Monthly Archives: March 2013

Blog Bunny Trail to Bunny Craft

 

I have hobbies other than writing.  Not cooking and not baking, but on occasion I actually use the sewing machine in the living room and use a tiny portion of the mountain of craft items in the garage.

As the neighbor kid said the other day when he stopped by and ended up crafting with us, “Wow.  You have everything.  Just everything.”  Yea, she who dies with the most craft stuff wins, right?

The grandkids were coming over to color Easter eggs and I figured since my cookie jar is either empty or has store bought cookies in it, I needed to earn my Gwamma Badge for the year.  It had to be something memorable.  Something gramma-ey. 

Follow the blog bunny trail to find out how I found the bunny craft idea.

Making your home sing Mondays

I started at Mom’s the Word on Monday,

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then went to Family Home and Life,

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and ended up at What Happens at Grandma’s. I knew instantly this would be my get-off-my-computer-and-create craft.  If ya want the tutorial, click on the pic. The Grandma with secrets gives great step-by-step directions with pics.  I like pics.  I need pics. 

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To make the project easier for my grandkids, ages 5 and  3, we prepared most of the craft ahead of time.  I sewed the bodies and my 10 year old daughter, Beka,  stuffed and glued them shut.  I tied the knot in the strip used for the ears.  We had a variety of silk roses, ribbons and ruffles ready to add for clothing.

The tin baskets were originally made at Christmas,  when I let the world know I Served Cold Cereal for our Company Holiday Party. They were easily repurposed for Easter.   A little grass, a few wooden bunnies and instant festivity. The tin baskets may show up on the table tomorrow with colored eggs, or veggies tucked into them.  Ya’ just never know.

But, thanks to my habit of blog hopping,  I now have  adorable bunnies to greet my holiday guests.

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To read about the Resurrection,  click on the photo to read these posts:

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The Scourge of the Crucifixion

Crown of Thorns

The Thorns of the Crucifixion

Crucifixion

The Robe of the Crucifixion

 

The Scourge, the Thorns and the Robe

As our Lord walked this earth, He came in touch with three items  He would encounter again on His day of crucifixion – the scourge, the thorns and the robe.

When He first encounters each item, He attacks the lies and the false religion  it represents.

Each of these items revisited Him in a painful way at the end of His life.  He died, was buried and rose victorious over the symbols and the sin they represent. He offered a simple salvation of faith alone, and the power to shed the man-made trappings of religion.

Click on the link or the picture to ravel back with me to the three past posts to remember the encounters Jesus had with the scourge, the thorns, and the robe.

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The Scourge of the Crucifixion – Religion for Profit

 

Crown of Thorns

Thorns of the Crucifixion – Religion with no Fruit

Crucifixion

Robe of the Crucifixion – Religion for Show

 

We have tried to impress our family  with the thought that “Easter” should be celebrated every day.  Without the Resurrection, there is no victory over sin, hell and death.

May your heart rejoice with Resurrection power!

I Scribble on My Walls

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When I first moved into my office a few months ago, now don’t go hating me now ‘cuz I have an office, seven people had to move out for this luxury to happen, I had this crazy desire to write on my walls. I took over two decades off from writing to raise kids who wrote on my walls, it’s now  my turn.

I don’t mean literally, after all, it took two coats of primer and two coats of gray to cover up the bright blue color chosen by the child we moved to the basement.

But, the need to see my projects and lists of things to do all at once was almost overwhelming.

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This was my first project and the four sections work very well.  I’m loving this.  But, it wasn’t enough.

My urge to scribble was greater than Harold’s – you know the kid with the purple crayon?

I wanted this 15 paned door from Craigslist, but didn’t get to it in time. I had to make-do until I could invent something cool for outlining a big project.

The light bulb moment occurred while shopping for toilet paper in Costco.  I know, toilet paper usually only inspires men, but I had an epiphany while grabbing the huge pack that would last a bachelor a year and my family a month.  I know that because last time I bought toilet paper I asked the bachelor next to me how long his package would last, while envying the amount of free time he had not buying toilet paper on a regular basis.

Can you imagine not having anyone use the last square and not tell you?  Can you image not having someone hanging the toilet paper the wrong way? Not having anybody unroll an entire roll just because they could?  Yea, I agree, that guy is deprived, right?  Anyhoo, back to the scribbling light bulb moment.

In between each row of the massive packages of toilet paper are wonderful brown pieces of paper.  I started grabbing the extra paper and rolling it up.

My ten year old daughter was horrified.  Yes, she is at an age where her mommy now embarrasses her at times.  “You can’t take that!”  she said. In her mind, entering double digits a few months back raised her rank in life, which now apparently includes the ability to advise her mother.

“Yes, I can! It’s going in the garbage or the recycle.”  The look on her face showed I hadn’t proven I wasn’t a thief.  “If it makes you feel better, I will ask if I can take it.”

Her conscience was soothed, but not her humiliation.  She tried to walk farther away from me, while I tried to keep the paper rolled up in my cart in between all the cases of beans and chicken broth and tried to not run over anybody because of my blocked  vision.

Exasperated, she finally rolled them up and tucked them under the bottom of the cart.  I could hardly wait to get home and thumbtack it to my walls, using my Grandma’s Thumbtacks, of course.

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Thanks to Costco toilet paper display, I had creativity at my fingertips. The Post-it notes worked well and I was able to organize and reorganize my explosion of random thoughts.

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Eventually, the mess became a rough outline for several  books.  The first in a series,   “The Christian Writer’s Coach: How to make the most out of writers conference”  will be published in about a month by the Northwest Christian Writers Association. I’m so excited!

Since unsolicited manuscripts are no longer accepted by the majority of agents and editors, you need to attend a writers conference to make the initial contact with those people that can make all your publication dreams come true. NCWA had a passion to write a book to help writers before, during and after attending a writers conference. Stay tuned.  I’ll letcha’ know when you can buy it.

The toilet paper paper worked, but I still had one more idea to try. It was supposed to look a little neater.  But, as you can see by the above picture, I’m not a tidy writer.  I think I’m a Type A organized person, but I think I’ve been lying to myself for years.  This is the real me.  I might even put this picture on Pinterest in rebellion against all those offices that look like an staged magazine setting.

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I laminated sheets of gray paper and taped them to my walls.  I write with dry erase markers and erase with rubbing alcohol. The little felt erasers on the end of the markers don’t work.

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The Type A side of my office. Where I sit and relax to read, when I’m not writing.  It’s also where my kids come and sit to talk while I’m writing.  Since I have a double-digit daughter and a bona-fide teenage son at home, I don’t mind.  It means we’re still on give-mom-advice speaking terms. 

They can sit, they can talk, and they can root around for my secret candy stashes.

They  just can’t scribble on my walls.

It’s my turn.

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? Do you storyboard? 

? How do you like to organize your jot  scribble stage of writing?

? Has anybody tried IdeaPaint for writing on walls?

I Write, Therefore I Rewrite

When I was a teenager,  words freely flowed onto the page. A columnist and reporter for the county newspaper, I was writing  while other high school kids were  waiting tables and babysitting. I often thought it was strange they paid me to do something I loved, but kept the paychecks anyway.  It kept me full of Mountain Dew and my car full of gas.

When deadline was breathing down his neck, my newspaper editor would stand in front of my desk and slap his ruler on my desk in rhythm to the clattering of my IBM Selectric typewriter.

Mindy at Republican

“Type, Melly, type!” 

When deadline was close, there were no rules. If he didn’t have a story to fill a column, I wrote on demand. He never edited my work. I thought it was because I was so good. I was told later it was because he was a Communications major who didn’t write very well. He hired me because I could. When minimum wage was around $3.00, it was an inexpensive way to cover his lack of ability.

Sometimes he’d pull a page out of my typewriter in the middle of a sentence and run it over to the typesetter.  I’d roll in a fresh piece of paper and continue typing frantically.

As fast as I could type, the typesetter would retype, then hand the printed column to the layout woman.  She’d run it through the wax machine, cut it and  place it on the dummy, while guessing how many more paragraphs I needed to type.

Now much older and much  slower, I have a different understanding of  “good” writing. Nobody is pulling a first draft from my printer and publishing it.

I have learned the  value of rewriting.  At first it was agony.  I pour out my heart in my first draft.   I am inspired as I combine personal experience with a takeaway for the reader. Why isn’t it perfect as it is?

Because it isn’t perfect, that’s why.

Advice about rewriting comes in different story forms.

“Don’t be married to your words.”

“Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings.”

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I walk away for awhile and come back in fresh mode. First I evaluate the work as a whole,  then as individual sentences and finally, as individual words. At the final point, I live and breathe through each word.

How can I say more with less words?  Can I evoke more emotion?  It is in my unique voice? Am I using clichés or my pet words?

Can I  make the reader go AHHHHH! instead of HUHHHH?

Then, I rewrite my rewrites.

The rewrites are then rewritten.

Maybe, just maybe, after many rewrites, I’ll have something worth pulling from the printer.

Making your home sing Mondays

 

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To learn more about rewriting:

Writers on Rewriting

Writing Tips:  Writing is Rewriting

The Editing and Rewriting Process

Rewriting is the Real Work of Writing

Failure is in the Eyes of the Beholder

 

The bigger you dream, the harder you fail.  If you dare share your vision publically, you fail publically. Some of the world’s greatest ambition has been tomatoed by public mockery and shame.

Take this quiz.  How well acquainted are you with these men who dared to try?

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These men were tormented to their faces, behind their backs, in newspapers and in public forums. The only thing bigger than the opposition they faced was their vision to create.

For those of us with unfulfilled life passions and visions, what motivates us beyond the fear of failure? The hope of success.

Let’s see how well you identified these Feats Labeled Failures by public opinion.

1.  In  1807, Robert Fulton’s steamboat Clermont traveled up the Hudson River from New York harbor to Albany, NY. The folly was the first steamboat used with commercial success and sparked the beginning of steam navigation around the world.

2. The “Big Ditch” is now known as the Erie Canal and Governor Dewitt Clinton’s digging was not in vain.  The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor honors and preserves it as one of the most important works of civil engineering and construction in the United States.

 

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3. The “eyesore” is more commonly called the Eiffel Tower and Gustave Eiffel’s architectural wonder is synonymous with romance and France.   It is eye candy to over six million visitors each year.

4. George Washington Gale Ferris, the man with  wheels in his head,  sketched his dream for friends over dinner one night.  Introduced at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, The Wheel carried over a million and a half riders who raved about this experience the rest of their lives.  Those wheels no longer churn only in his head, but on the five major continents in the world, where they’re still trying to build bigger and better Ferris Wheels for thrill seekers of all ages.

 

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5.  Architect John Russell Pope didn’t live to see the completion of the Jefferson Memorial, but his vision, when completed, silenced the voices of dissent and daily inspires Americans.

 

You might not have known the opposition these great men faced, but you know the fruit of their work and how generations have benefited from their tenacity.  They ignored the voices and fulfilled their passion.

They could not be stopped.
They could not be dissuaded.

Even in Christianity, inspired people are mocked by those who should be supporting them.  The woman who performed the greatest act of worship was criticized for her waste.

 

Matthew 26
7 a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head… 8 But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste? 9 For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”
The Lord Jesus defended her and told the disciples her deeds would never be forgotten.
10 But Jesus said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. 11 For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. 12 When she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 13 Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

The other women brought their anointments too late.  Jesus was no longer in the grave.  The disciples didn’t bother coming at all.  This woman  believed the prophecies and prepared her Savior for burial, while fingers pointed and voices scorned.

This woman and these men were only failures in the eyes of their contemporary critics. History does not view them in that same light.

We hear those same voices of mockery and doubt, along with another voice.  That voice of the enemy who was defeated at the Cross and wants us to live defeated lives. We passionately desire to use our gifts and abilities to serve the Lord and to impact the present and the future. What springs up within us should not be silenced or stilled. We must accomplish the burnings of our hearts in answer to the calling  from the Lord.

What you leave behind will bless others.  Parents leave behind their children. Writers and artists leave behind their creations in physical form.  Counselors, preachers, teachers and Bible study leaders leave immeasurable impact that follows to future generations.

We can use our gifts and talents to leave behind our own monuments of inspiration, vehicles of usefulness and models for future generations.  Or, we can bury our gifts and talents in the sands of opposition.

Do not listen to the voices of mockery on the outside, the voice of doubt from the inside or the voice of the enemy. Hear the Voice that is calling you to serve Him with the gifts He gave you.

Dare to leave your mark of faith on the landscape of history.

 

I’me A Gud Spelllar

 

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Y’all know about spell check.

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Y’all know you should use it.

We’ve all been nagged about spelling since we began school.  Friday didn’t feel like Friday until the weekly spelling quiz was over.

Spelling is telling, and it might be telling secrets about somebody.

 

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Somebody was not  paying attention to those  little red squiggly lines that show something is spelled incorrectly. Or maybe they’re color blind? Or don’t know how to right click?

Somebody’s boss may need to hire someone else to write eye-catching headlines.

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Somebody was not paying attention in second grade when contractions and apostrophes were taught.

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Do you think  somebody still has a job as MSNBC?

 

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wrighting table – $250 (milton)

Somebody might be confusing what they learned in history class with what they learned in English class.

The Wrights flew, but not a desk. Authors write about the Wrights at a writing desk. And $250 is way too much for an old desk, unless it was owned by the Wrights.  But, even if it was owned by the Wrights, it still wouldn’t be a wrighting table, it would be a writing table. Right? Right!

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Somebody read Hansel and Gretel  a few too many times as a child.

Nobody will hear people yelling  “What hath God wrought?” if you  found children in these wrought iron bird cages.

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I knew what somebody meant, but it still made me laugh.

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Using my trusty BING Translator I discovered somebody used a Swedish word  to sell a German figurine.

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Cool thing for a reasonable price, but didn’t somebody listen to all the VCV  and VCCV lectures?

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“THIS IS A EXIT DOOR ONLY”

Technically, this is a grammatical error, but is still funny.  The laughing only increased when I was so busy criticizing the sign, I didn’t read the sign and walked right into the door.  It wouldn’t open, ya’ know, because it was an exit door only. My dear mother had to console me with an ice-cream cone.

 

As much as poor spelling catches my eye and makes me laugh, the fact is, we all misspell words.

Sometimes we’re  in a hurry.

Lack of sleep or illness makes our brain fuzzy.

It might be a keyboard error. 

Or, you might be a good writer who can’t spell. After homeschooling and reading about spelling curriculums for years, I discovered a shared conclusion.

You  can either spell naturally or you can’t.

The general opinion is that a spelling curriculum can improve your spelling, but can’t make you a great speller.

You don’t have to be a good speller to be a good writer, but your inspired writing can’t have spelling errors. I read on an an editor’s website he’ll turn down a book proposal if it has incorrect margins and two spelling errors. His guidelines are posted and he expects you to follow them. He also assumes if you aren’t serious about your spelling, you won’t be serious about your writing.

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You don’t want someone to disregard your writing or use it for blog fodder.

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Do You Carry a Blanket Like Linus?

 

Anyone who creates anything experiences insecurity.

Whether we paint, photograph, sew, craft, carve, cartoon or write we share the same fears – will others appreciate what we birthed? Are we good enough?  Should we quit?

Linus, the famous blanket-carrying genius from the Snoopy cartoon, wore his insecurities quietly alongside his intelligence.  You noticed  both, but didn’t care about either.  You just liked Linus.

Criticism is good.  We need to improve. Critiques with valid advice and experience help us grow. It’s accepting the surgeon’s knife.

Criticism is bad.  We need to feel confident in our talents, abilities and our calling. Unhealthy criticism with a goal to destroy instead of improve is being stabbed in a back alley.

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Insecurity grows when we don’t know how to use Linus’ security blanket. Snuggle into the good criticism to grow in your craft and your confidence. Shield yourself from the bad criticism. 

You’re insecure?  Get over it!