Good gracious, there has been a whole lot going on recently! Here’s a run-down of what’s been happening behind the scenes, so to speak.
My birthday was the end of January, so my husband and I celebrated by seeing Hello Dolly and having a nice dinner. We celebrated with our friends at our weekly get-together as well. My son’s birthday was about a month later, so we had a special dinner for him, then I went to his preschool class and made/decorated cupcakes with the kids, then we had a big birthday party (some 40 people stuck inside our house as it was pouring outside. Luckily, we have a lot of space!)
We also hosted a few of our regularly-scheduled Friday get-togethers with friends and threw in a neighborhood breakfast as well. We managed to squeeze in one more theater visit in February to see Kinky Boots. (Hilarious!) Also, I finally finished moving all my stuff over from my old desk to the massive new one I got from my mom (it belonged to my grandmother). Now I have space for all my etsy metal stamping stuff as well as all the books, notebooks, pens, etc. And also my My Little Pony and Disney Tsum Tsums. I’m totally an adult. Want to see my desk? Here’s what it looks like. I’m super proud of it.
As if all that weren’t enough, February was the month of conferences. The first Saturday I attended the Voice of the Martyrs Conference. It was my second time attending the conference. Of all the conferences I’ve been to and of all the special speakers I have heard, VoM is the very best. I enjoyed spending time learning about Christianity around the world and hearing the stories of my brothers and sisters. I picked up a few books and two cds from the speakers’ tables outside and was able to get my books signed. Let me tell you, hearing the story of a woman whose husband was killed while they were held captive is incredible, but actually talking to her and giving her a hug was something else. (Side note: I don’t think I could ever be more awkward than the person who was making small talk with the speaker and asked where the speaker’s husband was. She was so graceful in her response: “My husband was killed on the mission field.” It’s good the person didn’t ask me, because I would’ve responded, “Uh, she’s the featured speaker who is here to talk about how she lost her husband?”)
The last weekend in February, my friend and I (as well as many other women from our church) attended Living Proof Ministries’ Beth Moore conference. We spent Friday night and Saturday morning listening to some wonderful thoughts, singing some great music, and feeling convicted and inspired. My highlight was the dance party between the second and third sessions. SO much fun! Of course, Beth Moore was a joy to hear (this is the third time I’ve heard her speak). Her talk this year was about what it means to be compelling and how to become compelling (though she was talking in terms of Christianity, it’s an interesting discussion no matter what your faith is). My absolute favorite moment was when she told everyone if they got a word, it was meant for them. They shouldn’t elbow their neighbor and say, “You get that?” And most importantly, “Don’t tweet it before you eat it,” which I am going to be saying from now until forever. Learn the thing you are supposed to learn – don’t just let it pass through you.
Finally, I began crafting a six week class to be presented at my church starting February 24. The course takes place after the regular church service Sunday mornings and is geared at people who want to go a bit more in depth. I coordinated a class exploring all the ministries and volunteer opportunities at our church so that people can be made more aware of what is going on around them, as well as have a chance to pray or get involved. A lot of planning went into this class; over the 6 weeks, I have 10 different ministries/speakers presented, so I needed to organize, theme, schedule, connect, get information, print handouts, etc. It’s been crazy busy, but also crazy cool to hear how some of my friends are doing things I didn’t know much about – volunteering at homeless shelters, visiting prisons, teaching international kids, etc.
Finally, Writing (what you’re actually here for, right?)
I launched my new “Featured” uh, feature, on my blog last month and have been playing catch-up since. I’m sure you’ve figured this out, BUT I am no good at website stuff. I do everything on here myself. Luckily, I have a dynamite theme that covers a lot of my pitfalls. However, as easy as it is to use, I still need to figure out how to actually do so. I have spend hours this past month figuring out how to make the rows, columns, images, words, links, etc. look nice. I signed up as an Amazon associate, so I need to get those image links into my text without being obnoxious. I also figured out how to post a book review on Goodreads and copy the review over to my blog so it retains all the links and content. These things seem really easy, but they took a lot of time to figure out. I’m finally starting to feel more comfortable and am able to move a bit faster through the blog posts. (As of right now, I actually have 5 posts scheduled for the next month! Go me!)
The other thing I’ve been working on is my second draft of This Book is a Disaster. My goal was to finish the read through of my first draft by the end of January; I was close, finishing up one week later. I’ve since began the actual rewrite, but I’ve been pressed for time, as I’m sure you’ve gathered. Thus far, I am 2028 words into the second draft. My method is to reread, then completely rewrite, so I’m into chapter two now, having completely rewritten the opening scene and tweaked dialogue substantially. The first draft first chapter was 1686 words, but I cut out the entire first ‘waking up’ scene (so cliche!) which dropped me to 1281 words, which then expanded to the 2028 I currently have.
I also managed to get a rewrite of a short story completed. It’s about a bird with human hands. And you can enjoy that mental picture for the rest of your day. I’ll be updating my blog more consistently now, as well as moving forward on my second draft of Disaster. I cannot wait to have something in print!