Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh Blessed and Bountiful Life!

I am a mother, wife, writer, knitter, singer, homemaker, exerciser and user of the creative gifts God has given me. I am healthy. I am not bored. I am greatly blessed and reveling in the good and bountiful life He has given me. I had to tell you this.

My very best friend and life partner!

Two of three pumpkins of my own!

The little gal who keeps me young at heart!

I love this one more than words can say! Isn't she sooo precious!

"Honestly, Mama, do you have to take a picture?"

Canning peaches is so rewarding!

Using and enjoying the fruit God gives us is a blessing unto itself!

What I have posted here is a mere drop in the bucket of the rich life I am experiencing right now. For those of you who have inquired as to my absence, all is well. All is better than well. Life and circumstances can change overnight. That's a reality that I am aware of, so I have simply been enjoying the abundent life I have been blessed with. You all are a part of that life and I truly hope and pray with all my heart that your lives are as full and blessed as mine.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Invigorate Your Writing - the Figurative Way!

Yesterday, over at Middle Zone Musings, Robert Hruzek announced the August What I Learned From... group writing project. He gives us a definition of a simile and metaphor, and offers great examples of each one. After taking care of that important matter, he tells us that this month he wants us to write about what life is to us in metaphor form.

Robert's writing prompt got me to thinking about how important using figurative language can be to your writing. Why should you use it and what purpose does it serve? Using figurative language, a simile or metaphor, has the potential to make abstract, general, or unfamiliar ideas easier to grasp. It breathes new life, meaning, and depth into a dying sentence.

What is a simile?

A simile is figurative language in which the writer says that two things are like each other - usually using the words like or as.

His eyes were as cold and stony as a piece of granite.

Her heart felt light like a feather.

What is a metaphor?

A metaphor is the use of figurative language in which the writer says or implies that one thing actually is another. The element of comparison that is present in a simile is not there in a metaphor.

My daughter is a real pistol when she is angry!

After running three miles, my body begged me to stop and rest.

You probably already know that my daughter is not literally a pistol, or that my body does not beg me to do or not do anything. Metaphors and similes give the reader something that you don't get by simply saying, "My daughter can get real angry," or "I was so tired I wanted to stop running." You get a real visual, a more intense and interesting feeling and a much better read.

Give it a whirl. Practice with your figurative language and watch it spice up your writing!

Until next time, have a blessed day!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Toadally Cool, Huh?

While my family and I were away on vacation, we visited a beautiful park in Warren, PA called Jake's Rocks. If you have a fear of heights, this is not the place for you. Its gorgeous views can be hundreds of feet up in the air in certain places. But it was truly spectacular--so spectacular, in fact, that my camera really didn't do it any justice.

I think the picture of the toad ranks up there as one of my favorite pictures ever. He was camouflaged so well, that I almost didn't see him. Really. My husband said, "Hey! Look at that toad," and I looked for a full minute before I spotted him hiding amongst the leaves.

We spent much of our vacation time outside this year--reconnecting with God, His gifts, and for me my creative side. I've decided to write a book. As many writers do, I have a fear that this is something I am not capable of doing. Give me an article topic to research, or a press release announcing a great new product--those I feel confident about, but a book? Fiction? Am I that creative? Is it possible that I can pull it off? I'm not sure, but I do know one thing for certain: I never will know unless I try. So wish me luck on this one, friends! I'm going to need it!

Take care and have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday's Tips and Tidbits

Today we are talking about A Writer's Time Out. Sound's sort of stern doesn't it? A writer's time out is what I call a commitment to doing something every week that helps you get to know your "inner writer" a little bit better. It isn't stern at all, but it can be scary because it reflects a commitment to writing that should move you closer to your writing goals. This is a scary thing--committing yourself to a goal that you aren't even sure is attainable. Julia Cameron refers to this as the "Artist's Date," a more romanticised notion of the same thing really.

According to Julia this date is an important contributor to your writing muse. In her book, "The Artist's Way," she compares writing to a relationship that needs nurturing. Counselors encourage spouses to spend quality time with each other in order to reconnect and they need to have fun together in order to do that. It only makes sense that writers should do the same thing to stay connected with their "inner artist."

Julia says, "Your artist needs to be taken out, pampered, and listened to." She points out that excuses concocted to evade this time together are far too easy to come up with, but that all excuses are nonsense. These excuses are simply the "fear of self-intimacy," she says. I think it's also the fear of the unknown and perhaps even success?

Your date need not be expensive or extravagant. It is only important that the time you spend enables you to tap into a deeper part of yourself that helps you to grow as a writer. Your date might include sipping iced tea on the veranda of a local restaurant, watching and listening to children play at the park, or hiking a nature trail near your home. Whatever activity really strikes your fancy...or actually whatever strikes your inner writer's fancy!

So my tidbit for better writing this week is to suggest that you put yourself in a writer's time out, or if you are feeling less self-deprecating take yourself out on an "Artist's Date--it's all in your perspective, my friend! I think I'll take the date!

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday's Tips and Tidbits

Well, we are back from vacation. We had a wonderfully relaxing time, but no matter how enjoyable time away is, there's nothing quite so nice as sleeping in your own bed again.

While we were gone I was able to spend an entire day devoted to doing nothing but reading. I devoured a couple issues of Writers Digest and enjoyed it immensely. In fact, one of the articles I read was about software for writers, and honestly I had never even given it any thought before.

My first inclination was to think that I would never use such programs and that it's cheating in a sense. But why? Don't these programs basically teach you all the same things that you learn while taking a writing course? That's not cheating it's improving your craft. I decided to check out their list of recommended software and here is a review of three that I looked at:

(1) WriteItNow - is a program for story development. Their website was very informative and easy to use. The WriteItNow registered software costs $49.95, but they offer a free demo and while you can't save or use add-ons it still has the potential to draw your story out.

(2) NewNovelist - also a site for story development. This program costs $54.99, doesn't offer a free version, but does offer a demo. I personally didn't care for their demo because you don't have any control in what you read or how fast you view it. I like to be able to read something and then move on, but that wasn't an option. I didn't make it through the demo.

(3) Character Pro - a program for character development. The registered software is $69.99, but the site itself has some free articles, tools and tips that are very useful when it comes to character development. There is even a page you can go to that helps you develop a quick character for free!

So there you have it. My quick review of three writing software websites - take it for what it's worth!

Take care and have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Summer Vacation

It's finally here: Summer vacation. My 13-year-od has been enjoying it for almost a month already, and now my husband gets a little piece of freedom, as well. He works at a shop and is on "shutdown," a mandatory vacation, if you will. He has two weeks off, and hopefully after he gets caught up on all the odds and ends projects he has to do around the house, he will spend some leisure time fishing and doing whatever he might like to do for fun.

In the mean time, I will be devoting my spare time to him and the rest of my family -who also happens to be sick :(. I probably won't be blogging too much until he goes back to work. Isn't this truly one of the perks of being a write at home mama?

I will be back soon to "Get it Write for You!" Until then, take care and have a wonderful Fourth of July!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Words Are Not Enough

I yearn to be more like this earthly man, this hero, whose love for his son knows no boundaries--this man whose love is more like Jesus than any example I have ever seen...This man is a poetic example of our awesome and amazing God .

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday's Writing Tidbits

Writer's block? Well, yes, I have to admit I have a touch of this dreaded writing dilemma. It's not that I don't want to write. Why just this morning I woke up with the sun shining in through my bedroom window, and I felt so inspired I took my handy dandy notepad and half cup of coffee out to my back patio to do some writing. I wanted desperately to pour my heart out onto the paper and write something eloquent and worthwhile! I couldn't get started. I think we all have days when writer's block gets us, so here are a few tips on overcoming it when it strikes:

Get up and move somewhere different. Writing from a new spot may help renew your creative juices and help you view things from a new perspective.

(2) Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Start out with fun writing--like freewriting or journaling. These are great opportunities to both come up with new ideas, and to get rid of the stuff that's cluttering up your mind.

(3) Get focused. After you've found yourself a new sweet spot, and gotten a chance to do some fun writing, direct your attention to what you really want or need to write and then, as that clever Nike slogan says, "Just do it!" Start writing and you will be amazed at what you can get accomplished!

What's your most useful advice to overcoming writer's block?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Oh My Gosh! Too Cute!

One day Baby Amara woke up feeling incredibly happy, "Oh! Life is so wonderful," she thought.

Suddenly, she became very somber. "Something's just not quite right here..."

...until Mama came along and plucked that white thing off of her head. She breathed a sigh of relief, smiled and thought, "Now life is truly good!"

You know, I often find myself wondering if Einstein's hair started out like this...Just a thought!

Hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday's Writing Tidbits

You got me! It's not's Wednesday. I apologize. You know how life gets away from you sometimes? Well, life got away from me...but you'll be happy to know I got it back again!

Anyway, I thought that this week's "tip" would be about group writing projects. I participated in my first one last week and thought it was such a great experience that I really think everyone should give it a try. Here are several reasons why:

(1) First and foremost, I thought it was great fun, but most importantly, it was a wonderful learning experience. What a fun opportunity to learn something about myself and a life event that I might not have ever thought about again! Not only that, but there were many lessons to be learned from the other participants. Who would think you could learn so much from animals, but you can!

(2) The contest opened my eyes to new people and new blogs. When I read the other entries in the project, I also checked out their blogs. I found a bunch of interesting stories, talented writers, and tons of useful information. Bloggers tend to be a helpful bunch!

(3) It brought new visitors to my blog. I love seeing new visitors, and I enjoy their comments even more!

(4) It was a great excuse to write. I would even have to say that it brought me a little bit out of my comfort zone--probably because the story was a glimpse into a past that is very personal to me. But doesn't that stretch us as writers, and human beings?

So if you've never joined a group writing project, then give it a try. You might be surprised just how much you stand to gain! I know I learned much more than I figured on, and that's simply awesome!

Have a wonderful day, and see you next time!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No Ordinary Park Pigeon!

For most 12-year-olds, summer vacation is a time of carefree play. Going to friends' houses, visits to the beach, and vacations to new and unexplored places were eagerly anticipated events that made summer even more enticing.

For me it was different. Most of my time was spent outside and I wouldn't change that for anything in the world. I roamed our 62 acres of land in all seasons, but summer held its own special beauty. Right about the time school let out, wild strawberries came in to season. I would wander through the meadow until their sweet aroma gave their secret location away—usually hidden among patches of orange hawkweed and wild mustard plants. I spent hours picking them so my Gramma would make us wild strawberry jam--an unbelievably delectable treat when spread on homemade buttermilk biscuits.

And for as many hours as I spent picking strawberries, and roaming the meadow, that many more (and then some) were spent at the little pond that I called "my special spot." It was there that I went to think, to be happy or sad, or just to watch the sun glisten off the surface of the water as it said goodnight to the world. It was magic to me.

Despite the joys I found in nature, I still often found myself lonely. I was denied the fun activities a normal girl my age got to participate in, and was even excluded from all family fun. Naturally, I yearned for companionship--someone I could talk to; someone I could love and who would love me back and value me for who I was and wanted to become.

I prayed for a friend and in the late weeks of July, God answered that prayer in a most unusual and unexpected way. He sent me a bird. A pigeon I named Millie to be exact. She looked like any other pigeon you might see while sitting on a park bench with some bread crumbs in hand, but believe me, she was no ordinary bird.

She came to me one day while I was singing and riding my bike around the yard. I noticed her right away because I always had a fascination for birds. I spent hours concocting ways to catch one, or at least convince one that I was safe and would find him lots of worms. So when Millie landed on a branch only a few feet from my bike, I was careful not to move too fast so as not to scare her away. Slowly, I got off of my bike, stood underneath her branch and continued singing to her.

It wasn't long before she moved to where she was low enough that I could almost touch her. While crooning my song, I gradually raised my hands up to where she perched and to my surprise she let me catch her. Excitement surged through my body like electricity, for cupped in my hands was the reward for all of my patience.

Little did I know at that moment that it was no fluke that Millie let me catch her. She became a fast friend, and as long as I sang to her, she followed me wherever I went. For a month, I was like the Pied Piper, and she my faithful follower. I was never so happy in my life, all because I had a little bird to love, and the best part was that she loved me back.

Summer ended quickly with a friend to spend my days with. My first day back to school was fun and exciting, but I couldn’t wait to get home to be with Millie again. I hopped off the bus, filled with the anticipation of seeing her and singing to her after a long day apart, but when I called for her she didn’t come.

I went inside and asked my mom if she had seen Millie. She told me she made a trip into town and hadn’t seen her since she got back. I went back out and began looking, calling, and singing for her to come. She never did. I found her sprawled out underneath the wheel of the car. My mother figured Millie must have been sunbathing in the driveway when she came back from town. She didn’t see her, and tragedy struck in our driveway.

My spirit was crushed when Millie died, but I managed to recover from my loss and even learn something from my little feathered friend. I learned that there is nothing better in this world than to love someone or something unconditionally, and to have that same love returned to you. I learned that death is a part of living, no matter how sad or difficult it can be. Most importantly, I learned that no matter how small the being, or how brief the encounter, if the situation is right, the impact on another’s life can be huge. Never underestimate the importance of the little things in life. These great lessons are proof that Millie was no ordinary park pigeon.

This post is my entry in What I Learned from Animals at Middle Zone Musings and High Callings Blogs.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday's Tips and Tidbits

Choosing a Topic

There are times when freelance writers don't have a choice as to what they are going to write about. Journalists, magazine writers, and even those who do web based writing are forced to write whatever their editor or client wants or needs. Of course, there is usually some amount of flexibility regardless, but what if you get to choose your own topics? This is often one of the many perks of freelance writing, but how do you come up with ideas and what should you keep in mind?

Pick a topic that is of strong interest to you and that you already know something about. This will help you in a few different ways. First of all, let's use a scrapbooker as an example. A "die-hard scrap-booker" is going to come up with ideas for a scrap booking article much easier than someone who has never scrap booked before. Maybe she has created a fun and easy page to record a child's first birthday and she would like to share that with her readers in a "how to" article format. Or perhaps she would like to share in essay form why she is passionate about pictures. Regardless of the topic, her love for scrapbooking will help her come up with a plethora of article ideas.

Not only will the ideas come easier with a topic close to your heart, but that first hand experience is only going to enrich your article. Our photo friendly junky is already going to know what tools to use to make her pictures look fancy, which glues work the best, and how to keep organized. All of this is useful and real information that is sure to give her article an edge--one that won't come quite so readily with a topic that's foreign to her.

Finally, what you already know gives you a head start in your research. The information foundation will already be there, and your job will be to build upon that, to learn more about a topic that interests you, and to write an eloquent article.

So go pick a topic that inspires you and write an article that people will be driven to read!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tuesday's Tips and Tidbits for Better Writing

Word Choice

Choosing the correct words for your content is one of the smartest things you can do for your writing career. Proper word choice will make your stories and articles entirely more persuasive. Conversely, putting the wrong words in the wrong place will only help you to lose your credibility, and unfortunately your readers too. So here are three common mistakes to watch out for when you write.

(1) All ready, and already: Use all ready when all refers to things or people:

The writers were all ready to write the best story ever!

Use already to refer to "by this time" or "by that time."

I could hardly believe her book already made the best seller list!

(2) Can hardly, can't hardly: Can hardly means virtually the same thing as cannot or can't:

My daughter can hardly wait until the end of the week, and the beginning of her summer vacation.

Can't hardly is improper grammar and should never be used in any context!

(3) Moral, morale: A moral is an adjective meaning ethical or virtuous.

The moral of the story is that if you use good grammar your writing will be more credible.

Morale is a noun meaning spirit or attitude.

The coach's positive attitude kept up his team's morale.

I hope you found these tips and tidbits useful. I will be back next week with some more!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, May 30, 2008

My Three Beautiful Girls!

Life has been particularly busy this week. We've had doctor's appointments, time off for the holiday, and all sorts of other busy stuff. So instead of a lengthy writing post, I am giving you a glimpse of my pretty girls. I am so proud to say that they are every bit as lovely on the inside as they are on the outside!

What's more precious than a sleeping baby?

Looking to the future...

Beautiful ballerina...

Well, I hope you all have a great weekend and I will be back with a writing post next week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why "Blog Surfing" Makes Me a Better Writer

Since returning to the world of blogging and freelance writing, I have been taking the time to visit and catch up with some of my favorite blogs. I have even added and visited several great new ones. I used to think that "blog surfing" was leisure activity and that this was nonproductive to my writing career. I have decided that was the wrong sort of thinking. Here are a few reasons why:

(1) Reading other writing blogs helps you learn more about your trade. Just visit Matt Keegan's The Article Writer, or Lillie Ammann's A Writer's Words, An Editor's Eye, and you will find out just how much you stand to learn from reading the blogs of other professionals. They have spent hours upon hours creating posts that will help you find success in the freelancing community. These people, and many others just like them, care about what they do and they care about your success.

(2) Reading other blogs exposes great resources-- whether its a potential job or a website to increase exposure. Michele Tune of Writing the Cyber Highway recently invited me to join ChicksWhoClick, a private network for women in media, creative arts and girls' & women's advocacy. What a great resource for meeting fellow writers and finding (as well as sharing) information to make the writing journey a little easier for others.

(3) It's a fantastic way to meet awesome and amazing people. I cannot tell you how many inspirational stories I have read on other people's blogs. Stories of overcoming abuse, beating cancer, raising children with disabilities, and fighting online internet pedophilia touch my heart and remind me that bloggers are real people who care about real life issues. What an honor to be acquainted with such people.

(4) Reading these same blogs inspires me to write more, and most importantly, to be a better woman. I read what others have gone through. I see what causes they stand for and support, and all the good they are doing in the world. Reading these blogs inspires me to use my writing gift to do the same. I want to write more, get involved in community causes, and grow as a woman and a human being.

Yes, I have decided that taking the time to visit other blogs can only enhance my writing career, and encourage the kind of growth as a human being that will make me a better writer. So don't feel guilty. There's something to learn from everybody. Take the time to visit some great blogs, and get connected with some wonderful people--I guarantee that remarkable things will come of it!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tuesday's Tips and Tidbits for Better Writing

The Cliche

Cliches are old phrases that once made a strong impression, but have been used so much they no longer make an impact on the reader. They come to mind easily, and seem to make writing sound more interesting. But using them too much is poor writing etiquette.

Overuse of cliches might look something like this in a story:

Billy always enjoyed getting under his mother’s skin. It was his sneaky way of cajoling her into letting him do what he wanted. He'd simply climb the walls until she would get all worked up and say, “For Pete’s sake, Billy, go over to Johnny's house to play!”

Perhaps this is an entertaining story, but the cliches are too much! If you spot one in your writing there are two things you can do: (1) Give it a new twist. An example I like is, "Halfway up the ladder of success, she found several rungs missing." (2) If you can't give it a new twist, simply replace it with a more fitting word or phrase.

So be sure to read the writing on the blog, and avoid the old cliche in your writing.

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Writing Technique's and Tips

The most avid readers understand the rewards of reading something that touches our senses and flows with the beauty of nature itself. People will return again and again to a writer who knows how to connect with his readers in this manner. Good writing is stylish, and stylish writers are successful.

The exciting thing is that you can accomplish writing style by many different means. The usage of good grammar, how you apply different writing techniques, and plenty of practice all help you create your own unique voice. These are all qualities a stylish writer applies to his writing.

Every Monday I am going to post on the topic of "Stylish Writing." It may be a post about something as simple as common word usage errors, punctuation, or maybe it will be a little more complicated. Whether simple or complex, it is guaranteed to be good information to help you (and me) to become a better writer.

Deep down inside, don't we all want others to read and enjoy our writing? Hope to see you Monday!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Excused Not to Write?

Chances are if you are reading my blog, you are a writer in some capacity. You may be a freelance writer trying to make a living, or perhaps writing is one of your favorite hobbies and you are literally aching to give it a real whirl and see what you are really made of. Regardless, of why you write, it is important to stay on track.

For me it's far too easy to let life get in the way of my writing. Please allow me to translate this last sentence in more understandable terms: I make excuses. OK, so maybe it's more like procrastination. When I sit down at my computer to write, I subconsciously find reasons not to write. First I check my email, then read articles from the various newsletters I receive, I read my favorite blogs, and one thing leads to another. By the time I'm "ready" to write, my time is up. I have to go tend to another responsibility.

So what do you do to get past this? Well, if you succumb to this same type of behavior, you may first begin by comforting yourself with this thought: Some of the most successful writers are also great procrastinators. So don't be too hard on yourself, but beware that it doesn't become destructive to your writing goals. I've tried a few ideas that might also be helpful to you.

Number one, give yourself an allotted amount of playtime to check your email, read your favorite blogs, or surf the internet. Set a timer and when it goes off, then so does the internet (unless you are using it for research or it directly pertains to your writing). This really works, I've tried it.

Set deadlines for yourself. This is very advisable when you are getting paid to write. You don't want to disappoint a client and lose a good reputation or potential work in the future. But even if you don't have to turn something in by a certain date, making yourself believe you do, helps get the job done.

Finally, try to do your writing at the same time every day. My time is in the afternoon when my children are asleep and my husband is at work. I don't have a ton of time to write at this stage in my life, so I think about what it is I want or need to accomplish and focus my mind on that goal.

God has given us a great gift and talent. As I get back into the swing of writing again, I must also remind myself that a busy life is not an excuse not to write, and procrastination is not productive. Determination and focus, will however help me meet my writing goals, and the same goes for you!

Until next time take care and stay focused!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Back to the Grind

It's definitely time--time for me to return to writing, that is. Over the last couple of weeks my desire to get back to writing has been renewed. Don't get me wrong, I have been enjoying Baby Amara very much. She is a delightful little baby and every day brings something new and cute. My favorite is the sweet gummy grins she now showers me with on a daily basis, but I digress!

Writing is a part of who I am and something that I have been passionate about since I was very young. It gives me value as a human being--other than being a wife and mother. It defines me and gives me self worth.

So how do I get back to it after taking such an extended period of time off? For me, the time off was personal. I had a baby and my mind was preoccupied with baby things, but lots of people take time off from writing for lots of different reasons. So here are four tips that may be helpful for anyone trying to get back to it.

(1) Write every day. What? I'm just getting back into it again, what do you mean write every day, you ask. Don't let this scare you. You can still ease back into it, but do something every day. A great way to do this is by journaling (which has many of its own benefits anyway). Getting yourself into the habit of writing will help you find greater success as you get more serious about it again.

(2) Look for inspiration around you. An inspired person is a motivated writer, and inspiration is literally everywhere! Perhaps it's in a favorite blog, the words of a cherished poem, or maybe it's in the wildlife that surrounds you. Find your own source of inspiration and draw from it.

(3) Set some realistic goals. For me, I want to focus on building up a client base again, so I need to think about how to do that. For example, spending a predetermined amount of time per week marketing myself will be one of my goals. Applying for X amount of jobs a week will be another. What do you desire to achieve from your writing, and how are you going to go about that are a couple questions you might want to ask yourself, then set your goals accordingly. This is a very productive suggestion for anyone--whether just starting out, or for an old pro who needs a new perspective on what he's doing.

(4) Don't be too hard on yourself. I'm going to have to try to remind myself of this one. Having a new baby in the house can be very tiring some days. I'm going to have to be honest with you, sometimes an afternoon nap will look much more tempting than spending an afternoon writing. So as long as you can maintain your focus (and if you have clients, keep your work a priority) then don't beat yourself up if you have some days that aren't real productive. Remember that probably one of the reasons you chose to be a freelance writer was for the flexibility in your schedule.

So good luck with your new or renewed endeavors, and wish me luck with mine!

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Amara Sophia

Ok. So I need to get out my little brag book of pictures! Having a baby is just too much fun not to share! Hope you all enjoy these pictures as much as I do!

I hope and pray that your April has been as lovely as ours has been so far. It was actually 73 degrees here yesterday--a treat to enjoy after the cold and very snowy winter we had! Yuck! I am so happy better weather is on the way for good!

Take care everyone and I will be back to posting soon--and it will be writing posts, I promise!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It's a...GIRL!

After months of waiting and wondering, we finally delivered a beautiful healthy baby girl! Our precious little bundle of joy, Amara Sophia Vella, came to join us March 21, on Good Friday, at 6:07AM. She weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces, and was 21 inches long. As of this past Monday morning, she has already gained back more than her birth weight and was weighing in at 8 pounds 2 ounces. A reminder of just how quickly babies grow. As my friend Betsy says, "Babies don't keep!"

So far little Amara has been a complete joy! She sleeps for three hour stretches at night, and is pretty content during the day -- although she does enjoy being held and snuggled. Of course, I have no problem with that because since she is our last baby I plan to hold and snuggle her as much as possible!

So there you have it, the latest edition to our family, and the new light of our lives! Talk to you soon!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Important Matters

Hello to all, and thank you for all of your kind words and support throughout the last month. I am now eight months pregnant and still feeling pretty good - although I am feeling more and more eager to deliver this baby. I wouldn't wish it too soon, though. Despite all the discomforts I am now experiencing, every moment will be well worth the healthy beautiful baby we get to hold in the end.

I continue to do some writing - a few press releases and some articles here and there. I have found that at this stage, I am enjoying the slower writing pace. It gives me time to prepare for the baby, but yet keeps me writing here and there, which also helps to pass the time.

But what I want to write about right now, I think is so much more important than how I am feeling, or what I am doing with my time until baby comes. I want to write about Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC).

My good friend, Betsy, has a blog. Perhaps some of you have checked it out, maybe not. Regardless of that, I have found a blog through hers that has moved me to tears. The blog is called Toddler Planet. It is about one woman's struggle with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I have visited Susan's site from time to time, and always leave inspired - inspired by her strength, courage, determination, and her goal to inform others of what IBC is and how to detect it.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer is not the typical breast cancer that we, as women, get educated about at our yearly gynecological visits (if you don't get a yearly exam, then you should seriously make the time to do so!). IBC is the most aggressive form of breast cancer there is and it is not detectable by a mammogram. IBC presents as sheets of cancer (or nests, as doctors refer to it)rather than lumps. What's worse is that doctors often mistake it for bug bites, or infections and try treating it with antibiotics. It is so aggressive that early detection is important for successful treatments. IBC knows no age boundaries. You can be a victim at 16 or at 76.

Here are a couple links that provide wonderful information about what it is, and how to detect it:

I am glad I stumbled upon Susan's site because I had never even heard of this condition, which is also known as "The Silent Killer." This lack of information seems to be the recurrent theme of all the victims who have had and are suffering from this disease. If you are reading this post please take a moment to view the videos I linked to. Women, inform yourselves and girlfriends. Men, inform your wives, mothers, and all the women you care about. Maybe you will save a life. Maybe it will be your own.

Hey, and if you have a spare moment, and are in need of some inspiration, stop by Toddler Planet and see what an amazing woman Susan is!