Sunday, May 31, 2009
"What are they really called, Mom?"
Uh ... what ARE they really called? It's been "owie" for more than decade. "Wounds?" I quavered. Sure, that sounds good. Come on, people, what's the grown up word??
Random God moment: Someone I know works at a company with a French name, La Cie, and she had asked me what it means. I knew "ciel" was sky, but I couldn't figure out "cie." Happened to think of it just now and checked my French dictionary. Guess what I found? Well, for one thing, it's not a listed word ... BUT I was astounded to find a check I'd misplaced weeks ago tucked between it's pages!
I'm still in the middle of a full length edit, so haven't had much time to work on blog posts, but I've got a great one coming tomorrow for those of you who've heard about ACFW, but don't know if it would be a good fit.
This week has been a reality check on single-momming and being divorced. A few circumstances changed--and as I head into the hard-to-find-a-sub-job-when-it-is-summer months--I found myself running to God in prayer on a hourly, if not more often, basis.
Last night I was pushing myself to get to a certain page on the client's edit, but I found I was rereading the same paragraph and not paying attention. I'd mentally chide myself and go back up to my last conscious thought, only to have my mind wander again. Took me about an hour to realize that God was trying to talk to me, and I was too busy to listen. I put the project aside for a time, talked with my parents and to God, received what He was impressing on my heart, then zoomed through the rest of the pages.
If that happens again, I hope I'll recognize it and say, like Eli instructed Samuel to say, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening!"
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I thought I should use the same theory toward junior high and high schoolers that is used for dogs: never let them smell your fear! I DID pray over the empty classroom at the start of the day ...
One of my duties was supervising the coolest elective ever ... intro to guitar. Since it's so late in the semester, the kids practiced their final song for the whole class. Basically, it was a cool jam session. I SO would have taken a class like that if it'd been offered.
Last week was the first time I taught. Coincidentally, Andrea's class needed a teacher. How cool to have my first day in a classroom with my daughter and kids I've known for the last four years! Again and again, I've seen God's graciousness in easing me into a "career" that could well cause me much fear and trembling. By subbing for the classified positions, I was able to attend quite a few of the classes at the high school and know the atmosphere of the classes and teaching styles of a few teachers.
Back to 3rd/4th grade--in an effort to not give preferential treatment, I probably overly-avoided calling on Andrea for answers. Poor girl. But the class said I was the best substitute ever ... and I didn't even give them candy!
Each day has been fulfilling, challenging, exciting, and humbling. There's a big difference between elementary kids and high schoolers. In and of themselves, I enjoy people of all ages and backgrounds. The IDEA of a HS class can be much worse than a reality. (Though I was talking to Charee, a friend from high school, about how many times our classes would make a substitute cry!) Really, the classes were full of interesting and complicated souls, each with his/her own story. In the case of the seniors, they will soon be making their way into the world. A scary but invigorating time.
What about you? Were you nice to the subs in your schools? Got any crazy stories? We had a substitute that spent the entire class period telling jokes. He had a new repertoire every time, too! Here's one I remember:
Three samurais are in a competition. The first says, "See that fly? I can cut it into half." He swings his sword, and the fly falls in two pieces to the ground. The second samurai says, "That's nothing! I can cut a fly into four pieces." And another dead fly falls, but in quarters. The third samurai just looks at them, then swings his sword at another fly, which flies away. "You missed him!" his competitors jeer.
"No," the third samurai replies, "that fly will never have children."
Monday, May 25, 2009
Maybe you're home relaxing on this beautiful Memorial Day. Maybe you're wishing for a good book to read RIGHT NOW on your Kindle. Allow me to be at your service!
May I recommend Ann Shorey's debut novel, The Edge of Light? Set in Missouri in the 1830s, this book defies the usual conventions of a historical. After Molly McGarvie's husband dies, she faces obstacle after obstacle: degenerating familial relationships, the unrest still swirling around slavery and the Underground Railroad, and the difficulty of keeping her family together.
I received this book months ago, but didn't have a chance to read it until during the divorce. Ann's tagline is Yesterday's Women--Today's Issues. Boy, did she get that right! I was struck, time and time again as I read, how alike Molly's struggles were to my own. Trying to make our own way in a world more suited to men--or at least a childless woman. Dealing with loss, but also an awakening to the world that awaits. Denying attraction to any other man. Balancing a compulsion to work to make money for one's family, while needing to spend time tightening and reassuring family bonds. The overwhelming responsibility of being sole provider. The questioning of whether hard choices made are right or not. Deciding where to live. Mostly, the seeking after what God wants in our lives.
With fresh writing, strong characters, and an unusual plot line, Ann creates a hunger for the next book in the At Home in Beldon Grove series.
Here's a little bit more about Ann and the book, plus a picture of us from last year: (I think I need to get longer arms for better pictures!)
1. How much of yourself do you write into your characters?
A little bit of myself finds it way into most of my female characters. In The Edge of Light, the little girl, Luellen, is me as a child. A trial to my mom!
2. When did you first discover you were a writer?
When I was in high school. In my junior year we were given an assignment to write a story. When my English teacher handed the papers back, she encouraged me to continue writing. Before that, I'd made up stories and scenarios with my sister all through our childhood--I just didn't write them down.
3. What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I wrote a nonfiction family history, titled A Great Cloud of Witnesses, which was privately published in 1998. My family has been blessed with memoir writers, going back to an ancestor who fought in the American Revolution. However, my male ancestors did the writing, so I turned to fiction to tell the women's side of the story. The Edge of Light was inspired by the life of one of my great-great aunts.
The second book in the At Home in Beldon Grove series, titled The Promise of Morning, was also inspired by a female ancestor--my great-great grandmother. The Promise of Morning is scheduled for release in January, 2010.
4. What advice would you give an author just starting out?
Consider your first book or two as practice runs. There's no better way to learn to write fiction than to write and re-write. Take your writing seriously and don’t let anyone diminish your dreams. Go to every good conference you can afford and take the classes offered that pertain to your work.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Andrea and Joshua pushed very hard at the end to reach their goals. Because the program started last year, Joshua had only two years to complete three books. He recited the first six verses of John 14 to pass his last book in the final week!
My devotion that night "happened" to be from Luke 8:15 (The Message): "But the seed in the good earth--these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there's a harvest."
Here are a few of the mighty Sparky leaders. It was an honor to work with all of you!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
This morning, "Angel" and I drove to Les Schwab in Forest Grove after taking the big kids to school. "Look, Mommy! They're running!" she exclaimed. Yep, just like in the commercials, the man ran right out to my car. :-)
Within a hour I was walking out of there leakfree and not a cent poorer. And Angel was full of free popcorn. Turns out a bit of chain was lodged in the tube. Les Schwab--champion of the single mother!
I (heart) my Prius. My writer friend, Sandy Glahn, just bought one and is in love. She likens it to playing a video game while driving. Seeing the car through her eyes reminds me of much I love my silver pine mica baby. Just as in a marriage, the driver/Prius relationship only gets better with time.
I (heart) good evaluations. Our results from the OCW conference workshop were Good^2 and Super^7. Maybe they might ask us back sometime. ;-) If anyone hated it, they didn't turn their evaluations in ... or they might have been "misplaced." Always got to keep on eye on Mom, ya know?
I (heart) breakfast for dinner. Here's a quick and easy recipe for breakfast casserole:
8 oz shredded jack (we were out of Colby jack tonight, so we went with cheddar)
8 slices bacon, crumbled (I use the whole package!)
4 green onion tops, sliced and cooked in the bacon grease (if you don't like green onions, you still might give this a try. Generally, I'm not a big fan, but they're delicious in this)
1 c milk
1 tsp seasoning salt
Combine all ingredients, reserving 1/4 c cheese. Pour into greased 9x13 for 35 minutes @ 350. Sprinkle remaining cheese and bake 5 mins.
Pair with applesauce and Cinnamon rolls ... yum!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
A momentous occasion as a few members of the Redeemed Writers gather to tour one of the top five Christian publishers ... Kristen Johnson, Sherrie Ashcraft, Miriam Cheney, et moi
(The tail of the Prius is the perfect height for timer photography!)
We always called the mixing-up of a group, usually done at a stop sign, the "Chinese fire drill" ... anyone know of a PC term?
Mom posing with Betty Fletcher and Kim
Awed by the hugeness!
Kickin' it with Kim in her office
Using the timer, so didn't realize the "lean" wasn't necessary to fit in the frame. :-)
Without the "lean"--on our way to dinner
If you're ever in Eugene around dinnertime and aren't a vegetarian, you must try The Hole in the Wall barbecue joint. Yummy!
Mom and me outside Northwest Christian University the next day. We look so happy because our workshop went wonderfully--lots of discussion, lively laughter (which is a rarity in the afternoon hours), and (hopefully) good content.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Congratulations to all, but an extra special shout-out to the ladies who so often leave comments here. Of course, I also read their blogs. :-) In fact, that's where I'm headed next. Way to go, Ashley, Jennifer, Ane, Patty, and Jody--you DOUBLE FINALIST, you!
David W. Fry
Christy LaShea Smith
Eileen Astels Watson
Jody Hedlund (double finalist with two entries)
Mary F. Allen
Kelly Ann Riley
SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY/SPECULATIVE FICTION:
Marie Wells Coutu
Kasey L. Heinly
Diana Sharples (double finalist with two entries)
Monday, May 11, 2009
Out of only the last 100 visitors, there's an amazing variety.
Wowsers! That's a little humbling ... Better make sure I offer you all something that's of worth!
Saturday, May 09, 2009
When I arrived at her house, like the typical date, she wasn't quite ready. We went to Subway for dinner and drove the back way to Rolling Hills, the venue where I last saw Anita Renfroe. (Incidentally, it's also were I first saw Anita Renfroe.) The parking lot was packed, which upped our excitement, but that was nothing compared with what happened next ...
Because of the crowd and in case we got separated, Sandy handed me my ticket. I looked at the price, I looked at the seats, and something jumped of the page at me: VIP!!! We started jumping up and down.
The usher pointed us to the SECOND row, off to the right. We meandered down to the right spot and counted the seats as they weren't numbered and ours were the 13th and 14th. There were only twelve seats in the row. What? Yep, our seats didn't exist. Even though Revive was just taking the stage, the usher sent us out to Will Call to be reassigned.
Sandy and I decided that the least they could do after giving us nonexistent seats was to let us meet-and-greet with the bands after the show. Other people were gathered around the event coordinator saying their seats, too, weren't there. She reassigned a few, giving them T-shirts to make up for the hassle. When she took our tickets, however, she broke into a smile. "I was able to get you better seats!"
Oh, yeah! She took us front and center. Turns out that the speakers were larger than they had anticipated, so the seats that were off to the side were brought up to the front and tucked into the strip of walkway in front of the stage.
The camera guy getting a good shot ...
Revive rocks out ... Billboard magazine named them 1 of 15 "Faces to Watch for 2009"
And, coming from Australia, where they first toured with Third Day, they had great accents.
Brandon Heath takes the stage ...
He won THREE Dove awards last week ...
Just to show you how close we were, here's pic of the mic ...
And the stand ...
Third Day's pastor. What a cool job that would be to travel around with the band and speak truth into their lives! If any of you were there and heard him say, "I'll take you!" to a screaming fan after discussing do a World Vision trip with only Third Day fans ... that was ME. ;-)
THE Mac Powell, who Sandy thinks is totally cute. I had to hold her back, but that's why I was there--to chaperon. ;-)
Time of audience participation ...
Guitar solo ...
Look, we're so close you can see the whites of his eyes!
And the whites of his teeth!
In the middle of the show, they went out into the center of the crowd for Third Day karaoke. Fans of all ages got to go up, request their favorite song, and sing with the band.
Even with as much entertainment as there was, the spiritual content was delicious. at one point, they had us put our hand on the person to our left and pray for them. Some of the lyrics brought me to tears, but the music and energy was a balm to my heart.
I'm so grateful to Sandy for taking me. I feel like God has put her in my life as a role model of a strong, content single woman. Plus, we have a lot of fun together!
I have some great video, but my connection won't let me load it :-( But wait, how can I have all these flash photos and videos. Have I crossed over to the dark side of lawlessness? Calm your beating hearts. One of the coolest thing about the nights was them saying they encouraged pictures and videos--as long as we posted them all over the internet!
Friday, May 08, 2009
Thursday, May 07, 2009
I thought with all the discussion about what to include in proposals, many of you might like to see WHY you need to include a market analysis and HOW it's used. I recently received the Moody catalog for July-October. Remember, bookstores order inventory from this.
(You can view the catalog here)
On the page below the picture of my book, The Familiar Stranger:
MARKET Adult fiction readers, women and men, who are interested in tales that weave the realities of life with a twist of fate; perfect for group reading and discussion; mystery and intrigue readers
I often stressed that I did not want a cover only a woman would read because I felt this book could be enjoyed by men. That translated directly into the copy. The book is technically not a mystery, but they were awesome to say it would appeal to mystery and intrigue readers because it has overtones of both. See how the market is broad enough to be profitable, but narrow enough to give an idea of the buyer?
Here's the paragraph on the next page, below Debbie Fuller Thomas' Raising Rain:
MARKET Primarily women readers; 40-65 years old; fiction lovers who desire a heartfelt story of families/relationships that are broken, the healing of past mistakes, and a God who's big enough to redeem any situation; readers who lived through the tumultuous late 1960s and early 1970s
Much more narrow on age range, but hits a huge part of the buying market. Does that mean only people in that category will purchase her book? No way! I was born in the late 70s, but I'll be buying a copy.
It's not just busy work: it's the way your publisher will sell your book!
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Ever heard of the ApologetiX? They're a Christian parody band that's hitting the stage at Newberg Christian Church May 9th at 7 PM. Fun for all ages as they say on the website, "Parents, bring your kids. Kids, bring your parents." A bunch of us from Wapato Valley Church will be there and I'd love to see you! Tickets are $10 advance purchase, $15 at the door. Just go to www.apologetix.com/concerts for more info.
Well, now you've got your fun planned for the weekend, but what about food? Mom just told me that Oprah is teaming with KFC to offer a two piece chicken meal to everyone in America! You can download up to four coupons per family. Just go to www.oprah.com to get your free family dinner. But hurry, you only have until 9:59 PM CDT tomorrow.
(Does this post sound like a commercial, or is it just me??? I get nothing from this, people, except the joy of knowing I've brought a fun opportunity into your life!)
Sunday, May 03, 2009
There's been some discussion on my facebook status concerning my humor. I asked everyone to pop by www.christinaberry.net/editing.aspx to see if the humor made the page feel unprofessional. The general consensus is that a client will find me out eventually, so I might as well be upfront. :-)
And, without further ado, a very punny letter from a shy, awkward girl who was entering a Miss Teen pageant. (NO COMMENTS needed on that!!!)
Dear Dr. Jones,
I'd just like to thank you, my dentist, for helping to bridge the gap between my dreams and my usual world. Your sponsorship gives me a shot at the crown of Miss Teen Oregon. Trying to scrape together the money for the pageant has really drilled the importance of doing my best into my mind. Learning to deal with the brush-offs has helped me to build up my character. I was quite numb with relief when I received all my sponsorships.
The pageant is in two weeks, and I find that plans for it are filling my mind. I'm getting a little anxious. The root of my anxiety lies in not knowing what to expect. I only hope that I will have the wisdom and determination to take full advantage of the wonderful opportunity.
Keep pulling for me,
Friday, May 01, 2009
For the last two months I have been struggling with a certain issue. At first it was the occasional thought, but over time it has increased in frequency. I would pray and ask God to remove it from my mind, but then life would put it--sometimes physically--in my path.
Yesterday was the toughest day. I could not go five minutes without being "tempted." I was losing the peace of the Holy Spirit I've had since the whole thing started. Every effort went into my mental battle. It was the first thought I had in the morning, the last before falling asleep.
I broke down in tears when praying in the car on my way to pick up Joshua from a friend's house. "Why, God? Your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Why is this so hard for me? Can't you give me some encouragement that I'm on the right path?" And then the song about man not understanding God's ways came on the radio.
A friend came by the house and told an entire story that applied to the issue without me saying a word.
Again later that night, reading Ashley's comment on the last post to my mother, I broke down in tears. "This," I said, "should not be my struggle. I should be having problems with missing Kevin, or trying not to worry about my future. Instead, I feel absolutely nothing for Kevin. It's like my feelings for him are completely dead, like a switch flipped."
(And I have total faith that God will take care of us. In fact, just today an expected check arrived, but was THREE times bigger than I thought it would be.)
Was the issue I was struggling with a sin? I had labeled it that way in my mind. I had decided when my life changed that I would go a certain path, and this was a tangent to the path I had plotted out. But did the Bible speak against it? No. Did I feel like God was telling me to not think that way? No.
All the struggle had come from inside myself. In fact, when I began to question whether it was right or wrong, I saw how it might lead to God's answer of a number of my prayers. "All right," I prayed, "here I've tried so hard to do the right thing because of what my mindset was, but maybe I was doing the wrong thing because the 'right' thing was not in obedience to You."
And the peace returned. I felt freedom to allow that thought in my mind. The conflict disappeared. Ever done the "right" thing and been wrong? Ever been grateful to God for never giving up on us thick-skulled people?
It's only been about twenty-four hours, but a new day is dawning in my heart.