Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Hogmanay

Are you sitting there, wondering what this word is? I would have until today. I signed up for a new word each day on Doctor Dictionary. Great way for a writer to build vocabulary. And today's word was...

Hogmanay \hog-muh-NAY; HOG-muh-nay\, noun: The name, in Scotland, for New Year's Eve, on which children go about singing and asking for gifts; also, a gift, cake, or treat given on New Year's Eve.

Pretty cool, I thought. Yeah, that's good blog material. So what's the point? Let's explore that, shall we?

Let me show you my train of thought here. In my mind, I'm thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2006. Everyone's posting their goals, and I'm doing everything I can to avoid it. Why?

Now here is what my heart is saying.

In 2006, I want to love more, pray more, worship God more, play more, relax more, celebrate more, enjoy my family more, serve more, learn more, read more, go for walks more, write more, BE MORE...

These aren't goals. They're desires, but from them goals will form. Stay tuned for those on New Years Day. One has me shaking in my writing chair.

But here's an idea that hit me at 3 am. I can't do this life alone, and neither can you. According to God, we dont have to. We're His children, his tools.

I got an idea. Want to hear it? Here goes.

It's Hogmanay. Knock on my door and ask for a gift. Tell me a need. A physical one. If I can fill it, I will. There is a fee though. You have to do it for someone else.

Let's see what happens with this. If you see a comment for a need you can fill, leave a comment saying so. I'm serious here. No jokes. I'll start with one. That person will do one. Let's see how many lives we can touch.

There's the comment button. Are you going to click it?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Tribute to Melody Belz

The picture above shows the candles lit in honor of Melody Belz. Melody was Jewish, so I found these floating candles that have tiny Manorahs on them. Since yesterday was the start of Chanukah, I thought this would be an appropriate way to remember someone special.

Melody was a dear friend of my mother-in-law's. Melody's children grew up with my husband and his brothers. They were neighbors, they were friends, they were family.

Earlier this year, lung cancer claimed Melody's life. It was a loss deeply felt by the Millers. My mother-in-law lost a deep connection in her life. I know they talked almost everyday despite the 800 plus miles separating them.

I feel privileged to have known Melody, even if we met only occassionally. I know how much she meant to the family I call my own. So, in honor of Melody, may these candles burn in her honor and memory.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Reflections

Here's this year's Christmas tree. I think it's one of the prettiest trees we've gotten. Just the right shape, tall and thin, to fit in its predestined spot.

I'm amazed at how our roles in the decorating process have shifted. Dad still does his he-man act, getting the tree into the base and into the house. Mom (that's me!) strings the lights on the branches and the pretty glitzy ribbon. But my two girls are older now and have taken on "ornament duty." I loved watching them place the ornaments on the branches, asking again the stories behind each one. Some of the sparklies are from my husband's childhood, some are from our travels in Europe, some were gifts from dear ones, and others commemorate the birth and stages of our girls. The tree is an decorative representation of our lives, precious and meaningful.

Several years ago I bought one of those Christmas Words magnet sets for our refrigerator. My family had a ball playing with it and actually created our Christmas card that year from what we wrote. Here's what two adults and two children can do with magnetic words:

The icy cold of morning,
the snowy storm of night.
Christmas LOVE is warming,
at the fire’s light.

Sweet songs of yuletide,
drift through the Christmas cheer.
Hearts sing like an angel,
for PEACE has come so near.

Dawning is the gift,
in the form of one small boy.
Given us so long ago,
Assuring lasting JOY.

May the GOD of LOVE, PEACE and JOY bless you richly now and for the New Year.

C H R I S T M A S !

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Landmark Day

Have you ever noticed now certain days or events hold special meaning? You can almost feel it in your bones. Today was one for me. My oldest daughter turned sixteen.

Last night, at midnight, she came out of her room, face shining brighter than the lights on the Christmas tree. Her excitement was tangible. She whispered to me, "I'm sixteen."

I had this sudden urge to tell her about her birth. She'd heard bits and pieces over the years but for some reason it seemed the appropriate thing to do. She sat down next to me at my bidding.

I think she just humored me. (grin) And that's okay, because I don't think it was for her benefit anyway. I think it was for mine. The memories came back in a rush, more clear and vivid than usual. I could even remember the feel of my lips on her tightly screwed face as I kissed my new little girl for the first time. My daughter laughed at my recounts of her birth and my stumblings into motherhood.

It was the beginning of a her special day of celebration and my introspective day of this journey called life.

So precious. I treasure not only the memories but also the new memory of this landmark day. And I'm sure plenty more are to come.

Friday, December 16, 2005

One Winner and Two Christmas Lists

Thanks to everyone who commented. Lynetta is now the proud owner of a copy of Made of Honor. Don't you just love that title? I do.

Now, for a little fun. What are your five favorite and least favorite things about Christmas? Leave me some comments over the weekend. Let's have some fun with this.

Here are my lists:

1. Making cookies with my daughters.
2. Finding the exact gift and knowing the person will LOVE it.
3. Watching the lights twinkle on the tree.
4. Marveling that Jesus was once a little baby and wondering if he knew who he was.
5. Watching the advent quilt fill up with ornaments and lighting the advent candles.

Least Favorites
1. Shopping (LOL, not that does not negate #2 above)
2. Trying to keep up with everything that has to be done.
3. The end of Christmas vacation (no, I will not call it Winter Break.LOL!)
4. Gaining weight. (We should be allowed to eat all the yummies one time in the year without paying for it!
5. Not being with my family.

Okay, your turn. Leave comments here or do it on your blog. If you do, let me know so I can come visit!

God bless and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Interview with Marilynn Griffith

Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing Marilynn Griffith, author of Made of Honor.

DM: Hi, Mary. It’s great to have you here. I understand Made of Honor is your first book to be released but not the first book you’ve sold.

MG: Right. It’s a little confusing, but I actually sold Pink first. Due to scheduling changes, Made of Honor will be released first even though it was contracted second. Does any of this make sense? Sometimes it doesn’t to me.

DM: Made of Honor is a chick-lit. What is it that you like best about this genre?

MG: The chick. It’s nice to really see into a woman’s head and realize that she’s not perfect. She runs her pantyhose and envies her friends and loves God. She’s not perfect but she’s trying. I love those types of characters. I feel like they could be my friends, too.

DM: For this story, what came to you first, the storyline or the characters?

MG: Hmmm…the characters, I think. I know they both came at different times.

DM: Now, your first book’s in print and due to be released December 27th. What has been your favorite part of the journey from unpubbed to published writer?

MG: Each little development meant a lot, the galleys, the cover, the cover flats, my author copies. All of it. I cried when my author copies arrived and I realized what they were.

DM: Least favorite part?

MG: The waiting, revising, waiting, revising again, waiting… You get the idea. It’s a part of publishing though.

DM: The spiritual journey your characters undertake, did you draw upon your own experiences and growth, both past a present? And how does "living" this journey with them affect you now?

MG: Dana’s journey was the journey I was going through while writing Made of Honor and to an extent, the journey I’m still on. It’s a woman who has to learn how to let God love her. She knows how to love God, but she’s having to learn how to let God love her. All that juicy beloved stuff can be really overwhelming, but it’s good.

DM: I know sometimes our characters can do things to surprise us. Did this happen for you and can you share one without giving away too much of your story?

MG: This is hard to explain without giving too much away, but let’s just say that Dana wasn’t supposed to do something, but when the time came, she looked at me and said, “Girl, please.” And she went for it, leaving me huffing and puffing behind her.

DM: So what’s next on the horizon? What new releases can we be waiting for?

MG: Let’s see. Pink is next from Revell in February. That one is about a fashion designer who has to make a million dollar wedding dress for the woman who stole her fiance’. Then there’s Jade in June from Revell. That one is about another designer at Garments of Praise fashion design. She’s caring for her mother and has no time for love, but it finds her anyway. If the Shoe Fits, the follow up to Made of Honor, will release sometime in late 2006 from Steeple Hill CafĂ©. It’s about Rochelle, a shoe designer and Dana’s single mom friend. She got pregnant in high school and hasn’t really dated since. She signs up for a Christian dating service with some pretty hilarious results.

DM: What would you like your readers to know about Made of Honor?

MG: Made of Honor is a funny story, but there’s lots of other stuff in there too. It’d make a great gift for a group of friends, a wedding party, sisters or well, anybody! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. You are fearfully and wonderfully made!

DM: Thanks for sharing with us, Mary. It’s been such a pleasure having you here!

Be sure to leave Mary any comments you’d like her to get. I’ll forward them on to her. And if you do comment, you’ll be entered to win a copy of her book, Made of Honor, at the end of the week. You can also visit her website at Thanks for joining us!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Somewhere Between Death and Sleep

It's that strange little place where you know you're on your feet, but you just don't know how. Ever been there? (Insert maniacal giggle here.) Well, I'm there. Care to join me?

The only cause I can identify is the simple existence of the month of December and all the accouterments and events which fall in this somewhat fiendish month. No, I am not Mrs. Scrooge. I am simply a tired woman who has fallen victim to all this self induced chaos.

Have I talked you in circles yet? Yes? Well, then we have something in common.

The list goes on. (Insert moment of sanity here.) This month kills me every year. I have two daughters and both of their birthdays fall in December. Thus, in addition to all the school activities and Chistmas shopping (which I have yet to begin), I have two birthdays to buy and plan for. Am I complaining? Absolutely yes. But just a little. These two gems are worth every wrinkle.

Now back to chaos. A solution to all the hub-bub still eludes me as is evident by the exhaustion sagging through my body. I trudge on to the next task, determined to persevere. A running dialogue in my mind attempts to convince me this will all end soon. The delusion is immense. Parts of my brain shut down in a bizarre replication of an emergency computer back-up.

Eyes heavy, body weary, I fall into bed, pray my heart out for protection and strength, giving thanks for every twisted moment of it. Am I darranged? I'll let you to decide. The voting booth is disguised below under the word "comment."

Deck the shoppers who walk so lazy,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
'Tis the season that makes me crazy,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Stop me now, before I lose it,
Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la
Tell them all I'm no longer lucid,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Merry Christmas to all and to all a very bizarre night.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Double Tagged!

Tagged again by Ron AND Robin, so double grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Looks like a fun one, though. Let's see how I do.

Seven Things to Do Before I Die (Lord willing):
1. Publish several books
2. Spend a week at a monestary
3. Spend a week each year writing in a cabin with my buds. ;-)
4. Lose the twenty pounds I've been trying to lose for the last five years.
5. See my daughters marry the men God is preparing for them now.
6. Hold my grandbabies.
7. Grow old with my wonderful hubby.

Seven Things I Cannot Do:
1. Deny Christ
2. Resist a second piece of chocolate
3. Skip reading my Bible for more than a day
4. Leap tall buildings in a single bound
5. Grow orchids
6. Stay in my daughter's messy room
7. Bathe a cat

Seven Things that Attract Me to My Spouse [romantic interest, best friend, whomever](not necessarily in this order!):
1. His hands
2. His smile
3. His laugh
4. His ability to be positive in EVERY situation
5. His playfulness
6. The dimples in his cheeks when he smiles really big
7. When he's being a dad to his two daughters

Seven Things I Say (or write!) Most Often:
1. No Way!
2. Yeah, right
3. You have got to be kidding
4. Just shoot me now!
5. Bummer
6. That's great!
7. Where's the nearest Starbucks?

Seven Books (or series) I Love:
1. The Dragon Star series by Melanie Rawn
2. The King Author's Camelot series by Lady Mary Stewart
3. The Stand by Stephen King
4. Thr3e by Tedd Dekker
5. 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt
6. Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead
7. Ender's Game by Orsen Scott Card

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again:
1. Pride and Prejudice (BBC version)
2. Princess Diaries
3. Princess Diaries 2
4. Bridget Jones Diary
5. A Wedding Date
6. Serenity
7. You've Got Mail

Seven People I Want to Join in: (be tagged)
1. Jeff
2. Jennifer Tiszai
3. Deb Raney
4. Brandilyn Collins (ganging up on her with Ron, LOL!)
5. Ronie Kendig
6. Camy Tang (yes, again!)
7. Lynetta

There, I did it! Have fun, you guys.