Friday, August 29, 2014

Tweets of the Week: The Ice Bucket Edition

Technically, not all of these came my way via Twitter, but I did see them via social media and they all cracked me up.

The ice bucket challenge is huge. Therefore, people make jokes about it. Some of the best ones I've seen are below:

If you've been having trouble keeping up with whether or not the ice bucket challenge is still cool or not, I give you the latest Blimey Cow video which dissects the life cycle of a viral event.

Have you done the ice bucket challenge? Whose video has been your favorite?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Doctor Who and Anticipation

As some of you may know, the latest season of Doctor Who debuted this weekend. (Don't worry, there's no spoilers in this article.) The event was highly anticipated. Excitement built as the day drew near, countdowns were made, every scrap of information was devoured by avid fans. People had parties, rearranged work schedules, and some even lined up at theaters.

At the risk of sounding like I'm Jesus-juking Doctor Who, why don't we anticipate God's work in our lives with as much enthusiasm?

This weekend also marked a significant change for me personally, as my husband and I started a new chapter in our ministry. As difficult as concluding our previous position was, I was very much looking forward to our new adventure. I didn't make paper chain countdowns or draw art of the coming day, but I was very aware of the day as it approached.

It's hardly the first major change God has brought about in my life, but rarely do I know the exact date that God is going to bring it about.

Countdown clock for the London
Olympics. I always look
forward to the Olympics.
via Wikimedia Commons
I think that is a significant reason why we find it easier to anticipate things like the new season of Doctor Who. We also have a certain amount of assurance that we're going to like what happens. No matter what trepidations you have about the new Doctor, you know that more than likely you'll love him within a couple of episodes. That's been the pattern time and time again.

God's timing is not ours. When you combine that with the uncertainty of where God is going to lead you, it can be very difficult to drum up excitement for the coming development... whatever it may be.

So how do we do it? How do we build anticipation for the Lord's work in our lives?

One thing we can do is link expectancy of God's actions to events in our lives. God can use anything to speak to us, to change us, to bring us closer to Him. If we start looking for Him in the big things, we'll have an easier time seeing him in the small things.

We won't be able to schedule God's plans on our wall calendar, can't mark of the days in anticipation. Not often, anyway. God needs us ready and flexible so that He can use us whenever and wherever He needs to.

But we can live each day with hope. And after all, isn't that what anticipation is? A specific form of hope? We hope the coming event will be everything we want it to be. We hope it lives up to the hype. We hope.

Train yourself to hope and every day you'll wake up anticipating what God is going to do.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tweets of the Week: Crazy Edition

On the craziness that is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Trend: 

@FakeJDGreear I challenge all Southern Baptists to the KFC Bucket Challen... whoa. Finished already, huh? That was fast.

@NickiSalcedo This ice bucket challenge would really impress me in January

On the craziness of the Internet: 

@JonAcuff I've invented something new that allows you to make definitive statements about people you've never met. I'm calling it the Internet.
@ChrisRiceMusic Personal Peace Principle #1: Social Media for fun. Real life friends and family for deep, meaningful, or controversial discourse

On the craziness of people in general: 
@JenAshleyWright A guy in this bookstore is telling his girlfriend she has too many books. Question: who should this girl's new boyfriend be?

@FeliciaDay When you're in an elevator with a stranger and they get a text and it makes them laugh, the should share the joke.

@NatWaltersWrite Anyone else look at the UPS delivery person like they're the year round Santa?

@hankgreen I was trying to think of the names of some of my friends and I typed "friends" in to Google so...

@CapriceCrane More often than not, the right thing to say is nothing at all. More people should try that.

And on the hope that crazy sometimes brings:

So good! @ChrisSwain73 "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." - Henry Ford

@SimoneElkeles It's the little notes that Mom puts in your lunch that say I love you - mine are a little different

Have a great 1st day of high school! If anyone bullies you tell them your mom is an author and will make them the nose-picker in her next book. Love, Mom

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Which is more romantic - the epic story or the emotional tale?

Two of the people I follow in cyberspace (the fictitious Emma Woodhouse and the very real Becky Wade) recently posted about their favorite romantic scenes from movies.

I love lists like this. Other than weighing the merits of each inclusion, I enjoy analyzing the similarities in a person's choice. As a romance author, picking apart what other people think is romantic helps me structure a story that will resonate with my readers.

Inevitably when I look at these lists, I find lots of movies I haven't seen before or I end up moaning about the person's choices because I don't find them at all appealing.

So that begs the question, what is romantic? And if what we find romantic in movies and books different than what we declare romantic in real life?

To answer that question, I have constructed my own list of sigh-inducing screen moments which I shall then pick apart with as much clinical analysis as I am capable of.


I love this scene. Whenever anyone says they have compiled a list of the best movie kisses ever, I think of this one. To be honest, that's always baffled me. There isn't an epic build-up, no staring into each other's eyes after an impassioned confession of love, none of that sweet hesitation that shows how nervous and excited they are to be kissing the love of their life.

I think that's what makes it romantic to me. It just is. As soon as she says something confirming his suspicion that it's her, he kisses her. The fact that she's there, that she sought him out, tells him she cares and it's as if there is such relief in knowing she cares that all he can do is kiss her.

1995 Pride and Prejudice

My love for this story has gotten quite a bit of personal analysis lately. As I have come to realize that, as a character, I find Mr. Knightley from Emma a considerably more appealing, romantic, and lovable man than Mr. Darcy, I am left to wonder why I had such an infatuation with Mr. Darcy.

I blame Colin Firth.

That's all there is to it. His portrayal of the brooding, taciturn Mr. Darcy added the depth and appeal necessary to make him a romantic hero. As an example of what I'm talking about, I give you this scene. Darcy says not a word for the whole scene, yet the way Firth plays him makes me melt into a giddy puddle of romantic nonsense.

Ever After

Ah, the grand gesture. So often in movies and TV shows, love is proven by the grand gesture, the epic sacrifice, the moment of daring risk. But what happens when the attempt at the a grand gesture fails? How is one supposed to prove their love when the girl no longer needs rescuing? 

Like this: 

What is Romance?

What is romance then? This is by no means an exhaustive list of my favorite romantic moments, but I thought it a good cross-section. 

Amazing speeches have their place and I have nothing against a grand gesture when one is warranted or possible. They make for really fun moments and are memorable parts of a couples relationship. (Think Heath Ledger's song and dance in 10 Things I Hate About You.)

But I think real romance is in the emotional pay-off. It's why the kisses we have to wait for on a television series impact us so much. (Like Ross and Rachel - Friends, Luke and Lorelei - Gilmore Girls, or Jim and Pam - The Office) Without an all powerful love to accompany it, the most incredible scene loses its romance. (Such as any episode of The Bachelor.)

But when the characters' love for each other becomes an integral part of who they are, then any scene that brings that love together becomes compelling. 

Epic or Emotional?

So what do you think? Do you prefer the epic, possibly even impossible, story or a more emotional one? What is the quintessential romance to you?

Friday, August 15, 2014

On Writing and Writers ~ Tweets of the Week

@ehmanders Yes, you can make that up. #amwriting

Ah, writers. Such a strange lot we are, living in both the real world and one of our own making. All trying to master a craft no one completely understands.

There are 3 rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. SOMERSET MAUGHAM via @AdviceToWriters

We're driven to do it, by passion, by a burning passion, by a fictional character that won't let us go. It's hard, pulling that fledgling idea out of our minds and growing it into a book that will transport someone to a new location for a few hours. It's hard, but we love it. 

@TanyaMichaels Son noted that writing seems VERY hard & wonders why I love it. Would it be wrong to reply HE's challenging/difficult but I love him too? :)

Then once we've done the hard work of writing, we open ourselves up to the criticism of others, the risk of failure, and the pain of rejection. And we do it over and over again because to not do it would cause something in us to cry. 

@ecniumata Why I love writers. They never give up. includes a comic about writers submitting to editors

Sometimes the burning drive becomes too much. So many artists suffer needlessly in the name of creation until the monster becomes too much to control. 

@okbjgm your madeness and your creativity are not one and the same. Seek help if you are depressed. The world needs all the art it can get.

Even the sanest among us lose ourselves in our work and have to be drug kicking and screaming back to the real world, no matter how much we love that real world. 

@TanyaMichaels Setting alarm before I dive into work so I don't accidentally miss meeting J for lunch. Fictional romance doesn't trump real life romance. :)

And then one day it all seems worth it. For a glowing moment you have achieved it all. Until you realize that publishing your work is just another way of opening yourself up to the criticism and rejection. 

@Raelaschoenner Exciting news!

But right now, I'm still glowing over the fact that I have an editor and she's retweeting me. If you missed the announcement about my first book, you can read it here. At the bottom is a link to my email list so you don't miss anything in the future. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Student Forms and Marking Milestones

Tis the season for paperwork. With three kids heading back to school I've filled out numerous medical releases, general info forms, and who knows what else. Most of it's your basic stuausff: name, address, phone number, allergies, the person you want us to call in case your baby is having a life-threatening crisis and neither you or your husband can be reached. (I hate that blank, by the way. It makes me think of all the bad things that could happen.)

There's one blank most people don't think about much unless they're in the throes of an unsuccessful job hunt.


Like your address or your phone number, it's not a blank you have to think real hard about. You just fill in the appropriate information. I went from student to systems analyst. Then I became a stay at home mom. Simple. Easy. Done.

Then I started writing. Writing is a funny thing. You can work as a writer for years before having anything to show for it. Hours upon hours of writing and editing, but nothing to point at or show people. It makes it hard to say you're a writer, because the following conversation inevitably ensues:

Other Human: What do you do?
Me: I'm a writer.
OH: Wow. That's neat. What do you write?
Me: Romance novels from a Christian worldview
OH: Cool. Can I buy it/get it/see it?
Me: Well. No. Right now I've got a blog and I'm submitting my book places.
OH: *awkward silence*

But I did it. A little over a year ago I started putting "writer" in that little blank. I had a blog. My writing was out there for the world to see. I didn't consider myself a blogger by trade since that wasn't where I was focusing my energy. So I put and said writer and let the awkward silence come because whether that other human knew it or not, calling myself a writer was a big deal and I was proud of myself for taking that step. I still felt a tremor of trepidation with every form I faced.

Until this year. This year I welcomed those student info forms with anticipation and a new pen. This year I didn't put "writer" on that occupation blank.

This year I put "author".

Because this year I have a contract.

"My Lord Valet" or whatever the title ends up being will be available from Bethany House Publishers in Fall of 2015. 

Stay up to date with all the news by joining my email list. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

News, Inspiration, and Laughs: Media Moments of the Week

Some of my fave twitter tweets of the past week:

News from me: I'm a Maggie Finalist! Along with some of my fellow Golden Heart finalists:

@AsaMariaBradley Woot! #GH14Dreamweavers continue to rock! We have 3 #Maggie finalists! @McCallHoyle @JessicaMRuddick @KristiAnnHunter Represent!

In other book news... the publication industry can be slow, but exciting: 

@SuperWriterMom Just realized my book comes out in roughly the same amount of time it took me to birth a baby. #WhatToExpect

@noveldoctor When I sit down to write, my brain seizes. So I have to sneak up on the laptop. All of my stories start with "Aha!"

As always, the twitterverse contained a few profound truths and insights: 

@CSLewisDaily There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'

@louiegiglio Our worship does not add to God's worth. He is God! Our worship adds God's worth to our lives.

@womenOfHistory Great Advice: Follow your heart but take your brain with you

And also a few chuckles: 

@churchCurmudgeon Pastor didn't alliterate his points yesterday. Can't remember a thing. Not my fault if I backslide today.

@NathanFillion I think I have broken the habit of saying "awesome", which is awesome.
 @pvponline This morning there's some FOX exec going "Why don't WE have a humor infused space opera with a rag tag group of criminals?"

What's the most inspirational or giggle-worthy thing you've seen on social media this week?