Thursday, August 31, 2006

Summer is nearly gone...

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will no longer be able to post on my blog as often as I would like. You may want to sign up on the little green and white Blogarithm box on the right. It will notify you with an email when I post, so you don’t have to keep checking back and finding nothing new. You sign up for that with any blog--it’s really great!

This has been such a busy, but good summer. Struggle Creek, the Peculiar People novel we are writing as a group, is coming along well. It hit a bit of a snag when one of the authors for one of the most important chapters did not get his chapter in, and wasn't answering my emails. Just as I found someone else to do it, he showed up again! Hehe, figures. But things are moving along again, now, and looking really good!

I've gotten another couple of stories published the last few weeks, too! Welcome to Fern Springs--a story I used for a Monday Memory a few posts down, will be appearing in the on-line magazine Riders & Reapers for the Sept/Oct issue. One of the stories I entered in FW's weekly writing challenge got third place out of 200 entries, so it will be coming out in a book in a few months, along with The Unwanted, the story I mentioned in the last post. It's good to be published again--it had been a while.

I’ve also been busy helping to organize a FaithWriters conference. We’ve been dreaming about having an official one for a long time, so it’s exciting to not only see it happening, but to be a part of making it happen. The conference will be next summer on August 10th through 12th, in the Detroit, MI area. Check out this link for more information. All writers are invited! :-)

We are foreseeing this conference growing in the future to become on of the biggest Christian writing conferences in the US. This year we are aiming for at least 100 people. This conference will be unique, because so many of us have cultured friendships through the message board, though we have never met. It will be so exciting to be in a whole roomful of FaithWriters, putting together physical characteristics with the personalities we’ve gotten to know on-line.

My middle sister is back at school now, going to Bob Jones University in South Carolina. My school doesn’t start until the last week of September, so I’ve got a little bit of summer left. See you around!

Friday, August 18, 2006

I Am A Rich Woman

Today is my birthday! I feel so blessed with friendship this year. Yesterday my day started out with a pre-birthday bang. I placed in the FaithWriters’ writing challenge! I got fifth out of two hundred entries. I used to place several times a quarter, but the competition has grown dramatically and it’s been two and a half quarters since I’ve placed high enough to get published, so I was quite encouraged. Here’s the link to my winning entry, though I will warn that it is a very heavy story: The Unwanted.

Let’s see…after the happiness of winning, I received a birthday package in the mail from a FW friend, with a lovely note and a beautiful cross necklace. It’s so dainty and just perfect for me! I also got a lovely card from my grandparents.

Then another FW friend surprised me by making a birthday thread a day early, and I got lots of lovely birthday wishes. And then two more FW friends called me on the phone and we chattered for several hours! LOL! I’d never talked in person to these two ladies, so it was doubly fun.

Today I didn’t feel well, so that was too bad. But in the evening we went over to my oldest sister and her family’s home for dinner. Twas lovely playing with my nieces and being with family. Dinner was lovely, and there was an extra bonus! But first, a pre-story, hehe. Yesterday a friend asked me if I was going to have cake today, and I said no, because I’m allergic to wheat. Then I added, “But if anyone could make a gluten free cake, it would be my sister AJ.” Sure enough, she made a delicious chocolate gluten free cake!! My mom even liked it, and she doesn’t like most things that are made with special flours.

Tomorrow the fun continues. In the morning we are going to breakfast with my grandma and other relatives from Mom’s side of the family. Then Sis and I are meeting Wren to walk along the waterfront, and then we’re meeting some other friends for dinner and games.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday Memories: Fern Springs

Come, walk with me and I will show you Fern Springs, the childhood home of a burgeoning author. It was here that love and friendship was cultured. Here that scope was given for the imagination to soar beyond the treetops that touch the clouds. To investigate the mysteries that lie beneath the soil. To spot the secrets that dance across the surface of the pond.

See, here is the sprawling neighborhood, where mothers still watched out for each other’s children. Where kids played together outdoors, not bothered with computer games or X-boxes.

Do not mind the weeds in the flowerbeds of the front yard. Notice instead the green lawn that still rings with the shouts of tag. If you hold quite still you can feel the mist of the sprinkler, and see the rainbow as a young girl passes through the spray from one world to another of imagined delights.

Look closely beyond these houses, and see the ghosts of times past, when the land was a field scattered with trees. Smell the swamp that grew so tightly with reeds that a child could walk right on top of the water without so much as getting her feet wet. Listen and hear the frogs, and the creek that gurgles merrily, yet holds a hint of danger in the poacher’s trap that lies hidden beneath the surface.

Now step up on the covered front porch, where the swing creaks in the wind. See the fancy dresses swirling as the princess flees her duties? Or the solemn judges, presiding over court? Listen, do you hear the clack of the rails, as the porch turns into a train?

Open the door, and be careful not to slip on the wood floor that still shows signs of practiced figure skating twirls. Pass the stairs, worn with marks that tell of sleeping bag bobsleds and dangerous mountain climbing experiences, and come into the kitchen. Here is where laughter and games are found. A bubble still rises from the sink where a little girl scrubs dishes. Over the clank of the glasses, you can hear the melody and harmony of children singing while they work.

Hurry and step out the backdoor before the sun dips below the horizon. Watch as the sunset casts a golden hue over the wooded hill. See how it sparkles on the tiny winding creek? Squint against the glare and find the silhouette of children, bending over the water with long sticks, guiding boats through the reeds. The boats are unusual--only raw chunks of wood from a construction site, yet painted with bright splashes of color, and names carefully lettered on the sides.

Pass the swing set now, and let the place of gymnasts and ship captains fall behind us as we cross the big bridge with sturdy railings just right for playing Pooh Sticks. The wide path on your left is still rutted from wagon trains nearing their final Western home, and the perfect launching place for a leap to the bank of the creek below. The rusted cages in the hutch beyond have wisps of long hair from Angora rabbits still fluttering in the breeze.

Watch your step here, on the hill where a business visitor tripped and became “The Funny Guy Who Fell Down the Hill.” Oh! Did you see the flash of color in the pond? The Coi fish Beaker is waiting to show you his tricks. He will drink brine shrimp out of a baby bottle, or suck gently on your finger.

We have no time to linger; dusk is coming quickly. The trail is steep here, as we climb Mossy Way. Beware of Indian maidens rushing down the path on prancing steeds, or FBI agents intent on their prey. Do not trample the tiny plastic lion cub, nestled in a child-dug cave beside the way.

Ah, here we are, to the most delightful place of all! One last steep scramble and we step out on Moonlit Way. Do you feel the childish thrill as you spot the Up-Down Cherry Tree just ahead? Grasp this branch and swing down into the shadows of the path below. Be careful! Do not touch the quicksand, but let the branch swing you right back up here. Whoo hooo! Yes, just like that!

Now come a little higher and sit here in the grass. Soon the moon will peek through the trees and bath us in its light. Stay quiet here. Listen, and let the memories whisper.