Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Roses are red...

I went out of town this past weekend, at a family reception in Houston, Texas. My husband was supposed to be accompany me and my parents, but at the last minute, got called in to work overtime Saturday. When you've only been married 2 years, you don't say no to extra $$!

I told Hubby I was sorry he had to miss it, but he didn't seem to mind too much. We said goodbye, I headed off with my parents Saturday morning at the crack of dawn. We had a great trip, and we got home Sunday evening around 6:30. I pulled up in the driveway, and lo and behold, I had a beautiful flowerbed!

I jumped out of the truck and ran to inspect. The area in front of the house that once held burned out, half dead azalea bushes now boasted a beautiful flowerbed of a variety of bushes, flowers, and vines. I had stepping stones. I had a backdrop. Even a new matching welcome mat at the door! The azalea bushes had been dug up and thrown away, out of their misery at last.

I was in awe. It was so gorgeous. Hubby came outside. "Surprise!" And oh, it was!

It turned out everyone had been in on it. There had never been any overtime opportunity. It had been planned from the start. My parents even knew! Maybe I'm just naive, or oblivious, but his entire family had spent the day at my house Saturday, planting and digging and weeding. His mother even funded the majority of the garden. I was overwhelmed with the unexpected (and undeserved!) display of kindness and generousity.

My hubby rocks! =)

I've attached before and after pics below!



Monday, July 17, 2006

Deadlines = Stress?

Well, I just got back from Branson, Missouri! We had a great long-weekend vacation (under the excuse of seeing my husband's aunt get married!) and had a great time shopping, eating, shopping, seeing shows, eating, and oh yeah - eating!! =) We saw the Dixie Stampede show, which I highly recommend. Warning: go HUNGRY! We're talking an entire chicken on your plate, plus all the trimmings! Mmmm! We saw the beautiful hills and gorgeous Table Rock Lake, then toured Ripley's Believe It or Not (always a fun spot!) Here's a pic of me from Ripleys with a case of butterflies behind me!

Another pic of me and my husband - I think the movie Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest went to his head. He hasn't taken that bandana off yet! =)

Vacation was fun - but now it's back to the grind, and I'm feeling a little stressed! I'm determined to have my WIP completed in time for my September writing conference, and for the first time, I'm wondering if that light at the end of the tunnel is looking a bit dim.

A month ago, I had set a deadline for myself to write at least 1,000 words a day. I've done really well in holding to that, even having days where I wrote twice that many words. But I just spent a long weekend away from the computer, and while it was fun and a much-needed break, I'm now realizing I might not meet my goal. I need to write 3,000 words today in order to catch up, though I think spreading that total out over a period of several days is much more realistic.

I know its not the end of the world, and I'll just keep doing my best until I get there! I have to remember who I'm writing for, and what my purpose is. I'm writing for God, not for myself or for others, and my purpose is not necessarily publication (though oh, what a goal!) but obedience to God's calling. What He chooses to do with my words from there is His choice alone.

I'm tired, and my imagination isn't on over-drive as usual. I want a nap, my favorite sweatshirt, and a big bowl of soup, in that order. But I'm at work, and its 97 degrees out, so it looks as if those particular desires will go unfulfilled for now. I can only imagine what a real deadline from an editor or agent must feel like! I hope to experience that stress one day, but I am a little glad that it is not today! My deadlines might be self inflicted, however, I am incredibly disciplined and have no problem being my own Dreaded Taskmaster. :::Sigh:::

I'm going to feel a lot better as soon as I get my word count going for today. First step - stop blogging! =)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

How Do We Measure Success?

How do we measure success in our writing?

Obviously, publication is a goal and a strong motivator, or we wouldn't drive ourselves nuts attending conferences, making connections, editing the heck out of our material, networking, joining critique groups, mourning each edited word, consuming massive amounts of chocolate, and buying up Sally Stuart's Christian Writers Market Guide like its going out of style!

But are we failures if we never get published?

Are we successful because our book is sitting on a shelf in a store, or because we've shared it with our family and friends and received compliment after praise after compliment? Are we successful because we got to have our first book signing, or because our printed out, home-made, tie-wrap bound copy of our manuscript got passed around the church and thoroughly enjoyed by all? Are we successful because we got top reviews on Amazon, or because we accomplished something important to us, and pressed on against all odds?

I don't want to look up one day and wonder what this was all about. I don't want to hear the wonderful words of "yes, we want to publish this" and think "I've arrived!" only to wonder later "what if this isn't success? what if success is being multi published? what if success is having endorsements by all the big name authors? what if success is being on the best sellers list? what if -"

If we live our lives by "what-if's" it will pass us by.

Therefore,I am officially labeling myself right now, today, as successful. I am a writer. I am actively pursuing a God-given dream and goal in my life, with my entire heart and being. If that's not success, then I don't want any part of it.