Monday, July 20, 2015

Quotations of the Week

Once again, God has turned my easily-distracted mind back to gratitude, thanks to an amazing group of women focused on Gratitude via Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, one of the most life-changing books (outside of God's Word, of course!) I have ever read.

I had been a longtime reader of Ann's blog, A Holy Experience; in fact, her blog inspired me to start my own...and my ninth "blogversary" is coming up next month! So I was familiar with her "attitude of gratitude" long before her book hit the bestsellers lists. I've kept various Gratitude Journals throughout the years, in addition to all of the other journals I keep: a regular "life journal" in which I try to write once a week, a quotation journal (filled with Ann-quotes, Scripture, poems, hymns, advice on writing, various words of wisdom--anything I want to savor and keep) for which I'm in my 13th year and second journal volume, a prayer journal, etc.

So all of this brings me to my Quotations for the Week, some Ann-words and some Scripture this time:

"The truth is that stillness with God is always a matter of focus, not of circumstances."

~Ann Voskamp (via Twitter)


"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."

~Psalm 90.12, English Standard Version

Focus, not true that is in my life! How often do I allow circumstances to dictate my relationship with God instead of clearing away the detritus of my days and simply BE STILL.

And as days seem to fall one over the other, each one passing in the proverbial blink of an eye, I want to stop, truly focus on "numbering my days," seeking His Wisdom and not my own so that my heart is filled with His Love, His Grace, His Peace.

May this week be a week of deliberate focus, of wisdom, and not tossed about by circumstances, most of which I have no control over.

Wishing us all God's best this week,

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Best-Laid Plans....

I had some awesome plans for July. It's Camp NaNoWriMo time, and my goal was to write a very do-able 30,000 words on my new novel during this month. Yes, I knew that I was also teaching the Fan Fiction class at Brave Writer this summer, but the class has averaged about eight students in the four previous years that I've taught it. No problem! I can teach this class and have plenty of time to work on my new Jane Austen novel.

So when I was blessed with 24 students (25 is full-capacity!), I was thrilled, but I also knew that my precious writing time would have to take a backseat. I've written about 5,000 words on my new novel and 3,000 words on another project, and I hope to squeeze in a little more writing time between grading some amazing stories written by students as young as ten years old. The first batch of stories came in this week, and I am so thrilled with the quality of their work!

Yes, the best-laid plans.... Well, there is always August, which I have off from both Brave Writer and Heritage (our private home school group), but I'll also be planning the next home school year for our last student--yes, I'll be back to homeschooling just one after graduating the older three. I'm also teaching only one class at Heritage's Class Days this year instead of two as I did last year, and I'm also teaching more family workshop classes instead of the intensive literary analysis courses at Brave Writer.

Thus I hope to return to writing more of my tale of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, starting at the end of Pride and Prejudice and moving forward into their married life together. Yes, many Austen Variations exist (I've spent the last year reading over a hundred P&P novels!), but I want to give my own spin on Elizabeth and Darcy's engagement, wedding, and marriage. I figure that if I can read so many of these variations on Austen's books and never get bored, other Austen fans would also enjoy mine. We shall see. All I know is that I can't wait to get back to crafting my little novel...even if it won't be as popular as P.D. James' last novel, Death Comes to Pemberley. 

So on this Sunday afternoon with the welcome rumble of thunder and charcoal-gray clouds releasing even more welcome rain showers, I'll finish grading the first round of fan fiction stories from my online class and plan my week...with a few time slots set aside to write. Although I most likely will not meet my original goal of writing 30,000 words this month, every little bit I write takes me that much closer to my goal of completing this novel, the first one that I hope to publish on Amazon and perhaps earn a little money, unlike my other novels and stories which I have posted for free on other sites. They were fun practice works to write and have been very popular with nearly 4 million reads between the two sites, but now to get a little more serious about writing....

Wishing you all a blessed week!


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Fourth of July!

Law Street Beach on the 5th of July last year--early (before the crowds return!)

We're heading to my parents' place at the beach today and tonight. Living just half a block from Law Street Beach in Pacific Beach, my parents always invite the whole crew down for the 4th. The beaches are extremely jam-packed, so I usually just go for a walk on the boardwalk rather than face the sandy crowds and the stickiness of sunscreen. I'd rather hang out on the deck and enjoy the sunshine and the view in relative peace.

Sunset from my parents' deck

Keith refuses the crowds--not that I blame him; he'd rather enjoy a quiet house than the beach crowds and my semi-insane family. I love watching the sunset first from the deck, and then the four-five fireworks displays visible from the deck starting at nine, and then Sea World puts on their display at 9:30; we "oooh" and "aaah" while eating dessert. Elizabeth made peppermint brownie bites and orange protein balls (Wild Orange oil, honey, dried cranberries, almond butter, and coconut, all rolled in coconut and chilled-yum!), and we'll pick up some ice cream to go with it.

In honor of Independence Day, I thought I'd post the same poet distributed this morning by the Academy of American Poets in their Poem-a-Day e-mail:

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July 4, 2015

I, Too

Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. He is the author of The Weary Blues (Knopf, 1926) and Montage of a Dream Deferred (Holt, 1951), among other works. He died on May 22, 1967 in New York City.
Wishing you all a joyous celebration of our nation's independence,


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