Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Final Count

So here was the challenge: to write 50,000 words in a month and finish a book. I topped out 7217 words short. But that's ok. My memoir of Kenya is finished for the time being. I will put it a way for a month, maybe print out a few copies for innocent suckers to proofread for me. Then January 1, I will give it a good edit and start sending it out.

In the meantime, well, it is the Christmas season now, like that won't keep me busy enough. But I hope to go back to writing my novel about my little lost boy in Africa. I want to also try to get some smaller pieces, devotions or the like, out to some publications to see if I can get something in print. I mean, something other than my blog!

Thanks for following me this month. It's been a great way for me to get inspired and stay on track. Tomorrow, I am back to a normal blogging schedule and hopefully some TV time with my hubby.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Very Last Distraction

Ok, now, honest to goodness, this is my last distraction.

Last night about an hour after the rat terriers we had for the weekend went home with their mom, this little love bucket came to live with us. His name is Brewster and I fell in love with him a month ago when I met him at a friend's house. I told her that if she ever needed to leave him with some one, I would take him in a heartbeat. She called me a week ago to say she is leaving for a three month stint in Long Island - she just started working as a travelling surgical tech and this will be her first gig. And she couldn't take Brewster with.

Oh, yes and he is a manx, which means he doesn't have a tail - the poor thing. But he is softer than fleece and a purring machine. So far he is getting along ok with Dino - as you can see, and the other cats will adjust I am sure.

So, tonight was my last free night to bond and goof off. Tomorrow it is back to the book - and tomorrow is also the last day of NaNoWriMo, so I will have to come up with a final word count by then. Yikes! And if nothing else Brewster will give me more to write about. After all, writers never have crises - it is all just material.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Are you ready? Or could you use a little more sleep?

“The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!” Mark 13:34-37 (New Living Translation)

This was the Bible verse that our sermon was based on in church this weekend. But as I am sitting here with my house guests literally on my feet (if you haven’t read yesterday’s blog, now might be a good time), I’m inspired to take this Bible passage a step further.

When my friend dropped off her two dogs on Friday night, I asked when she would be back for them. Well, she didn’t know for sure, maybe Sunday night, but if she got home too late, she might not come for them until Monday morning. Honestly, I am totally ok with that. Her two rat terriers really are no trouble at all. She can pick them up whenever. I won’t stay up waiting for her, but I will be prepared - and so will the dogs - whenever she gets here.

Shelley texted me yesterday morning, “How are the kids? Did they keep you warm in bed?”

She had warned me that one of them likes to snuggle under the blankets with her. Again, I was ok with that. If my 60 pound Dino can sleep on my feet, I think I can handle a five-pounder under my covers.

But then my husband got a call from work, they wanted him to come in at 2:30 in the morning. He went to bed around eight, and so as not to wake him up, I stayed in the living room, on the couch with all three dogs until he got up a little after one AM. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep, but that wasn’t really the dogs’ fault.

So, to Shelley’s text, I replied, “Long story, but everyone is doing fine.”

Shelley wrote back, “In short, what happened.”

And I typed, “Nothing, everything is fine.”

Isn’t that just like us? Jesus tells us He doesn’t know when He’s going to return and when He asks in the meantime how we are doing, we text Him four words! Jesus is coming back some day to claim His kingdom and just because no one knows when that is going to be, is no reason to blow Him off now. We should be talking to Him every day, telling Him all the little details of our mundane lives, because He cares about us so much that He wants to hear all about us. Sure, He already knows but don’t you think He wants to find out directly from us, have that relationship, that interaction with us?

And if Jesus comes for me in the middle of the night – awesome! Shelley, however, can wait until daytime to pick up the dogs.

(They look ready, all right. Ready to keep me awake all night. Can you believe my husband and me both fit in the bed besides?)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

An Interview

This weekend, we have two house guests staying with us. One of the skills which all writers should develop is the ability to interview, so I thought that I would interview my two guests for my blog today.

Me: Welcome, Millie and Rat.

Millie: It is a pleasure to be here. We are having a great time and thank you so much for having us.

Rat: Humph.

Me: Rat, would you like to elaborate on that?

Rat: Some hospitality! Your dog assaulted me before Mom was even out of the driveway.

Millie: Dino was just establishing his alpha male dominance. He could see right away what a virile specimen you are and wanted to make sure you knew your place.

Me: I'm very sorry about that. I hope he didn't hurt you.

Millie: Just the poor baby's feelings.

Rat: Next time, I'll see to it that Marv stays here. He can teach that Dino a lesson.

Dino: That would hardly be fair. Marv is four times bigger than me. He bumped into me in the yard when your mom dropped you off, and he just about knocked me out.

Me: Marv is rather large. How do you two smaller dogs get along with a Rottweiler in your home?

Millie: Just fine. He knows who is in charge.

Me: Your master?

Millie: Oh, be serious. Everyone knows I am in charge in that household.

Me: OK. So, to change the subject, what are rat terriers known for?

Millie: For being wonderful loving loyal companions to their people.

Rat: Humph.

Me: Rat?

Rat: Everyone knows that rat terriers were bred to eradicate rats from people's homes.

Millie: That is right, Rat, and I noticed that there are several very large rats around this house. Would you like us to help you get rid of them?

Me: Umm, those are my cats, and I'd like to keep them if you don't mind.

Millie: Well, I don't see what purpose they serve, but if you insist, as long as you let me sleep in your bed again tonight.

Me: Sure. Anything else either of you would like to share?

Millie: Is it time for a treat?

Dino: Yeah, it's been like an hour since we ate anything.

Me: Dino, could you just once be a good host?

Dino: Yes, Mom.

Well, I think that wraps it up. I have to tend to the needs of these three and make sure the cats are still alive. Until next time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Transformation - the rest of the story

Every Thanksgiving morning for the past four or five years, Himey and Nick have muscled our dining room table through - not one, not two - but three doorways and into the living room. And every Thanksgiving evening they have carried it back. What a cool thing to be thankful for - two guys who are willing to give me my dream Turkey-Day. Also, a big thanks to my contractor, Steve Rigney, who in the spring of 1999 turned my attached two-car garage into this beautiful living room. Without that remodel, these Thanksgivings wouldn't be possible.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Transformation

Hope you and yours had a safe and blessed Thanksgiving, gathered around one table or many.
(Don't you love Dino under the table!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Something to be thankful for

Here's something to be thankful for this thanksgiving. Be thankful that you are probably eating turkey instead of goat. These are the goats which we ate while I was in Kenya. Scrawny things, aren't they? And tough as shoe leather. But we got used to it. Amazing what you will eat when you have to.

As far as word count on my memoir. My total is at 42,196 words. I have it all written, just need to go through the last couple chapters to see if I forgot anything. Then that will be it. Woot, woot. By next week, I will be begging for volunteers to proof-read it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Maudlin Monday

OK, some of the numbers are not looking so good, but here are the facts. I have two more sections to add to my memoir and then the guts of it (the first draft) is finished. I am not going to add words just to increase my word count. If 42,000 words is not enough for one publisher, well, then I will have to keep looking. The positive thing is that I will be looking for that publisher before you know it. Thanks to everyone for all of your support this month. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Where is God asking you to go this week?

Earlier in the week, a friend asked if I would go to church with her. She hadn't been to church in a long time, and it's always hard to go back alone. So, we went to a different church than I usually go to - just coz. I guess it is where God wanted me today. He spoke to me not once, but twice, showing me where to go with the book I'm writing. Well, I should say the book He is writing with me at the keyboard. It seems the more I turn my memoir over to Him, the easier the words flow.

Also, during the church service they showed this video. Pretty powerful. Reminds me how small we are, how big God is, but that He still wants us by His side, that all the lost souls in the world need us by His side so that they can be found.
This is the church at Najile in Kenya. We held a youth gathering there when I was in Africa. Amazingly I was able to find it on Google maps. That completely blows my mind. But it took way more than an hour and a half to get there from Nairobi. It may be only 73 kilometers, but holy cow, those roads. Yikes.

Oh, and I added 180 words to my book today. Not a lot, but I think they were good words, God words.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Aren't the animals of Kenya absolutely beautiful. Probably more Americans, though, get to see them than the people who actually live in Kenya. Very few of the residents living in that country can afford to go on safari and there just aren't too many of these magnificent creatures who wander from the game parks and into places populated with people.

I wrote about some of these animals on my memoir today. I had a real writing marathon. Are you ready for this??? My word count for today was . . .

( a drum roll, please )

. . .

. . . 1509 words! I know, holy cow.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quotation Thursday

What! No star, and you are going out to sea? Marching, and you have no music? Traveling, and you have no book? What! No love, and you are going out to live? (A French Proverb)
The chapter which I worked on today carries the subtitle: "A Time to Love and A Time to Hate", so I thought that this quotation was appropriate. This picture would carry the caption "a time to hate", which might surprise you. I guess you will have to wait until my book is published to find out why I chose this picture for the chapter.

I found some more words today that I hadn't counted before, so find myself cheating again. However I got there, my word count went up by 902 words today. Yes! Finally feeling some progress.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wimpy Wednesday

Yesterday, I only wrote 144 words on my memoir of Africa, so didn't think that was worth posting. Today I got up to 483. I've actually written the entire story and am now going back through to fill in the holes. I am running out of holes to fill. Does that mean that my book will be too short to ever get published? I don't know. We will have to wait and see.
This is of the river near where we camped at Mosiro. Can you find the baboons in the trees? I couldn't either, but you have to trust me that they are there.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Only Winners, no losers

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.2 Timothy 2:3-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

Someone e-mailed this to me on Friday, for Veteran's Day, no doubt. Of course, I saw way past the veteran thing, as important as that may be.

Last weekend our high school's girls' volleyball team played at state. They took second place, and when I asked someone about it, I was told they lost at state. Really? Because I think that if your team is good enough to make it to the state championship, they are far from losers. They didn't win the last game, that's all, they are still champions. They played by the rules and won the prize. Why do we as a society think that winning only means coming in first?

Since the Bible passage also talks about farmers, today's picture is of the farm at Najile in Kenya. Today's word count for my memoir from that trip is 545. Close to my daily goal, but still behind overall.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sufficient Saturday

704 words written this morning on my memoir. Worked a little bit on it this afternoon, but my computer was balking. What was up with that? I figured it was trying to tell me something, so I just walked away. Hopefully tomorrow I can give 'er.
The tents that we called home for four nights in the Bush.
That's Val walking past.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quotation Thursday

"We shall be better, braver and more active men if we believe it right to look for what we don't know than if we believe there is no point in looking because what we don't know we can never discover." Plato

Ok, I just discovered a whole section of my book which hasn't been included in my word count. So is it cheating to say I added 472 words today, even though I only wrote a few? Too bad, I'm going with it and going to go bake banana bread.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Word Count Wednesday

This picture is one of my very favorite's from our trip to Kenya. It sums up so much. Today I wrote about this photo for my book. I bet you want to know the story. Some day.
Today's word count: 624 words. That would be good, except that I totally skipped writing last night. Sometimes life does crop up.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Death where is your victory?

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

1 Corinthians 15:55

The First of November is All Saints' Day and our church always observes it the weekend following that date. Which means that last night, in my little conservative Lutheran church, Pastor read the names of all the church members who have passed away in the past year, and one of the ushers tolled the bell for each one. It is pretty somber and always causes me to tear up. Protestants generally regard all true Christian believers as saints, hence the ceremony in remembrance of those who have gone to heaven.

As a Christian, when I hear that a believer has died, I am like - all right, way to go, another soul is in Paradise, all pain and suffering, worry and hassle is gone from their life and now it is a life of peace and joy for eternity for them. (Which doesn't mean I'm still not going to cry, I am after all an emotional, hormonal female.)

It drives me nuts when I ask patients how they are doing, and they respond with something like, "I'm still here, it's better than the alternative."

Really? Because for me the alternative is way better than what I have here now.

Lord, God Heavenly Father, grant me the patience to wait on Your call, when You are ready to carry me home. In the meantime, guide me in bringing others into Your saving grace.

Nairobi funeral home that we drove past one day while I was in Kenya
And word count for today, on my memoir from Africa, is 1049 words. Making up for some lost time.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 5 Writing Marathon

I am still working on the disease education and prevention seminars which we presented to the Maasai in Kenya. While doing some online research I discovered that a vaccine against malaria is right on the cusp of being available to people across Africa. How exciting. If I get my memoir done in any kind of timely fashion and you are one of the lucky recipients of an advanced copy, you will find out why this is such wonderful news.

In the meantime, I wrote 652 words today. I think. It is hard to keep track coz I am doing a lot of editing as I go, so it is hard to keep track of how many new words there are.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What has a lack of knowledge done to you?

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:6

Just a year ago, I was pulled over by an officer of the law. "Did you know how fast you were going?" he asked.

"Umm, 45 miles an hour," I answered honestly.

"Did you know the speed limit is 35?"

"No, I really did not. This is the first time I've been on this road and I didn't see any speed limit sign." Truly, I would never lie to an officer of the law. And he let me off.

But in Africa, that kind of lack of knowledge is deadly. It is how millions of people have contracted AIDS, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis, Typhoid and Malaria.

And that's what I wrote about on my book tonight. But alas, it required more research than I had planned on, so I only got in 314 words.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 2 Writing Marathon

Today I worked on Chapter 12, the title of which is "A Time to Keep Silent and A Time to Speak."

I wrote about the moving confirmation service we had the privilege to witness, the first Maasai in the area to ever be welcomed into the church of Christ. It was beautiful.
Word count for today - 549.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Want to get in on my book writing?

I just had one of those epiphanies and feel that I need to follow it. I just read on Facebook that November is National Novel Writing Month . I remember that from last year from various blogs I follow and other things I run across in the writing world. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word book in one month. You sign up on the NaNoWriMo website and post every day how many words you write and get inspiration from other writers and such. Last year 200,000 people signed up for this and 30,000 actually met the 50,000 goal.

Now, my calculator tells me that that means 1666 words a day, every day for 30 days straight. Not going to happen in my world.

But, I have a fairly good head start. At last count, I had 31,755 words on the memoir I am writing of my missions trip to Kenya in 2006. My goal the other night when I counted all those words (ok, aren't computers great; they do all the counting), was to finish this thing by the end of the year.

Well, here we go. How bout I finish by the end of November? That's only going to come up to 608 words a day. I could maybe do that. With your help.

I am going to post on my blog every day for the month and let you know my word count for the day. Hold me to my goal and I will print you out a copy of my rough draft for you to critique. (That doesn't sound like much of a deal, does it? Just humor me.)
A drum roll please... number of words for my first day 670. Yes!