31 May 2009

Prayer Requests

This week please join me in prayer that:

  • all those who have been fired or laid off can find employment soon and have financial stability.
  • all those with unspoken prayer requests can find peace and an answer.
  • those who are finishing up their school years will continue to work hard despite the promise of summer nearby.
  • those who are traveling this summer will stay safe.
  • Hubby and I are able to continue making good decisions as we discuss important matters, as well as stick to the decisions we've already made.

30 May 2009

Weekend Hours (or Lack Thereof)

As part of the changes I'm implementing in my life, my office is closed on the weekends.

As someone who works from home, sometimes it's difficult to walk away from my office space when I know there's still work to be done, but I think it'll be much better for my sanity (as well as my body as I get closer and closer to my due date) if I have more strictly defined work hours, and take at least one day a week off.  (Two would be better, of course.)  So aside from a very small project that needs completing, I'm not working this weekend.

Part of the reason I'm trying to free up my weekends is to spend time with Hubby.  Because of my crazy schedule, his commute, and how tired we both usually are by the end of the day, weekends are our opportunity to spend quality time together.  (He works a traditional weekday job, so he always has Saturday and Sunday off.)

It's going to be hard, I think, to have a real weekend every week.  And, of course, if there's something that needs to be done over the weekend, it'll get done.  But if I stick to it, I think I can have nice weekends just as those who work traditional jobs do.

What do people do when they're not working on the weekends?

29 May 2009

Weekend Task List

Now that Hubby and I are back from vacation, I'm faced with task of putting myself and my office back together, getting back to my routine, and finding balance again.  Therefore, I have a task list for this weekend so that when Monday morning comes around, I'll be back to where I need to be for a great week.

  • Contact a potential client to follow up on an email from last week
  • Update financial files for CSW
  • Get caught up blogging (and perhaps get ahead a little bit)
  • Finish cleaning up from vacation (which includes finishing the laundry, putting everything away, and finding a place for the baby car seat my sister was generous enough to give us)
  • Finish going through the mail from while we were gone and contact anyone that needs to be contacted

28 May 2009

I'm Back!

Good news!  Your favorite coffee-stained writer is back from vacation!  Hooray!  (You can read about my vacation here.)  It was a wonderful, refreshing weekend, and Hubby and I had several really great conversations about our life, both upcoming and long-term.

I'm happy to say that, for most of my vacation, I was able to be away from the office and enjoy spending time with my family.  Now that I'm back, I'm ready to get back to work and implement some of the changes I'm going to make to my writing life that should make things lots better.  I won't go into detail about the decisions we've made since most of them involve our personal life, but they're good decisions, and they're going to really improve lots of areas of our life.

My schedule is shifting a bit, and I'm going to have more time to work on the coffee house book.  I'm sorry to say that, once again, it kind of fell to the side.  I'm glad I've had enough freelancing work to force it to be a lower priority, but neither do I want it to become something I tried once.  So beginning next week, Thursdays are fiction days at Coffee-Stained Writing.

I always come back from vacations with a fresh perspective, and the timing of this particular vacation was wonderful!  Not only did I really need to get away for a few days, but with the upcoming life changing event in my life, the decisions Hubby and I have made are going to make life much better all around.

How was your Memorial Day weekend?

21 May 2009

Writing on the Road: Tips for Working while you Travel

As you probably know, I'm going on vacation this week.  (Hooray!)  Hubby and I are leaving as soon as he gets home from work on Wednesday, and we'll be back Tuesday, May 26th.

I'm really excited about our road trip.  It's been way too long since I've seen my family, and this will be the only time I get to see them until August.  So I'm doing everything I can to get my writing/work done by Wednesday so I can enjoy my time out of town rather than needing to spend it working.

However, I'm realistic.  I know it's likely that I'll need to do at least a little work while I'm on the road, so I'm trying to prepare for that.  I'm going to take a little time today to update my active client files to take with me in case I need that information.  (Luckily, most of the information I need is online.)  I've also been trying to think of things I can do to make things easier to work on the road.

Have the information you need.  Just as I'm updating my client files to take on the road with me (which includes scribbling notes about the client or project so I don't forget), you should be sure to have what you need to work on a project.  Basically, anything you'd look up at home should be available to you on the road.  Old project info, client contact information, whatever you think you'll need.  And when in doubt, bring it.  I've learned time and time again that if you leave it at home, you'll need it.

Let your clients know you'll be out of town.  This is important if you have a business phone line you can't take with you (an office or your home number).  Your clients need to know how to get in touch with you, so they need to know if you won't be at your regular number.  If there's a question a client has about a project, or wants to give you more information, or request a change, you need to be available.  (Clients like to be able to get in touch.  Funny how that works.)

Think ahead to your deadlines.  If you know that being out of town will keep you from making a deadline, talk to your client about the project and see what you can work out.  For example, I have a client who needs some newsletter content completed.  She hasn't given me the details yet, but when I told her I'd be out of town, she let me know she didn't need it right away, so I'm going to go ahead and get the information from her.  She knows she won't get it until after vacation, and that's fine.

Going along with thinking ahead to your deadlines, keep your travel days in mind when you're budgeting your vacation time.  If you have an article due on a day you'll be driving and won't have Internet access, you may want to get the article done early so you can get it in before deadline and not have to rush to a library or restaurant with Wi-Fi during a travel day so you can get it done and in on time.

Set yourself up to be on vacation.  Yes, I realize and accept that I'll be spending at least a little time during this vacation working, but I'm still trying to get as much done as I can before Wednesday so I won't be working all day every day when I'm supposed to be spending time with my family.  I'd rather not be stuck in front of my laptop while everyone else is at a picnic.  If you were working a traditional 9-to-5 job with paid vacation time, you'd get projects done before vacation.  In cases like this, you have to think of freelance writing in the same way.  Get what you can done ahead of time.  It'll mean you can enjoy your vacation more, and you won't have as much chaos to come back to afterward.

Keep things in perspective.  When I'm at home working, every project is important.  But in getting ready for vacation, I divide my projects between what I need to get done before I leave, what I need to take with me to finish, and what can wait until I get back.  If something can wait until you get back, let it.  There's no need to stress yourself getting it done if you can use that time to get other, higher priority projects completed instead.  And remember, you have to get your personal life ready for vacation, too!

Stay organized while you're out of town.  If you take files with you on the road, be sure to keep them organized.  I keep different files in clearly labeled manila folders, which I keep in a messenger bag.  I take a file out if I need it, then put it back in the messenger bag when I'm done.  Being out of my office space makes me feel disorganized as it is, so keeping everything in order while I'm out helps somewhat.  Plus, it makes it easier to get back into my office space when I get back.

It's not always fun to work on vacation, but sometimes you have to.  And if you do, there are things you can do ahead of time (and while you're on the road) to make it a little easier, and make sure you can enjoy your vacation, even if you do have to write a few articles.

Ultimately, you have to come up with methods that work for your personal work and writing style, just like everything else in freelancing.  What works for me may not work for you.

What do you do when writing on the road?

20 May 2009

Vacation Task List

As much as I got done this week, I still have work to do on vacation.  Hubby and I are leaving today, so before we load the car, I have to figure out exactly what I need to do this weekend and what can wait until I get back.

  • Finish herbal remedies articles for client
  • Finish formatting job for client
  • Follow up with biography job client
  • Write blog posts and post-date for travel days (on the way back south)
  • Work on magazine articles
  • Work on coffee house book

Fortunately, there's not too much on the list, so I'll still be able to spend a good amount of time with my family without feeling guilty about not writing.  Conversely, there's not so much work that I'll feel guilty about not spending time with my family.

I think this may just be a great vacation, after all!

Wordless Wednesday: Vacation Time!

18 May 2009

This Week's Task List

I'm going on vacation this week!  Hooray!  I'm really excited that I get to see my family this week!

I do have lots to do before we leave on Wednesday evening.  Last week I got more piled on top of what I already had going on, which was good from a freelancing standpoint, but it put me behind a little for my vacation task list.  So I'll need to work a little harder to make sure everything gets done.

  • Finish up projects that are due this week (formatting and natural herbal remedies articles)
  • Follow up with potential biography client
  • Let clients know I'll be on the road Wednesday evening and all day Thursday
  • Write blog entries to be posted during travel days
  • Outline two magazine articles and write the first draft at least one
  • Work on chapters one and two of coffee house book
  • Store pre-pregnancy clothes that no longer fit
  • Empty car trunk (and extra stuff) into the storage unit (with Hubby)
  • Get oil changed in the car (Hubby)
  • Figure out kitty care for while we're gone
  • Get ALL laundry done, folded, and put away
  • Clean the bedroom (Tuesday)
  • Prenatal appointment (Tuesday)
  • Clean the bathroom (Wednesday)
  • Pack and load the car

17 May 2009

Prayer Requests

This week, please pray with me that:

  • an answer comes soon for an unspoken prayer request
  • Pam's son-in-law is able to heal, and that he and his wife will find comfort in this very difficult time
  • Rachel's son, who broke his femur, will heal quickly and have little pain
  • Heather's baby, who was born prematurely, will continue to gain strength so he can come home soon and their family will be together
  • my mother- and father-in-law have a safe trip this week (they'll be driving today, and they'll be back Wednesday)
  • Hubby and I have a safe trip to Illinois on Wednesday and Thursday

16 May 2009

Take a Break, Take a Breath

The past few weeks have been quite busy for me in the office.  I've had one client in particular who has given me lots of writing opportunities, so most of my time has been spent at my computer, scribbling away.

I'm glad for that, but it's also stressed me out just a little bit since I'm trying to get as much done as possible before Hubby and I take our little vacation next week.  It's led me to getting less sleep than I'd like, I haven't had time to really sit and relax, and reading for pleasure isn't really happening right now.

Over the past couple of weeks I've learned that it really is important to take breaks from time to time when you work from home.  Since there's not a geographical separation between work life and home life, the tasks tend to blend together sometimes.  So as soon as I finish a project I'm off to start a load of laundry or make dinner or vacuum the floor or whatever else is on my personal task list for the day.  It leaves me no time in between to step away from what I've been doing, take a breath, recollect, and then jump into the next task.

I know writers who schedule breaks in their writing schedules.  They know they need to be away from their work spaces regularly, so they plan for that time.  I've tried doing it, but when I'm working well on an article, I can't bring myself to stop what I'm doing for a break, and before I know it, I've worked through lunch.

I think even a ten- or fifteen-minute break to get a snack, refill my drink, or stand and stretch would go a long way for my sanity (as well as keeping my feet from swelling!).  Maybe I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed lately if I didn't work so long without a break.  Of course, then the productive side of me speculates that if I took breaks regularly, I'd have far less things crossed off my task list.

But when I start seeing articles when I close my eyes to go to sleep, I'd say it's definitely time for a break.

How do you know when it's time for a break?

15 May 2009

Free Weekend? Puh-huh!

Earlier this week, I had the intention of getting my work done by Wednesday afternoon so I'd have the rest of the week free while my husband's friend was visiting.  That didn't really happen.  I did get quite a bit of work done, but for every task I was able to cross of my to do list, one or two more tasks were added.  As a result, I haven't even been able to read the Books section of The New York Times this week!  Thankfully, Nathan Bransford has me covered for great info on the industry!

Now it's Friday, and I have just as much work to do as I did at the beginning of the week.  So I'll be working through the weekend.

I'm sad that I'll be working this weekend since I'd much rather lounge by the pool with a tall glass of (decaf) iced tea and a good book, but I'm also thankful to have so much work to do this week that I have to finish over the weekend.  I'm making new contacts, getting to work with new clients, and I even got a request for information from someone via email late last night!  Work seems to be going well right now, so I'll work this weekend, and next week I'll reward myself by buying a new book or something!

So enjoy your fourth viewing of Star Trek tonight, Hubby.  I'll be at my desk.

Mary as Mother

Probably the most common way Mary is seen by the faithful is as a mother.  She is the mother of Christ, and (particularly in the Catholic Church) the mother of all God's children.  She is depicted with the infant Jesus quite often, and many mothers turn to her for prayer and comfort.

Since becoming pregnant, I've been thinking a lot about Mary's role as a mother.  Surely during her pregnancy she endured some of the things I've endured since December, and perhaps she and I have even shared some of the same worries and excitements.  As I'm raising my little java bean, perhaps some of the frustrations I'll have are frustrations she had as she raised Christ.  And perhaps my pride at my child(ren)'s accomplishments will be similar to Mary's pride at the accomplishments of her Son.

One of the things that strikes me the most about motherhood is how fiercely mothers love their children.

There are so many women who will do anything for their children, including die for them.  The bond that's created through pregnancy (and breastfeeding) is unmatched by any other relationship.  Mothers are connected to their children in a way I don't yet fully understand.  And with that connection comes a deep love I don't fully understand.

The reason I bring up this fierce love is to remind you that the Blessed Mother has that love for all of God's children.  She is the mother of us all, and as our mother, loves us the way every mother loves every child.  She would do anything for us, and wants nothing more than our health and happiness.

One of the things that's been difficult for me since I got married and moved to Orlando has been the physical distance between my mother and me.  I became very close with her in college, and moving away is something that is still (sometimes) just as hard as it was when Hubby and I drove away for our honeymoon.

However, knowing that the Blessed Mother is always with me, praying for me (just as my mom does), and hoping the best for me is comforting to me.  When I'm missing my mom, I know that the Blessed Mother is with me.

When Grandma and Grandpa P7 (my mother-in-law's parents) were visiting after Easter with my mother-in-law's aunt and uncle, they took an afternoon to visit the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe, which is here in Orlando.  They brought me back a beautiful Mary medal to wear.  I'd been wearing one Hubby gave me, and I still love that one very much, but I've been wearing the new one since I got it.

When I see the necklace around my neck, or I feel it as I go about my day, it reminds me of the protection I have from the Blessed Mother, and that she's with me even when my mom isn't.  And lately, when I'm worried about something, I find myself reaching for my necklace to touch it, and I ask Mary to pray for me about whatever it is that's concerning me.  It always makes me feel better.

I can't speak for you, but I know I want my mom to pray for me.  Knowing that the Blessed Mother is also praying for me has gotten me through many, many worries already.

14 May 2009

Prayer Request

Please pray for Emilia, whose bad decisions are hurting her, as well as her family.  If you'd like a little more information, this is a post by Emilia's sister.

12 May 2009

Vacation Approaches!

I got word yesterday that Hubby's time off was approved, so he and I will be making the trek from central Florida to central Illinois via car for a long Memorial Day weekend!

Our plan is to leave on Wednesday, May 20 by 5:30 p.m.  We'll drive for at least six hours (hopefully more), then stop for the night and finish the trip on Thursday.  We'll be with my family Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, then we'll be leaving around midday on Monday, May 25, and should get back home sometime Tuesday evening.

I have a lot to do before next Wednesday afternoon, both in and out of the office.  Not only do Hubby and I need to get ready for our road trip, but his best friend is on his way to Orlando to spend a few days, so I'm trying to get things ready for his visit, as well.

It will be wonderful to see my family!  It's been a long time.  I haven't seen my grandmother and brother since December 2007, I haven't seen my mom and sister since May 2008, and I haven't seen my other brother since July 2008.  That's far too long for me!

This is a much-needed vacation!  I just hope I can get my office work done in time so I don't have too much to take with me next week.

11 May 2009

This Week's Task List

Last week was a crazy week!  I think, task list-wise, this week will be just as crazy (if not moreso), but I'm hoping it will be a better week than it was last week.  I'm chalking it up to pregnancy hormones, but last week was a difficult one for me.  (You can read about it here and here, if you want.)

I'm trying to start this week with a fresh perspective, a clean desk (figuratively), and a good attitude.  I'm hoping it'll stick with me.  Here's what I have going on this week.  So far.

  • Outline two articles for magazine submission
  • Write the first draft of at least one of the outlined articles
  • Keep up with articles for new client
  • Follow up with (other) new client about formatting job
  • Follow up with resumes/clips that were sent late last week
  • Update financial files for CSW
  • Finish writing first draft of coffee house book chapter one
  • Start getting ready for Memorial Day weekend trip (which is a whole task list by itself)
  • Get oil changed in the car (this will be Hubby's job, but I'll be nagging him about it until it's done)
  • Send birthday thank you notes

10 May 2009

Prayer Requests

This week, please pray with me that:

  • Angie's friend Heather's baby, who was born prematurely, is able to gain strength quickly and go home soon.
  • Pam, who was laid off recently, is able to find a new job soon.
  • Martin's friends, who need prayer for drug addiction and emotional problems, will find peace and healing.
  • Martin, who needs the confidence to answer another friend's questions about his faith.
  • an unspoken, anonymous prayer request will be resolved soon, and according to God's Will.
  • everything will work out so Hubby and I can visit my family for a long Memorial Day weekend.

As always, if you have any prayer requests to add (spoken or unspoken), please feel free to comment on this post, or email me with the information.

09 May 2009

Our Economy Within the Economy

According to this article by The Wall Street Journal a few days ago, there's a freelance economy, and it's on the rise.

Between January and March, employers posted 70,500 of these work-for-hire positions on Elance.com and 43,000 on Odesk.com, which represents increases of 35% and 105%, respectively, from the same period in 2008.  Sologig.com, which lists remote and on-site freelance jobs, says its average monthly postings have more than doubled to around 13,500 per month in the past year.  In March, there were 750 jobs listed on VirtualAssistants.com, versus 400 in March 2008.


As the recession takes hold, more employers are using freelance workers to avoid the expenses associated with hiring permanent staff, says Fabio Rosati, chief executive officer of Mountain View, Calif.-based Elance.  "The power of online work is that it's immediate, cost-effective and flexible," he says.

Good news for freelancers!  Employers are realizing it's more cost-effective (particularly in this economy) to utilize people like me, who will happily work with them on a project-by-project basis.  Not only do they not have to pay benefits, but it means I can keep working from home!

08 May 2009

Prayer Request

Please pray for Tanya's sister Mickela, who had surgery today.  Unfortunately, that's all I know at the moment.

07 May 2009

National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer.

I'm embarrassed to say I almost missed it, were  it not for a post about it by another blogger I read regularly.  However, I will be praying throughout the day today, and taking extra time tonight before bed to pray for some special intentions.

I'd like to (once again) share my prayer requests for this week, and invite you to share yours with me by commenting on this post or by emailing me, and I'd be happy to pray for you today.

Today please pray with me that:

  • Pam is able to find a new job soon (she was very recently laid off).
  • Angie's friend Heather and her baby, who was born prematurely.
  • the Lord will work for an unspoken prayer request from Angie.
  • Angie will find "lots and lots of patience."
  • "angel_une," who had some contractions and is afraid of going into pre-term labor on top of her complicated home/family siutation, will be able to find relaxation and keep herself and her unborn child healthy until much closer to her due date.
  • Mothers and mothers-to-be everywhere have a happy, healthy Mother's Day.
  • I receive good news from an exciting job opportunity soon.
  • my blood work and glucose test go well tomorrow (Friday).
  • my husband and I will be able to visit my family in central Illinois over Memorial Day weekend.

What are you praying for today?

Music to Write By

Hubby was kind enough to get me a green iPod nano for my birthday (and gave it to me early so I could actually use it).  I've started adding songs to it, and find myself listening to it frequently while I'm working during the day.  In fact, it's slowly replacing my usual schedule of L&O reruns on TiVo.  I usually put it on shuffle, and let the music act as background noise while I'm working.

Here's a random selection of songs currently on my iPod:
  • "For You I Will (Confidence)" from the single by Teddy Geiger
  • "Baby Mine" from Disney's Dumbo, sung by Julie Andrews
  • "Down to the River to Pray" by Alison Krauss, from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack
  • "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter's self-titled album
  • "I Will Be Here" from Steven Curtis Chapman's Greatest Hits
  • "Remember When it Rained" from Closer by Josh Groban
  • "A Little Fall of Rain" from Les Miserables
  • "The Way I Am" from Girls and Boys by Ingrid Michaelson
  • "Colors" from Dance for the Sun by Kira Willey
  • "Carry On My Wayward Son" from Wynners 6 in 1 Box Set by Wynners

The music you listen to is important when you're writing, as illustrated by this comic by Debbi Ohi.

Music influences my mood.  After all, that's why I listen to it to begin with!  So I don't always listen to all the songs that come up when I'm working, depending on what I'm working on at the time.  I've found the music does help motivate me, but it can also make me counter-productive if I don't listen to the right type of music.

What do you listen to when you write?

04 May 2009

UK Poet Laureate(ss)

Ladies and...ladies, our time is here!  After 341 long years, Britain can boast a female poet laureate!

Carol Ann Duffy has succeeded Andrew Motion in the post.  However, the acceptance of the position was not an automatic one for her:

Ms. Duffy told the BBC radio program "Woman's Hour" that she had thought hard about accepting the post and that the decision to take it came "purely because they hadn't had a woman."

She added: "I look on it as recognition of the great women poets we now have writing," and said that she hoped to use the job "to contribute to people's understanding of what poetry can do, and where it can be found."

Duffy plans to donate her stipend as poet laureate to the Poetry Society to finance a poetry prize.

"History" by Carol Ann Duffy

She woke up old at last, alone, bones in a bed, not a tooth in her head, half dead, shuffled and limped downstairs in the rag of her nightdress, smelling of pee.              Slurped tea, stared at her hand--twigs, stained gloves-- wheezed and coughed, pulled on the coat that hung from a hook on the door, lay on the sofa, dozed, snored.              She was History. She'd seen them ease him down from the Cross, his mother gasping for breath, as though his death was a difficult birth, the soldiers spitting, spears in the earth;              been there when the fisherman swore he was back from the dead; seen the basilicas rise in Jerusalem, Constantinople, Sicily; watched for a hundred years as the air of Rome turned into stone;              witnessed the wars, the bloody crusades, knew them by date and by name, Bannockburn, Passchendaele, Babi Yar, Vietnam. She'd heard the last words of the martyrs burnt at the stake, the murderers hung by the neck,              seen up-close how the saint whistled and spat in the flames, how the dictator strutting and stuttering film blew out his brains, how the children waved  their little hands from the trains. She woke again, cold, in the dark,              in the empty house. Bricks through the window now, thieves in the night. When they rang on her bell there was nobody there; fresh graffiti sprayed on her door, shit wrapped in a newspaper posted onto the floor.

Mary as Comforter

When I got married and moved to Orlando, one of the most difficult things for me to do was say goodbye to my mother.  I'd never lived away from her for very long, and the when I did, we were at least in the same state.  This was a difficult change for me.

In the days, weeks, and months following the move, I called my mom as often as I could, but it wasn't the same.  I couldn't get a hug from her when I needed one, and we couldn't go shopping when we needed to get away.  And since I didn't really know anyone in Orlando (except my in-laws), I felt very alone.

However, during this time I also started learning more about the Blessed Mother and her role as Mother of God's children.  If she was my mother, too, then maybe I could find comfort from her, being away from my mom.

I began praying to the Blessed Mother more often, asking for guidance the way I'd ask my mom, or asking for comfort when I was feeling particularly lonely.  And I felt less alone when I did.

Don't get me wrong--there's nothing like getting a hug from your mom.  But it was also comforting to me to know that the Blessed Mother was there for me, too, praying for me, watching over me, and loving me.

It's so encouraging to me to know that Mother Mary, the mother of God, loves me as a daughter.  She wants what's best for me, and she prays for me.  Who better to advocate for us in prayer to the Lord than the Mother of Christ?

The Lord can be a powerful comfort in our lives, but sometimes, especially for women, it helps to have a woman to turn to.  Thankfully, Blessed Mother Mary provides just that.

Mother Mary, pray for us!

This Week's Task List

This is going to be quite a week!  I have lots of articles due this week, and I want to try and get everything done by the end of the day on Thursday.  Hubby and I are going to see Star Trek at midnight on Thursday night (well, really at 10:00), and then he has Friday off to go with me for my bloodwork, as well as to celebrate my birthday.  I'd rather not have work to do on Friday, so I'm trying to rework my schedule just a bit for the week.

Aside from the articles I have due throughout the week, here's what I have going on this week:

  • Send Mother's day cards/gifts (Monday)
  • Bloodwork and glucose tolerance screening (Friday)
  • Call Mom, Sisi, and Grandma for Mother's Day (Sunday)
  • Follow up with client about any upcoming work
  • Contact formatting client to request information
  • Order pictures for my pregnancy scrapbook
  • Work on scrapbook for father-in-law's retirement
  • Look at calendar with Hubby to figure out when/if we're visiting family in central Illinois

03 May 2009

Prayer Requests

This week, please pray with me that:
  • my friend Pam, who was laid off just recently, is able to find a new job quickly.
  • Angie's friend Heather and her baby, who was born prematurely.
  • "angel_une," who had some contractions and is afraid of going into pre-term labor on top of her complicated home/family situation, will be able to find relaxation and keep herself and her unborn child healthy until much closer to her due date.
  • my bloodwork and glucose tolerance screening go well on Friday.
  • my husband and I are able to visit my family in central Illinois at the end of May or beginning of June.

02 May 2009

May isn't Just for Our Earthly Mothers

In the Catholic Church, May is a month devoted to Mary, the Blessed Mother of Christ, who is also the Mother of all the children of God.  She is a symbol of femininity and motherhood for the Church, and a great source of comfort and strength for people all over the world.

Many people take this opportunity to learn more about the Mother of God, renew their devotion to her, or resolve to pray the Rosary more often.  This month, I'll be highlighting information and answer common questions about the Blessed Mother, share stories of apparitions around the world, and explain the role of Mary both in the Church today, and the role of Mary in the life of Catholic women today.

I have been drawn to the Blessed Mother since even before my conversion to Catholicism, but I don't know lots and lots about her.  I'm hoping this month will also help answer questions I have, and help strengthen my devotion to the Mother of God.

01 May 2009

What's Going On in Publishing?

Be sure to hop over to Nathan Bransford's blog today for an update on the publishing industry.  Lots of great information today, including e-readers, Twilight, and a dancing parrot!

Even if you only want to read this entry for the info on publishing this week, make sure you read it!

I stumbled upon Nathan's blog a while ago, and have found it a very valuable resource for my writing life.  He gives readers info about publishing (like today), as well as advice for how to find a home for books, and he even encourages readers to (gasp!) query him!  If you're a writer, or someone who's interested in the publishing industry, you would do well to bookmark his blog.

Post-Screnzy Frenzy

Well, now that April is over, so is ScriptFrenzy 2009.  I'm happy to say I "won" this year, with about two weeks left over to focus on new clients and new freelancing projects.

Writing Table 4 was a good experience for me, and one that has given me a lot of good insights into the coffee house book.  In fact, I'm using the outline from my script as a jumping-off point on the new outline for my book.  I liked the way the story developed in the script, and I think it would work well for the coffee house, with some variations.  Just as I'd hoped, writing the script has gotten me even more excited about working on the coffee house book!

My goal is to finish (at least) a full first draft of the book before my little java bean arrives in August.  I have a strict timetable for myself, and just as I broke down my writing for Screnzy to scene by scene and word count averages for each day and week, I'll be breaking down the writing of my coffee house book to chapter by chapter and weekly word count averages.

Whenever I finish a big event like Screnzy or NaNoWriMo, I get a feeling like I've been running full speed for a long time, and suddenly I've stopped at the edge of a cliff.  (Okay, not the most eloquent analogy, but I have been scribbling a lot lately, so this is what you get today.  Wanna fight about it?)  I'm never sure quite where to go or what to do next, and I have all this nervous writing energy pent up and waiting to be spilled onto paper (or my laptop screen).  I think that, since I'm going to jump right in to the coffee house book, this transition from April to May will be less...traumatic...than last year's transition from November to December.

How did your scribbling go in April?

As we bid farewell to National Poetry Month for another year....

A Farewell to America by Phyllis Wheatley


Adieu, New-England's smiling meads,
   Adieu, th' flow'ry plain:
I leave thine op'ning charms, O spring,
   And tempt the roaring main.


In vain for me the flow'rets rise,
   And boast their gaudy pride,
While here beneath the northern skies
   I mourn for healthy deny'd.


Celestial maid of rosy hue,
   Oh let me feel thy reign!
I languish till thy face I view,
   Thy vanish'd joys regain.


Susannah mourns, nor can I bear
   To see the crystal shower
Or mark the tender falling tear
   At sad departure's hour;


Not regarding can I see
   Her soul with grief opprest
But let no sighs, no groans for me
   Steal from her pensive breast.


In vain the feather'd warblers sing
   In vain the garden blooms
And on the bosom of the spring
   Breathes out her sweet perfumes.


While for Britannia's distant shore
   We weep the liquid plain,
And with astonish'd eyes explore
   The wide-extended main.


Lo!  Health appears!  celestial dame!
   Complacent and serene,
With Hebe's mantle o'er her frame,
  With soul-delighting mien.


To mark the vale where London lies
   With misty vapors crown'd
Which cloud Aurora's thousand dyes,
   And veil her charms around.


Why, Phoebus, moves thy car so slow?
   So slow thy rising ray?
Give us the famous town to view,
   Thou glorious King of day!


For thee, Britannia, I resign
   New-England's smiling fields;
To view again her charms divine,
   What joy the prospect yields!


But thou!  Temptation hence away,
   With all thy fatal train,
Nor once seduce my soul away,
   By thine enchanting strain.


Thrice happy they, whose heavenly shield
   Secures their souls from harm,
And fell Temptation on the field
   Of all its pow'r disarms.