Thursday, September 27, 2007

A time for nothing...?

I've been contemplating giving up all my extra-curricular activities to concentrate on my family. I'm almost completely free of PTA stuff. I am an AWANA Cubbies leader and, while I get a lot of satisfaction out of working with the kids, the frustration that comes with our particular situation (lack of enough volunteers) is wearing on me. After that is my formal writing activities - being president of my local RWA chapter. I don't even know if my calling really is writing. I'm struggling to put a coherent plot line together with appropriate goals, motivations, and conflicts. But I don't know if that's because I got so much else on my brain.

I'm ready to just focus on my family - my daughter is prepping for college, and there's a lot of things to do there; my son is in middle school and I want to keep him protected as long and as reasonably as possibly. This'll require my attention. My brother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and my dad with emphysema. My sister's marriage is struggling. As you can see there are a lot of situations requiring a lot of attention and prayer.

I think too many people are too busy with too many things and I'm tired of being one of them. I'm ready to get back to basics: husband, children, and home.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The End...

No, it's not what you're thinking. I haven't reached the end of my latest work-in-progress; although I wish it were so. (And, in fact, I've been seriously rethinking my writing.)

Actually, the end I'm talking about is the end of the world as we know it. I'm a Christian. Okay, big whoop. Lots of people *claim* to be Christians. Yeah, I know. Okay, I consider myself a person of faith. I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. A personal one. One that I work on daily. Doesn't mean I'm perfect. No. Far from it. In fact, many of my writing acquaintances might say they never knew. And for that, I'm sorry.

Back to the end. I truly believe we are living in the end times. That the second coming of Christ is imminent. I am ready to go. Are you?

Need more info? Google search David Reagan and End Times. He's one of the biggest proponents of the End Times. His web site has lots of Biblical based reasons for his beliefs. And they definitely strike a cord with me. Actually, he came and spoke at our church a while back. I don't think the church leadership was very happy with David's message, but it stuck with me all this time. For other views just Google search 'End Times' and see what else pops up.

Anyhow, consider where you'll be spending eternity. If you're not sure, contact me and we can talk. I know where I'm going, and I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

College Night for Fort Worth ISD

Went down to the Amon Carter Exhibit Hall last evening for College Night. My younger daughter is a junior this year and wants to be a teacher. I thought junior year was a good time to get started on this process. Wrong. Just a word of advice: a) start pre-planning in middle school - getting the student involved in band/sports/groups/organizations, etc. b) start the college/scholarship research in the freshman year of HS. Yikes. I'm two years behind. Not too late, but I have a lot of work to do to catch up.


The best place to start is the guidance counselor or the college counselor at your child's school. This is one of his or her primary jobs. They will know of local and regional scholarships that you probably will not find on the Internet. If you want to your child to attend a community college for 'the basics' before sending them to the big school to finish the degree, make sure the credits will transfer to their school of choice - or at least find out which ones will transfer. Each college should have an equivalency guide that'll help you with this.

A few more *important* tips:

a) keep on top of deadlines
b) make sure the student really qualifies for the scholarships applying for
c) when essays are required, make sure the essay addresses the essay topic or answers the question
d) make sure the essays are proofed and spell-checked (have many people read them to make sure they are the best they can be)

Well that's all I have for now... Happy scholarship hunting to you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Knee Deep in CSS...

I know. Most of you are saying, "Huh? What the heck is CSS?" Cascading Style Sheets that's what. It's a method of laying out & styling web sites without marking up the html. My husband had a huge web site project that he commandeered my help on. It was a good exercise on how to take a site or page using tables for layout and figuring out how to do it without tables. I learned a couple of new fun things to use for future sites.

Two of the web sites I've designed are:
The JAG Archive Okay, this is one of my geeky hobbies. I don't spend much time on it anymore, except to redesign it to practice & improve my CSS & html skills.
Jen This is my author's web site.

If you're interested in a web site of your own, visit for more information.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My thoughts on 'The Bastard King'

by Dan Chernenko.

This was my first foray into reading fantasy. It took me awhile to get into the book, both plot-wise and just reading wise. I'm really a fast reader and would have normally knocked out a book this size in half the time. So I don't know if it was because it was fantasy and I had a hard time getting into this alternate world or if the story just really dragged.

The story was about... gosh, I don't know...lots of stuff. In my writing world (that would be romance) there's a beginning, a middle, and an end - even when the book is part of a series. This book was really just a beginning. In my writing world there are two protagonists (hero & heroine), the villain, and maybe a few secondary characters.

This story has a succession of characters throughout the first third of the book... it started with an old king who finally had a son by one of his concubines. He married her to legitimize his son, however the gods only allow for six wives and this concubine made number seven. So to most of the kingdom, the child remained a bastard. The old king died while the child was young, and others ruled in his stead until he came of age.

This world has a lot of troubles and through a series of events, eventually a lowly ship's captain takes the throne. He doesn't exile or kill the bastard king, though. He offers to share the throne. Huh?

So we have the rightful king, who has very little power - lots of brains and very learned, but not a powerful man in the way people of his kingdom consider power - i.e. brute force. The usurper has the brute force, although he rules with an evenhandedness and penchant for thinking ahead before running into battles. He gets the kingdom under control and keeps the enemies at bay.

Now the Banished One is in exile to the south after falling from his position in the heavens as *the* preeminent god - and is considered the cause of all troubles wrought against this kingdom.

By the end of the book, it seems neither king, the two major characters of the book, have done much growing or changing, except they seem to grown to respect each other and what each has to offer to the kingdom. Also, the usurper forced the bastard to marry his daughter, so add some familial aspects to that relationship...

The next story is going to a quest for the Scepter of Mercy, supposedly a powerful thing which could offer the kings power against the Banished One.

Well, I wasn't really impressed with it. But maybe it was just this story. I don't know if I just couldn't really sink myself into this fantasy world or if it just really wasn't a good book. If you've read it, let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I'm listening, and I heard it...

Don't you just love when God talks to you - and you actually hear it and understand what He's saying to you? It's sort of an 'a ha' moment; you actually feel like 'hey, this is cool. God spoke and I heard. I must be doing something right.' Not that I got the answer I was hoping for.

I've been struggling with wanting to speak out and be heard, especially when I'm being insulted. But as Christians we're taught that we're either supposed to turn the other cheek or speak out in love. Well, I have a hard time with that, especially if I'm mad. I'm human. Of course, I want to lash out in anger.

But the bigger issue is I may be the only picture of Christ someone may see - and not necessarily the person I want to lash out at - so I have ask, how would Christ handle this situation? How does he want me to handle it? With kindness and love, mostly.

Of course, Christ got angry. Righteously so. I'm waiting for that day. (grin...)

I've also felt this calling to speak out, to rally other Christians to also speak out - to not be cowed by the those who revile Christ and all the he stands for, but how do you do that when the others don't want to play fair? The inclination is of course to reply in kind... oh, but that's not what Christians do. We turn the other cheek or we speak out in love. Well, look where it's gotten us; especially the turning the other cheek part.

I guess I need to keep waiting for further directions from God as to how to do that.

Okay, God, I'm listening.