Slow Drivers

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve checked in with my twelve readers, so here’s the scoop:

 

I was involved in a confidential matter where a teenage girl feared for her safety. Yes, there is more to that story. No, I won’t tell you…yet. Some people, who saw what was happening from the sidelines judged me harshly, without all of the facts because I cared more for her safety than their need to satisfy their curiosity. I invested my whole self into helping her escape, yet she right back in the same situation today. Exhaustion doesn’t even begin to touch the way I feel. There is an emptiness from my failure, a gaping hole of “You suck.” And though people involved have tried to tell me that I was brave and did everything I could, I still wonder how that beautiful girl will fare in a few weeks—in three months.

 

On the way into work this morning, every.single.car. drove 5-10 miles per hour under the speed limit. I wasn’t late, but it was annoying. Like, making-up-lyrics-to-the-song-on-my-radio-to-make-them-move-faster annoying.

drivers

Then there’s the face palm of a contest. I don’t know why I see a contest and think “That’s a good idea!” It’s the shiny toy I can never have. Every time I read the judges’ comments, I simmer. I thought the contest was based on the writing, not the synopsis. My mental “Bite me!” rears up and I delete the email because I wasted $30. Another fail.

fail

But in the vortex of suckage, there are moments where I laugh and remember God has mercy:

  • Being assigned to review Wonder Woman for Geeks Under Grace (hey, I had the Underoos)
  • And Blade Runner! SQUEEEEEEE!
  • Laughing at Thing 2’s green, chlorine hair
  • Planning a Walt Disney World trip
  • Taking Thing 1 to see “Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man Tell No Tales” (skip it!)
  • Hubs. He’s just the best ever—even when he says I snore. Whatever, bub.

 

Here’s the thing: people who believe that Christians don’t have bad days, epic fail moments, or that God doesn’t allow these things to happen don’t read their Bible (1 Peter 1:6-7 is my fav example). There will be bone-weary trials, and minutes hours when I question my sanity. It doesn’t mean God has abandoned me or decided He should sit this one out. These past couple of weeks, I just needed to find His mercy in the little things until I surfaced for air.

 

And guess what? There will be more slow drivers. Days when every radio station has eye-rolling songs. Who knows, I may find a judge who doesn’t complain about my teenage character…complaining. Until then, I’ll be wearing my Converse, drinking coffee, and contemplating this note on my computer monitor:

best

Aiming high, people. It’s better than driving slow.


I’m not 29…again

I know that someone will tease me about being “29 again” today. But really, as I stared at the little lines at the corners of my eyes this morning and decided to wear my favorite jeans, I really don’t mind being my age.

 

Here are the revelations I had while stretching my sore muscles this morning:

 

  • My reputation will not fall because of my perpetually dirty house. But finding socks jammed between the sofa cushions still is gross.
  • I am at the stage where my own kids say, “That would look good on you.” AKA: Mom-clothes.
  • That saying age is just a number? No. It means I’m closer to retirement and discounts at restaurants. I’m going to be your cheap date.
  • I’ll never be 29 again. Don’t ask me to do that. I was pregnant part of that year. And living in a travel trailer…in my parent’s front yard.

grumpy gma

  • There’s a special cream I have to use on my face for those little lines. Don’t laugh. Unless you use some too, your wrinkles will look worse than mine.
  • So I color my hair? And get the occasional pedicure. It’s nice to take the time to visit with my mom and my friends.
  • Sometimes I keep old shirts because of the memories (sorry Kathi Lipp).
  • I don’t always return texts. I’m a jerk.

IMG_7763

  • Writing is so much more fun/stressful/rewarding than I thought it would be. And you may become a character in a book, so just keep that in mind.
  • God is good. Even past 29. I realize that now more than ever. I mean, He knows the hairs on my head—including the gray ones (which I don’t even have).

 

Yes, there are a few things I do care about, but as a whole, I’m happy where I’m at. I love my morning coffee(s). It’s pure joy to watch my Things grow up—except on the mornings that they are not so sunny. My hubs is still my best friend and the love of my life—except for those socks. Ew, honey. Gross.

 

For everyone who has wished me “Happy Birthday,” thank you from the bottom of my nose ring.


Ta-Da! I’m a Geek!

You guys! I’m so excited to announce this because I get to embrace my dorkiness for a cause!

Introducing, one of the newest movie reviewer for Geeks Under Grace:

squee-pin

Now, I have an excuse to go to movies or stay up late.

Please stop by their website for reviews on movies, gaming, tabletop games, music, comic books, television, and all things within the geek realm.  I wanted to make sure to share their mission statement with you, so you can understand my excitement:

The mission of Geeks Under Grace is to:

EDUCATE Christians on how to safely consume pop culture from our worldview.
EVANGELIZE geeks with the message of the Gospel by building bridges between Jesus and the geek community.
EQUIP Christians and churches to reach geeks with the Gospel.
ENCOURAGE Christians as they grow into a deeper relationship with Christ.

Stellar, right?

I’m working on my first “real” post, a review for Guardians of the Galaxy, but was able to squeak in abbreviated predictions for 5 films coming out this month. Cut me some slack, I was writing on my phone’s notepad from a campsite on the Oregon coast.

Click on the image below and be whisked into a magical adventure of geeky Christian awesomeness, rolled up into one convenient website.

GUG-NEW-WHITE


Guilty – Things Only Christian Women Hear

There’s been a hashtag making the rounds about things only Christian women hear. Harsh words. Depressing advice. Downright nasty opinions. And they are all from other church goers. I’ve read posts about the tweets and over a hundred comments/tweets—from people who have never heard of such things in their church, to women who have left because of some of the very things mentioned.

 

I’ve heard some pretty cruel suggestions/questions/remarks myself. There are a couple of blog posts where I’ve blown off steam about them. In my cases, it’s never a good thing to put another Christian to shame for what they wear or choose to pierce.

 

But my dirty little secret?

 

I’ve thought some of those “things.” And sometimes, I still catch my holier-than-thou inner critic judging others.

 

Not quite in line with Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

 

Growing up, I was mostly a P.K. (that’s short for Pastor’s Kid). Dad became a preacher when I was in 5th grade, so my sisters and I wore skirts or dresses and my brother was in slacks and a button up shirt. Not sure if he wore a tie every Sunday, but he had an assorted collection. And really, it didn’t bother me to dress that way. It was only a few years after I was married, that I wore dress pants to church for the first time.

pants

 

 

Years later, denim made the cut. Not scruffy or ones with holes, but nice ones. Even though I lowered my personal standards, my brain was still high up on a pedestal, looking down my nose when someone arrived wrinkled, dirty, or altogether odd-matching. I cannot even remember the sermon Pastor Jim gave one week where I suddenly realized my hypocrisy: I can wear what I want, but you should bend to my standards. Of course, in Jesus’ name.

 

IMG_7763

 

Though I try, I’m a creature of habit. That nasty voice questions what someone is doing (“Why didn’t she go to the bathroom before church?”) or wearing (“Really should’ve tried the jeans without holes.”). It still fights for my attention. Sometimes, my lips move before my brain engages and I’m spewing unhelpful advice.

 

all-the-things-say-all-the-words-without-thinking-first

 

While that hashtag makes its round for a while longer, I dread reading comments. I hope it wasn’t ever something I said or did to turn someone away from the Lord. And I want to apologize to women who have heard offensive hints or remarks. God certainly wasn’t represented in my Judgey McJudgement attitude or the words of any nosey Nellie.

 

Until then, remember this:

jesus

Forgive me. I’m still trying to duct taped my internal judge’s mouth shut, but others aren’t quite there yet. Some days, neither am I.


My Almost Mount Hermon Trip

AKA: The trip that I ALMOST met Jami Amerine

Last week, I took a jaunt to meet up with my agent, Rachel. I figured since I couldn’t attend Mount Hermon Writers Conference this year, I could make the drive down and say hello to other Books & Such authors and agents at the B&S annual ice cream social. I don’t need much of a reason for ice cream!

It was a dark and stormy day. No really:

start

That’s the weather I drove into. But first, I stopped by Hannah‘s house. Since she and I usually go to Mount Hermon together, and she couldn’t accompany me, I offered to take her Zelf named Petal. Here is a link to Petal’s previous MH adventures.

Petal

Her hair is spazzy because the winds were tossing leaves and stray napkins everywhere. Another ritual Hannah and I have is the stop at Chik-Fil-A:

Chik

So, four hours later, I arrived at Mount Hermon. Yup. My quick journey is four hours, one way. I had to stop by the check-in desk early to see if I needed a badge or something for the social later. When I say early, I mean just after lunch. And the B&S meeting wasn’t until 9 p.m. Somehow, I thought the roads would be worse with the weather. Nope.

That’s when it happened. As I opened the door, I actually giggled and slapped my hand over my mouth. One of my favorite bloggers, Jami Amerine, was checking in with her sister. There’s a story here: in my exhausted stupor the previous day, I’d sent her a PM saying that I may fangirl if I met her. But…I didn’t want to be all up in her grill at check-in. I pretended to be busy on my phone when they left.

That said, I left MH to check into my hotel and wait. I thought I’d get in some beach time and maybe a local dive for yummy shrimp. I took a nap instead, since a storm moved into Santa Cruz, tilting trees and rain in a lovely diagonal direction.

Why I did this next thing, I’ll never know. I swear I’m not a stalker. I sent Jami another PM, saying that I chickened out and didn’t want to bother her. She’s so gracious! She asked if I was gone and I replied that I’d be back for the B&S meeting.

My nerves set in when I returned that night. So I pulled up a playlist and this was the absolutely perfect first song:

LaneBoy

YES. I was early.

Just before the social started, Jami-Amazing-Amerine walks in! And I totally chickened out AGAIN. We kinda made eye contact before she left. I’m sorry, Jami. Someday, I’ll bring myself to say hello to you.

I’m hoping to get my hands on a picture of me at the event to share with you. I had such a good time that I forgot to hand my phone to Janet, who took a picture of Rachel, Sarah, Sherry, Lindsay, Ashley, Karen, and me. Our pack finally left at 11:30, long after the other Bookies bailed. I felt like the new kid, awkward and wondering if I had lipstick on my teeth, but everyone was absolutely friendly.

One of the saddest pictures I took was this one, as I left the next morning:

Saddest

I’m already planning on selling a kidney to attend a couple of conferences next year. So in 2018, Lord willing, I won’t have to drive by this offramp.


I.Don’t.Do.Pictures

Jungle web

I already told you that I had to get professional pictures taken. Thankfully, my friend happens to be a photographer and I knew we’d have an adventure. This post is to document that I’m COMPLETELY unphotogenic and have a natural talent to ruin frames by blinking and/or goofing off.

Exhibit A:

Outtakes (3 of 4) Web

Amy just wanted a test shot, so I went full-on Napolean Dynamite.

Exhibit B:

Outtakes (4 of 4) Web

This is what happens when two friends start talking about a dog’s anatomy.

Exhibit C:

Outtakes (1 of 4) Web

I still would prefer a winking cat picture instead of my face.

No, I won’t confirm that she had to take an extraordinary amount of retakes the next day. No, I don’t know how many pictures I ruined with half blinks or crazy eyes. No, I will not tell you which part of her dog we were discussing. And you’ll never know if I was on my knees in some of these pictures or if Amy is a giraffe.

In the end, Amy did get a couple of good shots:

BiosPic-color web

BiosPic BW

Here’s to hoping that it’ll be a long, long, long, long time until I have to do that again. But I know of a great photographer!


Random

normal

1. What is your favorite color? Green, like the forests in Washington state, not the split pea soup green.


2. Would you be a pirate? Aye. You don’t even know if I own an eye patch already.

larry
3. What songs do you sing in the shower? Depends on my mood. Mostly, I think of random bits of story and then forget them by the time I dry off.


4. Favorite girls name? Thing 1 and Thing 2


5. Favorite boys name? And a few of those


6. What’s in your pocket right now? Vitamins I forgot to take this morning.


7. Last thing that made you laugh? Hubs trying to swat a fly and knocking off his glasses.


8. Best toy as a child? A stick and a rock


9. Worst injury you ever had? Nothing terrible. It’s harder to watch someone else suffer.


10. Where would you love to live? I haven’t explored my options enough to make the final choice, but I do like the Oregon coast.


11. How many TV’s do you have? 4. I’m a heathen.


12. Who is your loudest friend? I am your loudest friend.

heston
13. How many dogs do you have? 3


14. Does someone trust you? Yes. Maybe. Hopefully.


15. What book are you reading at the moment? A couple of the “Twisted Tales,” retellings of Disney classics. I have Sleeping Beauty and Aladdin at the moment.


16. What’s your favorite candy? Hot Tamales


17. What’s your favorite sports team? San Francisco Giants


18. Favorite month? December. I already put my lights up…or did I never take them down?


You’re letting your daughter wear that?!

“You’re letting your daughter wear that?!” The tone of her voice inferred many, many more question marks and exclamation points.

 

I’d showed an acquaintance a picture of Thing 1 in her homecoming dress and received that particular comment. It is a beautiful creation, floor-length with bead and lace applique over the bodice and shoulders. There were no bits or body parts hanging out, no straps showing or peek-a-boo features. Thing 1 had picked the dress and paid for half of it, our requirement to make sure she picks something we all agree on and is appropriate. She was beautiful in the dress. You decide:

Thing1

(I swear, my children aren’t headless…)

So when this other mother made her comment, my inner MamaBear heckled. In true in-your-face fashion, I asked (as calmly as possible) what she thought was wrong with the dress. “It just seems a bit revealing and over the top.” (insert snide smile before she turned to leave)

 

At first, I was angry. The dress is nowhere near immodest OR revealing (in my opinion), unless you require all girls to wear turtlenecks. Then it made me think back to the comment the same lady made about my nose ring. It’s as if she likes picking at trivial, physical matters.

 

And it’s not as if I haven’t stuck my foot in my mouth. I do…often. But I hope anyone who reads this remembers that Jesus didn’t hang out exclusively with the perfectly dressed. If you’re passionate about something, I get it! But what I chose to wear or allow my kid to wear doesn’t affect our salvation. And shaming another Christian into a corner isn’t the answer either.

 

It’s a dress. Move on and let go.

rant

(giphy.com)

P.S. I’ve already had the “stumbling block” verse thrown at my head for said nose ring. But if it makes you feel better, have at it.


Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.

I filled out a stack of paperwork last week for my agent: forms for my bio, a W9, project sheets, proposals, and my blood type. No, just kidding on that one. Maybe. And there’s more to do, including a new photograph.

 

To be honest, headshots stress me out. Do I go with a natural, outdoorsy feel or an inside picture? Hands down and clasped together or under my cheek? Glasses on or off? Smile with teeth or without? Props?

glamour

Of course, I’m waiting until after my hair appointment this week to tackle this issue, but I’m still wrestling with doubt and anxiety. Never was one to take many pictures of myself. My “selfies” list on my phone are 99% pictures of my spawn. Dirty Hobbitses.

 

When I do have pictures taken, even with the fam, I over-analyze. I’m slouching. My teeth aren’t white enough. I have a double-chin from looking down.  There’s glare on my glasses. And why in the world was I wearing a blazer? I don’t wear blazers.

 

I’d say wish me luck, but I actually don’t believe in it. But I do believe in the powers of an amazing photographer and filters.

 

Given a choice, I’d have a avatar of a winking cat as my picture (like this guy from mrwallpaper.com).

wink

I mean…it looks just like me. Close enough…


I’m a Bookie

It really wasn’t supposed to be a big deal. My Mount Hermon mentor, Sarah Sundin, wanted to touch bases with me about my writing. Our original meeting had been bumped, so we opted to meet in the ice cream shop one night.

 

Let me just say that some of my finer author geek-out moments have been in that same shop: staring at Steve Laube and helping my friend stay calm when Robin Gunn Jones was seated near our table. I’m known for my ability to stalk. I present into evidence, Francine Rivers’ pretty umbrella on the right:

IMG_6694

But I digress…

 

So Sarah and I settled into a corner booth. I don’t even remember if we were very far into our conversation when Rachel Kent sauntered in for her own treat. Sarah invited her over to sit with us. I felt like the new kid sitting across the table, trying not to dribble ice cream on my shirt and give halfway intelligent answers. At the end of our cones/styrofoam bowls, Rachel asked me to send in my first three chapters.

fangirl

Today, I’m pleased to announce that Rachel is my agent with Books & Such Agency! (They call their authors Bookies.)

 

“But wait, Sarah, you said you were going indie!”

 

Yes. Yes, I did. However, God decided that I needed one of these:

dinozzo-head-slap-o

And if that’s all it takes to get my attention this time, I’ll take it!


David N. Alderman

A Place Where Fiction And Faith Meet

sacredgroundstickyfloors

Resting in Jesus in the midst of lunacy.

Quills & Inkblotts

Because the world needs good stories

For Such a Time as This

I want to be a salt shaker, light bearer, city-on-a-hill dweller

Rosemary E. Johnson

Dragon Writer

Kelsey Messner

Compelling Christian Fiction

Pursue Magazine

PURSUE is an online magazine that encourages and inspires girls to pursue their youth by discovering their calling, embracing their uniqueness, and learning how to sustain health in body, mind, and spirit. It is a general interest magazine that covers topics in life, encouragement & motivation, inspiration, arts & creativity, and beauty & fashion.

tarajohnsonauthor

Courage, freedom and joy: stories that heal.

Crafting Mysteries & Suspense

Mystery author Cathy Elliott talks a bit about writing mysteries, life, faith, and the delights of quilting in "The Occasional Blog."

Of Rhythm and Dreams

life in poetry

Nike N. Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista

Literature that reads like pulp fiction.

loved by I am

a twenty-first century girl following the eternal Savior

Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency

CHEERING ON AUTHORS IS HIS MISSION