Do you see those exclamation points in the title?  I've been 'accused' of using too many.  I can't help it... I get passionate when I write.  It's true, in my picture book manuscripts, I do need to cut back on them - but here? Hey, I'm excited!

I LOVE to WRITE!!!  (I guess you already knew that, right? After all, you're reading my blog - thanks by the way!)

But seriously - I've been doing this since grade school, so yeah, I guess it's totally natural that I have a blog.  And I've been really excited (and overwhelmed) by all the changes I've made here.  I moved from WordPress.com to a self-hosted blog on wordpress.org.  That transition went somewhat smoothly....somehow three followers got lost in the shuffle - but 231 remained strong (thank you!) and I was able to message the ones who did not get transferred to give them the news.

In addition, I've put the blog on a Facebook page to encourage more followers, make it easier for some to stumble upon me and to make it easier for some who would rather follow blogs thru Facebook than get sometimes daily emails in their inbox.  Don't forget there's also the Bloglovin' button too for the same reason! So part of the reason I'm writing this post is for those new followers - to get what it is that I'm doing here - and partly because - well, that's the idea I came up with and so here it is:


Writing, for me, takes me away into another land much like reading a book does.  Only this time, it's MY LAND.  It's whatever land, real or make-believe, I want to be in at that moment.  Whether it's remembering (on paper - or well, a computer screen but yes, I do often use paper for the first rough draft!) something from this morning, yesterday, last week or thirty some years ago (yes, or MORE...) or whether it's writing about something I'm doing or learning about... it's putting my mind in a place I want to be.  And to me that is magical like the places I read about - a  'little house in the big woods', the Hundred Acre Wood or River Heights.

It's an escape in a way - because when I'm deep into writing, much like when I have my nose in a book - there's a lot that can go on around me without notice.  My oldest son has finally learned to actually have me look AT him, before speaking...because he knows if  my eyes are in a book or looking at the computer or writing pad, chances are I'll have no clue he's even speaking to me, let alone actually know what he's saying.  When I'm writing I become ALIVE inside - passion overcomes me as I delve into whatever land I escape into at that precise moment and can forget all else...  If you're not a reader or writer and don't get that - my apologies  but I'm pretty sure you MUST have a passion - a way of escape that does the exact same thing!

My true passion for writing began in 5th grade when the lovely Mrs. Allred ( I can still picture her in that all RED outfit she wore on the first day of school) actually read MY story to the entire class and encouraged me to continue writing...she was a much bigger inspiration than she ever realized, I'm sure.

While I never devoted full time to writing, it stayed a passion in secret....always keeping journals and always writing fiction stories on the side.... I did enter a contest once with the Institute of Children's Literature - I was in 9th grade at the time... they sent me details on courses.  Yeah, that wasn't going to happen on my grandparent's budget.  Oh well... I kept writing. I seem to recall  making a middle school teacher chuckle quite often with the ridiculous fictional stories I would conjure up with my spelling words weekly as a sort of extra credit for English class.  Speaking of English class - I also managed to pull an A on a descriptive paper from the professor on my college campus known to be, um.... well TOUGH.  And he told us, for this particular assignment, if ANY of the details in this descriptive paper were made up, HE WOULD KNOW... uh, yeah, well, all but the real incident in my paper was 100% fictional...every single detail was made up....  I'm rather proud of that paper.  LOL

Move forward quite a few years....  I retired early (VERY early) from teaching and decided to stay home with the kids (we had two then) and suddenly my urge for writing deepened.... and I finally decided to take that course from The Institute of Children's Literature. In fact, I took two.  (and I'd like to take more....though with someone else this time - any suggestions?  Something geared for picture books?)  And then I learned about SCBWI!  WOW!!! (yeah, there's those exclamation points again)!!!

So I wrote and I wrote and I.....ooops!  got pregnant!  Yeah, right when I was in the beginnings of taking a shot at a YA manuscript (that's young adult in case you weren't sure), God decided he had other plans for me.  Between the nausea, the exhaustion and the utter shock (my oldest was 15, my youngest 11)....I stopped writing.  🙁

It took me several years to get back into it.  I started with my blog.  I had no idea what to write about... well, I had ideas...but getting started wasn't necessarily easy.  I really only started it as a journal, and also the possibility to tell others about Our Food Story.  Our Food Story is sort of personal, yet people constantly tell me I need to tell it.  So I wrote a very abbreviated version of that back in October of 2013 - just a year ago.  I am glad to get it out there, but I know more needs said.  I'll say it...in time.

Which brings me to this:

WHAT DO I WRITE ABOUT ON THIS BLOG?  How do I decide what to write?

I write about my PASSIONS in life.  And I have quite a few, I guess.  A lot of bloggers say that we bloggers should pick just one niche..... one topic we are passionate about and stick to that especially if you (I) want a lot of followers.  I've thought about it - a lot really - just narrowing down the blog to a few of the topics I cover - but there's so much more to me than JUST one or two of these topics!!!  I thought about separating the topics into two blogs....but can't figure out how to balance them and not leave anything out.  The bottom line is, I write about what I am PASSIONATE about.  And yes, I'm PROFOUNDLY PASSIONATE about my Orthodox faith, my marriage, my children, homeschooling, cooking natural whole foods - mostly Paleo now -, books, WRITING, and gaining balance in my life.....so that's what I write about.  I think I'm finally crawling out of my shell here - finally finding my voice.  So I'm sure I'll write more about that food story at some point - but for now I have SOOOOO many topics I want to write about - it's hard to just pick one some days!  Furthermore, there's other writing to be done besides the blog!

I'm ESTATIC over the start of PiBoIdMo TODAY!!!!!!!

I signed up on the 24th and have been reading the Pre-PiBoIdMo posts on Tara's blog ever since, notebook and pencils in hand!  I even took my son to the library the other day to specifically look for books by the authors that are being highlighted this month!  It's good to be familiar with someone's work when you read their post, but certainly not necessary to still get lots of inspiration and further insight into the writing process of picture books. (p.s. It's NOT too late to join - registration ends on November 7th.)

So here I am with my notebook, my pencils, pens and highlighters, my coffee mug filled with delicious Lonely Monks Coffee, (and no, fellow PiBoIdMo companions, I did NOT piboidmo2014officialparticipantsteal that list from Laurie Meyers - it REALLY is my own list! LOL) my chocolate, my laptop and YES!  I'm headed directly over to Tara's first official post for PiBoIdMo 2014!!!   Woot!!


p.s.   Did you know that November is Picture Book Month???  PBMBADGE-AMBASSADOR


Our first drawing after a nature walk. My son got a little carried away.... while I was drawing the leaf, he drew an acorn ( upper left if you can see it), a snake (it was dead on the road...ick), a tree, the neighbors, and many other things which we did NOT see....you know- like a toilet. LOL. Once we get the sketch pad that will be officially our nature notebook, I think I'll limit it to one or two things we REALLY did see 😉

With the autumn leaves changing all around us, color has been on my mind.  My son and I often observe the fallen red leaves in our driveway and yard (woods) on our daily nature walks.  Today we brought one back and drew a picture of it.  So for this next writing exercise I thought of this one that involves color:

Select one color - maybe it's your favorite or maybe it's the color you are wearing or maybe it's just the first color you see when you look up from this screen - and write about a memory you have that can be associated with that color.

For me, today, I'm choosing red.  Red is full of memories for me and when I was first thinking of this exercise I thought of Mrs. Allred, my fifth grade teacher,  of nosebleeds as a younger child, and the color of my own hair and the nicknames I inherited as a result.  All of these are encircled in memories, but as I was actually typing this I thought of a memory I haven't thought of well, maybe since it occurred.  As a young child of seven, I lived in a trailer park for about a year (the trailer was this old looking, faded blue thing). The back yard (the only yard, really - there was no front) ran up a hill.  At the top of that hill was a small garden held in by a stone wall.  In that garden there were strawberries. RED, ripe, juicy strawberries! Perhaps they were wild - my memory isn't enough to tell me if they had purposely been planted there or not, but I remember the small, bursting with flavor strawberries.  The smell, the sweetness, the juiciness of those delicate fruits.  I remember picking them---  my first experience in picking berries -- and the excitement of finding the red treasures under the cool green leaves and fragile white flowers. I remember the coolness of the dirt as my fingers played among the runners and weeds looking for crawling beetles, wriggling worms and, of course, more berries lurking in the shade of the plants.  Thinking back I can recall the heat of the sun and the buzzing insects in the air. I recall the people, my aunts and stepmother, and I can almost envision what my stepmother was wearing... mostly I remember the strawberries.  Luscious!

Feel free to go into much more detail with your own writing.  Encourage your child by (if you are a homeschooler using this) sharing a color and a few memories it makes you think of from your own childhood.  Remember, also, a memory doesn't have to be from years and years ago.  For a child, especially, the memory may be from the week before or even just a day ago.

My memory is much more vivid than I would imagine and I know I could write more.  I could play around with this exercise and tell if from different points of view.  I could also select a different memory associated with the same color or choose a different color.  Have fun with it.  You never know what a color may make you remember!  I wasn't expecting this one 🙂

Also, feel free to share what you come up with!



I thought I'd write a bit today about writing.

I've always loved to write.  I can remember and writing being my first loves from as far back as... well, as far back as I can remember.  Reading was an escape for me and I suppose writing was and is as well.  But I know the 'dream' started in 5th grade.  Mrs. Allred, my ultimate favorite teacher of all time and I suppose this is one of the reasons why, read aloud my story that I had shared with her to the class.  It was a story that was highly influenced by my love of Little House on the Prarie and featured a young girl riding through the prarie to save her younger brother who was suffering from the same illness as her recently deceased mother.  I believe the name of the story was Mary, The Serious Child and may just be laying around here somewhere tucked away with a few other childhood memories as well as my 'humerous' rendition of the three little pigs.

Mrs. Allred praised my work and encouraged me to continue my interests in reading and writing...though she prefered me not to do so during Social Studies! What can I say?  Learning about Brigham Young and Salt Lake City did not do much for me.  I moved away from the praises of Mrs. Allred in Heber City, Utah halfway through my 5th grade year and kept my writing to myself for the most part for the remainder of my school days (though one English teacher did enjoy chuckling at the absurd stories I could make up with spelling words), only keeping the dream alive in the corners of my mind.

Only after early retirement from teaching Learning Support type classrooms in the public schools for ten years did I finally consider making the dream real.  I took two correspondance courses through the Institute of Children's Literature, read lots of books on the subject and joined SCBWI.

Over the course of several years, I completed two manuscripts for early chapter books and worked on several still incomplete picture book manuscripts.  I was just beginning to dive into really figuring out how to send those manuscripts off into publishing land and began a young adult manuscript that I had been pondering over for quite sometime when I found out God was blessing (HUGE surprise) us with our third child.  At that precise time I wasn't exactly thrilled nor sure it was a blessing and my writing got railroaded with nausea, fatigue, and then diapers and more fatigue and, well, life.

But,  now with my blessing of 3 1/2 years, I am grateful for God's amazing ways. He is, indeed, a blessing despite God deciding to do things His way instead of my way.  I'm so glad He does that!  However, I still long to write!!!  So here I am, trying again.  A bit with this blog and maybe one day soon, I'll dust off those manuscripts and do a bit (okay, a LOT) of revision and get busy on some new ones again.  I actually have one thought in mind... but I'm not sharing.  I only have a thought and barely four or five sentences written!

So wish me luck... I'm doing well with keeping up with the blog so far but it's not a habit yet and is just a beginning.  I'm hoping to join SCBWI again soon ( thanks to my darling dh who promised to make it a birthday present!  Maybe an early one?) and take a look at those books again...  maybe today, after mixing up a batch of candied pecans and playing with that little blessing I mentioned,  I'll check out a few blogs by children's authors! Do you know of any good ones out there?