My Writing Life


Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

I have been writing fiction for a very long time and I love it. It is my favorite thing to do. However, it takes a very long time to make any money as a fiction writer. Yes, I have a completed historical fiction novel, but only the first draft is completed. I am working on revising/editing it, but time is another problem I struggle with.

As a homeschool mom with one remaining child/student, I spend every morning working with my child, which means I don’t get to do any writing related items until the afternoon. So, roughly three hours a day, then it’s time to make dinner. Then I may or may not have two hours to work on writing related items after dinner before I get too tired for my brain to focus on such tasks. So, on a good day, I get about five hours to work on writing related items.

What writing related items do I have to work on? Well, I have this blog, which I really enjoy writing posts for. As a writer, it is also suggested that I have a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, which means posting on all of these media sites daily. But I don’t. I have found that I am not very interested in social media, so I try to have a presence by connecting my blog posts to my Facebook writer page and Twitter accounts. At least that keeps me present there.

I have been writing for Almost an Author, a popular website for writers, for about a year now. I am one of the regular columnists for the site and am required to post four romance and four historical posts each year. This is not a huge commitment, but it is a commitment nonetheless. I am also a regular interview writer for Faith Filled Family Magazine and have been doing this for almost a year. I love the writing I do for both of these. However, none of these wonderful jobs offers a salary, but I am not willing to give them up. I enjoy them too much. Besides, they give me material for my portfolio.

Back to the part about homeschooling. Being a homeschool mom means being there for your child(ren) all day every day. This was an important decision my husband and I made seventeen years ago, and it was an important decision we haven’t regretted.  However, it can be quite challenging to live on one income in today’s world.

Therefore, I have entered a new writing world–the world of freelance writing. I have also taken my freelance editing skills with me, and have become active on a reputable freelance website, where I am applying for writing and editing jobs that I will actually get paid to do. However, the writing is not fiction. So I am learning and experiencing writing in the “real” (nonfiction) world. It’s very different and quite challenging as compared to my preferred fiction world, but I am finding it enjoyable so far. But, it is time consuming–time to look through the “want ads”, time to write proposals to apply for the jobs I am interested in and believe I am able to do, and then, time to do the jobs. So now, I am working with solid deadlines–no procrastinating is allowed or tolerated.

In conclusion, my writing life has changed once again. For now, I need to put most of my time into the freelance writing that will enable me to earn an income. That may mean that my fiction works, like my novel, will have to wait longer to meet the world. But, as in every part of my life to this point, I have always been one to do what needs to be done and to keep my priorities straight.

There are three more years, after this one, until my last child graduates, then I’ll have eight or nine hours a day to write. (At least that’s what I keep telling myself.)

Why and How I Choose to Eat Healthy

A little about my background — I have struggled with weight issues since I was in high school. About ten years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and put on oral medications. Four or five years ago, I had my gall bladder removed. You would think because of all these things, I would have been committed to a more healthy lifestyle a long time ago. So, why wasn’t I?

Here are some of the reasons: 1) during my high school years, whenever I wanted to try dieting to lose weight, my mom wanted to support and encourage me, but another family member made a habit of sabotaging us; 2) born and raised in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, the land of whoopie pies, shoo-fly pie, chicken pot pie (not baked in a pie shell), and many other high carb high sugar foods, unhealthy eating is a normal way of life; and 3) as a mom, I am much better at taking care of others than I am at taking care of myself because I always put others first.

So, if you look at the above photo, you will see the third book from the left is the most recently published THM (Trim Healthy Mama) cookbook. Three years ago, a friend encouraged me to try THM and I did, and with that friend’s constant encouragement, I succeeded in sticking to the THM healthy eating way of life for an entire year and lost fifty pounds. Then two years ago, right before Christmas, our oldest son had to have major jaw surgery, and his poor face was so swollen and bruised when he first came home, and he couldn’t really eat anything. So I committed to taking care of making sure he was getting enough nourishment in the few items (smoothies, broths, liquids) he could receive, then gradually graduating to soft foods, before slowly being able to begin incorporating normal foods back into his diet. So, because I focused all my energy on caring for him, I fell back into eating the way I had been raised to eat–the Pennsylvania Dutch way. Amazingly, though I did gain some weight back, I did not gain all fifty pounds back, even though I continued on this path for just about two years.

Then, July 10th of this year, I went to the ER with chest pains. I was given and EKG, chest x-rays, and bloodwork — all came back normal. I then realized the pain was similar to what I’d had before having my gall bladder removed, and I told the doctor, who told me that just because I didn’t have a gall bladder anymore didn’t mean I couldn’t still get gall stones. So he decided to check the ducts in my body, so I was given an ultrasound, which they had a difficult time with because my stomach was filled with gas. However, my pain was completely gone after the completion of that test. Then I began to wonder if it was all due to my bad eating habits. Well, the doctor order one more round of bloodwork, and the only thing he found was that my liver enzymes were extremely high. He decided to send me home with the stipulation that within the following three days, (this was a Wednesday), I would call my family doctor, have him order the bloodwork again, then see my family doctor. I did that, with the same conclusion. My family doctor sent me home with orders to get the bloodwork redone in a week and to get back to healthy eating, then I may or may not have to see a gastroenterologist. I went home with a new determinate to commit to the THM plan for the rest of my life because I knew it worked for me in the past for a whole year.

I returned to eating according to the THM way that very evening and haven’t looked back since and don’t plan to, because the following week’s bloodwork came back with my sugar level lower and my liver enzyme count back to normal. No trip to the gastroenterologist.

So, what is the THM way to eat, you may ask. Well, I struggle to understand the entire plan, but in a nutshell, it’s eating high protein, low-carb, and no white bread, no white sugar, and no white potatoes. It’s also eating healthy fats, but separates fats and carbs to allow the metabolism to function at its best. It’s focus is low-glycemic.

My biggest problem with the plan, in the past, is all the prep work for many of the recipes. I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, nor do I really want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. That’s why you see the other two cookbooks in the above photo. The internet is full of women who eat the THM way and who enjoy creating their own THM friendly recipes. My favorite is Brianna Thomas. I’ve been following her blog since I started THM, and she has created two cookbooks of her THM friendly recipes, and she uses simple, everyday ingredients, and because she’s from a similar background to the Amish and Mennonite community in my area, many of her recipes are healthy versions of foods my family is used to eating, and the majority of her recipes are not time-consuming.

Now, I’ll just touch on the four products you can see in the above photo: the little green bottle is liquid stevia. Stevia is a natural, plant-based sweetener, not a chemical, and I love to use this liquid version in my THM drink recipes, especially the cold ones, because I don’t have to struggle to get it to dissolve. The little bag next to it is Pyure, which is a stevia/erythritol blend (natural sweetener) which I like to use in my baking. The box of 100% pure Oolong tea is a staple in the THM shrinker drink, which helps in the aid of weightloss. The final product is THM’s brand of whey protein (non-flavored) that can be added to smoothies and baking products and shakes to boost the protein, and I like that it doesn’t have a flavor that will affect the taste of the final product.

In conclusion, I am back on track with the THM plan and it wasn’t hard to get back on board, and I am committed to sticking with it for life so that I can remain healthy and live as long as possible to be here for my family and to continue writing good stories, especially since the first one is almost ready for publication. This really plan does keep my sugars and weight under control.

Sorry for the long post! I hope you found it interesting, informative, and helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post in the comments section.


What I’ve Learned About Church

This will be a post that has to do with my Christian beliefs and what I have learned about church throughout my life. You may or may not choose to read it, and you may or may not agree with me if you do read it, and that is certainly your prerogative.

As a child, my family didn’t attend church much, but my mother took me to church sporadically. When she did, we always went to the same church. After my high school graduation as my friends moved out of the area or went off to school and I stayed behind, I decided something was missing from my life, and I decided to go back to church. Because I was only familiar with one church, that is the church I went to and I remained at that church for more than twenty years.

However, as my husband and I were raising a family, at one point we felt we needed a to attend a different church. We prayed about it and God led us to a church that was a forty minute drive from our home, but we believed it was where we needed to be and we remained a part of that church for ten years.

Both of these churches were good for us during the time we attended them. However, as we learn and grow in our walk with the Lord, we sometimes feel a need to move to a different church. Sometimes it’s because of something we are struggling with inside the church. Sometimes it’s a change our kids need. Sometimes it’s because of something we are struggling with inside ourselves. And sometimes it’s a combination of things, but one thing I have learned in the few churches I’ve been a part of is that people put too much emphasis on theology and not enough emphasis on the Bible.

You see, the Bible, according to my beliefs, is God’s word, His truth–the one and only real truth, and I measure everything against God’s word. In other words, if it contradicts God’s word, it’s not true. And what I have learned, in the two churches I was a part of, us that when you focus on theology, you are focusing on one man’s teaching or interpretation of Scripture (the Bible). One church we went to was Armenian and focused on Scripture that supported the teachings of John Wesley, and one church we went to was Reformed and focused on Scripture that supported the teachings of John Calvin.

However, what I came to realize is that the Scriptures that supported both these teachings are ALL part of the Bible–God’s word. Therefore, ALL of those Scriptures are true. So my question became: is there a church, a pastor that teaches ALL of these Scriptures, ALL of this truth. Because what I came to realize is that when you focus on one teaching, you focus on the Sovereignty of God, and I believe God is Sovereign — nothing happens that He is not aware of and that doesn’t fit into his perfect plan for us. (Yes, He is aware of all of the bad things that happen, but those things happen because of man’s sinfulness, and though bad things happen, God never leaves or nor forsakes us. He is always there to help us and to pick up the pieces.)                                                                  If you focus on the other teaching, you focus on man’s free will and man’s responsibility. Focusing on just one or the other creates problems because if we focus only on God’s Sovereignty, we don’t think that anything we do matters, so why should we share the message of Jesus with anyone? It’s like we’re robots or something. And if we focus only on man’s free will and responsibility, we can’t believe that Grace is a free gift that only requires us to believe and have faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t have to DO anything to earn salvation. And, so we’re always trying to do something that’s good enough.

That doesn’t mean we aren’t supposed to do good works, but if we believe in God and Jesus and feel the love He has for us, then we will want to do things to please Him, not to EARN something, but just to please Him. Like a child who recognizes his parent’s love and because he loves his parents in return, he wants to please them.

So, what I have learned is that we need to accept that God is Sovereign and also do good works and share Jesus Christ with others because we love Him, not because we have to earn our way to heaven.

And I am thankful that we have recently found a church whose pastor recently preached a sermon, putting these two things together, and whose focus is on The Word of God (the Bible), not a specific theology. That is how I know we have found the church that is right for us now, because it is what I prayed for because I want All of God’s Truth from All of God’s Word.

I welcome comments, whether or not you agree with me, as long as you are respectful in your use of language.

My Broken Heart

This post will be more personal than most of my posts, and I will be sharing some things about my beliefs. I posted the previous sentence as a warning, so if you choose to read this post, DO NOT leave a comment saying you were offended.

Recently, I have been reading about actions and decisions that some churches or denominations have been doing and making, and it has literally broken my heart–how the church can turn its back on the truth of God’s word and cling to and teach lies because they don’t want to offend anyone, or they find the truth of God’s word uncomfortable.

I’m sure in Bible times, when Paul was preaching, especially to the churches who were doing wrong or showing wrong attitudes, people were uncomfortable. I know that before I gave my life to Christ, I sat in church and squirmed in my mind at some of the truth that was preached from the pulpit because I WAS CONVICTED! That is what the TRUTH of God’s word does — it convicts people of their sins and opens their eyes to the freedom available through belief in Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection. And when someone knows and experiences this truth, freedom, and the unconditional love of the heavenly father, they WANT to PLEASE the heavenly father by being obedient to His Word.

My heart is aching for the churches in this world. They need to get back to the Truth of God’s word and not be afraid to preach it boldly for there are many who are hurting or are just hungry for Truth, and Only the real TRUTH can set them free.

I am praying that God will send revival to the churches and the country of the United States. If you are a true believer, won’t you join me in this prayer?

Okay, this post is finished, and if you chose to read this entire post and you choose to leave a comment, whether in agreement or disagreement (and I welcome both), do so respectfully, for that was the reason for my warning at the beginning of this post. Any disrespectful comments will not be posted and will be deleted, but I welcome a respectful debate using appropriate language.

The Connection Between Stories and Real Life

As a writer and avid reader, I’m always interested in learning about the lives of other writers, both those who have already passed on, and those still living and writing today. I love to meet writers who are currently living and writing as well.

That’s why I love books and movies like “The Man Who Invented Christmas” which is about the life of Charles Dickens. I have seen the movie and it will always be one of my all-time favorites. I have the book but haven’t had the time to read it yet, but plan to in the near future.

I have also seen the movie entitled “Good-bye Christopher Robin”, which is about the life of A.A. Milne, and what a heart-breaking story that is. A.A. Milne led a very difficult and sad life. I also have the book the movie was based upon, but have not have the time to read it, but, again, plan to read it in the near future.

I usually prefer reading books to seeing movies, because books can give you a much more detailed story, not to mention that often movies change or leave out some of the important facts. Movies even sometimes fictionalize something that they really shouldn’t, especially when they deem the movie “based on a true story”.

I also enjoy visiting places that we read about in books. A few years ago, I planned a family vacation for us and we went to Chincoteague, Virginia because our youngest son and I had just finished reading all of the “Misty of Chicoteague” stories and wanted to see where Misty and the Beebe family lived. While on the island, we visited a museum where we learned that Paul Beebe had passed away, when he was young, in a car accident, but his sister, Maureen was still living on the island, but was older and had health issues and so wasn’t receiving visitors any longer. However, we did get to see some precious items that had belonged to the Beebe family because they were displayed in the museum. One of the items was the family Bible.

It’s so interesting to find and/or visit places we read about or places we know authors live or have lived. It helps to give you a better picture of the writer and their stories. Because even fiction stories are written by real live people, every story has a connection to real life, and that is fascinating.

How about you? Do you like to know more about the people who write the books you read or are you simply satisfied to enjoy their stories?

A Poetry Hiatus

Hello Everyone,

I’m sorry if you are a fan of my poetry. I know I missed posting a poem last week, and this is not what you were expecting today. However, poetry is a struggle for me. I started writing and posting poems when a friend challenged me to participate in the National Poetry Writing Month about two years ago, but poetry does not come easily to me.

Also, my life is rather busy right now as I have a son preparing to graduate from Bible school and go off to a foreign country on a missions/preaching trip for three months. I also have another son who will be coming home from college today and will remain home for the summer and the fall, then return to take his final semester in the spring of 2019 and then graduate from college. I also have a son who is of middle school age that I homeschool, and we are finishing up our school year.

In addition to all of that, I continue to read books for authors who request that I read their book and write a review because I enjoy helping other writers. I also continue to work as a professional freelance writer, as well as, continuing to work on my first novel, which I hope to have completed by the end of the summer if not before.

Therefore, I have decided to take a break from poetry, and I’m sorry to say that I do not know what to fill my Friday space with here on my blog at this point. So, if you have any suggestions, I would love for you to leave me a comment, but for now, I will simply take a break from Fridays at least until the end of May.

The Joy of Sharing

As a writer, editor, and reader, I love a good story. A good story excites me and I want to share it with my friends — those who also love a good story. When you have a friend who completely understands that love and excitement of a good story, it just brings so much joy and fun when you can share, with that person, the treasure of a good story.

I have a few friends who fit the above description, but the one who is most fun to talk to about good story, is my dear friend, Sarah. We just love to talk about books we’ve read that we have found to be really good; characters that make us laugh, make us angry, that we can relate to; and movies that have good story and relatable characters. The excitement and joy of a good story just bubbles out of Sarah as she shares, and I catch her excitement and joy, and it works the same way when I share with her.

I treasure this connection with Sarah because she is much younger than I am, and I have found some young people who struggle to relate to older folks, as well as some younger folks who are difficult to relate to, so my relationship with Sarah brings me joy, not just because we relate about good stories, but because she actually enjoys talking to me.

Last Sunday, when Sarah came into church and saw me, she said, “I saw the best movie I have ever seen last night.” When I asked what the movie was, she said, “It’s called The Man Who Invented Christmas.” To which I responded, “Oh, I love that movie!” The woman, whom I had been chatting with before Sarah came in, chuckled at our excitement and enthusiasm and left us to share our joy and excitement over the movie.

But our conversation didn’t stop with that movie. After talking about the movie, we began talking about books we were reading or had recently finished. It’s just such a joy to share something you love with a friend who totally “gets it”.

Do you have a friend you love to share your favorite books and movies with? Does it bring joy to your heart to share with that friend? Good books and movies are worth sharing.