Archive for the 'Writing' Category

“I’m sure I will ALWAYS remember these two lessons.”

NOTE: I fully intend that the lessons I am learning today in hindsight I will consistently apply tomorrow with foresight.

  1. When mailing a postcard – or even when receiving a particularly meaningful postcard that may be kept for a while – always write in the full date (month, day, year). Do not rely on the postmark to provide this information, as said postmark may find itself smeared, covered, only partially printed, or otherwise illegible when some sentimental person looks at the postcard 20+ years later and tries to figure out when it was sent.
  2. Always write the date and subject(s)’ name(s) on the back of print photos. Even your own kids’ photos. Ask me how I know. Or don’t. I’ll just say that there really are times when it’s not obvious which adorably unforgettable little child is pictured in that photo.

As General Douglas MacArthur once famously said,

“I shall return.”

To blogging that is. So many posts in my head, so little time. But I remain ever hopeful and very determined!

Swimming in February

Tonight I attended a free webinar called ““How to Write Your First Book Proposal (even if you feel clueless about publishing).”

For one thing, I had never been to a webinar before and was a little concerned, but it all worked out well – except when the main presenter lost her connection for ten minutes! I guess that proves that even famous people have tech problems from time to time. Her co-presenter filled the gap, she was able to re-connect with us, and all was well.

For another, more important thing, I have been on the fence with a specific book-writing project for several years now, and I attended this webinar along with some 400 other folks as a very small step to try to tractor-pull myself hard enough to overcome my book project inertia (objects at rest tend to stay at rest) and establish some forward momentum. A good deal of useful information was presented, and now I need to decide how to utilize it. The whole thing is still quite overwhelming, but maybe having invested these 90 minutes will be enough to make me at least dig out the document, open it, and try to figure out where I was on it and what to do next.

This webinar was sponsored by Hope*Writers, a networking community that encourages and equips people to write and potentially get their work published. For a small monthly fee, I joined Hope*Writers, and I’m hoping (slight pun there) that investing some money will be another impetus for me to get this book finished and begin working through the publishing process.

However, in order to get as much benefit as possible from my membership, I am going to have to do something I am not at all looking forward to: joining a closed group on (cough, sputter, gag) Facebook. Close friends know my abiding dislike of Facebook, and the thought that I will probably need to access it quite regularly is sad to me. It’s not that I have an ethical problem with Facebook; it’s just that I don’t like the way it’s set up, it doesn’t make any sense to me, I don’t understand it, and I’d much rather spend my valuable time elsewhere.  We shall see.

Right now, the editing project I’ve been working on seems to be at a standstill, so maybe this is the time to plunge back into my own book. I’m writing this post to create some accountability. Working on my book has been kind of like going on a diet without telling anyone. Since no ones knows about it, I don’t have to feel bad when I don’t do it. But I know I’m supposed to finish this book, I know it matters, and I regularly interact with people and learn about situations that make me think, “If only that book was done, wow! It would really speak deeply to this person.” And then I just feel guilty and sad. But with this post, I have now taken the plunge, so I’d better get with the program!


Novum verbum

I have a decent vocabulary, actually probably a better than average vocabulary, so it’s not real often that I come across a word that I have never seen or heard before.  I did this week.

I was proofreading a manuscript for someone else, and this sentence appeared:  “Conversely, when someone criticizes and derogates their mate, it is a horrible indicator of betrayal.”


Ain’t never heard that’n before.

I do know that derogatory means disparaging, so I figured that to derogate would mean to put down or speak disparagingly of (and it does), but I was excited to learn a new word!

Saw a green heron this morning

And yesterday, I saw my friend, the chattering belted kingfisher.  He was swooping down from the power line, flying fast upstream just a couple feet about the water, then coming back to do it again.  The third time up, he snagged a fish!!

But back to much more retiring heron o’ day. . . I occasionally see this bird standing in the creek near the bridge, almost always in the same spot, on the side nearest our house.  I saw what I thought was a green heron in exactly the same place this morning, but when I got closer, just before it flew off, I could tell that it was much smaller than the one I usually see.  I was pretty excited about that; there must be at least two in the area.  Maybe today’s was the son of the “mom” I’ve been seeing.

I was a little blog-dead and, in trying to come up with something else to say about green herons, I found this tidbit online:  “Green herons can aim there excrement at the eyes of their predators as a defense mechanism.”

Sigh.  These kinds of problems are all too frequent, and although their abundance makes part of me sad, they can sometimes be quite funny.  I think I’ll start collecting them.  Maybe I should add a new category, or maybe it would be worth having its own page:  a place to collect errors that appear in print.  What do you think such a page should be called?  Add a comment and give me your opinion.

Funny signs

I like to collect funny signs.  When possible, I take pictures of them, but often they zing by so fast that I can’t do that.  I really need to start typing them up and saving them in a spreadsheet or something.  Katie sent me one that she saw online recently, but I won’t steal her thunder.  I will just say that it was VERY funny to me and made me think of something in the lower level of Grandfather’s Mansion.

Today, I went to McKenna’s farm to get another super sweet (I hope) watermelon and some peaches.  Andrew and I had gone yesterday, but they were closed.  A sign on the door said they were “closed do to family sickness.”  It turns out that their son, who looks to be about my age, had a heart attack!  He’s doing well, had four stents put in, and should be released from the hospital tomorrow, and I did get a watermelon and a few peaches.

As we got back in the car, I looked more closely at the various signs on the front of the building and saw these fun single words:



Inside, Andrew had, with a big smile, pointed out another one to me:  ORKA, $3.00 per pound.

Betcha’ didn’t know you could get killer whales on F Highway, huh?  At an average weight of eight tons, that’s $48,000 each.  Just selling off one of those might cover Mr. McKenna’s cardiac hospitalization. . .

Taking my own medicine

I sent an email to a dear friend of mine who leads a terrifically busy life and therefore has not posted to her blog in four months.  She then posted my email on her blog, hoping to motivate herself to write something, ANYTHING, on a regular basis.

I, too, have been lax in this area, so here’s today’s short post.

The Llama and I are home alone in the rain today.  He is finishing up (or maybe not. . .? ) this week’s school work, and I am supposed to be doing academic planning and writing some blurb for our vacation home.  I am committed to spend fifteen minutes a day on that till I get it done, but I will say that I hate having projects hanging over me that I don’t know how to do.  This is one of them.

Scott, Jessica, and Andrew are out shopping.  Well, let me edit that.  AS I finished typing that sentence, Andrew hollered, “We’re home!” so I guess they are home now.

Katie’s in Virginia, and I do miss her.  However, she assures me that all is going well there, so that’s good.

It’s cool and rainy, and I need to find out if the movie night at a nearby church – that Josiah and Andrew are planning to go to – will still occur if it’s raining.

Medicine taken.  More to come.

In the mail!

I’m a little later than I had hoped to be, but the Christmas cards have all been mailed.  Whew! I really enjoy sending Christmas cards.  I also like receiving them, which is why I keep sending them.   However, there’s quite a process involved:

Ask Dad to take a bunch of family pictures at Thanksgiving

Edit the mailing list

Print the mailing  labels (to know how many of everything else is needed)

Decide which picture to use (not as easy as it sounds!) and order the prints

Order stamps

Print the return address labels

Purchase the cards

Buy the stationery

Create and print the labels to go on the back of the pictures

Write the newsletter

Go pick up the pictures

Print the newsletter

Sign the cards

Put the labels on the backs of the pictures

Fold the newsletter

Stuff the envelopes

Apply mailing labels

Apply return address labels

Apply stamps

Take ’em to the post office


The mailing list used to be about 200, but I whittled it down after last year.  When I deleted the people who had died and the additional people that we haven’t seen or heard from at all in more than five years, that knocked it down to just under 150.  Furthermore, I am about 98.6% sure that next year I am going to omit the actual cards and just go with the newsletter and pictures.

So. . . if you get a Christmas card from us this year, we hope you enjoy it.  If you don’t, send us one, and we’ll send you a nifty newsletter next year!

Spice sought

If someone would just buy me some thyme, I’d be delighted to write a fun post about my WONDERFUL semi-centennial celebration yesterday.

Christmas cards?

One of my special little pleasures in life is Christmas cards.  I like to send’ em and I like to receive ’em.  Shoot, we decorate our living room and dining room with Christmas cards every year.  But this year, for the first time in my LIFE, I am thinking of skipping the Christmas cards.  Sigh.

For one thing, they are expensive, especially when your mailing list is as large as ours.  Postage is not going down, either.  In fact, on January 2, it’s projected to go up to $0.46 for a one ounce letter – or a Christmas card.  However, even the cost is not the main factor.  What wearies me is the challenge of trying to find cards I really like that look the way I think Christmas cards should look and say what I want them to say, all at a decent price.

Besides, having a compulsion for doneness, I don’t like to wait till they show up in Christian bookstores, because frankly, it takes a long time to sign all those cards.  It’s easier for me to get started on it around, say Halloween (or Veteran’s Day, at the latest), and do them little by little.  I prefer to order them online, but some years – despite my best efforts – I just cannot find what I want.

All that to say that our friends and family will be hearing from us in mid-December, but it may just be a newsy family letter on nice stationary.  Or, maybe this will be the month I find the perfect cards.  = )

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