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Saint Isaac of Syria

September 30, 2014

This past weekend was the Heritage Festival at Church.  Saint Andrew’s has this festival every year and I have gone every year except for this year and the year I spent staying with my Isaac_of_Syria1Mommy.  As a present, The Husband brought me an icon of Saint Isaac of Syria who was a scribe and an ascetic during the 7th Century.  I am always up for learning about the Saints,  especially those considered “scribes”, past and present, and had heard several different people talking about him in the Church in the past.  So, what did I do once I was alone?  I went to the Internet to see what I could find out about him.  According to OrthodoxWiki.org, Saint Isaac was an ascetical homeliest, which I found interesting because he read scripture and wrote down what he thought about them, how he saw and viewed them.  This is very close to my heart because I do the same.  When there is time I ask my priest questions and learn even more!  However, there is a quote from Saint Isaac leading me to read more from him.  It is tis;

“Why do you increase your bonds? Take hold of your life before your light grows dark and you seek help and do not find it. This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits.”

This seemed like wisdom reaching out from the past to literally touch me in my being and soul.  Now I must know more about this man.

 

Formatting—The Difference Between Mediocre & Magnificent

September 30, 2014

Henrietta Handy:

KMGN: Thought you would enjoy this. I did.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Today, I have a lovely guest post from a friend of mine, Travis Simmons. He’s here to enlighten us about one of the “unseen heroes” of book success. I hear a lot of bantering about what is most important for a book to take off and sell LOTS of copies. A great story? A fantastic cover? Editing? Formatting? Thing is, they are ALL important but for very different reasons.

Who cares if we’ve written the next “Great American Novel” if the cover looks like our cousin in junior college slapped it together with a pirated copy of Photoshop? The cover can be great, but if the story (sample pages) reflect amateurish writing? Likely people won’t click to buy. Sure we all make punctuation and grammar errors. A few? Most readers (who aren’t also writers) won’t see them. But, if the prose seems as if we slept…

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Man Beheaded Co-Worker in Moore, Oklahoma, Workplace Attack: Police – NBC News.com

September 29, 2014

This really caught me off guard.

Man Beheaded Co-Worker in Moore, Oklahoma, Workplace Attack: Police – NBC News.com.

A religion that teaches murder of those who don’t believe the way you do is evil.

It Is Sunday

September 28, 2014

It’s Sunday and the beginning of a new week.  This weekend was also our St. Andrew’s annual Heritage Festival and I didn’t make it either yesterday or today because of a silly head-cold or sinuses – I can’t tell which one it is.  Today I am feeling better than I have felt all weekend, but it is past six o’clock and the festival is over.  The Husband is helping everyone pack up and get the church back in order.  However, since I didn’t make it to the festival at least the festival food made it to me.  Homemade grape leaves.  Sadama.  Spinokopia.  Perogies.  And so much more!  It made its way to my home via The Husband and friends and I ate every delicious bite with love.  Luckily for me, I could actually taste the food by the time it arrived because the antihistamine worked wonders – all three of them!

Part of me is sad the festival time is here because right after it the weather begins its rush to a change of winter.  This year the weather was beautiful and warm.  Perfect festival weather.  Next week there is rumors of approaching rain and cooler temps.  The knitting nerd in me is excited about pulling out my sweaters and really knitting again, but this also means time to begin putting away the sun dresses.  I can’t change the season changes.  I am not really sure if I want to because there is something about each season I love.  My favorite is Summer, of course, but Spring brings promise of warmth and Fall brings colors.  Winter brings the first snow and even though things are not really peaceful, there is a reflection of peace making my heart swell with…love.  Why?  Because there is, somehow, a promise of good things in that first snow along with a snow day for kids.  I remember lying in my bed waiting to hear the news man say on the radio, yes radio, there was no school for Leslie County.  What better thrill is there for school age children?

Now, I am an adult and I don’t have “school days” any more, and the thrill of not having to go to school is something I miss.

Invictus

September 24, 2014

Yesterday I received an overwhelming e-mail response about what the two lines were from at the end of the post.  Some could remember it vaguely and others were just curious.  So, to answer:  It is Invictus by William Ernest Henley, a Victorian poet.

In roaming the Internet for the poem I came across this little known fact and Morgan Freeman reciting from memory.  This is what I share with you today.

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Fall Festivals And Church Festivals Galore

September 23, 2014

wpid-cam00208.jpgThis past weekend was a smorgasbord of festivals here in Lexington and the surrounding areas.  There were so many places to go The Husband and I just opted to stay home and relax.  We never get to just relax anymore it seems.  Either I am sick or under-the-weather (due to the weather), or we have packed too much into the weekend to enjoy it all.  Neither of us made it to Church Sunday and this coming weekend is our Church festival so The Husband and everyone else is preparing for it like busy little bees.  Instead of buzzing there is the sound of work and laughter and voices calling here and there as things are put up and arranged.  I won’t be seeing my husband very much this week, and it depends on my health whether or not I will be attending the festival itself.  Normally I would be upset by this, but not so much this time.  Me, the dogs, and turtle have our routines down and I make sure to have something different planned to do for my weekends I normally don’t do very much of during the week like watch movies and play certain video games.  No, it isn’t exciting, but it is good to have something to do on a weekend where you may or may not be getting out on.

There are a couple of things keeping me busy of late besides the writing.  One is Lil Dude, the Turtle Extraordinaire!  You would not believe how much work there is to do in keeping a turtle, big or small, alive and close to happy.  Some people have thumbed their noses at the thought of keeping a turtle because “It’s just a turtle.”  I look on it as a living creature I have brought into my home and now I am responsible for keeping it alive and healthy and happy.  So far, we have been doing pretty good.  However, said turtle is now not wanting to eat what I am giving him so back to the Internet I have gone today and learned turtles prefer a variety of foods.  Now, instead of coming straight home, The Husband has agreed to go to PetSmart and pick up a few items for Lil Dude so I can keep him happier and healthier, and fed.

The second thing keeping me busy right now is a desire to go into the winter with more movement.  This means doing qi gong and tai chi more.  The Husband has bought a small book at the tai chi symposium he went to and I am going through this book.  I am not as diligent at it as I should be, but it is still movement.  You don’t have to be on two legs to be a martial artist I am discovering.  Some of the greatest tai chi masters were infirm during their youth and grew to become the greatest masters of all time.  True, my youth is a little ways behind me, but if I keep going I will keep the strength I have, the movement I have, and maybe even access more.  It takes time and a lot of work, but I am pleased with the things I am learning and doing.  At last.

“I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul.”

 

Generate Nerve-Shredding Story Tension—Power of the Secret-Keeper

September 22, 2014

Henrietta Handy:

KMGN: I haven’t thought about some the things this article brings up. It is worth a good read.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

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Image via the award-winning show “House.”

It’s tempting for us to create “perfect” protagonists and “pure evil” antagonists, but that’s the stuff of cartoons, not great fiction. Every strength has an array of corresponding weaknesses, and when we understand these soft spots, generating conflict becomes easier. Understanding character arc becomes simpler. Plotting will fall into place with far less effort.

My POV? All memorable stories are character-driven. Plot merely serves to change characters from a lowly protagonist into a hero….kicking and screaming along the way.

One element that is critical to understand is this:

Everyone has Secrets

To quote Dr. Gregory House, Everybody lies.

All good stories hinge on secrets.

I have bodies under my porch.

Okay, not all secrets in our fiction need to be THIS huge.

Secret #1—“Real” Self Versus Authentic Self

We all have a face we show to the world, what we want others to see…

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Who said turtles couldn’t climb?

September 22, 2014

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Autumn And Winter Plans

September 22, 2014

Autumn is here.  Luckily Sunday was good and warm with beautiful sunshine.  The leaves are turning and in a heavy wind they fly from the trees like butterflies suddenly free.  Knowing winter isn’t very far away isn’t bringing me down this year; not so far, at least.  Instead, the knowledge of the season changes is leading me to be more productive and proactive this time to get things ready for cold days.

A good pain management regimen is in effect already, and I have already moved to the dining table for writing on The Husband’s laptop.  (Part of me really wishes I could move my PC into the living room area somewhere, but the only available space left is where Lil Dude’s habitat is going once we find an aquarium we can afford.)  The exercise regimen is also established and mentally I am more prepared for this winter than I have for many winters past.

Since the pain is becoming even more manageable, the writing is becoming more productive.  The novel project is almost ready for submission – yep, there are lots of nerves involved with this one – and the newer projects are moving along more steady.  About the only thing that is going to really change is the fact that the dip pens are probably going to be brought out for the next novel.  Dip pens are much easier to write with than normal ink pens because they were actually made for long hours of writing and hurt my arthritic hands less.  It would be wonderful if the new pieces would come out using the computer; however, since they are not, I will just make myself more comfortable for the first draft writing and move forward.

Quite honestly, I am tired of slowing myself down by making the stories come out on the computer when they simply don’t want to.  In some ways it’s more work, but in some ways it isn’t because the second draft comes out easily since it is being transcribed from paper to the computer.  Many times, at least for moi, the second draft is the most important one because the mistakes are easily seen and the plot problems make themselves visible.  It is after the beta reading when the bigger problems, if there are any – and there are usually some -, that make themselves visible and thus correctable.

Now I go back to the ink mines in a far happier state of mind than when I left them for a break.  Now there is a plan of action.

Sunday In The House With The Husband

September 21, 2014

What happened to this week?  Friday came as a shock.  What happened to the week?  Was I feeling so badly it swept by me like a flash flood?  Was I feeling so good I simply enjoyed each day to the fullest so the days zipped by?  I think I felt well enough I actually did stuff and the days just eased themselves past in the sunshine.  I like weeks like this, although it would have been better if I could have gotten more words down.

The main day of note this last week was going to pain management and meeting three of the most inept, smug, uncaring nurses aides in history!  Earlier in the week I had called pain management and asked if I needed to bring my crutches with me for a urine sample – I am actually playing by all the rules – and was told “No, it can be done with a blood test.”  Of course, this is something I have known all my life.  However, the techs/aides I ran into said there had to be a urine sample procured.  I explained I did not have my crutches so it would be impossible for me to give one.  I even offered to come back later in the week to give one – I need my husband with me for stability purposes.

Again, the answer to this was “No, we need a sample today so we are going to pick you up, stand you up, and then put you on the toilet.”  My response was simple:  “No.”  An aide came into the exam room and began pulling on gloves and asked me very smugly, “So how did you get out of the car to get into the building today?”

“I didn’t.  I took WHEELS (The local wheelchair transportation service.).”

There then proceeded to be asked many questions about how I actually went to the bathroom.  It should have embarrassed me, but the situation was so surreal it didn’t.  I answered every question truthfully and even offered to let them draw a urine sample via a catheter and was informed they “…don’t like to do that because of risk of infections.”  How is that even possible, I thought, since I am actually in a doctor’s office?

Everyone left.  A woman dashed into the room who was supposed to be a nurse and grabbed the mental health sheet and left immediately.  There was quite a discussion in the hallway and then the problem was taken to the doctor who simply proclaimed he would waive the urine test this time and to be prepared for it the next time I came.  Since it was also the office’s fault I had not brought my crutches in the first place, the doctor made the smug tech apologize to me.

Yes, I was upset.  Yes, it was funny after a while because there is no way to put it other than my body waste is valuable.  It is SO valuable it was almost taken from me by force!

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