouble being happy, because they have a mixed up view of what happy really is. I think we remember how it was in our school days, and think, "Gee, since I'm not as physically well or have as many friends as I did back then, I'm not happy."

But, true happiness does not come from without, it comes from within. Now, all you fundamental Christians calm down a minute. :) Let me explain. If the true source of joy, happiness, peace and love is living in your heart, then it will be within you and come out of you.

All these kids shows on TV tell you to trust your heart, and believe in yourself. I know they mean well, but folks, there is nothing within us that can give us anything. Jesus says that we are the branches, He is the true vine and God is the husbandman, or the carer of the vineyard. If I'm a branch, then it's safe to say that I can't nourish myself. Do you see branches living after you pick them? Of course not. When you pick a leaf off a tree or a flower from a plant, it always dies, doesn't it. That's how we are when we are not living in the vine, Jesus Christ. We whither and die. But, if we stay connected to the vine, we receive the nourishment that we need and we live. Just in case there is some misunderstanding, I'm talking spiritually, here, not physically.

Jesus lived a perfect life. He did no wrong. Yet, He lived in a sinful world. He got hungry. He got tired. He probably got a splinter, seeing as how His stepfather was a carpenter. He had siblings. If He wanted to go somewhere, He had to deal with crowds of people. He knows what it's like to pay taxes. I'm sure He knows how it feels to have annoying family members, too. :) He knows how I feel. He knows how you feel. And, He cares. He loves us so much that He gave up His life for us. Go read it in John, if you don't believe me. I think it's safe to say, we can trust Him with our hearts, homes, lives, children, spouses, finances, health, in-laws, weight difficulties, and everything else in between.

A few years ago, I was volunteering at an assisted care living facility owned by some friends of mine. I was in the kitchen, and they had those baby monitors, so you could hear what went on in the rooms, and the monitors were turned up real loud in the kitchen. I couldn't help but over hear, one day, as one of the owners went in to a patient's room and started singing at the top of his voice.

"Where do all these happy people come from? Where do all these happy people come from? They come from Jesus!"

The poor patient was unable to speak, but you could hear their grunt, as if to say, "Bah humbug!" :)

But, that did not deter the man's enthusiasm for sharing God's love. And, turns out, he's right. Happiness, the lasting kind can only come from Jesus. Hands down, no other answer for being happy; just Jesus. Why, just saying His name brings me peace.

Y'all have a happy Friday, and a wonderful weekend. If you get lonely, read St. John, or any part of the Bible you wish. Need an uplift, remember I'm praying for you all, whoever you are. All I gotta say is, "God, please bless those who read this blog." He'll do it, too. He is faithful, don't forget.