Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Time Off

I apologize to all of you, my dear friends in the blogosphere, for my recent absence. For the last month life has just been crazy, but I am happy to say it has been a good crazy.

Most of you know that I began the month of June with a rather large writing project. My new client wanted me to write a fifty page book on parenting in two weeks! Of course, that was only the rough draft, and then I had another week to tighten it up, and fix what needed to be fixed. It was a wonderful project and I am truly blessed to say my client was fantastic! He liked my writing, was very reasonable, and has asked me to work on future projects with him, as well. Mission accomplished there.

Last Friday, Nick and I bought our first home. Of course, anyone who has ever moved knows what work it is and how time consuming it also is. We bought a lovely little ranch home in a nice neighborhood within the community we already live in. We really like the fact that it's right outside of town, but close enough to still be able to run our children to school events or run to the store to grab a gallon of milk without having to drive for miles (yes there are many homes out in the boonies where I live here in PA).

This weekend, we leave for vacation. Because we just bought a home, we are trying to keep expenses down so we are camping for a week (as opposed to the trip to Disney that we had planned earlier this spring). Honestly, I think I would rather camp. Florida is going to be sweltering hot and the lines at Disney are very long. Camping will be more of a leisurely experience with a lot fo relaxing and lots and lots of reading (YES!). We will need the relaxation because when we get back it's more packing, cleaning, and cleaning and unpacking!

So for now, my dear friends, I am leaving you. I plan to only be gone for about three weeks. Long enough to go on vacation, and get settled in our new home. I hope you will not give up on me, and come back in a few weeks. I will keep you posted and let you know when I am back for good again.

Until then, take care and I hope you all have a fantastic July!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What do Your Dreams Look Like?

Blogging is wonderful for so many reasons and one of my favorites is that you get to meet amazing people! Mihaela Lica (Mig) is one of those people to me. She is every bit as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside - her dream to protect children and the steps she and her partner have taken to do so is a prime example of her beauty.

Mig is a very talented writer. She uses those talents in her business, but she also uses her gift with words to fight for what's right and to build people up. She has built me up with her encouraging words!

What you might not know about Mig is that she is also an artist. On June 6, she began "Unleashing dreams" on her blog. She takes your pictures and enhances them so that you may see your heart as she does.

Mig, you have truly unleashed my dreams through your vision of my heart! Thank you!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Help Keep Our Children Safe!

A few weeks ago, Mihaela Lica at eWritings - Online Public Relations participated in a meme in which she was to republish one of her favorite posts from the past. It was the same meme that I participated in last week, but my repost was not so valuable. The subject Mig republished was so important that I decided to dedicate a post to it myself. It was not a post about writing, or marketing, or online public relations. It was about something far more significant. It was about her dream of protecting our children, and all the children of the world from internet pornography.

In her repost she talks about an amazing project--Blogger Power: Safeguard the Web for Our Children. The project was begun by Mihaela Lica and Jon Harmon at Force for Good. In their own words, "this is a common sense request to all the “adult site” webmasters: password-protected login on porn sites for all the explicit materials, no more “free clips”, “free tours”, “free pics” without login!"

Here's Blogger Power's "common sense request" to safeguard our children:

Please require a password-protected login before allowing even free access to explicit adult content. We understand that selling porn is your business and we respect your right to make a legal living. But understand our legitimate concerns and work with us. You already have the “warning adult content” on your websites. Yet kids, who are not legal customers of your product, ignore the warning. So to prevent them from having direct access to explicit images, texts and sounds, the simplest way is to have a password-protected login. No more “free tours” before a visitor supplies basic information.

To truly understand the seriousness of this issue, take a few minutes to read "An Open Letter to Bloggers Around the World: Help Make the Web Safer for Children."

I love children. I love their innocence and I truly care about their safety. I am proudly supporting this cause. It only took a few minutes of my time. I encourage you to do the same--for the sake of all our children.

God Bless and good night!

A Fun Meme

I have been tagged for a meme by Sylvia over at Sylvia's Insight. In this meme, I am to list seven random facts about myself, and then, of course, tag others. So here goes:

(1) Strawberry shortcake is my absolute favorite dessert - but it must be topped with cool whip (preferably homemade)!

(2) I enjoy scrap booking, even though I don't do it as much as I would like to.

(3) I love music!

(4) I love to sing - I'm always singing with the radio!

(5) As a child, I walked on stilts that stood ten feet in the air.

(6) I love babies, children and animals!

(7) I love God!

There you have it, seven random facts about me! Now I'd like to tag Kathy, Laura, and Lillie because they are three beautiful women that I would like to know more about!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What's so Great About Essays?

I love blogging! It's such a treat to sit down and write whatever I feel like without having to adhere to specific writing rules. I can write about one thing in one style today, and write about something completely different in a totally unique style the next. There is a freedom in it that is much like writing an essay--another form of writing that I've always enjoyed.

For me, writing essays has always been more fun than work. In fact, in high school and college, while many people were griping about essay tests, I was giddy inside with excitement. I knew I had a much better chance at scoring more points with an essay than I could by testing other ways. It almost always meant an A. Send that essay test my way!

Besides the opportunity to excel academically as a student, I enjoy essay writing for other reasons. For me, essays are a fun way to express my own opinion. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not always outwardly opinionated and I don't get all worked up if someone has a different opinion than me, but sometimes it's just nice to express what I think. Nobody thinks exactly as I do and that's a beautiful thing. Essays are an expression of individuality.

I also really love how much I learn when I write an essay. I learn about the world around me, but I also learn more about who I am, what I love, and how I think and feel about important things. Sometimes it's learning about specific topics, and sometimes it's about things like love, equality, and being the best person I can be, but always it's about learning.

Another thing that's really neat about essays is how you can take any topic and make it interesting--I think that's the human element in this sort of writing. Take foot fungus for instance. It isn't exactly a topic of great interest to most people, but once it's connected to another human being in an interesting way, then it's fun to read. "How my high school friend started a foot fungus epidemic," might be pretty funny! You can easily incorporate foot fungus facts into a story like that, and keep your reader's attention.

Whether it's personal experience or human emotion that makes an essay interesting, it's about feeling connected. I like feeling connected with people, and I like the idea that someone is feeling connected to me because of something that I've written. So if you haven't already, try getting connected and write an essay to share with the world!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Recycling Meme - Be a Better Writer: Avoid These Common Mistakes

Mihaeal Lica of eWritings - Online Public Relations tagged me with this fun Meme in which I get to recycle an older post, and then tag others to do the same. It was hard to choose which to repost. I love the older posts that were written before I redesigned this blog specifically for writers. They are so personal and are a great enjoyment for me to read, but since most of you are writers, I thought I would repost something that might be useful to you. So here you go. Enjoy!

Be a Better Writer: Avoid These Common Mistakes

In my last blog I discussed the difference between proofreading and editing—both very important elements of writing. Understanding the difference is great, but what can you look for that goes beyond the basics of punctuation?

Incorrect word usage is something that often grabs my attention when I am reading an article. When words are used improperly, the writer automatically loses credibility. You must be vigilant about choosing the correct words and using them in the correct context.

As a writer, you must thoughtfully choose the words you use—whether it’s for a short story, poetry, or writing a cover letter. The following examples are some of the most common mistakes that I see, but should be avoided at all costs.

(1) Anxious vs. eager - I see this mistake all the time. Anyone who has ever had anxiety knows that there is an extreme difference between being anxious and eager. If you are looking forward to meeting your favorite author, you would not say, "I am anxious to meet Stephen King." Instead you would be eager to meet him--unless you are afraid he might act out a gruesome scene from one of his books. Then you might be anxious.

(2) Center on vs. revolve around – Often writers will combine the two and instead write “center around.” Well, you can’t be in the center and around at the same time. I might say that I want you to center your attention on my blog right now.

(3) Concerted effort - one person cannot make a concert but he can make a concentrated effort.

(4) Accept vs. except – accept means to take, and except means to leave out. Try to remember that the “x” in except means to exclude. Please accept my advice on word usage--except when I make mistakes!

(5) Criterion vs. criteria - Some words with Latin or Greek roots have plural forms that end in “a.” These words are commonly mistaken for singular words. Remember you have one criterion and many criteria.

(6) A lot vs. alot – ok, so this one is very basic and not really about meaning, but I see it misused so often, I think it’s worth mentioning. Remember that “a lot” is always two words—not one. But you can allot a job to a friend.

I hope these suggestions will help you when working on your writing project—whatever it may be. Choose your words carefully, and remember it’s the simple things that add up to make you an expert in the writing world.

I am tagging Sylvia, Harmony, and Betsy. Have fun ladies!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Sometimes Life Takes Over

I apologize for my recent absence and lack of new posts. I'm just not accustomed to writing 50 page books in two weeks. My writing is usually much more relaxed with deadlines not usually quite so tight - although I realize that many of you are probably writing at least close to that amount in one or two weeks - if not more. Hmm...well, I'll find the balance.

My writing, on the other hand, usually consists of visiting all my favorite blogs (two or three times a day), leaving comments on the ones that particularly move me - whether it's to tears, laughter, or otherwise. I check my email. I move on to a writing project, but I'd be willing to bet that most of you know how much time the whole blogging thing and email can consume. So then I write for a while and it isn't long before I get distracted by something else. The internet is productivity's best friend or worst enemy.

I am almost done with my book now. It's been a fun project for me and I've learned a lot from it. Perhaps the most important lesson is that when it comes right down to it, I really can balance my family with writing quite successfully. In fact, with more to do, I've even found that I've managed to keep up on my household chores much more successfully than when I'm not as busy. I've just switched things up a bit. For example, instead of doing my laundry at the end of the day, I do it first thing in the morning. Then it's done and it's one less thing I have to do before getting my kiddos to bed at night.

Anyway, I will try and give you all a couple worth while posts this week, as well as in the weeks to come. Bear with me, though because we are possibly going to be buying a new home in the next few weeks. Then life will be really hectic again. For tonight though, in anticipation of the craziness that may soon be coming, I'm going to go enjoy a good book!

Enjoy your evening!