Tag Archives: writing

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Things to do in a Heat Wave


  1. Visit your local library to pick out some great books, movies, tools, knitting needles, bakeware, who knows what else!?!  It’s a great way to get out of the heat and expand one’s mind.
  2. Hit the local pool.  Don’t belong to a pool?  Many will let you try them out if you’re thinking of joining.  Is your pool all filled?  Try a neighborhood pool a few blocks away.  Here in Northern Virginia there are neighborhoods overflowing (like the pun there?!) with members and others are just thirsting (again!) for new ones.
  3. Hit a movie.  You could go to the latest release (during the day prices are cheaper) or you could go to a theater near a university and see an older flick, but pay pennies on the dollar of what you’d pay at the newer sparkly multiplex.
  4. Build a fort indoors.  C’mon, you all remember building forts with blankets and chairs and the couch.
  5. Make some sort of cool refreshing treat.  Smoothies are a fun way to cook without heating up the kitchen.  And kids love getting involved.
  6. Make something from your garden (if you have one, or your farmer’s market if you don’t).  We made some delicious guacamole and salsa last night to keep the house cool.  That with a bit of chili and some chips, lettuce and sour cream and we were feasting!
  7. Settle into a good book.  Whether you prefer reading on paper or an e-reader or if you’d prefer to be read to via an audio book launch yourself into a wonderful story and escape the everyday heat and humidity (Perhaps some “White Fang” or “The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe”   with their cooler scenes to help you beat the heat.) with a free trial on audible.com 
  8. Clean out and donate some items in your home.  The flowchart found here will help.  Then, here are some of the places suggested for donations.   Win, win!
  9. Practice some of those stretches and exercises you’ve put off trying.  Or work on some new hairstyles.
  10. Write…a short story, a play, a letter, a novel, an epitaph.  Whatever you feel to write at the time.  Go here for inspiration and great tips!

The answer already exists…

Carrier charges may apply...

Carrier charges may apply…

I came across this article on my Facebook feed this morning.  The woman who posted it had seen it on a friend’s blog and didn’t want to offend the friend by commenting that our church actually is the answer to all these complaints.  The CEO of our church is the biggest pacifist there is.

Warriors against warmongering like this guy, this guy and this guy are all a testament to the fact that we are the original and we are not only surviving, but thriving.

And it’s not just the men who corner the market on being real examples of how life should be lived.  There’s a whole network of women who resemble the way we should be, but in a very approachable and human way.   And it’s not an exclusive club.  We have members who are like fun, distant cousins.

The problem has become that we think life should be easy and problem free.  We fear that if we have issues or problems or strife in life…well, we’ve failed.  That’s the picture that is painted by modern society.  You’ve heard the ad campaigns, “You CAN have it all”,  “You deserve it”, “Ah, what the heck, go ahead…YOLO!”

Well, guess what, you can’t have it all. Something has got to give. You may have the perfect job, but family life may take a hit. Or you may have a beautiful house with a beautiful wife, but you go to a job that you loathe daily.  And how come we don’t feel “you deserve it” when something goes awry?  Well, that’s not what it’s about.  It’s about balance.  We’re not supposed to be all self absorbed or self-loathing.  It’s about faith…active faith.  Prayer, involvement, giving and inviting.

And remember when you were little and woke up in the middle of the night crying because you had pains in your legs.  They ached and if you were lucky, your mom rubbed them ’til her hands hurt (never complaining, though). Those, my friend, were growing pains.  And just because there is pain does not mean there’s not growth.

Around Christmastime my sister-in-law told me she’d heard it said that life is about focusing on JOY – Jesus, Others, then You.  If we keep that in mind, all the rest should fall in place.  That’s not to say we’re not going to have falls and scrapes and diagnoses we do not want, but we will be better equipped to deal with these struggles.

Believe it or not, God sent his only offspring down here, to what is clearly second class seating compared with Heaven, to live and die here.  And, he didn’t do it small.  No, sir.  He sent his precious only child down to die a horrific and painful death.  What for?  A better mortgage rate? An upgrade to business class? A Michael Kors purse?  Nope.  For us and our miserable failings.  For our sorry (for ourselves) selves who can’t get out of our own way.  And God is THE most patient parent EVER.  Imagine if we had to deal with the problems the general public caused…wait, never mind.

Anyhoo, I used to think that we should all just get along and if we each find our own way to goodness… that works, but now I’m coming around to the fact that the original is long-standing for a reason.  If it hasn’t been sunk in decades or centuries then it bears a second look.

I, too, have been worried about what people would think about me and I have worried about hurting other people’s feelings, but there are bigger things to worry about.  It’s a Maslow’s hierarchy thing here.  We need to protect souls, not feelings.

Lately I’ve been praying that God make sure to text me and let me know that I’m either a) on the right track or b) way off and need to pull up the Google app to find my way back.  My word of the year is purposeful.  I’m trying to do things with purpose and not just float or drift.

So, I dare you (read invite!) to come to my church and sit with me and see what happens.  You can always do your own thing again next week, but maybe, just maybe you might find something that intrigues you and brings you back.

Photo courtesy of http://textinggod.tumblr.com/

My name is Sarah…and I AM a Grammar Geek.

I have always found grammar rules interesting because…Yes, I am one of those people who corrects grammar on hotel and store signs while on vacation. Visits to foreign countries can be a real…well, trip. Even reading a novel is interrupted when I stumble onto a typo. It’s like a Stephen King novel. Everything gets all warm and creepy and the only word I see on the page is the wrong one.

So, when the 13 Trickiest Grammar Hang-ups email appeared in my inbox I couldn’t help but open it. It discusses do’s and dont’s for those of us living here on earth.

Are you a geek? What are some of your punctuation pet peeves? Grammar gone-wrongs? Please share!

Character Madness

I’m working on some revisions to one of my novels and as a result find myself revisiting some of my characters. When I created the characters I made a list and then used an index card for each one regardless of the size of his/her role.

Funny enough, this morning I was looking up the age of D.W. Read (Arthur fans will know who this is) for my 5-year-old. I discovered this. It is a clear example of how one could sketch out characters initially as well as subsequently add content.

How do you craft your characters?

Nearly February

I made some oaths, no promises (certainly not resolutions, Baby!) at the beginning of 2012. They were focused on the areas of <drumroll, please> faith in the form of studying the Bible, health in the form of training to do a 5K again (it’s been a while, people) and writing in the form of working on my novel more (by way of an Advanced Creative Writing class – stall tactic, I think not) so I like to travel… long and winding roads…so, sue me.

I found the writing class on the college’s website and after corresponding with the professor (whom I had met very briefly at a local writing group) who advised me to take the Advanced class rather than the beginner given the amount of writing I had already done I went to sign up (4-year-old in tow).  It was already filled. Having no other choice, I put myself on the waiting list. I have to admit, I had mixed emotions about not getting in. Those emotions were turned topsy turvy the following day when I got ‘in’. My first assignment was due several days earlier than I had originally thought (based on info from another employee of the college, but no harm done).  I got it turned in with no issues. A bit out of practice at staying up late to complete ‘schoolwork’, however!

I am getting feedback from fellow students and the instructor and it is very humbling, but at the same time terrific. Other times when I’ve written, the work just sits there in some vacuum and never gets read by another breathing soul. Now, granted I’m having to swallow my pride… a lot. But, it’s good for the soul, right? Right?!

Speaking of my soul, I began a Bible study last week as God has been working on me to do since last fall. I kept meeting these ladies who were raving about their group, then there was a notice in our Sunday bulletin telling about another study starting at our parish. Another woman at our homeschool group was telling me about the first group and even sent me an email on it. The final straw (in a good way!) was a mom in the waiting room at our daughter’s ballet lessons who was leading one of the groups. That clinched it. I signed up for the class the night before it was to begin and got one of the 4 remaining slots. I hear ya, God. You’re workin’ it. I just need to go along quietly on this one.

Well, I was a bit nervous as this was a group of Protestant ladies, but I had been assured that there were members of various faiths who participated in the Bible study. During our small group breakout, I half kidding, whole in earnest (as my mom likes to say), introduced myself as a <whisper it>’Catholic’. They were funny and kind about it. One woman was even nice enough to come up after and share that she wasn’t a practicing Protestant either, but belonged to another faith.

I am LOVING the book that we’re using for the study. It’s a Jen Hatmaker book called, A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study.  This woman is not only spiritual, but she’s laugh out loud funny in the process.  Irreverent, memorable and spiritual.  Where do I sign up?  I want to have Nachos with this woman!

The running thing is the last of the mohicans.  I’ve been inspired by many in the past, including my rock star of a marathon running husband and also a fellow blogger, writer and homeschool mom, Kathy.

I realized I had been giving myself a bit of a break because the first two items on my New Year’s list have been quite time consuming between all the writing and reading they require coupled with homeschooling and other social commitments, but excuse time ends this week.  Yes, I am tired.  Yes, I am fighting a sore throat or cold or some other bout of ickiness, but I WILL be running on that dang treadmill this week come Hades or high water (not likely here in the desert, don’t worry).

Looking at a 5K in March!  Wish me luck.

NaNoWriMo…oh no!

It’s that time again. November 1st. Embarking on my third consecutive NaNo…and this one the least prepared yet. Yikes. Found some great advice on this site, however, and am preparing to put it to work now. Good luck fellow NaNoers. Anyone else going to join this crazy ship?!

Writing Prompt: Note to self


WD writing prompt:

A picture on your mantle unexpectedly falls and crashes to the floor. As you go to pick it up, you notice a note hidden behind the picture. The message is from the future—and written by you. It instructs you to do something important. What does it say?

I sit at the kitchen table rereading it. I’ve turned it over at least 50 times looking for some sort of watermark or other indication to tell me what on Earth could have made me write it. I know that I’ve written it by the penmanship. I used to get very good grades in Sister Agnes’s class for my penmanship, you know. Mentally shaking myself back to the issue at hand I try to figure out the types of scenario which could have led to this. Nothing makes sense. Has the entire universe changed in the time that has lapsed between the current present and the future one in which I found it necessary to leave myself this missive in a photo frame? What type of calamity could have befallen our nation to have made this type of terror necessary? I am speechless at the thought of it. I slowly turn the paper over again and reread…”The only chocolate left on the planet is buried in our backyard under the shed in a yellow tin. Use sparingly.”


What a joke. I have been working on editing a mystery I wrote during NaNoWriMo two years ago for a while now. But, in the interest of ‘research’ I keep reading books on how to write and how to revise first drafts and watching TV so that…well, that doesn’t really relate except that it, too, is getting in the way. I read a quote in Writer’s Digest (a few issues back…catching up is important, you know) tonite that stated that Harper Lee was given a Christmas gift by friends in 1956 which told her to write what she liked and take the year off (thanks to the year’s worth of wages that was the aforementioned gift). I immediately thought to myself…that must be nice. But, then I thought, hey…wait a minute. I don’t have to punch a clock (well, not really). I mean our lovely little tax deduction does get up in the same relative window of time daily and expects to be fed (among other things), but I don’t have to wear heels (thank God) or go to a meeting with people with coffee breath. So, I sort of have the same luxury she did in that there’re the proverbial roof and food in place.

So, I picked up one of the how-to books I recently purchased to get some insight. It’s good. I look forward to learning more from Nora Ephron’s sister. But, I still need to…wait for it…WRITE. There, my friends, is the rug…freudian slip as I procrapstinated by trying to figure out how to hang an oriental rug (for way longer than I should have truth be told)…Let me try that again.  There is the rub. Okay, okay…off to write now. Get it, right now. Alright, I’m going.

P.S. I know all the links in this post are also a form of procrastinating.

My First Conference!

I just returned to the hotel room from my first conference. Well, that’s not completely true. I’ve been to conferences before, but they were at the behest of my employer at the time. This time I decided that I should go (and subsequently paid the fees associated with said attendance) to my first writers’ conference. It was absolutely stimulating. It was phenomenal being in a room full of people who have the same passion for writing that I do. I met some really terrific people and the energy was absolutely contagious.

Yes, they sold books at the conference, but I was like a giddy teenager after the event standing in the aisles of Barnes and Noble googley-eyed over the fact that several of the featured authors/guest speakersbooks were on the shelves of BARNES & NOBLE, people! OMG!

I am so lucky to have a wonderfully generous and supportive spouse who offered to do sole parenting duties all weekend so I could attend this 3+ hours away conference. Lovin’ this birthday gift, lemme tell ya!

It was terrific to be a part of a writing community again. Now, if only I can leverage one a wee bit closer to home.

Time to put together a structure of a schedule for editing my works and writing still more with no time for procrastinating! But first I should probably check my email and see if any of my new ‘friends’ have updated their statuses on Facebook! Just.Kidding.

Isn’t it Ironic?! (With apologies to Alanis)

Evidently the Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, said that he “feels ‘very badly’ for children in Texas schools”. C’mon…who out there is with me?! Anyone else chuckling? If so, you were some of the favorites at grammar time in school, right?! 

For those of you who preferred the ifs and thens of school, it is the ‘feel’ coupled with ‘badly’ that is the problem here.  If you feel badly, you are not able to successfully have a tactile experience with a fabric or texture.  That is you are unable to touch a sweater or cutting board properly.  Duncan could easily have said that he ‘feels bad’ for those children (I feel bad for him, personally, but that’s just me).  People hear that sort of phrase and determine it to be incorrect by ear.  I just hope that the masses who say it that way don’t rewrite the rules again.