Blog Archives

Spirit of the Season

Like Kimberly, I’m looking at Christmas in a new light this year. My kids are teenagers now, and while they haven’t lost all of their magical appreciation for the season, they do have a very frank understanding of Santa which significantly alters the gift-giving angle. After all, the reason for the season isn’t gifts, its God. Jesus.

Kids are great

Makes a gal feel kind of superficial and materialistic focusing on the shopping business. So I won’t. This year isn’t going to be about finding the perfect gift, the one that lights up their faces on Christmas morning. Nope. There will be gifts Christmas morning, but greatly reduced. I’ll carry the sentiment through Christmas dinner. As hostess for the family gathering, I’ve asked the relatives to dispense with our customary gift exchange. It only adds chaos to the evening, anyway. I mean, we’re talking 25 people for dinner and my house is far from a mansion. Trust me when I tell you it gets a little crazy. And to exchange gifts right before we’re serving a home-cooked meal? Double the chaos. We need all hands on deck to carve the turkey, make the gravy, toast the marshmallows atop the sweet potatoes, warm the veggies… The list goes on.

gingerbread house

Recently, I discovered that one family in our community celebrates the season without gifts. For themselves, that is, including their kids. Instead, they wrap a gift box, cut a slit in the top, then deposit money into it throughout the month. A week before Christmas, they take the money and buy food for the hungry, clothes for the homeless; wherever they see a need, they fill it.

I like it. It embraces the charitable spirit of the season and reminds me it’s time to focus on the basics. Family, friends, charity, hospitality, song and prayer. How about you? Any changes this season to your celebration?

No More Shopping!

I’m going on vacation! I’m exhausted from packing, exhausted from the lead up, and all I can think about is sleeping on the plane and eventually seeing the sun. We’ve had a rainy stretch these last few days and I’m over it.9398206391_06effde0cf

As I packed my suitcase, filling it with the sundry of new purchases I’d made for the trip, I realized how many clothes I have that I never wear. I work from home and I like to be comfortable. For me, that means workout wear and tennis shoes most days (and not particularly nice workout wear). So why did I go out and buy more new clothes I’ll barely wear?

Good question.

The good news is that I’m a bargain shopper so nothing was terribly expensive. The bad news is it’s time to clean out my closet and give some clothes to charity.

The moral of this post is more a reminder to myself: instead of buying new clothes I probably don’t need, I should shop in my closet for all the hardly worn treasures I once thought I couldn’t live without.

Happy Spring!

photo credit: Heavy bag via photopin (license)

Shopping in January?

You won’t find me in the clearance racks this month. No way. I’m relaxing on my sofa, perusing the pages of a plethora of seed catalogs arriving in my mail box. Yep, it’s time to buy your seeds. If you haven’t been seed saving, that is. Gardening might be a new adventure for you. A resolution of sorts, that coincides nicely with your resolution to lose weight, get healthy and stay active.

seed shopping

However, my resolution this year runs more along the lines of increased productivity. Looking back, I realized I only produced two novels in 2014. Two–after a gangbuster year in 2013 when I turned out five. But writing a series can do that to you. It’s sort of like writing one really long saga which makes it much easier on the thought process.

But this year I’m getting back to the keyboard with an ambitious plan. Not only will I publish three novels — a continuation of my new series, Sliver Creek — but I also intend to introduce a children’s garden book. Part fiction, part how-to, it’s a project I’ve been working on for quite a while but am finally ready to release. Woohoo — chalk up another tally in that productivity column!

IMG_8382

Hm. This resolution thing is working out already! And I get to ogle the ruby red tomatoes and luscious green leaves of basil. Definitely an uplifting experience for any bleak January day. Even in Central Florida we get those cloudy skies…today, case in point.

Gotta love a fresh start. How about you? Is your agenda moving green this year?

In Defense of Marriage

My mom, sister, and I recently went on a girl’s trip to Charleston, South Carolina for a long weekend. Over our three-day adventure, our routine became this: we’d get up, eat breakfast, and head out on foot to explore. We hit all the stores, the outdoor market, and the beautiful mansions along the water. I bought fun gifts for my family, myself, and even a few birthday gifts for friends. We had a wonderful time together.

Me and my sister, Kim. (I'm on the right)

My Sister, Kim, and Me in Charleston

Most afternoons we’d poop out around three and head back to the hotel to rest before venturing out for dinner. During those few vegging hours, we usually had the TV on my mom and sister’s favorite channel, HGTV. I have to admit I don’t watch much TV, however they were very well versed in the shows that aired.

During some sort of marathon of shows that involved couples looking for a new home in their price range, I noticed a trend I found very disturbing. Every couple—every one—was not married. Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m a traditional and conservative person, but that doesn’t mean I’m naïve to the fact that many people live together. Heck, my husband and I (then boyfriend) practically lived together in college.

What I found so astounding was that these couples were willing to share finances, children, pets, furniture, and mortgages with one another, but not marriage. And it begs the question, why?

It seems to me if you’re going to tangle your lives so completely with someone that you’re buying a home together, then why not get married? If the person you’re going to sign mortgage papers with isn’t someone you want to sign a marriage license with, then what’s the point?

As a mother, I’d be very disappointed with my children if they told me they were buying a home with their boyfriend/girlfriend and yet they had no plans to marry. Am I being too old fashioned? I’m a romance writer and my stories end with couples getting married. For them, marriage is the golden pot at the end of the rainbow.

Maybe, in light of this trend, I should have my characters walk into a bank to sign mortgage papers instead of walking down the aisle.

Somehow that doesn’t sound as romantic…

The Ultimate Guide to Procrastination

These days, I’m meeting my writing goals, but it wasn’t always so. You see, I’m a procrastinator at heart and when the writing gets tough, I go do something else.

1. I loathe shopping for clothes and avoid it until my slippers are in tatters and my t-shirts are frayed at the edges. As long as I’m writing, who cares? But at the first sign of a stubborn scene, I head for the stores and Shop-Till-I-Drop.

To prevent this escape, put all debit cards, credit cards, and cash in a glass of water and stick it in the freezer. If you chose to shop instead of write, you’ll have to watch the ice melt before you can access your cards or soggy cash. This may take hours. In fact, if you use a big enough glass, it could take all day. Before the day is up, you’ll be bored by the melting ice and dying to get back to that stubborn scene.

2. Have you ever struggled with a messy first draft, found yourself mesmerized by the dust particles floating in the sunshine, and discovered it’s the perfect time to dust, vacuum, and wash everything in the house? You even have the energy to move all the furniture so you don’t leave a single speck of dust behind. And by the time you’re done, you’re delighted with your dust free house and too tired to resume work on your manuscript.

Except…the next morning, you sit down in front of the computer, glance out the window, and notice those dust particles are STILL floating in the air.

Next time you get the urge to banish the dust from your house, save yourself the back breaking work of moving furniture and keep your butt on your chair. If you must, stare at those dust particles. Watch how they dance in the sunshine streaming through your dirty window. Then ignore them because let’s face it. Dust particles win the housekeeping war every single time. In the long run, you’ll be further ahead if you tackle the messy first draft instead of the mess in your house.

Now, let me tell you about the ULTIMATE PROCRASTINATOR INHIBITOR, my new secret weapon to keep my butt on chair and my fingers moving across the keyboard.

I’ve started goal setting with my eldest son. It turns out the overwhelming guilt of motherhood helps me produce words because I know if I slack off, my poor example gives my son permission to slack, too. Simple, isn’t it?

So what are your favorite procrastination techniques? And how do you keep yourself from procrastinating in the first place?

You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and visit my website.

%d bloggers like this: