Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunshine, Salty Air, Seafood and.... A Contract?

I've just returned from MY beach, the gorgeous Emerald Isle, N.C. Never mind the other thousands of visitors along side me last week. I still think God created that beach just for me! It was wonderful. We enjoyed picturesque days filled with sunshine, salty air and lots of seafood. I was able to play with my family and squeeze in some much needed reading and writing time too. Our fifth wheel had to be at least 500 pounds heavier since I carried part of my library with me, and of course we visited the book store as soon as we got down there which only added more.

Ben turned the big eight on this trip. We celebrated by going to the go-cart track, and he drove his own cart for the very first time! His daddy looked so proud and I had the most difficult time convincing Caroline that she was too little to "drive." Right now Caroline's only ambition in life is to do everything that Ben does.... but better! I think this may just be Caroline's only summer in ballet, she would rather be driving go-carts.

I was able to sneak away sporadically to get some writing time in. I wrote several poems and worked on a biography too. I read Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome, and although I haven't finished it yet, it is by far one of the most exquisite pieces I've ever read. She is a master with descriptive language!

We drove in yesterday evening, and I climbed out of the truck to gather my mail. I quickly scanned through the massive pile of catalogs, junk, and bills and found one of my SASE which I just knew was a rejection. I tossed the mail aside and returned about an hour later to read my "rejection." Much to my surprise, it contained a contract! I sold my first children's short story to The Friend magazine. I couldn't be more thrilled! Usually when I get my SASE back in the mail, they contain rejections, and this was the first time one EVER contained good news. I'm still floating 24 hours later. It never ceases to amaze me, that someone would actually pay me for the "stuff" in my head! As Edith Wharton said,

" I was to appear in print! As long as I live, I shall never forget my sensations."

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Eight Things You Never Knew About Me

Today I was invited to play a game with some fellow writers. I have been "tagged" to write eight characteristics about myself... hmm. I've never been one to talk a lot about myself - other people maybe, but not myself! Anyhow, I'll give it my best shot.

1) I love to paint, not like Monet... I mean I enjoy painting big white walls, or ugly walls. I love the satisfaction it brings; taking something icky and turning it into something pretty. I love going to yard sales or antique shops and finding old furniture. I can strip it down and either re-stain it, or paint it and viola! It becomes a work of art in my living room. My husband thinks I'm weird but I love the smell of it too.

2) I enjoy talking to strangers in hospital waiting rooms. I love to scan the room, and look for the person who looks the most upset and who needs a friend. I've met some of the most precious people this way. Folks are always anxious to talk, but very few are willing to listen.

3) My bathroom is my favorite room in the house. Maybe this is because its the only place that I can truly be alone. I have a large garden tub, and it is my retreat every night after I finish the dishes.

4) I'm a 4th generation Roanoker. Ok, so I live in Boones Mill, maybe I should say the Roanoke Valley! My great grandfather was an attorney in Roanoke in the early 1900s. He also owned 80 acres here in Franklin Co. on the Blackwater River. My husband is also a 4th generation Roanoker. We were high school sweethearts, and dated 7 years before marrying in 1996. Both of our families settled in Virginia in the mid 1600s, and we've been here ever since. Maybe that's why we're both so stubborn, in runs deep in our genes.

5) I unknowingly participated in my first writing contest was when I was 12 years old. I wrote a poem for one of my favorite teachers at Cave Spring, and without my knowledge she submitted it to a contest. One day at school the winners were announced and I won 3rd place. Of course I was shocked since I didn't know I entered! Little did she know how she affected me that day. A good teacher can change lives, and a bad one can mark a kid forever.

6) I thoroughly enjoy being with people, but I go crazy if I don't have alone time. My husband always worries about me if I'm going to go somewhere by myself. A year ago, I begged him to take the children on a weekend camping trip so that I could unwind. He was worried that he did something wrong. Nothing could have been further from the truth! I talked him into going for 3 days while I had a blast painting my son's bedroom, watching Lifetime movies until all hours of the night, and treating myself to a pedicure over at Zees Salon!

7) I absolutely love Jesus Christ. He is more than religion, He is my life. You don't discover who you really are and what you're made of until you've hit rock bottom. I've hit some major boulders in my life in the past 10 years that made me question everything, and I mean everything. It is an unexplainable privilege to talk with the Creator of the universe, and if more people could grasp that, and let go of pious, ritual, and legalistic religion, the world would be a better place.

8) I absolutely love music and I listen to it everywhere. I enjoy all genres except for hip hop, I just can' t get into it. I love a song that moves me to tears. I think one of the greatest songs ever written is, I Hope You Dance, by Lee Ann Womack, and another is I Can Only Imagine, by Mercy Me.

Ok, there is eight. That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be -- That's sort of scary! I must be getting old. Now I've got to paint. I just got back from the new Home Depot store on Rt. 220. Its wonderful! I'm going to try a new metallic paint by Ralph Lauren. If I'm really in a brave mood, I may even try adding some stripes!

Good thing my hubby is out mowing the grass.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Ballet, Bacon and Birthday Supplies

Memorial Day has come and gone and summer is in full swing... and so are my children. From dawn til dusk they go at it. Siblings share such a strange love, don't they? One minute they are playing so well together and the next minute both of them are crying in frustration. I've asked other moms if their children are competitive with one another, and they look at me as if I'm an alien.

My children compete over EVERYTHING. They race to see who gets to the door knob first, and whoever wins gets to open the door. As they sit in the back seat of the car, they race to see who can sing the song faster. Louder and louder they both sing, as they try to out do the other. I feel like I'm losing what little mind I have left!

Caroline started ballet this week. She looked adorable in her pink leotard, tights and slippers. Ben followed me into the studio when I picked her up yesterday, and to his utter dismay, she was given a marsh mellow upon completion of her lesson. He stewed about it for the next hour. Never mind that we just spent $27 on his birthday party supplies while she was dancing. Heaven forbid, Caroline got a marsh mellow!

I've put off going to the grocery store all week because I don't want to hear them argue over who gets to push the cart, what cereal we buy, and who can put the most pieces of gum in their mouth at one time! At 6:00 tonight, I was digging through my cabinets trying to find anything to fix for supper. I finally found a box of pancake mix hidden behind a box of Uncle Ben's rice and through on some bacon to go with it. Breakfast for dinner... and wouldn't you know they fought over how many pancakes they could eat!

Needless to say my writing time has dwindled down to stolen moments of bliss in between playing referee. Ugh! I'm even blogging about it - Only 75 more days until school starts!