Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Simple Woman Daybook 89

FOR TODAY: December 27, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...the snow covered on my parents' front lawn.

I am thinking...it is a good day for a drive which is a good thing because the whole family is about ready to hop in the car for a five and a half hours drive to see the Stewart side of the family.

I am thankful for...my sister who wrote a letter to Santa asking him to wait to deliver gifts till I could be with the family.

I am wearing...jeans, a red shirt, peas in a pod earrings and a Santa hat.

I am creating...a citron (knit shawl).

I am going...to Grandma's house, first we're going to David's for Christmas dinner then to Grandma's house.

I am reading...On Writing by Steven King.

I am wondering...why if my tummy is up set or just hungry.

I am hoping...that I am not getting sick.

I am looking forward to...seeing all of the Stewart and Willson families over the next few days.

I am hearing...my sister calling for my mom, my dad asking questions about my new gps TomTom, and the clock chiming.

Around the house...I'm not going to think about it till I get home.

I am pondering...about the NaNo novel I wrote in 2008. I was talking to my Aunt last night and the story came up. I forgot how much I liked the story and how much potential it had.

One of my favorite things...boterkoek (Dutch butter cake).

A few plans for the rest of the week: driving to Hamilton today, Stewart Christmas dinner tonight, hanging with the Stewarts tomorrow, visiting a friend tomorrow night, Willson Christmas lunch Thursday, diving back to my parent's Friday and supper with Aunt Beth, and then flying back home on Saturday arriving just in time for the Van Meekeren's board games New Year's Eve party.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Advent 2011: Joy & Love

The days have been zooming by. I blinked, missed a two Sundays of Advent, and Christmas was here. Where did the days go....It's Christmas already. It has been a busy three weeks but also very good days. These days have been filled with joy (third Sunday of Advent) and love (fourth Sunday of Advent). And it has been wonderful. There have been hiccups, bumps, and even dips into despair from my car being out of commission for five days to just feeling overwhelmed and lonely this last week. And in all of that it has still been good. I am blessed and loved.

In a few hours I'll be flying home, I'm almost able to think about it (if I let myself get too excited before everything here was done my head would "check-out" and I would not have been able to focus on the important things here). It is going to be an awesomely grand week with my family. Lee-Ann (my 11 year old sister) wrote a letter to Santa explaining that I would not be arriving till today so could he please wait to deliver the gifts till tonight so we could all open them tomorrow as if it was Christmas, she doesn't mind waiting. My sister is the sweetest bestest sister! I love her muchly! I hope your days are equally bright and full of hope, peace, joy and love.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Simple Woman Daybook 88

FOR TODAY: December 20, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...heavy grey clouds that look full of snow.

I am thinking...about home. Only five sleeps till I see my family!

I am thankful for...my church family.

I am wearing...jeans, Beauty Will Rise a Steven Curtis Chapman concert t-shirt, green hoodie, and tinker bell earrings.

I am creating...Christmas presents.

I am going...to have a quiet night either board games with friends or home packing and preparing for Christmas.

I am reading...nothing really. I finished The Soprano Sorceress last night. There a few books I could start but not really sure which one I'll read next.

I am wondering...why I'm feeling so off even though all the rush and big things have been accomplished. This next week is suppose to be light and relaxing and it is. I just don't feel relaxed.

I am hoping...to get some letters written.

I am looking forward to...Christmas caroling.

I am hearing...the computer.

Around the house...are good.

I am pondering...the phrase "there is a God shaped hole in all of us".

One of my favorite things...visits with friends.

A few plans for the rest of the week: boardgames, caroling, Christmas Eve services, Christmas Eve sleepover, and my Christmas Day flight home.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday -Christmas Parties

Tonight was the youth group's Christmas party. There was games, laughter, music, gifts, food, music, and this video...

It was a good night and I am thankful for that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Simple Woman Daybook 87

FOR TODAY: December 13, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...dusk, it gets dark so early.

I am thinking...I have to start telling people about the mission trip I'm going on.

I am thankful for...the girls.

I am wearing...jeans, tinker bell t-shirt over a long sleeve shirt, and tinker bell earrings.

I am creating...gifts

I am going...I was planning on going to a card making workshop tonight but that depends on the car situation. The part didn't come in today so I'm heading to the car dealership to see if they have a solution for me.

I am reading...The Soprano Sorceress by L. E. Modesitt

I am wondering...what all I still have on my to do list.

I am hoping...to have car soon.

I am looking forward to...the youth group Christmas Party

I am hearing...questions.

Around the house...things are getting done and Christmas is going up.

I am pondering...do I have food at home to make supper

One of my favorite things...pretty toes.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Stampin Up Christmas card making (tonight), Christmas cookie baking with Kimberly & Life Group (Wednesday), Ugly Christmas Sweater Party for the youth group (Thursday), Christmas party (Friday), Dress Rehersal (Saturday), children's Christmas musical in both services (Sunday), and a long winter's nap on Monday.

Friday, December 09, 2011

December 9's Friday 5

Today's Friday 5 theme is "toppings":
  1. What’s your favorite ice cream topping?
    Hot Fudge
  2. What’s your favorite pizza topping?
    Bacon
  3. What’s your favorite thing to sprinkle cocoa powder on?
    I have never tried cocoa powder...hmmm, sounds yummy
  4. What’s your favorite thing to put whipped cream on?
    Hot Chocolate
  5. What do you like to put upon a cracker?
    Cheese

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Thankful Thursday -Jon

I am thankful for...

Jon Dixion

Jon is the youth and children's pastor at another church in the area. Since I moved here, five years ago -wow it's been five years, Jon has been a great friend, mentor, and supporter. Every few months we get together for coffee. We talk about what's new in our ministries, what is working, and what is needing improvements. We bounce ideas each other and suggest resources. I always leave inspired. I am thankful for all this suggestions, chats, and ideas.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Advent 2011: Peace

Have you ever needed a Christmas tree decorated quickly? I have a solution -relay race. Yes, a massive tree decorating relay race with 24 children. It is chaotic but hilarious to watch. The kids loved the game Sunday and the aesthetic results are decent(minus a child being accidentally & temporarily being tied/tangled to a tree with garland).

Standing in the middle of a blur of children, lights, ornaments, filled me with joy and peace...which is crazy. December has become associated with same same rush and pressure the kids were under in the race. It is all hustle and bustle. There are gifts to buy, food to prepare, cards to send, trees to trim, halls to deck, and so many events to attend. There are concerts, parades, musicals, special services, office parties, club parties, cookie exchanges, craft days and community celebrations. It is to do list is worst if you are volunteering or involved in behind the scenes because you have added meetings, rehearsals, practices, preparations, setting up, recruiting helpers, and clean up. I love the season but it can get a little overwhelming. Christmas can be chaotic.

The first sermon I ever wrote was about living at peace in the midst of chaos. I looked at Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). True peace is not the absence of chaos but the discovering of how to be at rest in the midst of storms. I have a great story that goes with this...but I can't find it. I believe it is by Katherine Marshall but that doesn't help. I'm not going to stress about it, I'm going to go eat supper.

This past Sunday we lit the candle of Peace.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
-Isaiah 9:6

The Simple Woman Daybook 86

FOR TODAY: December 6, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...the blinds are closed to stop the glare off the computer.

I am thinking...about writing group, Christmas schedules, the up coming children's Christmas musical, and "safe" places I could have put the things I am missing.

I am thankful for...my writing group.

From the kitchen...is a mess that must be dealt with tonight. I can no longer push "editing" issues off till December because December is here...and the pile of dishes is too high.

I am wearing...A black t-shirt with a formal black skirt (which I normally reserve for Sundays) laundry is another important life element that must be taken care of tonight.

I am creating...since I'm letting the novel "breath" (I actually found that term in an article on how to edit your novel) I'm back to knitting a shawl and debating finishing the baby blanket. There are also Christmas cards to make at some point.

I am going...for lunch

I am reading...The Soprano Sorceress by L. E. Modesitt

I am wondering...what the difference between thinking, wondering, and pondering is and why all three are in the daybook. I realized today that I was missing a few simple woman categorizes wondering and pondering were two of them (I added all the "new" ones).

I am hoping...to be productive.

I am looking forward to...the church's Christmas banquet.

I am hearing...the distant murmur of people talking.

Around the house...much to do.

I am pondering...world construction for my novel.

One of my favorite things...the Golden Apple.

A few plans for the rest of the week: cleaning the apartment, open mic, youth group, play practices, church banquet, church, Christmas card making craft day, a celebrating a friends birthday, and the last writing group meeting of 2011.

A picture to share...
The Golden Apple

Friday, December 02, 2011

December 2's Friday 5

The Friday 5 theme is "BRRRR!":
  1. What’s your favorite thing about cold weather?
    Outdoor activities like skiing or sledding.
  2. Soups and hot beverages seem to be everyone’s favorite cold-weather culinary combatant, but what’s another food that seems to take the bite out of the cold?
    Grill cheese sandwiches.
  3. When the weather is just starting to turn cold but is not yet in full frigidity, what do you add to your bed until it’s time to break out the heavy artillery?
    Afghans.
  4. What household chore seems especially unkind in these colder months?
    Laundry since I have to leave the house to get to the laundry room.
  5. Among people you know, who seems most oblivious to cold weather?
    Zach

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Thankful Thursday -Chris Baty

I am thankful for...
Chris Baty

We have never met, never chatted, never exchanged emails (unless you count mass emails) but I am thankful for Chris Baty. In the summer of 1999, Baty had a crazy idea that it would be possible to write a novel in 30 days. 21 people participate. The next year they moved the project to November "to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather" And that was the start of National Novel Writing Month.

I discovered NaNoWriMo in the summer of 2007. I have participated every year since then. This high vilocity write by the seat of your pants approach to writing has added creativity and joy to my past five Novembers. The experience has always been rewarding even in the most stressful moments. I am thankful to Chris Baty for creating this writing challenge and community. I am thankful for his pep talks and inspirational videos every year. And I am thankful that because of him Best Word exists and I have met some great writers and amazing friends.

Yay for Chris Baty!
Some Great Chris Baty-ism:
“The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It's the lack of a DEADLINE."

"The quickest, easiest way to produce something beautiful and lasting is to risk making something horribly crappy.”

“The world is a lot more fun when you approach it with an exuberant imperfection.”

“There's an old folk saying that goes: whenever you delete a sentence from your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground. Where it will likely require medical attention.

"The world needs your novel"

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Dance Time!

With twenty minutes to spare I crossed the NaNo finish line, earned a purple "WINNER!" bar, heard the cheering and whooping from the OLL staff, and the satisfaction of knowing that I wrote a "novel" (it is really more of a rough pre-first draft outline but it has flying moose) in 30 days. And now it is time to edited...

...hmm nope, let's try that again: And now it is time to edited for a long winters nap...but first it is Victory Dance Time!

*happy dance, happy dance, happy dance*

Also eating cookies, feeding the cats, and cleaning out the fridge, and everything else that I said could wait till December to be done.

Thank you to all my friends and fellow writers. I loved this year but it seemed more challenging. The ideas and words did not flow. It has been an interesting month, as you can see but the progress chart:
I would have given up a few times except for your encouragement. So thank you to everyone not only cheered me on but who put up with my whining and kicked my procrastinating butt into gear. Thank you to everyone on facebook who liked my word count updates. It made the last 48hours easier. Writing is a solo activity, however I don't these 50,294 words exist without you. THANK YOU!

Music also helped, I was listening to many of the NaNo Parodies today. Including Still Alive, a spoof of the Portal credit song Still Alive. It might be my favourite and the Last NaNo Song of 2011:


If you are the type that enjoys singing along, can appreciate a good parody, or just reading fun lyrics here they are:

This was a triumph
I finished my novel
HUGE SUCCESS
It's hard to over state my satisfaction

I'm done nanowrimo
I've written a book because I can
Fifty thousand words this month
Except the ones who have failed

But there's no sense crying over spelling mistakes
Now it's time to edit - this will be a headache
Though the novel draft is done - don't want to read it, won't be fun
But at least I'm still a-live


I hope I can sleep now
I drank more caffeine than what was safe
I wonder if my family went and left me

I'll show them my novel
I hope they won't throw it in a fire
Maybe they - will e - ven say - "I am so happy for you"

Now my book has plots that don't really make sense
And the prose is boring and some of it is dense
I don't really have a style, and the writing's juvenile
But at least I'm still a-live

This month almost killed me
I don't want to touch the book at all
Need to figure out what I should do with it

Maybe I'll Publish!
THAT WAS A JOKE HA HA FAT CHANCE
Anyway this bed is great, don't think I've seen it this month

Look at me avoiding this draft I just wrote
I don't think it's any good, I can't sit around and gloat.
But the writing is done, and december has begun
Am surprised I'm still alive.

PS: Can you believe it I'm still alive.
PPS: I need my bed and I'm still alive
PPPS: It was FANTASTIC and I'm still alive

Final Thought: Anyone care that I'm still alive.

Final Thought PS: Where are my friends? I Am still alive.

STILL ALIVE

STILL ALIVE


P.S. And with this post I also completed the NaBlogPoMo challenge of posting every day for 30 days! Yay blogging!

So Close....10k Word To Go

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....so close. 10,000 is doable and so much less then 50k -but it is still ten thousand words. TEN ThHOUSAND! Sigh, I'm on track. This is possible. I will finish. I will have a victory dance. For now I share a NaNoToon that fits my mood:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last of Hal-Con

Hal-Con was two weeks ago and has already received blog space but before I close the book on the subject (till next year's con) I wanted to share a few of my favourite costumes. These are all thanks to Re.
The My Little Ponies

Meeting Rick Castle

Ms. Tardis
A great Dr. Who themed group
And this is Mark's reaction just after seeing me in Katara form:

He signed my costume!


Monday, November 28, 2011

The Simple Woman Daybook 85

FOR TODAY: November 28, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...I'm actually sitting on Jenn's couch and can not see the window.

I am thinking...mahna mahna -do doo do-do do do doo do. There are many words that need to be written between now and 11:59 November 30th. Also, I really enjoyed the new Muppet movie. Looking forward to seeing it again -mahna mahna -do doo do-do do do doo do do.

I am thankful for...Jenn

From the kitchen...used my crock-pots it was fun and yummy.

I am wearing...pjs because I'm still wrapped up in blankets and just waking up.

I am creating...a novel -it's still November

I am going...to write like a madwoman

I am reading...The Soprano Sorceress by L. E. Modesitt

I am hoping...for at least 10,000 words today.

I am hearing...running water

Around the house...that's December's problem?

One of my favorite things...movie night with Jenn +sleepover!

A picture to share...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent 2011: Hope

Ever have one of those days? You know the days when you feel like you should have just stayed in bed? One of those days when it seems that everything that could go wrong does? This Sunday was one of those days; I don't even know were to begin.

It started during the children's moment, I forgot Zechariah's name. In the middle of talking I went blank. I took New Testament survey, I am good with Bible facts, I had just read the story. I completely froze. Then when we went downstairs we discovered that tape wasn't strong enough to hold the "Advent Wreath." Most of the candles fallen down. When we went to use the teaching media the computer rejected the DVD files. There were three different media players and none of them would work. We ended up standing around my office computer, which was crowded but thankfully it happened in the first service because there would never be enough room for everyone in the second service to fit. Because of the technical delays I was still hot gluing crafts when parents were ready to go. That meant the Christmas musical practice started late and ended late. We also couldn't use the CD because the AMAZING! IT guy was finding a video solution for the second service.

The second service's children's moment went well. Then while heading downstairs it dawned on me, both youth that run the sound & computer in the second service had been in the first service. One of the youth helpers had on the spot training, which just added to the fun because the computer continued to be grumpy. I believe in AI...computers hate me. This is when all of Kidsworld paused to pray that things would work, for joy, and that Pastor Liz would have patience and not throw the computer out a window.

The next hiccup came at craft time. I had prepared two extras then our average Sunday kid attendance. There were more than I had planned on, which is a good thing, it just made for some interesting moments. We found extra plates, they were Styrofoam. Styrofoam and hot glue don't play nice with each other. I printed more sheets so everyone had a set. The youth helpers were keep busing cutting extra ribbons, handing out supplies, solving problems, and generally helping me not lose my mind. The most "intense" stress was we ran out of clothes pins. I took apart my sample for a set, I repair a few that had split apart for another set, but in the end we were still three sets short. The solution? I macgyvered bobby-pins to Popsicle sticks.

The theme at Kidsworld for this advent season is Joy. "Joy: finding how to be happy even when it is difficult. " And that is what made today hilarious to me, I became today's children's moment. I became a walking, breathing, living object lesson. No matter what happened the phrase came back to my head and I had to laugh. I had to choose Joy. Everything I said and did reminded me that I can have joy because I trust that God keeps his promises. Today we lit the first candle of Advent, the candle of Hope. Hope is having faith that God will keep his promises even when it is difficult. This morning, whenever something didn't go as I had expected I had to stop and remind myself of the truth I was teaching.Hope is choosing to trust that God will do what He promises.

P.S. I'm going to be writing Simple Woman Daybook posts on Monday during Advent. If you want to make the Advent wreath shown above you can find the instructions here. Now I'm off to write, write, write. Only four more days of NaNoWriMo and I have 32,906 words (17,094 to go).

Kidsworld Crafts: Advent Wreath

I love discovering new ways the family and church traditions together. It is part of the whole reThink "Orange Concept" I am trying to make a practical part of my life and ministry. One of my favourite childhood Christmas traditions was the Advent calendar and lighting the Advent candles at church. So I was excited a few year's ago when I got to be apart of a family living out orange.

I had been invited over for Sunday dinner. On entering the dinning room I noticed neat candle centerpiece on the table. It was an arch with a purple, pink, white, then two more purple candles. As I looked at it I thought, hey that's like an Advent wreath. Just before dinner I discovered I had been right, it was like an Advent wreath when I was invited to join them in an advent themes family devotional that included lighting some of the candles.

I was reminded of that family while preparing for Kidsworld this week. We were celebrating the first Sunday of Advent and I wanted to help families continue celebrating Advent at home. After a google search for inspiration I decided on creating paper plate Advent wreath. If you want to make your own Advent Wreath

You Will Need:
  • paper plate (we used festive plates)
  • five clothes pins
  • an envelope (preferably smaller than the plate)
  • ribbon about 10cm (5 inches)
  • glue (we used hot glue)
  • five "flames"
  • markers, crayons or paint

What To Do:
  1. Draw or print five candle flames on paper. Have children colour and cut out the flames. We also wrote the four words associated with Advent (Hope, Peace, Joy, Love) written on the flames. Put these "flames" in the envelope so they don't get lost.
  2. Colour the five clothes pins. If you want to follow the traditional Advent colour three candles are purple, one is pink, and one is white.
  3. Attach the envelope to the back. We found it worked best when we glued the fullest part of the envelop to the plate leaving the flap side visible. it also made it easier to pull out the flames.
  4. Attach the five clothes pins to the front.
  5. Attach the ribbon as a loop to the back.


Adaptations:
I was inspired by a number of different wreath crafts so I know there are a lot of different ways mine could be improved. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Placing the clothes pins is really up to you. A few kids spreed them around the plate. Some wanted them all at the bottom or all at the top. One girl wanted all here flames to point in. Someone else wanted all their flames to point out. Most didn't care.
  • Instead of using a paper plate, make the wreath out of green painted hand prints or cut out green construction paper hand prints.
  • This is was on of the crafts that inspired my wreath. They used cardboard tubes (toilet paper rolls) to make a great three-dimensional wreath.
  • Attach a magnet to the back of the plate so the wreath can be keep on the fridge.
  • Cut out the center of the plate to make it look more wreath like.
  • Use extra decorating supplies like sticker, ribbons, old Christmas cards, craft foam, or glitter to jazz the wreath up.
  • Allow the children the freedom to be creative. We had a few kids who wanted rainbow candles, that was cool.
  • Some of the kids added words like "Merry Christmas" to the center and someone else suggested that you could glue a family photo in that space"
Tips for Large Groups:
  1. Handout the envelop, flames, and clothespins to the children. Keep the paper plates and ribbon by the glue gun station.
  2. Before kids start cutting or colouring have the write their names on the envelope. We asked them to write on the side with the flap. So that we could identify whose was whose after everyone was done.
  3. Remind children to put their cut out flames in their envelope. This helps to keep flames from getting lost or accidentally recycled.
  4. If you have enough adults and glue guns make the gluing an assembly line. One person glues the envelope on the back, next attach the clothes pins (this might require a few different glue guns as it takes the most time and the line bottlenecks), and the next person adds the ribbon.
  5. Ask kids were they want the clothes pins before gluing. I would ask them where they wanted there first "candle" they would point, I added a glob of glue and stuck it there. It helped to keep them interested and encouraged their creativity, which is always a challenge when adults are needed to assemble.
  6. Have an activity planned for the children finished first. It could be a singing time, another craft, or game that anyone can join as they finish up. We had a video connected with our them ready to go.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Write All Night

The night ended at 8:00am this morning when I crawled into bed but it started with live music. The Chimney Swifts had a house concert and it was grand! I love them! They were great and I can't wait till they have a CD. About 10:30pm, after three sets, I walked over to the Wolfville Wrimos Second Annual Write All Night (it happens every year -that's why it's annual).

The purpose was to write, write, write. I think there was more eat, chat, giggle, chat, eat, write, chat, 4am run to MacDonald's, eat, write, chat, giggle, eat or something like that. My personal word goal was 5000. I managed to put 3,673 words in some type of structure that resembles prose.While it might not have been my best writing ever it was some of the most enjoyable nonsense I have written this month. The lack of sleep lead to some neat additions to my story. This was my favourite twist that began around 2am:
Farwin, our heroic dragon, is going to be eaten by giant spiders if the Hopscotch the iguana cannot enlist the help of a herd of flying moose (flying meece?)

It will need a lot of work in December and beyond but I really like the Sisterhood of Spiders and the Elder Sister who leads the clan of over sized arachnids. The night was wonderful. It is hard to put the 12hours (9 that I was there for) into words so I am going to end with some quotes that stood out to me -my apologies some of them were funnier at 3am:
"This is the funniest night ever, i know it was funny but i was too tired at the time to actually remember what was said but i know it was funny."
-Alice
"I might be three hours away from cannibalism."
-Alice

Re: "Liz, don't do that it is a grammatical sin"
Me: "I am a sinner"
Re: "Stop making the English language cry"

Re: "When she looked at him she got weak in the knees"
Jane: "Actually I was look at the nachos"

"Liz, you have a sisterhood of spiders; do they wear traveling pants?"

So that was my Friday night and it was FANTASTIC!

Friday, November 25, 2011

November 25's Friday 5

The Friday 5 is about "Leftovers", questions from past weeks that would have been asked if the meme was a Friday 6:
  1. What’s a creature comfort (practically unnecessary) you must take with you on an overnight trip in the great outdoors?
    Pillow
  2. What did yesterday cost you?
    Um, I didn't actually spend any money yesterday, and I am not dividing gas, clothes wearing, or food costs.
  3. What was your excuse the last time you were REALLY late for something?
    Yesterday, there was snow.
  4. What was your first online purchase?
    Not sure, I know my last I just bought books. I think that might have been my first too.
  5. Which of your gifts do you think you do not put to its best, fullest use?
    My little crock-pot, I've had it almost six years and I just used it for the first time this past week.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday -Shari

I am thankful for...

Shari Prime

Shari is wonderful! She is sweet, and wise, and fully of integrity and compassion. She is great to talk with and hang out with and just know. I love having tea with her, actually I love any chance we get to sit down and chat. Our lives keep us both going and it seems we only get a moment here or a hug there but I cherish each one. She is one of my girls and I love her. I am truly thankful for Shari! She is wonderful and I hope she knows it!

I'm also very thankful that she and Scott have a vehicle with four wheel drive and were willing to drive me home last night....or I would have had a sleepover at the church. I definitely appreciated the drive (and this is not the first time I needed them to rescue me in snowy weather.) Yay for Scott and Shari!

Things Unrelated to Thankful Thursday (but important to me):
1. Word Count is 30,153/50,000
2. Write All Night is this Friday
3. Chimney Swifts concert is this Friday
4. I want to be in two places at the same time Friday night

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Dragons Mourn

It is a sad time for sci-fi fans, Anne McCaffrey, the creator of the Dragons of Pern series has died at the age of 85. I have nothing to add that hasn't been said by Wall Street Journal and Digital Journal. Just that it makes me sad. I've been reading her words since high school. Also that the world of Pern feels like a link to my grandfather who died this time last year. I thank her for that.

I've been struggling to describe or even give a good name and title to the leader of the dragons the Master Keeper (head of the dragons in my world). I think I'm going to re-create the character to be a tribute to Anne McCaffry. Hope that does not come off as trite or cheap; it is what I have to say good-bye to an author I enjoy and respect.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Appreciated, Half Way, and a Song

There is so much good NaNoNews!

First, it's ML Appreciation Day, have you your ML yet? Cause the NS::Elsewhere have. It is unbelievablely awesome all the joy and joyful they showered upon me. The show of love was beyond the moon. OH MY THEY ARE AWESOME! Awesome and organized. It was grand. It started with envelopes with cards for free coffee given to me every fifteen minutes before. For me the thanks and free caffeine would have been enough but then came the gifts. WOW! I was loved. A knit plot bunnies, nano-themed scarf, candles, pens, a notebook, a heart full of words, and a VIP subscription to my favourite writing magazine. Yay for not having to buy it off the rack. I LOVE THESE WRITERS!

Second, I passed the half way mark last night! 25,000 words -done! I am choosing to ignore the fact that the half way point was a week ago.

Third, next years plot idea, brainstorming, and working title is figured out.

Fourth, I'm on a roll gathering points so here is the calendar I made:

NaNo Song of the Week:

NaNo Word Count:
26,180/50,000 (currently averaging 1,190 words not the 1,667 needed to win by Nov 30th at this rate of wording I'll be done December 12th. Much better than the January 18th finishing projected a few days ago)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Plot Bunnies Points & Prizes

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen."
--John Steinbeck

I love getting ready for NaNoWriMo. Half the fun, for me, is coming up with new ideas for events. Last year, during my preparation, I discovered the "Great Points Race" another region was using to help keep people motivated. After contacting the MLs organizing the race I adapted the points race for my region.

During November writers can earn points. There are points for reaching word count goals or showing up at write-ins. Other points require some more effort like making a donation to the Office of Letters and Lights (the non-profit that runs NaNoWriMo), sharing your writing space in the forums, or for catching up to five plot bunnies. At the TGIO party the person with the most points has first pick of the prizes. The second highest will have second pick till and so on till all the prizes have been given out.

I've been maintaining sixth place and haven't taken advantage of writing space or plot bunny points...till now. First, my writing space. I write where ever my netbook is. This year it seems to be TAN or Jenn's couch. If I'm home I tend to write on the floor next to my bed. Ta da -writing space (for 50 points):
Next the Plot Bunny(plt bn):

1) A plot bunny is a story idea that refuses to go away until it is written. The term's origin is unknown but is known to predate NaNoWriMo. Because plot bunnies tend to multiply quickly, the term is thought to be related to the oft-quoted John Steinbeck quote about ideas and rabbits. -from the Wikiwrimo

2) A creative and fun way to earn up 250 points (5 x 50 points) in the Valley's great points race:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Simple Woman Daybook 84

FOR TODAY: November 20, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...gray clouds.

I am thinking...my mind is full of novel, worry, and Christmas music.

I am thankful for...Jenn and Patrick.

From the kitchen...I bought food. That is as far as it got.

I am wearing...a black dress with multi-colour polka dot dress.

I am creating...there are projects on the go but November is all about finishing the nano-novel.

I am going...to be up all night writing.

I am reading...there is no reading in November. It's November there is only time for writing.

I am hoping...to write 10,000 words today and maybe catch a nap before Inn From the Cold

I am hearing...worship practice.

Around the house...it's November.

One of my favorite things...community theater. I went to see Fezziwig's last night.

A picture to share...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bright Days

The challenge of blogging everyday is thinking up what to write about. Thankfully NaBlogPoMo has a great list of prompts. The question "What has been the happiest moment of your life thus far?" inspired this list of great moments:

10) Reading the hobbit with my family
9) Standing on the bluffs at Zion Hill talking about clouds with my youth pastor Ken
8) Opening night of Grease in high school (I was Frenchie)
7) Travailing on summer team in 2002 & 2003
6) Ordination
5) Animal watching in African game parts (Kruger, Hlane, Mlilwane, and Mkhya)
4) Climbing Mt Fugi (maybe just the coming down the other side)
3) Any chance to hug my sister and family moments after getting off a plane
2) Riding the Disney tea cups with my family
1) Holding my baby sister for the first time

Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18's Friday 5

The Friday 5 site moved locations so November 18's question are based on the word "Moving":
  1. When did you last move residences?
    2006
  2. What song leaves you completely unmoved even though it seems everyone else is moved by it?
    I am sure there is a song. I do not know what it is.
  3. On what kinds of mornings is it easiest for you to jump out of bed and get moving?
    When I am excited about activities happening later that day. I guess that would be anticipation.
  4. What object do you get most annoyed about when people move it without letting you know?
    The tape or scissors
  5. In what way are you waiting on someone else to make a move?
    I'm waiting on a decision.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday -Mark

I loved my 2009 nano-novel "Across Eldamar." It was the first story post-nano that I actually wanted to edit. Only the actual editing is taking longer than I had expected. One afternoon mid-winter 2010 I decided to try a cafe a friend recommended while working on the second draft. I was suck and uninspired. I wanted to give up and shove the story in a folder to collect dust.

The cafe had a local artist's work on the walls. It was all seemed to be set in this epic adventurous world. As I played with the wording and story ideas the art encouraged me to keep going. It gave voice to the world, almost like it showed me what my world could be like. I loved everything. It was beautiful. I wanted to buy every piece. I asked who the artist was and was told it was a guy in Wolfville. The girl gave me a website and I found where I could buy the first of his comics. Without that afternoon I think I would have given up. For this reason I am thankful for...

Mark Oakley

His paintings and art work inspire me. I love them. My Hal-Con costume was based on one of his characters -I am a fangirl. But I appreciate Mark for more than just the comics and paintings. Since that afternoon in the cafe we've met. It think it was through Donna. And then we got to know each other and hang out. I was so surprised that this amazing artist who had inspired me and saved my working wanted to be my friend, it's awesome. We are friends. He is a great addition to the writing group when he can make it. I love his stories and ideas. I love listening to him talk about anything. I love days when we bump into each other and sit down for a chat about anything and everything. He is such a neat person.

I wish everyone could meet me friend Mark. He is fantastic. I love his perceptive, sincerity, joy, creativity, and passion. He cares about people and listens. He writes great stories and exciting adventures. And I love when he gets excited and does his happy with life bouncing dance. It is for those reasons I am truly thankful to call Mark my friend!

OH! If you are interested in Mark's work visit I Box Publishing.

Things Unrelated to Thankful Thursday (but important to me):
1. Word Count is 15,208/50,000
2. I have a new working title "The Dragons of Eldamar"
3. Noveling made me cry last night
3. I may or may not expound on the cause for tears in the future.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Making a Weekend Sundae

The NaNoWriMo site is down, again, so I am unable to update my word count making this a perfect moment to recount my favourite moments from the weekend. And the metaphor I'm using is a yummy tasty sundae cause I like ice cream and I liked Hal-Con (and I am sleep deprived and my brain is being silly).

If this weekend were a sundae then the ice cream were the people I spend it with. Ice cream is the foundation of a good sundae and so were my friends. I love my people. They are great; they made Hal-Con awesome. I think I would have been happy sitting and chatting with them the whole time. That would have been good enough but the fun didn't stop there....there was more than just ice cream. There were tasty toppings:

1) Mark Oakley knowing and liking my costume.
2) Earning a free book in a writing panel for asking a good question and being witty.
3) All the costumes. There were so many amazing characters. Once Re uploads her pictures I will share them.
4) Good moderators
5) The Inner Space guy remembering my names hours after we chatted
6) Someone asking for my picture because they thought my costume was well made.
7) Making plans for a group costume for next years Hal-Con
8) Making connections with two authors to possible visit Best Word.

Inner Space has a two minute video up on their site that give a great overview of the con. You should be able to find it here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNo Novel-ing Update

Did I just add spitball warrior iguanas to my novel?

I think I did.

I love the desert warrior iguanas they entered the story last night in a writing challenge to include cherry pie, an iguana, a silver dollar, and a spitball fight. Writing prompts and "I dares yous" are making writing fun. Other than those challenges the noveling is going well...ish. I am starting to like the concept of my story and there have been some unexpected silliness that makes writing fun. The biggest issue at the moment is catching on word count. My current daily average has me finishing January 8th, 2012.

This is one of my favourite scenes so far:
Tray decided magical clouds were horrible creatures. If she never had to fly by cloud again it would be too soon. The journey had started well enough. She was dry and content then her cloud got into an argument with passing cloud. The disagreement escalated into a full thunder storm that left Tray soaked and cold for the last half of the flight. Clouds are very temperamental.


NaNo Song of the Week:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Best Word Joy!

Hal-Con was the bestest of weekends. There was so much joy and joyfulness hanging out with friends, seeing all the costumes, dressing up, sitting in on workshops, and just plain geeking out. There were so many highlights that covering everything in a single post would be silly. Over the next few days I am going to try to cover my favourite starting with the writing workshops.

Most of the panels and workshops I sat in on were about writing or storytelling. I connected with two Nova Scotia writers and talked about them visiting my writing group. I won a book in one panel for asking a good question and being witty. And I bought a writing book that I think is going to be very useful for planning future workshops for writing group. I enjoyed all the tips and answers the I gathered. This is what I learned or was reminded of:

1) Story is king -it is the point so make it good. Everything else is a device to help or hinder the main character
2) Create a dossier, scrapbook, or a binder with important details like characters, pictures, notes, timelines to help visualize the novel and keep facts consistent
3) Write short stories in the same world and with same characters to better understand how the universe operates
4) Have faith in your reader, they won’t get lost, start in the middle but give them a direction and a character to care about.
5) Don’t give the reader all the answer. Give hints and the promises of answers.
6) Create complex characters and let them be true to who they are
7) The action and pace of YA books are faster
8) Teens don’t have set expectations about a novel so experimenting with point of view and other elements is more acceptable
9) If you want to write for teens you need to like teens and respect teens and spend time with teens and get to know them.
10) How do you starting writing...you turn on the computer and write
11) Write it six times before showing it to a proof reader/beta
12) Write, then edit, but write first
13) Read stuff out loud
14) When you are reading, even silently, you breath at the punition marks. Short choppy sentences gives a feel of excitement in the reader subconsciously. This works for actions scenes.
15) The term "voice" has two uses in writing. The writer has a voice and the characters have voice.
16) If you feel like a adverb is needed you are using the wrong verb
17) Repetition of patterns (he said, she said, he said, she said) boring and editors will trash the manuscript
18) Great heroes worth reading have flaws
19) Readers like complex characters. Get people emotionally connected and you have them hooked.
20) Read Stephen King's On Writing

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Simple Woman Daybook 83

FOR TODAY: November 13, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...just woke up so the blinds are closed. If they were open I could see downtown Halifax.

I am thinking...sleep is wonderful and this weekend has been grand.

I am thankful for...Steven and Hannah -they are awesome and made Katara costume possible. Also, Re and Justine because they've made my weekend so much fun.

From the kitchen...it's the middle of NaNoWriMo there is no cooking at home. Friday Night the boys club at the church had a spaghetti supper. It was awesome, the food was great and I didn't have to cook or do the dishes.

I am wearing...currently in my pjs debating wearing the Katara costume a second day or going in jeans and a tee with my "doctor" blazer. I could borrow Re's sonic screwdriver.

I am creating...there are projects on the go but November is all about finishing the nano-novel.

I am going...to the second day of Hal-Con.

I am reading...between books -it's November.

I am hoping...to catch up on my nano word count I have 10,008 I should be at 21,1667 by the end of the day. It's not going to happen but I do need a catch up writing day soon.

I am hearing...Re and Justine chat.

Around the house...it's November I am happy that dishes got washed this week.

One of my favorite things...Rory the Dragon (who was dressed as Captain Hammer because Re was Dr. Horrible).

A picture to share...
Me and Rory

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Introducing Katara

Today I stepped into a new world of imagination at Hal-Con and it was wonderfully fun. This is my first convention. It is also my first attempt at a making a costume for a con. As soon as I knew that I was going with my friends I began considering costume ideas. There were so many possibilities. Then I found out Mark Oakley was going. Mark is the incredible indie comic creator of Thieves and Kings and Stardrops (a strip that runs in the Wolfville Grapevine). I decided that I would go as his character Katara. This is how it turned out:
My greatest fear today was seeing Mark and him not knowing who I was dressed up. I had nothing to fear. Mark's reaction was...word's do not express how wonderful his reaching was. Thankfully Re and Justine took many pictures of the moment and all the great moments from today. Once they have pictures up I'll share all the joy and pretty costumes. A HUGE, HUGE, HUGE thank you to Hannah and Steven who gave up a day and a night to help make this costume possible.

I've already broken the con survival guide of "3,2,1" -three hours sleep, two meals, and one shower per day. Friday I woke up at 9:30am I had a short 20 min nap Saturday morning at 5am....and it now 1:29am Sunday morning. It is time for bed.