Sunday, July 30, 2006

Web-Published

It's weird...my first coauthored book hit the shelves four years ago, the second one two years ago, and I'm working on a third. I've also written news articles for local papers and ministries. But I still get a huge thrill out of having my first article published on the web. If you weren't one of the friends or family who received my email notice about it, you can find the article here. It's at Crosswalk.com, and I owe it all to the Lord, who helped a friend whom I worked with many years ago and who currently has a need for writers remember that old buddy of his who has written a couple of books about women's ministry. And oh, he needs stuff pertaining to women. Go figure. It's great being a part of God's family.

The article gives a nuts and bolts approach to mentoring, with suggestions on how to begin such a relationship, how to structure it, etc. Thanks for the opportunity, Shawn!


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Books...Good, Bad, and Ugly

I got tagged by Sandi (who got tagged by her friend Heather, who got tagged...yeah, it's like a blog chain letter, but it's about books, so I can live with it) to answer the following questions about books. Here goes:

1. One book that changed your life: Anne of Green Gables
2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (and all its sequels)

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Gilligan's Cookbook & the Skipper's Too (or to pass the time, probably the entire Outlander series bound together--there is enough sheer volume, character, and plot to keep me entertained for weeks)

4. One book that made you laugh: The Ties That Bind (and Gag) - Erma Bombeck
5. One book that made you cry: A Severe Mercy (by far the one that has caused the most sobbing...I was embarrassed to be seen reading it)

6. One book that you wish had been written: Your Kids: Guaranteed Godly

7. One book that you wish had never been written: Prayer of Jabez
8. One book you’re currently reading: can you believe I'm between books? (Just finished When Life and Belief Collide)
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Blue Like Jazz

10. Now tag five people: uhh...let's make it four: Erin, Shawn, Dorie, Courtney

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pine Cove Connections

I got a wonderful surprise today. My old friend Frostbite popped up on my Yahoo IM, after an absence of at least three years. Last I'd heard from him, he was a new Daddy, was living somewhere on the East Coast (VA or NC, I was never sure), and enjoying his editorial job at christianity.com. But like I said, it has been a few years.

I guess I should explain his name. He's really named Shawn, but he knows me as Edelweiss, one of those creative, unique names we were given as counselors at Pine Cove. We were there in our glory days--you know, college summers. When we had enough energy and confidence to wear swimsuits all day under our t-shirts because we knew a water war would inevitably break out. Frosty and I taught middle-schoolers archery. On rainy days--yes, there were a few of them back then--we'd regal them with bloody, gory stories from the Old Testament book of Judges. They loved it!

Shawn and I remained friends, but weddings, job, and kids eventually parted our paths. He is now the Faith Editor at Crosswalk.com, based out of Virginia. I was thrilled to hear from him, and get an update on his life. The bonus came when he asked me to consider submitting some articles for his web site! He's quite a writer himself, but of course he needs a lot of contributing writers to fill the needs of his readers. You can read one of his recent articles (about Pine Cove, no less) here.

Regardless of the freelance potential, I'm just glad he popped back in to my life today!
Cholesterol Results & Other News

185...I'm told that anything below 200 is good. Yay for oatmeal!

For you family types who might be reading this, I'm headed to Baton Rouge next Friday (Aug 4) for a visit with Mom, Derek, and anyone else who might want to see my kids. John will be working on teacher inservice--school starts the next week--so it will be just me and the kids in our new van, taking it for its first roadtrip. Hurrah for the video system!

Are you a mother of youngsters living in the Dallas area? You might be interested in some last minute activities--FREE--for the kids. AMC Theaters across town are offering free kid movies on Wednesday mornings, 10:30. Today it was Shrek 2 (we skipped it). Last week I took the boys and met some friends to see Ice Age. Next Wed. it's A Shark's Tale, and on the final Wed of the summer (8/9) they are playing Madagascar. Adults and children welcome. Something fun to do on a hot summer day. Get tickets early or just walk up to the booth that morning.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Back to our Scottish Roots

John and I are trying to qualify for better rates on our life insurance policies, so the company sent out a nurse yesterday to administer mini-physicals on both of us. We are still waiting on the cholesterol results, but our blood pressures were both fantastic. I was pleased to see that I'd lost about 3 to 5 pounds in the last few months. I'm not actively trying to, though I wish the baby weight would magically disappear. I'm still nursing Maggie, and that's my excuse not to truly diet. "But I'm not supposed to!" Uh-huh.

Anyway, the scale only confirmed what I'd recently thought. Some capris, given to me at Mother's Day, did not fit well. Though my body mostly fit into them, there was no way I'd wear them in public if you get my drift. So they have sat on my closet shelf for about two months. Last week I tried them on again, and--holy shmoly--I've got a new pair of capris to wear. Woo-hoo! Not only that, but my larger capris are quite baggy now, riding low on my hips. This is a good thing!

So, since we've already established that I'm not dieting, how did this happen? And will it continue? My theory centers around my new breakfast staple, and the old Scottish favorite--oatmeal.

I had called a friend who battles high cholesterol, asking for advice on how to lower it naturally. "Oatmeal!" came the reply. "Fresh fruit, no starches..." So I began having a bowl of oats each morning...flavored, of course. It's been at least a month now. (John went the fresh fruit & yogurt route.) We wash it all down with coffee :) So far, so good. The weight loss is encouraging. I'll let you know when the cholesterol results come in.

Did you know... Oatmeal (porridge if you live across the Pond) is the only whole grain recognized by the US FDA to help reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Read this article to see how the FDA discovered oatmeal's health benefits.

John's Scottish ancestors would have every right to say"Och, we telt ye hit wis suithfast!" ("we told you so!").

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Team Writing

My coauthor, Sue, and I have recently begun destroying a small forest...we bring ever-growing piles of chapter drafts to our weekly editorial meetings. Each chapter is at least 12 pages and bears many red or blue scribbles, scratch outs, and new ideas. These meetings also include two women who believe in the message of our WIP (work in progress). Eva and Lesa have enthusiastically offered their editorial, research, and writing support. While Sue and I began this work back in January (officially), we started meeting as a foursome only in late May. But what a team God has put together!

Eva is Sue's student intern at DTS. She asked to use her intern hours--400 of them--on this WIP, which addresses the biblical definition of the church as family, specifically focusing on men and women as brothers and sisters in Christ. Eva's interest in ancient Jewish culture and her research talents are proving to be of great value to us. She is about to present us with a chapter introduction that she has re-written on her own.

Lesa is a former student of my friend Sandi, the Christian journalism and creative writing professor at Dallas Seminary. I'm still not sure how she heard about this project, but I'm so glad she did. Lesa works for a non-profit in Dallas, so she brings perspective from the business world. Her husband is a pastor, so she has a long history of ministry as well. Not to mention her writing skills (she's a freelance book reviewer for the Dallas Morning News' Religion section--see her latest review here). Her insight and edits help sharpen our writing each week.

When Sue and I first proposed this book to our publisher, we knew it would be much more difficult to write than the first two. This one speaks to a wider audience and will need wider input. We planned on seeking male leaders to help write the sections directed towards men specifically (still do). We knew we'd have to interview lots of people (still do). But we didn't know that we'd need a team of writers, editors and researchers to make this project sing. Just a few weeks of working together has made a huge difference. What a wonderful gift these girls have been to us! Knowing she has a team of editors has freed Sue up to write like crazy. She has pumped out at least 8 chapters--all first drafts-- in the last six weeks. I've written, oh let's see...One. All by myself, until the girls got ahold of it. But that's how it works with a team. Sue and I might be the principal writers, but the end result will be a team effort, and we won't be able to distinguish one's words from another.

The book will be the better for it.