Monday, May 31, 2010

What About YOU? Hero Memorials

Every Monday I ask a question, to get to know YOU better.

Okay, ready for today’s? For whom would you like to build a memorial?

Today is Memorial Day, when we honor those who willingly fight—sometimes to their death—to keep our freedom intact.

I do not have military heroes in my family tree. But I’d like to build a memorial to my second grade Sunday school teacher, a spiritual hero. This twenty-something college student willingly gave up dating/TV/goofing off time to study God’s word so she could teach it to a bunch of squirmy-pants seven-year-olds in a Los Angeles church attic classroom.

She painted a picture of Jesus in my heart that caused me to fall in love with Him, and surrender my heart and life to Him. I don’t remember her name; she may not still be on this earth. But she is my hero, who deserves the applause of Heaven for leading this little redhead into the Kingdom of God.

What about YOU?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Funny Quotes on Writing

"Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a
lamppost how it feels about dogs."
~ Christopher Hampton

"If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an
apostrophe with fur."
~ Doug Larson

"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for
other people."
~ Thomas Mann (1875 - 1955)

"Writing well means never having to say, 'I guess you had to be there.' "
~ Jef Mallett Frazz, 07-29-07

"Never tell anyone that you're writing a book, going on a diet, exercising,
taking a course, or quitting smoking. They'll encourage you to death."
~ Lynn Johnston (1947 - ), For Better or For Worse, 07-15-06

My personal favorite was Thomas Mann's. And your's?

Happy Weekend,

P.S. If you'd like to know how to increase your ability to understand your mate and make yourself understood, please join me this Sunday on Warren Baldwin's blog, Family Fountain, where I review a tremendous marriage book.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Caution: May Contain Nuts

If you've ever gone to the store for two items and ended up with a cartful, you may enjoy this nutty poem I wrote as a result of a prompt for my writing group.

I just went in for milk and bread,
I never meant to lose my head,
But by the time I’d reached the door
My cart was dragging on the floor.

“What happened?” cried my shaken spouse,
“You bought enough to fill a house!”
“But honey, dog food was on sale
And I couldn’t pass up half price kale!

Just look at these socks with rainbow toes,
And polka dot tissues to blow your nose!
I had to buy snow cones, three for ten,
And chicken livers to feed Uncle Ben,

Who loves to pop in unannounced, you know,
I’ll feed him persimmons—just look how they glow!”
I grinned and I gloated, I basked in delight,
That I’d found such bargains for our budget tight.

Did it really matter we didn’t have dogs?
Or despised that ol’ kale? We’d feed neighbor’s hogs!
I guess I’d forgotten poor Uncle Ben’s passing,
But fried chicken livers would be such a blessing

At the next carry-in on our 5th Sunday dinner,
As a shopper, no doubt, I reigned as the winner!

JEL, 05/04/2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

What About YOU? What Makes it Fun?

Every Monday I ask a question, to get to know YOU better. Ready for today’s? What do you do for fun?

Besides writing, I love to watch old black and white movies with my DH, play games with my grandkids, and learn new words. I also enjoy eating ice cream from a goblet and cuddling rascally cats, four of whom call me “Mama.”

It may sound like “meow” to you, but I know it’s “Mama.”

Your turn…

Friday, May 21, 2010

You Gotta Make it Fun

When Kevin was a youth pastor, one of our children's workers was a cross between Super Nanny and Sergeant Carter (from the Gomer Pyle TV show).
She loved the kids, but had a mighty odd way of showing them.

At one Vacation Bible School outdoor game time
she bellowed to some reluctant students,
"You came here to have fun, and by golly, you're gonna have fun!"

I frequently make confessions about my writing. One is, "I have fun writing." I need to remind myself of that when I read articles and blog posts about marketing, building a tribe, entering contests, editing, reading books in my genre, finding my niche, creating a brand, social networking, starting and maintaining a critique group, and getting the most from writers conferences. Not to mention writing blog posts that appeal to the most discriminate literary palate.

What happened to the fun?

If I'm not careful and prayerful, I lose sight of one of the reasons I began writing: I love it. I was created for this.
To paraphrase a line from a favorite movie:
"When I write, I feel God's pleasure."
I can think of no other more enjoyable activity.

I work hard at my writing. I will never say, "I'm the best I'll ever be." I must always strive for more growth. But when it stops feeling fun, I will fold up my laptop and go find a vacation Bible school with some great games, and a leader who knows how to make it zing.

Do you have fun writing? If you're not a writer, what activities cause you to feel God's pleasure?

Have a fun weekend,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wanna Feel Smart?

Wanna feel extra smart today? Look at these ditzy doings:

When the bill at a drive-in burger shop came to $4.25, Aunt Minnie handed the young cashier a five-dollar bill and a quarter. The teenager gazed at the money for a moment, then said, “You gave me too much.”

“I know,” Aunt Minnie replied, “this way you give me an even dollar in change.”

The cashier left the window to find her manager, who returned with the money. “I’m sorry ma’am; we can’t do this type of thing,” he said.

Aunt Minnie shrugged as the teenager handed her $1.75 in change.

(The above photo is not Aunt Minnie. But I couldn't resist this darling pooch in the driver's seat!)

A rural newspaper received this letter from a concerned reader: “I think the Township needs to move the Deer Crossing sign out on Highway 14. Too many deer are getting hit and killed there. They need a safer place to cross.”

When a lady went to the mechanic’s shop to pick up her car after a repair, the mechanic apologized for locking the keys inside. He was busy finagling to get the door on the driver’s side open. The lady walked around to the passenger side. Finding it unlocked, she opened the door, then said to the mechanic, “Hey, this side is unlocked.”

“I know,” he replied, “I already managed to get that side opened.”

And to think, these people vote…

Happy, Humorous Day,

Monday, May 17, 2010

What About YOU: Favorite Furniture

Every Monday I ask a question, to get to know YOU better.

Okay, ready for today’s? Do you have a favorite piece of furniture?

The loveseat in my living room—this isn't it, I just thought this was cool—is where I curl up before the sun rises to read God’s word, peruse devotional books, and pray. After supper, you can find me in the same corner of the same loveseat eating ice cream with my DH, or reading a novel. When my silky black cat, Puddin’ settles into my lap and nudges me to pet her, my joy is complete.

What about YOU?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Name that Kid

If you've ever wondered where some parents find their baby's unusual names, please join me at Army of Ermas today, where I hope to have you laughing by the end of my humor article entitled "Name that Kid."

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Three Winners are Better than One

Thanks to all who entered the drawing for Michelle Medlock Adams' resources. Here is the prize parade:

"Research: the Backbone of Any Article" CD to Carol Garvin
of Careann's Musings;

"Counting Cows" board book to Diane Estrella
of That's What I'm Here For, and

"Heavenly Humor for the Woman's Soul" to Quiet Spirit
of Following my King

Congratulations to the winners!  I appreciate everyone's feedback on the interview, and your valuable time spent here.

May the Lord give you favor, friendship, and fun this week,

Monday, May 10, 2010

What About YOU?

Every Monday I ask a question, to get to know YOU better. Ready for today’s? Do you have a favorite Scripture or quote?

One of my best-loved verses is Isaiah 30:18, “For the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him.”

I imagine my Father-God, the ruler of the universe and King of the ages, the ONE who creates with a word, the ONE who gives life, the ONE who alone works the impossible, rising from His throne at the sound of His little redheaded daughter when she cries out to Him. That He would notice me, pity me, and rescue me, amazes me.

Your turn…

Friday, May 7, 2010

Prize Giveaway/Secrets to Freelance Success by Award-Winning Author, Michelle Medlock Adams, part 2

Jen: You quit your “regular” job in 1999 to freelance. Do you have any tips for those who want to do the same?

Michelle: Yes, I have five keys to succeeding at a freelance writing career:

1. Find out how much you need to bring in each month to make it as a freelancer. Then acquire steady gigs to sell your work to. Develop relationships with editors who like and buy the kind of writing you do, so you can develop a steady stream of work for them.

2. Attend at least two writer’s conferences per year to develop these relationships. It’s all about meeting people, because if an editor has a choice of two articles or books that are equally well written, he or she is going to buy the one from the author they’ve met in person. How did I finance all these conferences? I asked for money for birthday, anniversary and Christmas gifts, and then saved it for the registration fees.

3. Set aside a year’s worth of salary before you go full-time. I didn’t do this, and I should have. You can learn from my “oops!”

4. Follow up on leads, and hone relationships.

5. Write in all different genres’.

Jen: Michelle, thank you for taking the time for this today; I know my blog followers will be encouraged and inspired by your journey.

Michelle: Thank you, Jeanette. You honored me by asking me here today. Keep writing—you are touching many.

Jen: I have three prizes to give away today!

1. Counting Cows, Michelle’s newest board book for young children, a delightful rhyming jingle that will have your preschooler counting and dancing the Moo Cow Jive;

2. “Research: The Backbone of Any Article;” a teaching CD by Michelle; and

3. “Heavenly Humor for the Woman’s Soul.” Michelle contributed several articles to this laughter-filled book, along with Martha Bolton, Patsy Clairmont and Anita Renfroe.

To enter the drawing for one of these prizes, you must:

Be a follower of my blog; leave your email address in the comment section at the end of this post; tell me which answer of Michelle’s interview helped you the most (for part one, scroll down to the Wednesday post). If you’d like to say which prize you prefer, that will help me.

You have until noon on Tuesday, May 11 to enter. I will post the three winners on Wednesday the 12.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Secrets to Freelance Success by Award-Winning Author, Michelle Medlock Adams, part 1

When I asked award-winning author Michelle Medlock Adams to speak for our annual Ladies Tea, I hoped to squeeze in an interview. I’m grateful Michelle talks faster than an auctioneer right before a thunderstorm, because I had to fold my questions between the dessert and the door prizes. Can you tell by her answers that she used to be a cheerleader?

Jen: You’ve done newspaper-reporting, non-fiction writing for adults and kids, and children’s books. Do you have a favorite genre?

Michelle (without pausing to ponder): Children’s

Jen: What is your favorite book you’ve written?

Michelle: Whichever book I’m working on at the time—right now it’s Counting Cows, the first in a series of board books featuring dancing, counting cows. Next up is “Christmas Cows,” published by Ideals, which is a division of Guideposts books.

Jen: I once heard you admit on a teaching CD that you could never find a pair of scissors around your house. Yet you’ve authored or co-authored 42 books and thousands of articles, so you must have some kind of order to your home life. What are some of your time management secrets for keeping your family/home/career organized and running smoothly?

Michelle: Diet Coke and Peanut M & M’s! No really, I write best at night when everyone else is asleep. Also, when I worked for a newspaper, I learned to write super fast. I don’t answer the phone when I’m writing—that’s a real time-stealer. And I set aside only one day a week for errands. If you chop up your errand running into several days, it will use up more time than doing it all at once.

Michelle, me, and Michelle's lovely and gracious daughter, Abby

Jen: With Mother’s Day coming up, can you share a little about how your mom’s faith influenced you, and how we can give our kids a heritage of faith?

Michelle: Mom taught Sunday school—she never missed a service. In fact, I think I was born underneath a pew! And even though I didn’t always want to attend church, I’m glad my parents made me go. What inspired me most in my mom was her positive attitude. She chose to be happy. She was always singing, even when she messed up the words. She’d wake me up in the morning by flipping the light switch on and off, keeping rythym while she sang, “This is the Day the Lord has made.”

The best thing we can teach our kids is to have a grateful heart. Teach them to appreciate all they have. It goes a long way with God and others.

Please join me Friday for part 2 of our interview and a chance to win one of three prizes, including Michelle’s newest children’s book, Counting Cows.

Monday, May 3, 2010

What About YOU? What's Happenin' Baby?

Every Monday I ask a question, to get to know you better.

When my son was a teenager and he'd pass the cat in the hallway, he'd say, "What's Happenin' Baby?" as if talking to a girlfriend.

So that's your question for today:

What's Happenin', Baby?
I just finished edits on my second book, The Secet Life of a Preacher's Wife. My agent sent proposals for both of my books to four different publishers, and one is going to take it to committee when they next meet. Which could be...? Another publisher has had a proposal in hand since December, and a third says he will look at it "when he has time."
I published a story in a Guideposts anthology (click on this link to order a copy), and they accepted a second story for another title in the same series. I sold two humor articles, and I'm getting read to speak for a Mother Daughter banquet.   

We took a trip to visit our darling, brilliant grandbabies and their parents last month, and I am trying to lose 12 pounds before our trip to Colorado in August. I've gained so much weight lately I've had to buy clothes two sizes larger than usual. I finally decided to do something about it. Welcome to Suffering 101.

Your turn...