Thursday, May 26, 2011

Joplin, Missouri

I spent this morning looking at pictures out of Joplin, MO.  The most deadly tornado in 60+ years hit there on Sunday night.

I spent most of last night in my basement with my husband and three sleeping children as storms swept through Indiana with hurricane force winds and at least three tornado touchdowns (nothing too close to us, thankfully).

Tornadoes are a part of life in the Midwest.  I know the drills, I'm all to familiar with the sound of sirens, my youngest asks me if a "tomato" is coming when we troop down to the basement, I can interpret radar images with the best arm-chair meteorologists, and I have plenty of brush-with-tornado stories.

I once pulled my car over on the side of a highway, jumped onto the floor of my backseat, curled into a ball and rode out five terrifying minutes of hail pelting my car as it rocked back and forth in the winds.  I've huddled in laundry rooms, bathrooms, basements, and inner hallways as storms pass.  I cradled a sleeping baby in my arms in a bathtub with pillows around and on top of us.  I've watched a tree being cut off of my swing set, which was reduced to an inch of metal. 

But I've never seen anything like Joplin, MO.  The swath of complete devastation is heart wrenching.  It is the worst nightmare of anyone who lives in tornado country.  It is entire neighborhood flattened.  It is families ripped apart.  It is the total loss of possessions.  It is the unthinkable loss of family members, friends and neighbors.

Of course, Joplin was not the only town devastated by tornadoes recently.  In fact, the storm that swept through Indiana last night had over 60 tornadoes credited to it by the time it reached our boarders.  But for some reason, Joplin has touched my heart deeply.  Perhaps I can see myself and my town in them. 

So, I'm just putting this one little plea for help out there.  Consider, if you will, donating to the American Red Cross.  And remember to be thankful for all you have today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And then...

What next?  This is a question I've been struggling with for about a year now.  Before then, I just kind of lived in the moment knowing what was coming next.  All my life I knew the next step.  First grade then second then third and on through college.  By the time I graduated from college I knew I was going to get married.  Before I even got married, I knew I was going to have kids.  So now what?

There are no big life milestones in my immediate future.  I'm entering into a phase of my life where I am not planning for any big changes.  I've got 9 years before my oldest goes off to college (or whatever he chooses to do) and 15 before I'm an "empty nester".  Of course I'll be crazy busy being a wife and mother and doing my day job.  But I feel like I'm missing some big thing I'm supposed to be getting ready for, you know?  Like I'm overlooking some major life event.

Guess I'll just have to make my own event.  Like getting a book published some day...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Freeze!

Okay, Time, you have just got to stop marching on.  Really.  Knock it off.  I need a life "pause" button.

My kids are growing too fast.
I don't have enough time to get all my reading done.
I want more time to write.
Laundry, dishes and dust defy the laws of physics to multiply instantaneously.
My "once a month" commitments seem to pop up on my calendar too quickly.
The school year is ending already!
Every time I turn around it is someone's birthday or my anniversary.

Anyone have a magical time-slowing potion?!?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A couple of critiques

I've been meaning to let you all know about a contest over at the Teaching Author's blog.  In celebration of their 2nd blogiversary, they are giving away a critique.  This is such a great opportunity!  They are all published authors, accomplished teachers and fabulous bloggers.  So run on over there and enter!

And then today I was doing my blog rounds and discovered that author Heather Ayris Burnell is also giving away a picture book critique!  So go enter her contest as well! 

Good feedback is worth its weight in gold!

The Enthusiasm Storm

I have a very hard time weathering the enthusiasm storm.  When I write something, I usually get really excited around draft two or three.  I think my story is fun, exciting, fresh, different, brilliant!  Ready to be published!  Of course, I'm wrong.  But it takes a great amount of will power and patience to not just shuttle that little baby manuscript off to agents and publishers right that very moment!

I have learned that I need to step back.  Let the words rest.  Get my critiques in from my groups.  Revise, revise, polish, revise.  Do my agent/publisher research.  Then revise and polish again.

Even after all that, I have regretted submitting the occasional manuscript too soon.  The magical "it's ready" is a very elusive thing.  Spotting it is not a skill I've mastered yet.  But I'm making progress.  How about you?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May in Indianapolis

I am a proud and loyal Hoosier (someone who lives in Indiana).  I was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I love it, love it, love it.  I've gone on and on about the awesomeness of my hometown on here before (see here). 

But now, it is May.  May 2011. 

The 100th Anniversary of The Greatest Specticle in Racing...The Indianapolis 500!

This city knows how to celebrate May.  I just tried typing out all the events, but I couldn't.  I can never remember them all and a mere listing does not do them justice.  There are celebrations, parties, athletic events, fashion shows, awards dinners, festivals, autograph sessions, exhibitions, photo ops, a parade, practice sessions, qualifications, and on and on and on.  Anyone who has ever attended the actual race has been astounded by the scale, the traditions, and the whole experience.

So today, for a little writing motivation, I invite you to think of a major event.  Maybe it is something in your personal life.  Perhaps something the whole world remembers.  But pick one, and write.  Sometimes you'll find a smaller story within a huge one that will spark your interest.  I see hundreds of them each May in Indianapolis.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Here's to Health

It has been a long winter.  A winter of sniffling, sneezing, headachy, sore throat, runny nose madness.  In my family, it has also been a winter punctuated by death in the family, the serious illness of friends and children of friends, and even the death of a friend's child.

The old phrase, "at least you have your health" has never meant more to me.  To be healthy (or even moderately so) is a luxury.  It allows us to get on with the other business of living and growing.  Each spring and fall I slip into a fog of allergies.  But this year, even though the pollen counts are through the roof, I simply don't mind as much.  I'm not going to let them stop me from getting out, having fun, and living life.

So my words of encouragement for to today are simply this: Enjoy your health when you have it.  And hug your kids a little tighter today and be thankful for their health too.  If you aren't healthy, or are struggling with the illness/injury of a loved one, hold on.  You aren't alone.  *Hugs*
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