A crazy busy week, so sharing a funny video. I think I need a cat in my office, don't you? I'm reminded of Sassy's "cats rule and dogs drool" remark in the movie Homeward Bound. Remember that?
Also wanted to let you know about a contest called "Pitch Madness" coming up this March. A friend just clued me in, so I thought I'd give it a try--practice pitching my novel and see if my first 250 words are strong enough. Check out the link below.
(for Young Adult, Middle Grade, New Adult, and Adult)
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Friday, February 21, 2014
"But I like hanging out in the loft," a small voice says.
"There are no pressures there. No agents or publishers to
worry about, no critiques to fret over. No queries to write or
that synopsis I need to rewrite. Safe, comfy and warm."
"And besides, I can just dream and dream . . . and dream."
(Some days I'm Ferdinand the Bull, lost in wishful thinking).
But real dreams sometimes come true.....and more often than not for those who persevere. I have seen this played out with some of you online, and writers locally. I find this immensely encouraging, because dreams are not meant for yellow file drawer folders, or as an item on a to-do list.....at the bottom, or a left-over favorite we accidentally forgot and find in the refrigerator later. Worthy dreams, those worth investing a lifetime, are not stinky left-overs. They are the beautiful things we pursue that make us a better human being, a better writer, a better worker, a better whatever. Do not let go of these ideals, goals, dreams (however you label them). They are worth it. YOU are worth it!!
Timing can be a bit strange when it comes to fulfilling dreams. As is typical in the arts, fulfillment sometimes comes posthumously. I read in the paper this morning of a local woman who has self-published her deceased husband's novel. He was 84 when he died. The article showed a sweet picture of the couple and emphasized their years together. It was done is such a warm manner, I would argue that his dream of publishing a novel was fulfilled in a better, grander way, for he gave his wife a reason to go on with her life.
So where do I stand on the dream-fulfillment meter? Writing has been the focus of my life for the past two-plus years. I had no idea I would love blogging as much as I do. In fact, I had no idea, I would gain confidence as a writer in sharing my life interests and dream of publishing a novel. I will get there, God willing, and if the world doesn't end tomorrow. And when I do, you will be the first to know!!
So.....celebrating holding onto my dreams this week and also the big A-Z blog hop this April. I hesitated at the huge time commitment there, but last year's experience was so incredible, I just couldn't pass it up. Did anyone else sign up?
'Celebrate the small things' was started by Viklit at Scribblings of An Aspiring Author. Sign up below. Meet some terrific bloggers!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
John Brown: Defending the Innocent or Plotting Terror
Author: Nel Yomtov
Publisher: Capstone Press/Capstone, 2014
Age: 8 to 10, Chapter book
The hanging of abolitionist John Brown in 1859 was controversial, and depending on one’s perspective, his death was either hotly protested or applauded as justly deserved. John Brown believed that slavery was wrong, a growing belief shared by many across the nation in the pre-dawn of the Civil War. Tension was high everywhere. When slavery was suddenly allowed in the new territory of Kansas, Brown and his supporters rushed to the scene in protest. A gun fight broke out and several men thought to be proslavery were killed. Brown was accused of murder and became a wanted man. Later, a raid on Harpers Ferry in West Virginia to obtain weapons went wrong, and Brown was arrested.
“Was John Brown a hero or a villain?” Yomtov asks. Readers are given the opportunity to ask this question and to see the different sides of Brown. They learn about Brown’s early life and the strong influence his father had on his religious faith and beliefs as an abolitionist. He was also married twice and had twenty children, some who supported his beliefs about slavery. His home was even used for the Underground Railroad, which helped slaves escape to freedom in the north. Many in the nation reacted to Brown’s arrest. Some respected his courage, while others condemned his actions. Yomtov’s John Brown fits well in the “Perspectives on History” series, complete with glossary, index and resources. Questions are also asked at the end to give students more to think about in their study.
Although written for young children (details are sketchy), Yomtov does a good job at showing the different facets of Brown's life. I liked learning of his background with the Underground Railroad. I was more familiar with his violent past. Some credit the incident at Harpers Ferry with starting the Civil War, which makes studying Brown's life all the more important.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
More from Marilyn in the Congo! Life is never the same, one day to the next.
08 Feb 2014
Greetings, my friends
T'is a weekend, and I am thankful for it. We've finished another week of surgery--where did the time go? The days ranged from "normal" (whatever that is...), to very stressful, to frustratingly unproductive--in other words, a typical week. No two days are the same, and they are all unpredictable. I live in a place where rain causes the city to grind to a halt for hours at a time, and it is the rainy season. I work in a culture that views time and appointments differently--if you tell patients to come at 0630 on Tuesday, some of them will be there, but some will straggle in by 10:00 or 11:00, and a few will come on Monday or Thursday instead.
If you tell them to take their blood pressure medicine before leaving home on the day of surgery, maybe half of them will do it. I haven't figured out why that happens. Are we not saying it correctly? Can they not afford the medicine? Have their doctors convinced them that they are cured of blood pressure problems with two weeks of medication? Is the word out that Mercy Ships will give them medicine to lower their blood pressure enough to allow surgery, so save yourself a pill? (We do that, usually.)
So, a day like Tuesday happens now and then. It rained all night, so streets were flooded. The surgeon was eager to get an early start...but by starting time, we had only two patients qualified
for surgery and two with sky-high blood pressures. The other twelve patients hadn't come yet. We made multiple trips to the dock in the rain to bring in drenched patients as they gradually arrived over the next several hours. At one point I had four with elevated blood pressures, three or four that the doctor hadn't seen yet due to late arrival, two pterygium surgery patients (always scheduled to be the last surgeries of the day), one or two whose cataract surgery was expected to be difficult and so scheduled for later in the day...and no patients qualified to send for surgery.
The doctor was having to make compromises on who he would do next...and I was jumping this way and that trying to predict which ones I should be preparing for surgery in what order. Some I dilated early in anticipation that he would take them next, only to have them set aside. Others I had to scramble to get ready, and even sent them for surgery not fully dilated. Two patients never did arrive, but we did eventually manage to get the surgeries done on the rest. All's well that ends well, but it was a stressful day.
Meanwhile, glorious things were happening down the hall. We have a dental program. They do fillings and cleanings, but they also do a lot of extractions for teeth that are too far gone to save. They did an extraction for one man who had quite an abscess under that tooth. The infection spread quickly and he became deathly ill.
They admitted him to the hospital for treatment, but he quickly deteriorated to the point of needing intubation and life support. He had aspirated pus, and was in dreadful condition. They actually had to cancel a day of surgery so that the anesthesiologist could attend him 24/7, and even at that, he was not expected to live.
The hospital administrator later told us that it was technically impossible for the man to recover. His death was so certain that the administrator had already begun the paperwork required for a death on the ship. But, a call for prayer went out, and many prayed, including the kids in the academy. I think the Lord listens to the prayers of children with special attention. At any rate, it seems that He did intervene, interrupting the normal course of this man's crisis.
Imagine the administrator's surprise to find that not only was the man not dead the next morning, he was off the ventilator, out of bed, and sitting in a chair, dramatically recovered. It doesn't happen that way very often, but when it does...hallelujah.
So there you have it, the lows and highs of the week.
[Click here to learn more about the nurses and doctors on board the Africa Mercy]