Thursday, February 26, 2009

Feb's "me" layout....

Click on the above image to go to Oscraps.
Paper, frame, butterfly element - Indefinitely by TaylorMade Designs,
Word art - Happy Thoughts, Sue Cummings,
Font: Peay Jay
Photo Action - Picture Perfect by Paint The Moon,

I took this picture, during a late-February trip to Little Rock.
I am trying to take a picture of myself around the 23rd of each month, in a way to document my life this year.

I'm striving to meet my dreams, and I'm trying to become the person I want to be. It's definitely making me happy.

Project 52 - Week 7 - Photo & Layout

Click on the image above to go to Oscraps
Credits: Paper, frame - Week 7 52 Inspirations 2009, Sue Cummings,
Word art - Simply Quick 20, Sue Cummings,
Heart - Simply True Love, Sue Cummings,
Photo - Project 52,

Font: Pea Jay and Century Gothic

Project 52: Unexpectedly Yummy!
Week 7: Project 52

A photo that shows love.

Photo Stats
A photo of my Valentine’s Day present from my dad.

Photo Taken
Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009, in Siloam Springs, Ark.

Photo Background
Mom came to Siloam Springs for lunch on Valentine’s Day, and brought the treat – homemade chocolate covered strawberries – for me from dad.

Sometimes my dad can surprise me with the unexpected luxury.

I guess I'd also have to say that this is an "unexpected" thing because my dad is the typical mid-western farmer/rancher.

He goes for practical stuff, not fluff. This was a "fun" and "fluffy" gift - and quite yummy!

Project 52 - Week 6 - Photo & Layout

Click on the image above, to see the layout at Oscraps.
Credits: Paper & Elements - 52 Inspiration 2009 week 6, Genevieve Sass,
Photo for Project 52 -
Font: Pea Jay and Century Gothic

Week 6: Back to the Basics
A photo of something that shows “play.”

Photo Stats
Photo of the most recently completed quilt block “Stately Sunflowers,” part of the Prairie Flower Quit by Barbara Brackam.

Photo taken
Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009, in Siloam Springs, Ark.

Photo Background
In 2001, the Kansas City Star returned to their “traditional” roots and began to publish quilt block patterns, once a month, in the newspaper. Their first quilt, the Prairie Flower Quilt, by Barbara Brackman intrigued me.

I loved the appliqué patterns and the historical nature of the quilt – each block has ties to pioneer women who traveled “west” during the 19th Century. But when the quilt pattern first came out, I was just learning how to quilt. Needleturn appliqué, well, was way beyond my league at the time.

I initially thought I would use “button-hole” appliqué (which includes a raw edge style finish), but my friend, Kim Barber persisted. She said I would be disappointed if I didn’t at least try to learn how to do it “the old fashioned” way.

I bought the fabrics for this quilt in 2005 – but I really didn’t start working on it until 2006 – it took a while to work up the nerve to start this big project.

Slowly, I’ve been making progress. Finishing the “Stately Sunflower” pattern has been a “turning point” of sorts for me. I’ve finished five complete blocks and have started a sixth block.

During the ice storm I “traced” out the newest block – and the remaining six blocks – on freezer paper (what I’m using to make my patterns). I’ve also “assigned” fabrics to half of the remaining blocks.

I have a goal to finish this quilt before the end of 2010. So I have 22-1/2 months left to meet my goal. I’m learning to “play” a bit, and do something kinda frivolous and just for myself – making this quilt.

It will never win awards, but it’s going to be a hand-appliquéd quilt that I can pass to future generations (after I use it for myself).

Quilting is one way I play, and in the last few years, I haven’t let myself indulge in this manner for a while. I’m learning that this kind of play is beneficial for my “mental health.” Besides - it makes me turn off the computer!

I’m also having to learn that it’s ok to “deviate” from the pattern – I kind of switched the ring of flowers on accident – they are pointing outward rather than toward the center. I still think it’s a pretty block, and when it’s all said and done, nobody will notice or care.

Project 52 - Week 5 - Photo & Layout

Click on the image above to go to Oscraps.
Credits: Paper - 52 Inspiration 2009 week 5, Vicki Stegall,
Frames - Chalk Frames, Sue Cummings,
Photo for Project 52 -
Font: Pea Jay and Century Gothic

Week 5: Project 52 - Icy Wonder

A photo of something “in progress.”

Photo Stats
Photo taken during the Jan. 2009 ice storm in Northwest Arkansas.

Photo taken
Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009, outside my apartment in Siloam Springs, Ark.

Photo Background
It’s kind of a random picture, to go along with the theme, but life seems to be “in progress” toward returning to normal since the ice storm hit Siloam Springs and Northwest Arkansas.

I was lucky. Other than being stuck at home for two days and cut off from the Internet, I never lost power during the storm. I worried about the tree, hanging on the powerline in front of my apartment, but it never took the line down. Thankfully.

As I journal about this more than a week and a half later, I still have friends who are without power.

This is also “in progress” because looking at the pictures, and talking with people makes me realize how my life has evolved in the past 10 years.

I’ve grown used to having power, whenever I need it; internet within a click of the mouse, and television and heat without fail. All of this just makes me think and realize how lucky I am.

Project 52 - Week 4 - Photo & Layout

Click on the image above, to see it at Oscraps.
Credits: Photo for Project 52:
Paper - Week 4, 52 Inspiration: 2009 - Sue Cummings,
BW Photo Action - Pioneer Woman
Photo Masks: Undercover Collection, Ashalee Wall,
Font: Pea Jay and Century Gothic

Week 4: Project 52 - A New Day.

A photo featuring perspective.

Photo Stats
A self portrait featuring the Jan. 22, 2009 New York Times. This is my first attempt take at least one photo of myself each month this year.

Photo taken
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009, Siloam Springs, Ark.

Photo Background
I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. On Wednesday, I woke up and purchased the Arkansas Democrat Gazette – the largest newspaper in the state, to see the reporters take on Tuesday’s Inauguration.

While It was fine, I really wanted to see how the New York Times covered the inauguration.

I’m sure it was my political science/journalism roots coming out in full force, me wanting to see how the “granddaddy” of all newspapers covered the events surrounding Barack Obama transition to the presidency of the United States.

Initially, I turned to the Democrat Gazette and the Internet version of the New York Times; but honestly, I really wanted to hold the actual national edition of the Times in my hands – to see what news was important enough to make it into print.

On a lark, late Wednesday afternoon, I called the nearest Starbucks (in Rogers) to see if they happened to have a copy of the Times left in the store. They did, and a helpful barista agreed to set one of their last copies aside for me.

So, I found myself driving over to Rogers after church on Wednesday night, just so I could purchase a copy of the New York Times.

It seems frivolous, but it was well worth the time – more than two hours, the $1.50 for the paper, and a couple of lattes, just to have a small piece of history. (I did “kidnap” Denni Palmer from her house, so we could talk and she could have a “child-free” break.)

I jokingly related the story to a friend and said it was a “trifecta” moment – journalism, political science and of course, a latte.

A Note of Clarification: Someone asked, would I have been this excited if John McCain & Sarah Palin won the Presidency/Vice Presidency (respectively). I responded, yes, for different reasons. If McCain and Palin won, it would have been exciting to see a woman sworn into the second highest office in the United States. I’m sure I would have bought the NY Times for the same reasons - I would have wanted to see how one of the largest newspapers in the US covered the inauguration of the first female vice president.

Project 52 - Week 3 - Photo & Layout

Click on the image above, to see it at Oscraps.
Photo for Project 52:
Everything from 52:2009 - Week 3, Genevieve Sass,
Undercover mask (for white shadow), Undercover Masks Vol. 4, Ashlee Wall,
Font: Pea Jay and Century Gothic

Week 3: Project 52
A photo incorporating something new.

Photo Stats
A photo of my 2008 Christmas present from my parents.

Photo taken
Monday, Jan. 12, 2009

Photo Background
Before Christmas, mom asked me to give her a list of potential Christmas presents. I gave her some suggestions like a Starbucks gift card, an iTunes card, books and even a new set of sheets for my bed. I was really thinking of something small.

Honestly, I didn’t really need anything.

Mom called about a week before Christmas saying “I bought your Christmas present today - and it’s nothing on your list.” She assured me it would be something I would like.

I unwrapped her surprise at the very end of our Christmas morning. Frankly, I was speechless, when it turned out to be a Kitchen Aid Mixer.

It was a very extravagant, unexpected gift.

Later in the day, I asked mom about the gift, and questioned the expense. (I was ready to say, let’s take it back, it’s too much.) She told me that enjoyed how much I liked using her Kitchen Aid Mixer at Thanksgiving, when I spent time with Collin & Taylor making cookies and other treats.

Mom answered all of my questions with a simple reply - “I don’t want you to be 60 and finally buying your first mixer.” (She bought her mixer, after wanting one for years, well after her 60th birthday.)

I still look at the mixer, sitting on my counter - I haven't used it yet - and think, I'm very fortunate to have generous parents. I'm also fortunate to learn from my mother even at my "advanced" age.

I think the moral of mom's story is that you shouldn't wait to grab the golden ring - sometimes you just need to enjoy life. If this is the plot, then the subplot of the story is that sometimes it’s ok to accept something that is extravagant, outrageous and given in love.

Mom did fib a bit - she did have someone else get me a new set of sheets - so I did get something on my Christmas wish list after all.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Discovering the Writer Within

One of my goals for 2009 (I hesitate to call it a resolution because frankly, I don’t usually keep them), is to expand my freelance writing and possibly capture the novel that’s been “floating” around in my head for several years.

I've toyed with the plot ever since a writing friend looked at me and asked a simple question – “When are you going to get started?” That question has stuck with me for years – though my careers in journalism and the ministry.

I’ve wanted to get started, honestly. I’ve wanted to write a novel, but I’ve been stuck – unsure how to start, unsure of the process, and frankly, unsure how to find the time to step out and take the risk.

So when I ran across the resources provided by the team at My Book Therapy, I’ll admit, I became quite intrigued.

My Book Therapy…Discover the Writer In You combines the talents of authors Susan May Warren, Rachel Hauck and Sarah Sumpolec, in a new and innovative way to help authors (and those who desire to become one) develop those elusive manuscripts.

As part of their new endeavor, Warren & Hauck have created “From the Inside…Out: Discover, Create and Publish the Novel in You” may provide the tools for aspiring authors to put pen to paper and write.

( on the image to find it in their e-store.)

“This is the book I wish I had when I first started [writing],” explained Warren. “Because, see, I was in Siberia. As in Russia. Alone. Just me, some novels and my imagination.

“I wished I had a reference guide, something to organize all of the information I needed in one place, maybe a step-by-step journey, and a companion/encourager to help me complete my dream.”

Out of the desire to make the process easier grew Warren and Hauck’s book.

“Inside Out is my writing manual – what I developed and now to use to create stories,” Warren continued. “It’s my successes, my systems and my secrets.

“And, as a bonus, you also get the perspective of Rachel Hauck, my pal and My Book Therapy partner, thrown in to add another rich perspective. It’s the manual of writing the books we know how to write.”

A blurb about the book
Have you always wanted to write a novel, but didn’t know where to start? This book is for you. With proven techniques, easy to understand explanations and practical steps, From The Inside...Out will teach you how a story is structured then take you through the process of creating and marketing your novel.

Topics found within in the book include:
-Character-driven plotting,
-How to HOOK your reader,
-The elements and flow of SCENES,
-How to build STORYWORLD,
-Secrets to Sizzling Dialogue,
-Proven Self-Editing techniques,
-Synopsis and Query letter writing,
-How to manage your writing career ...and everything in between!

“A writer’s life is solitary, hard work, fraught with rejection, frustration, and even envy,” Warren said. “But, if you look at it as another way that you will grow and experience your world, then it’s a journey that is ripe with rewards.”

Warren's even created a video, talking more about this resource.

(Here's a direct link to the video - click here)

So are you intrigued yet?

Think you want to get started but need some more information?

Check out the other blogs which are taking part in the “love to write” blog tour. Click here for more information!

Take a risk – take a chance and win!

If you’re ready to take a step of faith, and begin the journey to discover your inner novel – here’s the first step. You can enter a contest to win a free copy of “From the Inside…Out: Discover, Create and Publish the Novel in You." All you have to do is leave a comment here and tell the gals at My Book Therapy what kind of novel you have in YOU.

Note: Winners will be picked at random, on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009. They’ll announce the winners on Monday, March 2.

* * * * *

Not only do the gals at My Book Therapy have a book wannabe writers can use, they also have a way you can watch/help construct a book progress from the ground up.

It’s kind of like the “choose your own ending” books I grew up reading – they call it “Write a book with My Book Therapy Voices in 2009.”

This “blog a book” process is a chance for you to become part of the story process – giving input on a character’s decisions, all while learning how to write a book as you go.

Here’s what Hauck and Warren say about their newest endeavors:

“Here at My Book Therapy, we love to write, and we love to teach writers how to find their voice. So, in 2009 we’re writing a book together!”

“Starting in January, we’ll create characters, a plot, develop conflict, the black moment, the epiphany and finally…the happy ending. Then, week by week, you’ll be a part of the creation process, voting on the next step of our hero’s journey, watching the book take life, and learning the nuances of crafting a story. You’ll Blog-A-Book with the My Book Therapy authors and get tools to help you how to write your own novel.”

“And, at the end of the year, we’ll have a book we’ve all created, something that we’ll publish! And, best of all, the proceeds will go to support IJM, an organization that fights human trafficking around the world. So, Come and Blog-A-Book. Learn. Fellowship. Bless.”

Right now, participants in the "Blog-A-Book" are taking a vote to determine what the main characters of the book will look here for more information.

Want to know more about IJM and their mission to stop human trafficking? Click here for more details.

* * * * *

Want to learn more about My Book Therapy – the Therapists – and their Services?

Then check out

They offer retreats, editing services and more.

Another contest.

Do you already have your novel down on the page? Does it need a little THERAPY? Enter to win 10% off a Book Therapy Session ( ) (that’s a savings of $30+) by leaving a comment here telling us a brief synopsis of your story!

Note: They’ll pick the winners, at random, on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009. They’ll announce the winners on Monday, March 2.

* * * * *

Want to read more about the My Book Therapy Gals, check out the other blogs which are taking part in the “love to write” blog tour. Click here for more information!

Not only can you check out a variety of information about the gals, but you can also enter two different contests – all designed to help you create a manuscript in 2009 (and beyond).

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