Suicidal Butterflies

Part two of my Realm Makers trip!

So I left off with random Converse. Here are some random people during a break.

RM

 

Met up with my critique group for dinner. We take great pictures.

Also was able to spend time with my closest writerly buds, Hannah Prewett and Rosemary Johnson

Amigas

Don’t let this picture fool you. They are waaaaay dorkier in real life:

I had the chance to meet with a handful of editors and get to send in some manuscripts for consideration. No, I won’t say who or how many, thankyouverymuch. Took a couple of classes and left partway through the closing session with the keynote speaker, Ted Dekker. Now, since the conference has ended, there are a metric ton of things flying around about people’s thoughts on his sessions. I, for one, thought they’d be more centered around writing. But hey, not everyone will fit into a box. And if there’s one thing everyone attending Realm Makers can agree on, it’s that Ted Dekker fits in no box.

I stayed up waaaaaaay too late and ended up posting this lovely video.

My only regret is missing the Nerf war! I had my guns and ammo, but had to skip out on the fun.

The drive back was mostly uneventful. I was stuck behind a flatbed truck at one point, and flakes of red bark kept hitting my window. WAIT! Those are butterflies! Yes, my readers, I was on a fairytale road filled with thousands of red butterflies.

And then they started smacking my windshield and it wasn’t so magical. Snow White and Cinderella didn’t have to deal with suicidal butterflies.

When I got home, I was so tired that I fell asleep face down on the living room floor (there’s no photographic evidence).

Since returning, I’ve been writing, and Phish lends me her expertise:

amwriting

 

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Beware – Forest Cows

Friday, 5 p.m. couldn’t come soon enough. I was stuck at work while my friends were playing at Realm Makers in Reno.

 

fair

 

So five seconds after 5, I bolted out the back door and headed up the mountains. Look at this drive!

 

highway

 

It’s a short three and a half hour drive for me to Reno, but I’d decided to stay the night with friends in Susanville. This family is fabulous…like, donate my bone marrow to fabulous. And they’ll never serve me mayonnaise, which strengthens the deal.

 

Tunes were jamming. There were areas to pass slower trailers and semis. Then I saw it—the sign that made me pull over to the side of the road:

 

cow.jpg

Der are cows in deez here woods.

 

I’ve seen these signs all over the rural roads (means there are range cattle and they have the right of way on the roads), but it must’ve been the fact that I was on my way to a writer’s conference for fantasy and sci-fi authors that sparked my brain this time.

 

Arrived at my friends’ home and enjoyed their wonderful company. Even though I stole the most comfy bed, I was up at four in the morning after having a dream that I slept in until 7. I was up and out of the door by 5:45 because I simply had to get to Reno. This was my reward on the way out of town:

 

sunrise

 

A venti Starbucks and an hour and a half later:

 

atlanti

 

The Atlantis in glorious technicolor! Blue sky, puffy white cloud—all was right in the world. Dodged the slot machines and found my way to the second story, right up to check-in. I just gave them my name, because I was too embarrassed to introduce myself to Ralene and Desiree.

 

It took less than twenty minutes to finally meet my critique partners in person. I’ve been working with these ladies for a long time now. While some of our group couldn’t make it to Realm Makers, the four of us made sure to meet up at least once. But we were like magnets and kept finding one another throughout the day.

the girls

Jebraun Clifford, Jill Hackman, me, Deanna Fugett

 

We hail from all over. Jeb is originally from California, but lives in New Zealand now (no, she doesn’t have an accent). Jill is from Pennsylvania and De flew in from Colorado. I’ve rewritten this sentence several times, to try and describe how meeting them filled my heart with joy and satisfaction, but I can’t put it into words the love I have for them, even having spent less than 24 hours with them. Jill is the lucky one, though. She had the smarts to go to bed before De talked me into making a FB live video near midnight.

 

So ends my first of a two-parter for Realm Makers 2017. Stay tuned for more shenanigans. And watch out for those pesky forest cows.


I’m Not Special. Perfect.

I’ve been absent for awhile. And there are a plethora of lame and valid excuses. But it all boils down to this: I am not that special. I have a handful of blog, Facebook, and Twitter followers. Not everyone cares about my latest contest rejection, the tasty ice cream flavor I’ve discovered, or that my kitten had tapeworms. It’s true. And gross…but the vet bill is even worse.

 

I guess that I backed away with purpose this time. Nothing new to report and frankly, I’m not an over-sharer. I’m just not that special. My teeth are okay, I don’t have any abdominal issues, and don’t check into every location.

not special

(designed by zonia)

 

Being a writer is a waiting game. A long, long, looooooong game. It’s worse than a fully-played Monopoly or Risk game. And I’m not special enough to have skipped to the front of the line. I wrote a short story for an anthology next year, received my first “professional” rejection, and am having a ball writing for Geeks Under Grace.

 

So, no news is NOT good news. It’s exactly that: no news.  I have no special headline. I still haven’t met Jami Amerine, don’t have a book contract, and am still writing. But the Lord knows my skills, so I wait.

 

Until my next post, I’ll be basking in my ordinary sarcasm. Which is exactly the point of this post–I am not special. I’m not fishing for, “Hey, Sarah, God loves you and you are special!” Yes, yes, I know that my mom thinks I am special. But seriously, people, I’m about as important as the color of a shoelace.

sarcastic

And also, my hubs certainly should have an award for dealing with me. I’m sure I act “special” some days.


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?


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