Living with Pollyanna

We can learn a lot from our kids. My daughter has a strong case of Pollyanna-ism. Not all the time – believe me when I say she can have her grumpy moments but she never ceases to amaze me with her sweet disposition and positive outlook when I think she has every right to be mad.

A few minutes ago she walked up to me with small special box in one hand, a bow in the other, and a frown on her face. “The boys ripped my bow off my box.”

I sighed and reached for the bow trying to determine if fixing was a possibility when she smiled. “That’s okay. It looks pretty without the bow and I can use the bow for the present inside.”

What? What about justice? What about fairness? What about the box being the way you originally wanted?

Nope she just pushed it all aside and accepted what she had and found the good in that.

This isn’t the first time either. A few weeks ago she brought to me one of her Polly dresses that the dog had managed to chew off an arm. She held it up to me as her eyes filled with tears. “Mom, look…”

Growing frustration without puppy boiled over in me. How could something so adorable cause so much grief? (BTW – my frustration wasn’t about the dress as much as the compiling of the dozens of thing he’d already chewed.)

Before I could react, she snatched it from my hand and smiled. “That’s okay. I have always wanted a dress with just one sleeve.”

Oh sweet girl you teach me so much about justice, fairness, and most importantly grace. May I be better about accepting the situations I am given, even if at times it doesn’t feel fair.

What about you? Are you the eternal optimist or do you struggle with the desire to be right and life to be fair?

 

Coffee – It’s My Happy Place

I have like the smell of coffee for as long as I can remember but it took some time for the taste to grow on me. But for years I still only drank it on occasion during parties and such. I never understood how or why people NEEDED it.

I made it through college, grad school, and two children without needing the extra caffeine. Now I love my third child. Such a sweet boy. But he is full of…life. When he turned two, I discovered mommy needs caffeine.

Then I added my fourth child. Okay don’t freak out. I know I don’t have a fourth child. But writing has become as consuming to my life as adding another child and let me tell you. When I am up at 5:30am writing. Coffee isn’t more than just a good idea.

Yes, I gave into the dark side but what can I say but I love it here. I look forward to my morning cup. I think wonderful happy thoughts of how perfect the day will go as I sip the Irish cream enhanced brew.

If you are ever in Arizona, stop by and I make enough to share.

What is you favorite coffee? If Coffee isn’t your thing, what is your favorite way to wake up in the morning?

Biggest revelation for me to date…

So what was my great discovery? Before I get to that – let’s talk reading.

When did I fall in love with reading? About eight years ago. I was nearly thirty and on bed rest with my first child and before wifi I had limited options. So, I decided to read.

Before this time, I hated reading. It was hard. I could never remember what I read and it made me so tired. Occasionally the letters would move around and I consistency struggled to stay on the right line. Just after college I picked up a novel everyone said I had to read. Just 300 or so pages. Took me a month a reading a little every night. As much as my eyes could handle.

But on bed rest I pushed though and read novel after novel. I think it took me days to finish one book but I did it. I soon discovered that I loved the story and that I’d push though the frustrations just to be able to read another good romance story. (practice makes perfect)

Now – I love to read. Eight years later I can fly through books. I read all four books in the Twilight series in a week (not so good for the house cleaning though.) I recently reread the novel that had taken me a month and finished it in a night.

So what was my discovery this weekend? By my description you may be able to tell if you know much about reading problems. I am dyslexic. I am severely dyslexic. Out of the 37 possible characteristics I had twenty-eight. (it takes 10 to classify as dyslexia)

I must say my husband and I had a good laugh about the description since it make so much sense to many of my “quirks”.

I also love the irony that God has called me to write. I mean I did well in math and science why not focus there? No he calls me to literature and I managed to graduate high school with a 3.6 with never completing one required reading book.

But God isn’t concerned with what I can’t do as much as what He can do. I choose to be open to people he has placed in my path to teach me. After all if He can take me from reading a novel over a month to reading it in a night He can do anything.

Here are the 28 characteristics I could identify with. They may give you new insight into our past interaction if you know me. :)
•    Appears bright, intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.
•    Isn’t “behind enough” or “bad enough” to be helped in the school setting.
•    High in IQ, yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written.
•    Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, or engineering.
•    Seems to “Zone out” or daydream often; gets lost easily or loses track of time.
•    Difficulty sustaining attention “daydreamer.”
•    Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.
•    Complains of headaches while reading.
•    Confused by verbal explanations.
•    Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions, and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.
•    Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing, or copying.
•    Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don’t reveal a problem.
•    Lacks depth perception and peripheral vision.
•    Reads and rereads with little comprehension.
•    Spells phonetically and inconsistently.
•    Easily distracted by sounds.
•    Difficulty putting thoughts into words; speaks in halting phrases; leaves sentences incomplete; stutters under stress; mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words, and syllables when speaking.
•    Handwriting varies or is illegible.
•    Clumsy, poor at ball or team sports; prone to motion-sickness.
•    Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right
•    Has difficulty telling time, managing time, or being on time.
•    Computing math shows dependence on finger counting and other tricks
•    Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.
•    Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced.
•    Thinks primarily with images and feeling
•    Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.
•    Strong sense of justice; emotionally sensitive; strives for perfection.
•    Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health.

 

 

 

 

Why am I blogging?

As I start my third week of blogging, I am reminded why I decided to join this part of social media. The world is changing. I can choose to change with it or not. But ignoring it is no longer an option.

When I joined Facebook five years ago, a friend told me it was a blip on the radar and would be replaced within a couple years I think they were wrong. Check out this video of statistics.

“It is no longer a question of if you will do social media, but how well you will do it.” I guess I decided it was time I started doing it a little bit better.

Building a Heroine – Literally

So I have heard a lot of lessons on how to build a character for you story. You need to consider motivations, back-story, fears, goals, and so much more. For a great instruction of building a character for a story, check out From the Inside…Out by Susan May Warren.

But this blog isn’t about that.  As I tried to create the vision I had for my heroine, I needed to find a “Hannah”. Really how hard could it be to find a cute, whimsical, full length shot of a red-head with curly hair, preferably in a green sundress. Like this photo. Only I couldn’t find one.

Being an istock contributor myself (my portfolio), I have no problem paying for an image but search after search left me empty. Okay, maybe I was being a little picky and specific but that has always been my down fall in my life.

My vivid imaginations comes up with EXACTLY what I want and nothing less with make me happy. Try dress shopping with me sometime.

My Junior prom I gave my mom a detailed description of what I wanted in my dress: blue, short, off the shoulder, with thick lace around the top. (Hey it was 1993 and this was very cool) My mom actually bought this dress without me because it was exactly what I wanted. She was right it was perfect and I loved it.
My senior year it only got worse as I drew the dress I wanted on the back of a bulletin during church: short, black velvet, 3 spaghetti straps that cross/weave in the back. My mom laughed at me, but we searched and found nothing close. But I did find a dress three sizes too big, velvet , and full length on sale for $15. So I snatched it up and marched off to the tailor and $40 of alterations later this is what I had.
So you can see, I know what I want. But tailors couldn’t help me this time. Fortunately, I’ve learned a little about digital stitching along the way.

So I found these two shots.

And with a little work (changing hair color, skin color, dress color, swapping heads, and making the dress a bit more CBA approved) I made the the Hannah I wanted.
Yes I confess I am a Photoshoper.

In fact, if you have ever seen a photo of my family that we are all smiling – yeah it has been Photoshopped.


Many claim that this is “cheating.” But I have to laugh. I am not after a photo-journalistic approach to portraits. Back when people would sit for paintings, do you think that the people never blinked, the kids never cried, and everyone stood perfect for hours. No, the painter painted what he wanted. It was not journalism but a portrait, art.
So what are your thoughts on Photoshop?

A good thing or is it cheating?

Save Me Super Cake Girl

My boys were playing super heroes the other day, and my daughter not wanting to be left out (but still as girly as they come) stood up and said, “I want to be a cake super hero.”

She said she would drive around and make cakes for everyone who didn’t have one. She cracks me up.

But this got me thinking about my writing. In My Book Therapy we learn that the heroine needs a superpower. No, she doesn’t have to leap tall buildings and lift cars but some strength or special skill that can help save the day in the end.

In the Hunger Games, Katniss’ super power is to hunt. It is that super power that saves her and ultimately Peeta in the arena. In Twilight, Bella’s super power is her ability to shield her mind. This saves everyone in the end, even Edward. (Man, YA books have really great superpowers)

My current work in progress, my heroine’s superpower is her ability to do genealogy research. Not glamorous as a bow or a mind shield but in the end it is what saves the day for my hero.

Think back to one of your favorite books. Does the heroine have a superpower?

What do you think would make a cool superpower for a book? Baking cakes? It could work and who knows, it may just show up somewhere in one of my books in the future.

Where Were You?

There are certain events in history that will often beg the question: Where were you? Where were you when Pearl Harbor was hit? Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you when the Challenger blew up? Where were you when the two towers were hit?

I love these questions and it is not because of morbid fixation. I don’t want to know history from facts; I want to know history from stories. I want to picture what it was like. I want to feel the emotion of that moment with the storyteller.

Pearl Harbor was bombed exactly thirty-three years before I was born. But when I think about it, I picture my grandfather in his college dorm gathered around an old radio, hearing the news, knowing his life had just changed forever. Kennedy was shot about twelve years before I was born but I know my father sat in a college lecture and how the class all left un-dismissed when the news broke.

But I can tell you where I was when the two towers were hit. I remember the sickening ache in my gut as I watched them crumple to the ground live. I remember the days that followed as the country struggled to find its emotional feet. I remember watching the country unite and heroes rise up for unexpected places.

Story has the power to change someone like the facts never could. That is why I write. I have never written an historical fiction but the idea intrigues me.

Whether you write or not, you have a story. Pass on those stories, so as your kids learn history in the class they don’t just know the facts but what it was like to life through it.

So, where were you?

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