It’s Live!

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I’m super excited to announce that the pre-sale link to the e-version of my first book is now live.

Be one of the first to ORDER More Things In Heaven and Earth.

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“The veil is coming down. What will be revealed about you?”

Simone Fitzgerald battles for a normal life against voices no one else hears. She seems to be succeeding, until an angel appears, asking her to embrace the voices as a gift and stand as The Prophet.

When demons mobilize the beings of legend against mankind, Divine Wrath burns hot against creation. Simone must find the strength to embrace The Light and bring peace to the universe, but she may be crushed under the weight of the burden she’s been asked to bear.

Follow an epic journey that takes the earth you know through a time when fairy tale creatures rule and into realms undreamed of.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama onTwitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

The Day I Embraced “Feminism”

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I’ve always had a great deal of respect for “girl power.” I was raised by a single mom who was absolutely fierce when it came to making sure her family was cared for. My sisters are strong, successful women. I’m mentored in business by a lovely lady half my age who I watched stand on stage and hold a crowd of thousands in the palm of her hand.

votes-for-womenWomen are awesome!

But I never considered myself a feminist. I just didn’t see the point. This is 2016, after all. It’s not like I can’t vote or own land, for goodness sake. And I love when my husband chivalrously holds the door or carries the nasty bags of trash to the curb for me.

And then…

I was driving down the road with Sweet Hippie Daughter who is eleven years old and one of the most 20160224_211102powerfully individual, strong-willed little girls I’ve ever known. I learn from her daily.

As we drove, someone made a bit of a bonehead move and she said, “Oh! That guy is being so crazy! Well… I guess it could be a girl but, you know, whenever I just think of a ‘person’ it’s definitely a man.”

Hold on.

Stop the train!

The definition of “a person” inside my daughter’s head is a man?

After sitting there, gobsmacked, for a moment, I asked her, “Why do you think that is? What does that tell you about society?”

Without missing a beat, she answered, “In America you just have more… you know… more… you know… if you’re a man.”

More power.

More voice.

More status.

More…

And the logical extension is that women are ‘less.’

You can bet your last dollar I’ll be calling myself a feminist from now on. I refuse to stand by and watch my intelligent, creative, strong-willed, athletic, humorous, passionate, loving little girl grow up feeling like she is somehow LESS than half the population of the world.

Do you make a stand for women? Please share your ideas as to how we can overcome a problem so subtle that it creeps into the subconscious mind of a child and makes them feel less.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

The End Of Slavery Is A Good Thing

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On this week, in 2016, the United States of America outlawed slavery.

That’s right. This week.

And a lot of people are really angry about it.

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Before I get in to all of this, if you’re new to this blog, please let me say that I honestly try not to preach or rant very often. I love sharing tips about homeschooling and gardening, fun stories about neighbors taking care of each other, questions and thoughts about theology, or life in general and so on. But every now and then I feel the need to dust off my soapbox and say something.

Here’s it goes:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) presented a bill last year that has been signed, sealed, and delivered, and it will go into effect in about two weeks. The law makes it illegal to import items produced by forced or slave labor, including convict labor and indentured labor.

For nearly a century, Americans have been operating on a loophole that allowed high-demand goods that are in short supply in the US to be imported, even if they were produced by slaves. So, while it’s been illegal to own a slave in these parts for quite some time, pretty much every American has been financially supporting the ownership of slaves, whether they realized it or not.

I’ll save the rant about how no one can convince me that they honestly didn’t realize they were supporting slavery. You should have known.

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Anyway…

When the new law goes into effect, 136 goods from 74 countries will no longer be imported. According to one article, those goods include “garments that children and other slaves produced in Argentina: cotton and gold from Burkina Faso; electronics, toys, and bricks from China; coffee from the Ivory Coast and textiles from Ethiopia.

The Department of Labor says that this law “Is not intended to be punitive, but rather to serve as a catalyst for more strategic and focused coordination and collaboration among those working to address these problems.”

Closing the loophole that has allowed this abominable practice to continue for so long is not seen as the be-all-and-end-all solution to an astonishingly huge problem. It is a dramatic step TOWARD a solution.

This is a massively complicated situation that involves everything from international politics, to cultural traditions, to religious beliefs. One law is not going to change it overnight.

But it’s a start.

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Not surprisingly, comments on the news reports regarding this law include a phenomenal number of ones similar to this:

“In some cases, working is what is best for these children.”

“If these children weren’t working they would be starving to death as would their families.”

“I am in no means in favor of child slave labor, but if it is between making soccer balls or human sex trafficking, I’d rather they make soccer balls.”

“How is this going to effect the prices of items we need for survival, but are already struggling to pay for in this terrible economy?”

“This is just another example of Imperialist America asserting their morals on the rest of the world.”

Really, America?

Really?

First Donald Trump. Now slavery?

*sigh*

Slavery is wrong.

All the time.

Every. Single. Time.

Always.

I don’t have a specific quote, but I would bet everything I own that some people freaked out about how the freeing of the slaves after the civil war was going to devastate the American economy. What would people do if the price of tobacco and cotton went up?

I bet some shook their heads over the newspaper articles and said, “Those darn Yankees don’t get it. The slaves are better off on the plantation where they have work and housing. Now how are they going to take care of themselves?”

Stop. Just… stop.

America is not forcing new laws on anyone (in this instance). Congress, working bi-partisanly (if that isn’t a sign of Divine Intervention, nothing is), with the approval of the president, has made a statement:

In THIS country, we don’t approve of slavery.

*slow clap*

Well done.

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We’re not forcing anyone else to say the same thing. But, just like I don’t vote for the financial success of Wal-Mart with my spending dollars because I think they’re a corporation with horrendous business practices, America will no longer economically support those nations which are allowing slavery.

Want our money?

Change your practices.

Don’t want to change?

Ok. We’ll shop elsewhere, or maybe even do without.

*gasp*

Crazy. I know. But it’s the right thing to do.

Will the slaves suffer for lack of American business?

Sadly, maybe so.

For a while.

But, guess what’s NOT illegal?

Donating generously of your time and resources to organizations like Red Cross International, or The Malala Foundation, or Heifer International, and countless others, who are busting butt to make sure that people in those situations are provided with the opportunity to have a good education, gainful employment, secure housing, decent medical care and so on. In short, they are working to help ALL people truly have a chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

You can help ease the burden of those living in extreme poverty if you are worried about them.

Is the law perfect?

Nope. Humans wrote that law. Worse… politicians. But it’s a whole lot better than what existed before.

Are there issues of enforcement?

Yes. But with no law, there will DEFINITELY be zero enforcement. At least there is a framework in place to work from now.

Does the law address every concern of human rights that exists in the world?

Of course not. You could argue that it’s ridiculous that this law makes it illegal to import goods from nations that use convict labor, while the American for-profit prison system is making a handsome sum from convict labor. You could argue that the whole “living wage” thing needs to be addressed more deeply when we have people who are working 60+ hours a week in our own nation, and yet they can’t afford to put food on their own dinner table. You could argue a lot of valid points and I won’t contradict you. We have significant room for improvement. Growth always has to start somewhere.

Will the cost of our coffee, chocolate, and cotton undies go up?

Maybe.

Probably.

Deal with it.

Guess what? According to my statistics, if you’re reading this, there is a 99%+ chance that you live in a free capitalist (more or less) nation. If your boss abuses you, you can sue him.  If you hate your job, you can get a different one. If you can’t find a job, you can start a business. If your business fails, your nation will give you food stamps and free medical care until you can get back on your feet. Is it easy to get back on your feet? Nope. It’s freaking exhausting – I know. I’m still rebuilding from my own stupid mistakes of the past (thank you to God and the American people for providing for me when I was too short-sighted to provide for myself. I swear I will pay it forward). You might fail. But you have the FREEDOM to try again. And again. And again.

So pay an extra $3 for your can of coffee, or maybe just switch to water. No one’s life should be at risk so that you can have your morning Joe. (And this is coming from someone whose family understands that their lives may be at risk if Mama doesn’t get her morning Joe.)

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Our great-great-grandparents decided (rightly so) that slavery was wrong. It’s long past time for us to say the same thing and, more importantly, to put those almighty American dollars where our mouths are.

For more info:

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Huffington Post

US News And World Report

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

 

 

I Sort-of Love Your Fakebook

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A photo from my highlight reel.

 

I’ve noticed this new trend. Everyone is posting “real” photos on Facebook; pictures of their messy kitchen, crying children, and ketchup-stained yoga pants.

I get it. Social media can certainly give a false impression of what “average” looks like. It can leave a person feeling inadequate or lonely. “Am I the only person who didn’t make gorgeous DIY valentine’s cards for their child’s class out of wood pulp and fabric scraps? He’s going to need therapy!”

It’s a balm to the weary spirit when another mom (especially one you look up to) posts a photo of the dollar-store paper cards she’s signing for her kid at 11:00 pm on February 13. Suddenly you’re not quite so alone.

My personal favorite are the sayings about how, “good moms have messy houses.”

I’m a freaking awesome mom! (Haha!)

I certainly understand why the “real” trend is gaining momentum and I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing.

But if you want to just keep posting your same old “fakebook,” I’m 100% OK with that.

There’s something to be said for putting your best foot forward. I applaud with you when you share your victories. The perfect fried chicken you made is making me drool. Yes, your child is intelligent far beyond the expectations of normal humans, your dog is the cutest furry animal that every existed, the Jamberry nails you’re wear are tres chic, and, clearly, your selfie is the most flattering portrait I’ve seen all day.

Pssst… I know your kid screams, too, you sometimes eat frozen pizza, your dog pooped behind the couch, and you used twelve filters on that photo.

But let’s focus on what lifts us up, shall we?

Let’s showcase the highlight reel.

Let’s post photos of the memories that make our spirits soar.

Why not?

If that’s what makes you feel good, then I am right here to give you the thumbs-up, my friend.

Won’t you please do the same for me?

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Yes. Yes, I did crop the dirty dishes out of this image of my awesome Harry Potter mug.

And if you decide that you want to come clean to the world about the fact that you ate two dozen donuts during the Superbowl and you haven’t washed dishes in four days… well… no judgement here. As I sit here typing this I realize that my kid hasn’t eaten anything remotely resembling a fruit or vegetable in… hmmm… a while now.

We’re all a work in progress.

That brings things nicely around to my own confession:

I didn’t want to make “resolutions” this year. Instead I made a 2016 to-do list. (I know. Semantics. But it calls to me.) One thing on that list was to post at least two new blog posts each month. This is the first one I’ve written since November, but… you know… work in progress.

I’m getting there.

Won’t you come along for the journey?

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

 

Forty Looms

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It’s my birthday week! Let me know if you need my shipping address. I also accept Paypal. *wink wink*

Seriously, though, I’m getting ready to enjoy the last year of my thirties. How did that happen? I swear I was twenty four a minute ago!

Funny how sixty doesn’t really seem so old these days.

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This coming birthday isn’t something I dread. I don’t feel old. I feel healthier and stronger and more full of purpose now than I ever have in my life. Great things are happening. I have a vision for the future. Which brings me to…

Ten Things I’ve Learned In The Last Ten Years

1. A man without vision will perish.

In my twenties I was full of dreams. I wrote them out in journals. I had so much hope I walked six inches above the ground. Somewhere around thirty all the people telling me, “that’s just not realistic,” wore me down. I was broke. Like… the kind of broke where you wonder where your next meal is coming from. I had a lot of people telling me that my circumstances were all because I’d failed to set my feet firmly on the ground and now it was time to give up on childish dreams and put my nose to the grindstone.

I gave up my dreams.

I was sad. I was sad all the time. I gained weight. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I plodded through my days. I hid from creditors. I yelled at my kids.

Then, God worked a miracle in my life. He sparked a dream in my best friend’s heart. Not long after, my husband got that little light in his eye again. Being with dreamers, you can’t help but dream. Soon, I had a vision again and, you know, it made the sun shine just a little brighter.

Life’s not perfect. We have our trials (most of them brought on by our own foolishness). But it sure is a lot easier to throw back the covers and face the day.

And that leads to…

2. You’ve got to be a little realistic.

Thirty year old me was mad because none of her dreams panned out. But thirty year old me wasn’t willing to lay a foundation under those castles in the sky. I wished and hoped and… well… that’s all I really did. I didn’t know how to do anything else. I love my people, but none of my people had done what I wanted to do. I could see a great vision, but I could see no path to achieving it and so I settled for mediocrity.

But then I learned…

3. Good mentors are more valuable than gold.

When the student is ready the teacher will appear. I didn’t come up with that on my own, but I agree wholeheartedly.

Somewhere along the line I figured out that if you want a specific result you need to seek out a person who has already achieved what you desire and then do what they did. They’re out there, and you may be surprised how willing most successful people are to share their wisdom.

Whether it’s in relationships, finances, creative enterprises, or parenting, there are people out there who have figured things out.

Beware, though. Just because someone speaks loudest doesn’t mean what they say is the best thing to listen to. Look at the fruit on the tree.

Another thing I learned is…

4. People who use hateful or degrading language are not debating. They are arguing. And you can’t win an argument.

My oldest sister and I don’t agree on everything. From household management to political candidates we are different people. But I ask her opinion all the time because she is a woman open to honest, beneficial debate. She will share her beliefs and the reasons behind them. She will challenge me, but she has never once said, “I can’t believe you would be stupid enough to vote for that bafoon!”

She has said, “Oh, no! I don’t think he’s a good choice at all.” And then she went on to explain why she felt that way. Calmly. Respectfully.

See the difference? (If you don’t, may I suggest reading, “How To Win Friends And Influence People.” It will rock your world.)

There are other people in my life who would say the first thing. I used to argue with them. Not one of them ever changed their mind. They don’t really want to discuss a thing. They just want to believe they’ve got it figured out and everyone else is a fool.

My life became happier and healthier when I learned to walk away from those people.

Another thing that added to my general mental well-being was realizing…

5. You can love someone and still have a spine.

I’ll just leave that there and move on to…

6. A year isn’t so long when you’re looking backward.

Eleven years ago my husband and I started a business. We looked into the future. We realized that it would be five to ten years before that business brought us the kind of success we desired. We quit. It seemed too far away.

A year ago we started the same business all over again. From square one. It will take five to ten years before we see the kind of success we desire. (Well, only four to nine years, now. See how that works?) I know that, five or ten years from now I’ll look back and say, “that was so worth it!”

I know that because it seems just a moment ago that we were quitting our first attempt. Sure do wish I’d stuck with it because…

7. Sometimes sheer perseverance is all you need.

In the ninth grade I got called in to a meeting with my mother and my algebra teacher. This is a meeting no ninth grader wants to attend. It was as bad as I expected and, at one point, my teacher made the comment, “You need to do your assignments, even if you already understand the work, because it teaches you to sticktoitivness.”

To this day that term annoys the crap out of me. That is not a real word! *sigh*

But, at nearly forty years old, I have to admit that he was right on one score. I lacked perseverance, and it was a virtue I dearly needed to learn. In the Bible, in the book of James, chapter one, it says:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

A note from my experience. If you lack perseverance you will create trials for yourself. No outside influence needed.

The last ten years have been a testing of my faith, for sure. The result is that I’ve gone from being a quitter to being a freaky little pitbull when it comes to something I care about. And, funny thing, when I stopped quitting the hard stuff, the hard stuff got a little easier. When I quit quitting I found success. Or, at least the beginnings of success.

I’m not the best at anything I do. There are better writers, better business people, better parents, better wives – but I’ll quit when my cold body is in the grave and not a moment before and I am confident that, because of that, I’ll go much further than many who are more talented than me.

That ties in nicely to…

8. Single-mindedness is often resisted by others.

They mean well. Really, they do. Consider a runner in a marathon. They  train and work for a very long time.

All the while, people are saying things to them like, “Aren’t you afraid you’ll get shin splints?” Or, “I’m not sure it’s healthy to be breathing that cold air outside.” Or even, “My goodness! You threw up while you were running? You’re pushing too hard. That’s just not healthy.”

After all that, the day of the race comes and their people are all there, cheering for them because they love that spunky little runner, goshdarnnit. That runner sure did push through some tough times to get to this big moment!

Then, at mile twenty one the runner starts to show signs of really, truly struggling.

At mile twenty five they collapse, their body trembling.

The people who love that person are loathe to see them hurting and so they run out to help. They want to pick up their fallen friend, comfort them, and ease their pain.

But the runner screams at them, “Don’t touch me!”

Then the wise coach (see #3) comes alongside and starts yelling at them to get up. It seems a little harsh, but this is the voice the runner focuses on.

The runner finds the will to stand and finish that last mile despite every muscle in their body screaming in protest.

Then all the people sing praises in honor of such a powerful spirit. They did it! They’re a champion! They’re a conqueror! They’re a true overcomer!

But do you realize that part of what they had to conquer and overcome was the love of those closest to them?

Those people did not intend harm. Quite the opposite! But they did not share the vision. They resisted the runner’s fierce single-mindedness.

That happens when you get fanatical about anything. You have to learn to love through it because…

9. Only fanatical people really get things done.

I’m talking big things. Do you want to change your family’s legacy? Do you want to change the world? Do you want to live the kind of life that will leave your great-great grandchildren bragging that they are descended from you?
Then you’ve got to be a bit of a fanatic.

All that said, I realize that…

10. Ten years from now I will probably look back at thirty nine year old me and think, “Man! That girl had a lot to learn!”

I kind of hope this one is true because, if that happens, it means I will have spent ten years learning and growing and, as much as anything, I desire always to be moving closer to the standard of excellence set forth by my creator.

There it is. Day one of 14,235 and counting.

There it is. Day one of 14,235 and counting.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Visit my author page for all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

Weary (A Five Minute Friday Post)

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The gist of Five Minute Friday is this: We write. For five minutes flat. No backtracking, no editing, just write.

Then strap on your brave, post your words on your blog, link them up. (from KateMotung.com)

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I’ve been working a ridiculous number of hours lately. Balance is out the window. My house is a mess. I haven’t given a thought to the fall yard clean up. I haven’t unpacked from the trip we took last weekend. Or the one we took the weekend after that. Which means we are all down to the threadbare undies with no elastic.

I am weary.

I am exhausted.

I’ve had a headache for days.

I am having trouble concentrating.

I’m getting crap done.

I’m a champion.

I’m a go-getter.

I’m a winner.

Somewhere around age thirty someone sold me a bill of goods that there needs to be BALANCE. You should have time every day for meditation, relaxation, work, household tasks, playing with the children and proper pedicures.

My toenails are a mess but, you know what? I’ve got a dream that’s bigger than painted toenails.

As I approach forty I begin to think that balance is a myth.

When my babies were newborn they commanded 99% of my attention. That left 1% for myself and the rest of the world.

When I was in school, studies demanded 99% of my attention. (#Truth: I only gave them about 50%, which is why I barely squeaked through most of my classes.)

Now I’m once again working toward something big so I am weary, but I’m not going to focus on that. The process is necessary. It’s what I must go through. But the outcome is what’s important.

When I reach that goal I’ll rest.

For a while.

I’ll revel in my success.

I’ll reconnect with those I’ve been missing.

I’ll enjoy balance.

Then I’ll find a new goal and rush head-long into weariness again, because I pretty sure that if you’re not moving forward, your inevitable slow decent backward has already begun and I fear that far more than I fear a few foggy, sleepy days.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Visit my author page for all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

Joy (A Five Minute Friday Post)

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The gist of this fabulous community is this: We write. For five minutes flat. No backtracking, no editing, just write.

Then strap on your brave, post your words on your blog, link them up. (from KateMotung.com)

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I have been learning to walk in joy. It’s been a long road.

I used to get so angry, so hurt, so lost because I didn’t understand why things were the way they were. Why did other people get breaks in life I didn’t get? Why did other people have talents I lacked? It was all just so unfair.

My questioning robbed me of joy.

It was my husband, more than anyone else that taught me what it truly means to live a joyful life. He showed me, through his example, how to be grateful for ALL things. Not some of the things. Not most of the things. Not the good things. ALL of the things.

Now I know enough to celebrate the good moments and revel in them. I shout about my victories. I love more fiercely. I stop and wallow in the fun times.

What I’m learning, though, is that, if you look hard enough… victories, love and fun are everywhere.

My shoes fit perfectly. My office is warm. My family is healthy. I got to work on time today.

Praise be to God for blessing upon blessing!

And, what’s more, is that the really crappy stuff is becoming sort of awesome too.

The weird chronic pain in my left hip makes me so thankful for the ability to stand up and walk. The large pile of bills that need to be paid with our small pile of cash remind me that I have a beautiful home with all the fabulous creature comforts. Last week’s upset tummy stopped me from binging on the unusual amount of junk food that was in our house.

At first I was squinting through the darkness to find some tiny reason to be joyful. But each reason illuminated another and another. I am finding joy, every day.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Visit my author page for all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

The World Needs Your Novel – Tips To Survive NaNoWriMo 2015

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Yes, there is Thanksgiving and my birthday (feel free to send cash and gifts), but November has become my most dreaded favorite frightening exhilarating exhausting longed-for month of the year for a whole other reason. November is National Novel Writing Month, affectionately referred to by lunatics everywhere as NaNoWriMo, or simply Nano.

If you truly commit to it, Nano will change you. It will show you that you are capable of more than you ever dreamed. It will stretch your imagination and test your limits. It will lead you into fabulous uncharted waters of creativity and it will wrap you in community.

It is hard.

It is wonderful.

If you even think you might have a story that needs to be told (and, trust me, you do) you need to participate in Nano.

Here’s the gist: You have the month of November to write a novel of 50,000+ words. If you hit 50k, you win. 

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There are prizes – mostly in the form of discounts and assistance for moving forward in editing and publishing what you wrote.

Really, it’s not about that.

You have a story (or several) in you that no one else in the history of the human race can tell. It might be a fable or a romance or an epic space opera. It’s your story. If you don’t tell it, it will die with you and be lost forever.

This year will be my third year with Nano. My first and second projects got merged in editing and that book will be released by Nuff Said Publishing in September, 2016. This year I’m planning to write the sequel. There will be kissing and brown eyed vampires. I’m pretty excited about it.  I’ll share my Nano info in a bit so we can travel this road together but, for now, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned in the past couple of years.

Take my advice with a grain of salt. My best friend is on the verge of publishing her third book (Click here to learn about all three. They are awesome). She doesn’t really follow any of my “rules.” Writing is a creative process. No two people do it exactly the same. Stephen King and Dean Koontz are both wildly successful authors. They’ve both offered advice to writers. Their advice conflicts at pretty much every point.

That said, I hope this helps you on your journey:

#1 – First and foremost: The Most Important Rule. The mother of them all. The Big Daddy…

Don’t edit.

Start writing and run for the end. If you change character names in the middle, or your world starts as an ice world and then you decide it’s a jungle, if you spell every word wrong, or never use quotation marks, don’t worry about it. Just get the story out. Word vomit. It’s OK. You can clean it up later.

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If you write one page and then you go back and edit it, you will keep editing it until you die. You will never write the second page. Your story will never be perfect. NEVER. You will NEVER be done editing. You will reach a place where you are reasonably confident in what you have but there is always some little detail that needs just one more moment of attention. Deal with that later.

You have thirty days to get your story on paper (or flash drive). It doesn’t have to be ready for publication in thirty days. It just needs to get out of your brain.

#2 – Don’t be afraid to skip around.

So your supernaturally clever purple octopus is swimming in the Atlantic ocean looking for a mate when, all of a sudden you have THE BEST IDEA EVER about how his great grandchild will figure out that he’s able to walk on land.

Write that.

Come back to the purple octopus later. He’ll still be there, waiting for you.

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#3 – Know the end.

This one is controversial.

nanowrimo1For years I wrote as a “pantser.” I had a concept or a character I loved and I would put it on paper and see where it would lead me. A lot of writers work that way and do it well. For the most part, it led me around in circles.

Nano 2013 was the first time I wrote with an outline. My outline is the only reason I finished. It gave me freedom to move about within the context of the plan.

See “purple octopus,” above.

If you know the end of the story you may take all sorts of crazy detours but you’ll never be utterly lost. You’ve always got a true north to head toward. It will save you when you get stuck.

#4 – Don’t be afraid of really lame sentences.

Every book has transitions. Your character has been in a castle for the first three chapters and now she needs to go out into the forest.

Perhaps you know what life is like in the castle and you know what is happening in the forest but you’re not really sure how or why she leaves one place and goes to the other.

Don’t worry about it.

Write, “She left the castle and went to the forest.” Then tell about the forest. You can fill in the details later. Or not. Figure it out next month. Remember, right now your whole goal is to get to those magical words:

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#5 – Participate in the write-ins. 

The Nano hosts will have live and virtual write-ins. They are exactly what they sound like – a bunch of people sitting around writing. Sometimes there are prompts. The prompts are weird. For example, “Tell what happens to your character when they suddenly find a red bicycle.”

Go with it. Thinking about the way your character would react to that situation will give you amazing insight into who they are and why they do what they do. You may never use the few hundred words you write during the write in, but the experience will improve your story more than you can imagine.

#6 – Keep easy to eat, low-calorie food in the house.

I’m not even kidding about how important that is. If you have a bunch of chips and cookies lying around and you sit at a desk and write for thirty days you’ll gain a pound a day. I strongly suggest lots of gum and carrot sticks.

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#7 – Do not prematurely publish.

So, it’s November 25 and you are at 50,005 words. You did it! You won! You got your story out!

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You’re book is not done.

Trust me. It’s not. There is NO WAY.

Put it in a drawer. Pop open a bottle of champagne. Spend the weekend giving thanks and eating turkey. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished! Brag at the dinner table. You’ve earned that right.

DO NOT LET ANYONE READ YOUR BOOK.

Sometime later – maybe in December, maybe not until the new year – go back to your baby. Give it several months of loving attention and adoration. Then let some people read it and, when you have their advice in hand, write it again. And maybe one more time after that, just for good measure.

My book is on it’s fifth incarnation right now. I’m fairly confident that my editor is going to demand one more before it goes off to the printer. It’s still the same story I started with, but so, so, so much better. You may not need that many tries to get your story right, but you will need more than one month.

#8 – Find joy in it.

Joy is not always happiness.

writingishardThere is one scene I wrote that left me literally sobbing at my dining room table. I actually felt like vomiting because it was so hard to think about. It is still hard for me to read that chapter. For me, writing that scene was facing my single greatest fear in the whole entire universe.

It was not fun to write that, but there was immense joy in the feeling of overcoming. If I can face that, I can face anything.

Sometimes my joy came in being incredibly silly. In one chapter I made an Archangel wash dishes just because the idea amused me.

If you find joy in sharing your story, your readers will find joy in discovering it.

I sincerely hope that you will join me on this journey. I would love to read your story! Please find me at Nanowrimo.org under “Lazy Hippie Mama.” Let’s create together.

Have you participated in Nano before? Do you have tips I didn’t mention? Share them in the comments.

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Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Visit my author page for all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

 

Do Something Nice!

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BeNiceRndOctober 5 is National Do Something Nice Day.

It’s silly. There’s a day for everything. I realize that. And, really, we should do nice things all the time because we all want the world to be a better place, right? But still, sometimes we all get a little wrapped up in our own world and need a little reminding from time to time.

Maybe you could:

Tape a dollar bill to a vending machine for the next person to find.

Pay for the guy behind you when you go through the drive-thru at lunch.

Take a plate of fresh cookies to the neighbors.

Rake leaves for the old lady down the road.

Procrastinate on washing the dishes and spend thirty minutes playing silly games with your kids.

Call your pastor and let them know you’re praying for them (and actually mean it).

Send a random, “Just wanted to say I love you” text to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Bring a cup of coffee to the person in the next cubicle.

Make a point of making a sincere compliment to the cashier at the store.

Let that annoying guy who didn’t merge in time into the line of traffic.

Being nice doesn’t have to cost much. Or anything. But the results can be life-changing. Give it a try. There’s no better day than today!

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Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Visit my author page for all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

Religion And Politics. I Went There. (A Theological Thursday Post)

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Christians in America are quick to cite scripture. We celebrate the Good News by wearing, “John 3:16” clothes. We can tell you which verses condemn homosexuality, which verses point out that we have all sinned, and which verses support our belief that Jesus was literally the son of God.

Heading in to this election season, it seems that Christians in America are also extremely political–at least those in my little circle of association are.

I noticed something interesting: No matter which end of the political spectrum my friends find themselves they say very similar things.

Those on the far right will insist that they are the party of true Godly Love because they support the right for all persons to have a shot at life (through the pro-life movement).

Those on the far left will insist that they are the party of true Godly Love because they support the right for all persons to have a shot at life (through “social justice” programs).

Those on the far right will insist that Jesus is coming soon. We have obviously born witness to the beginning of the end (in the presidency of Barak Obama).

Those on the far left will insist that Jesus is coming soon. We have obviously born witness to the beginning of the end (in the presidency of G.W. Bush).

Those on the far right will insist that our Christian nation is failing (from the influences of foreigners with different ideas regarding worship).

Those on the far left will insist that our Christian nation is failing (as evidenced by our lack of willingness to help those who are hurting, because their ideas regarding worship are different from our own).

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Regardless of their personal political beliefs in regard to individual political issues everyone seems to agree on two things:

  1. Our nation is hurting right now. We are not a healthy people, in any sense of the word, and something needs to be done about it.
  2. God is on their side and, obviously, strongly opposed to the other side.

Some days the things I see are thought provoking and make me want to learn more so that I can carry out my responsibilities as a voter with wisdom.

More often, the things I see hurt my heart. People invoke the name of God, who is Love, when speaking hate against people who may view a situation through a different lens of life.*

All of this has been weighing heavily on my heart. I think division within the church–especially the kind of division where people begin saying, “God is on OUR side, NOT yours,” is the single most harmful thing that can happen to this nation and, indeed, this world. We are one body. God is OUR father. Period. He created every single one of us.

Including the president and every one of our elected leaders.

 

EVERY one of our leaders. Not just the ones you voted for.

If you’re a Bible believing Christian, you have to acknowledge that not only did He create them, He chose them specially–hand picked them from the crowd–to be in a position of power.

Why?

I don’t know. Was I there when he set the stars in the sky? God’s ways are not my ways. Be thankful for that!

See, I think that Christians are quick to throw scripture around, and I think that is good. I have found, in my own life, that there is extraordinary, truly miraculous power in knowing and citing scripture. Having a solid foundation of scripture gives you a guide in life.

 

HOWEVER, in all those scriptures I see thrown about on social media like darts aimed at our supposed enemies, I have never once seen a single person quote Romans, chapter thirteen.

13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

If the authorities that exist have been established by God what possible right do we have to make cruel jokes about them or speak disrespectfully of them? In doing so, are we not mocking what God himself has ordained?

I would argue that these verses make it clear. We are to go on about our business, which (if we call ourselves Christian) is the business of loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us.

While we’re on our knees, begging blessing upon those who have hurt us, we must consider one more bit of scripture:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Check out that first line one more time (with a little emphasis).

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession AND THANKSGIVING be made for ALL people–for kings and all those in authority…”

Not most of the people. Not the ones who agree with us. Not the ones who obviously follow Christ. PrayerChangesThings

ALL.

All does not leave a lot of room for negotiation.

And before you work yourself up over the war on Christians or how some other culture will be the downfall of our fine American nation (which, I will remind you, was founded upon the destruction of other cultures), take a moment to consider the authors of the words above.

The men who told us to submit to authority and pray for the king are were living in a time when the authorities were nailing Christians to crosses and feeding them to the lions for entertainment. So cry a tear, if you must, over the fact that your boss requires you to say, “Happy Holy-days” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Then tuck your hanky back in your pocket, put on your big kid pants, and pray that God’s love and blessings may reign down upon that person.

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*This is a total tangent so I tagged it on the end but, if you want some seriously interesting political discussion (Not argument. Discussion.) follow Anne Rice’s Facebook page. Ms. Rice, whose beliefs fall left of center, often asks her followers, many of whom are quite conservative, a political question and she moderates with a velvet-covered iron fist. People may question, debate, discuss and suggest but “haters” are immediately banned from the thread. It’s astonishing how interesting and informative a political discussion can be when no one is allowed to use the words, “stupid,” or “idiot.”

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Visit my author page for all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!