Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday's TGC

1. Rachelle takes ordinary objects and turns them into something useful. Check out this gift box with homemade stationary that she made from a Mary Kaye box. Really fun looking and resourceful, too!
2. Casey's Tip #73 is so worth your time if you are writing and are stumped by lack of research or lack of right wording. Click here for a great idea.
3. And my top tip this week is from CAMarshall.  She shows you how to format a manuscript with a checklist.  Click here for a very clear how to do it post.
1. This really isn't a giveaway, but then again it is. Make your own Advent Tree Calendar.  Asiaramblin has shared her secrets on how she made theirs. You can check it out here. I'm so excited because I fell in love with it when she posted pictures of it at Christmas!
1. Brenda Drake is holding a blogfest contest. Submit your first line of your ms.  Here's what she says, "Hey guys, come join in on the fun for my It was a Dark and Stormy Blogfest Contest. The fabulous agent Weronika Janczuk from D4EO Literary Agency will be handing out prizes!"  Click here for all the details and prizes.

2. A.L. Sonnichsen posted about some really great opportunities.  Picture Book Marathon and Dear Editor's substantive free edit.  Click  here for for more details.

And this week I won the book You Were Made to Make a Difference from Jenna Lucado on Michael Hyatt's blog. Can't wait to read it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WiP...and "Weeping Forward"

L-WiP (Life Work in Progress)
Entombment of Christ, 1672, in Saint-Martin Ch...Image via Wikipedia
"Weeping Forward" totally comes from the Bible study I'm doing on Ruth by Kelly Minter. Looking at Ruth 4:7-14 Kelly points out that the two daughters-in-law both wept. Orpah wept going back home and Ruth wept going forward into the unknown.
Have you ever wept forward?  I'm not sure I'm at that place right now. It is more like dragging my feet and chewing my fingernails wondering what is next. I have to admit, there have been tears...I'll call them "fear tears." You know, the fear of the unknown.
But, I've had them before, those "fear tears".  It was exactly five years ago when we starting to sort through our things in China to move to Taiwan.  I so did NOT want to move here. I knew that was what God wanted of us, but my heart was not in it. I cried buckets of tears before the move, during the move and after the move. I cried with friends, with my kids, on my husbands shoulder, and alone. I don't like crying, so this was not a fabulous time for me.
I'm not sure when the tears stopped. But, they did. In fact, I'm not sure when I started to love this place, but I do. I am so glad that God moved us forward to Taipei. I love this city. I have made such wonderful friends here. And God is doing some awesome things here, too!
Remembering that God is the one who has it all figured out and secured, I can rest in him.  I can still cry, I just need to do it going forward.
I think this quote from Kelly sums it up well. "Although there will be weeping in this life, the direction in which we weep is what truly matters."
So, have you ever cried moving forward?  Are you in that place now?  Please encourages me so much to hear how others stepped forward.

WiP (Work in Progress)
Ahh, the writing process.  I finished those first two chapter edits and sent them off to a few friends. I got some comments back already.  They liked it...yeah!  But, there are some areas that need more clarification and some touch ups here and there.  So thankful for people willing to look over my work and give me critiques that are not "fluffy and nice".  So, thanks to you all that took a peek and were "tough"...I like that. ;)
Now, to finish those edits up and send out those chapters on Monday for my class. Then back to editing the other chapters. Can't stop here just for the class. I'll never get to the querying stage if I stop now.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Tuesday's QBR

This week has been CRAZY busy with a birthday party, getting ready for that birthday party, applying for two new passports for the kids (which btw is so not fun), and, well, life.  So, I only finished one book this week. But, it is a good one and it is on my FitG list. (Yeah, for me!)

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Okay, can we say deep? Love this book on various levels.
1. Loved that the setting was during WWII, but the content is current.
2. Very thought-provoking on so many levels. (I'm liking that phrase today, so deal with it. LOL)
3. Challenging to get into the language. (I had a hard time at first, but loved the challenge in a "teacher sort of way.")

If you want to read a full version, you can click here for my full review.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Homeschool Wrap Up....Letters

Ahh, one of those weeks where there is so much going on that homeschool sort of happened, but not like I had planned. Go figure.
But, some great news is this:
1. Jie Jie's ST will now be weekly. Half hour individual and half hour with another student. So, double happiness for us. 1. ST an hour long each week and 2. She has a classmate once a week.

2. She has started "reading".  Ms. Jones has been working on the word "go". We have a little book that we practice reading together.  It is fun to watch her realize that the letters on the page are words.

I also want to share another resource that we've been using to help with letter recognition and matching lowercase letters with uppercase letters.  These both come from Musings of Me, which is where I got last week's resources from as well.  Can't say enough about her units and how grateful I am to be able to get them for FREE!
Sorting letters...

Matching...and I'm not sure why this picture
did this. Sorry about it.
And now to plan Mei Mei's birthday painting party for tomorrow...she turned 6 last Monday. 

Thursday's TGC

1. Critiquing.  Kristin at The Monkey Patch writes on how to get critique partners.  Click here for some good places to look for that great critique partner.
And over at the Writer's Alley, Sherrinda has some great tips for those doing critiques.  Click here to help you in your critiquing.

2. Ali Cross introduces some of her favorite apps for her iPhone. Click here to see which ones she recommends,.

3. Do you need to downsize your library shelf, but not sure what to do with those books? WOW! has lots of ideas for you. Click here to help you simplify your life.

1. Two of a Kind is giving away a Valentine's kitchen pack (cookie sheet, sprinkles, plus more). Click here for more information on how you can enter.

2. The Bookshelf Muse is giving away some great prizes for writers.  Free critiques of chapters, first pages and a mystery package. Click here for more details.

3.Homeschool Creations are giving away the Education Cubes. Click here for more information on that.

1. Karen G announced that WiDo Publishing's acquisition's editor, Allie Maldonado is having a submission contest.  Interested? Click here for more details. 

2. Kristi Holl's Writer's First Aide suggests to enter contests for money. Not only that, she suggests places to look for contests and gives a specific contest you can enter for children's writing. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 and writing

L-WiP (Life Work in Progress):

Last week I posted about my one word. Secure.  I recounted how that my security was already being tested by the elevator news.  I have an update on how that turned out already!  The day after I posted about it, a sign went up letting us all know that it would happen March 2-21. I have a month to get ready for it mentally and physically (not days like I had originally thought). Then, just a few days ago, the noticed came down. Our guard let us know that the building managers had changed their minds. The elevator would be replaced at a different time. I'm not sure when, but I'm elated that it isn't going to be happening within the next few months!  

I feel like I've been swirled around with my word this week. I have a group of college friends (9 if you want to know how many) that I'm still tight with. This week we've been sharing with each other the ins and outs of our lives.  I'm always amazed by them, have been since the first day I met them. All godly ladies who seek the Lord. 
But, again, through their emails and through a Bible study on Ruth by Kelly Minter I was reminded of a Psalm that is so fitting.  This same Psalm was part of a study I did a year ago on Esther by Beth Moore.  (You'd think I'd get the clue then, eh?)
Anyway, I want share it with you now. It has been a comfort for me when I'm feeling like all is out of control and I'm not sure what God is doing in my life personally.  
Psalm 16:5-6, 8 (NIV)
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
* note that I added the bold for emphasis.

The whole Psalm is great. But, see that word is  I  think I found my verse(s) for the year.

WiP (Work in Progress)
I've "finished" editing Chapter 1-2 of my novel. I say "finished" because it is just the first round. I plan to go over it again today while Jie Jie is in ST before sending it to a few people to give it a look over.  So, this class is going to end.
I have not worked on any short stories though, which is something that I will focus on after the editing. =)

So, question for you?  How is your L-WiP coming along? Do you have a verse for the year? How about your you like to edit?
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Monday, January 17, 2011

Tuesday's QBR

I have three Quick Book Reviews for ya today.
1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Description from Goodreads: Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding.
QBR: Of the three books, this one was my least favorite. I just didn't like all the detailed accounts of death.  Possible spoiler alert:  I did like the ending though with the surprise assassination. Thought she did the right thing and picked the right guy.

2. The Kind of Friends We Used to Be by Frances O'Roark Dowell
Description from Goodreads: Kate and Marylin are smack dab in the middle of middle school-seventh grade-and lately being stuck in the middle is starting to feel like a regular theme in both of their lives. They know that they can never be best friends like they used to be, not after Marylin became the kind of person who cares too much about hair (a.k.a. a middle school cheerleader). But, what if they still kind of want to be friends . . . and what if that's much harder than they ever imagined?   To read the rest of the description click here.
QBR: I think I'm becoming a fan of Frances O'Roark Dowell. This is my second book and it was not a disappointment either. I thought the characters were developed well and true to middle school friendship drama. A good clean book for any pre-teen or teenager to read.

3. Little Leap Forward: A boy in Beijing by Guo Yue and Clare Farrow
Description from Goodreads:  A sensitively written, semi-autobiographical story about a boy called Little Leap Forward, growing up in the hutongs of Beijing in the 1960's, during the Cultural Revolution. Little Leap Forward offers children an intimate and immediate account of a child's experiences as Mao Tse Tung's Great Leap Forward policy tightens its grip on China.
QBR:  I read this book in light that Chinese New Year is fast approaching.  I thought this was a GREAT book to introduce the Cultural Revolution to young readers. It is in the POV of a young boy who is musical like his father. His mother is an educated teacher. Everything seems magical until the Red Guards come and all things "old China" and "foreign" are burned.  Thought the illustrations by Helen Cann brought the book to another level for kids who may not have experienced anything Asian. Highly recommend it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Homeschool Wrap Up....Bears

This week in Bible, we read about Jesus' baptism.  We outlined Jie Jie's hand to make doves. It didn't turn out that well, but she understood that it was a bird. 

We continued with the theme of Winter and looked at bears. We read Sleepy Bear by Lydia Dabcovich.  I liked this book because it was simply one sentence per page and it showed how the bear slept during the winter, hibernating in his cozy cave. Then when spring came he looked a bit grouchy, but remembered honey and followed the bees.  Jie Jie loved the illustrations.  After we read the book we made a bear puppet using a paper bag.  We used DLTK's pattern. You can choose to print it out in color or in B/W and color it yourself. I let Jie Jie color herself.  Click here for the pattern.

The finished puppet.
Jie Jie gluing on the pieces after she colored them.
She LOVED this. I think next time I'll do a sock type puppet with
her so it will last longer than ten minutes. =)

I wrote last week that I'd post some resources that I've used for numbers.  I got all of these from Musings of Me, which I printed out and laminated. They are cute and so easy and fun to use.

Matching cards. The site has them up to 20, we only use 1-5. I've
printed and laminated all of them because I think Mei Mei can
also use these to practice her numbers as well. The pink piece is
Velcro that I attached to both pieces.  
This is counting the stars on the snowman and
matching the correct hat.  Again, I've used Velcro
so that Jie Jie can attach them and I don't loose pieces.

This last set of cards, I've used two different ways.
First, we attach clothespins to the card. This helps
with fine motor skills and with counting.
  Here she is learning the concept of "2".
 I've made two marks on laminated paper.
 After she attaches a clothespin she erases one
of the marks. When the lines are gone, she
doesn't need to add anymore clothespins. Then we
count them together to make sure it is correct. 

This is the other way I use these cards. She builds Lego towers.
These cards I glued onto construction paper before I laminated
to help make it a bit more sturdy.
Okay, that pretty much sums up what we've been doing. Next week I'll post some resources that I've used in letter recognition and how we are starting to write letters.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday's TGC

1. The Bookshelf Muse has a great three part series on Creating Unforgettable Settings. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 all have some really good nuggets to help with writing.
2. Ali Cross has a post with three tips to be an effective communicator. It was a great reminder for me this week as I listen to what my husband is saying...really saying and not what I think he is saying. You know what I'm talking about.
3. And for the educational ones out there. Here is a nifty idea to use with the alphabet or numbers. Thanks to Sara at Totally Tots for this.
1. Two of a Kind Working on a Full House is giving away a Literati Wireless eReader. You can click here for details.
2. Daniel Darling is giving away his book, iFaith on Chuck's blog, Guide to Literary Agents.
3.Sarah Jamila Stevenson is giving away her book, The Latte Rebellion. This is also found on Guide to Literary Agents. 
1. WOW! Women on Writing's Winter 2011 Flash Fiction Contest. Entry deadline is February 28th.

That's all for today! Back to editing for me....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WiP...and My One Word

WiP (Work in Progress):
I'll start with my writing today. I've been editing the first chapter on my novel and really need to crack the whip.  Need to focus a bit more of my computer energies on that and not Google Reader. =)
Also, if you didn't read on Friday's "sprinkles", I made the first round of judging with WOW! Fall 2010 Contest. I should know within the next week or so if I made the next cut or not. They are holding another contest Winter 2011 and I'm thinking about it, but must finish my class first.

L-WiP (Life Work in Progress):
Last week I promised that I'd have myoneword picked out.  I thought it would be around faithfulness or obedience, but it turns out I went a different direction, sort of. My one word for the year is "Secure".  This word has a lot of meanings to me. To be firm in my faith. To feel safe/secure when all seems out of control. To not worry when things seem out of control because of Who my security is in.
I got this word because I was reminded last week of something God had been teaching me about security. Last fall, I was in a ladies Bible study reading Kelly Minter's book, No Other Gods.  During this time, my husband was given his contract to re-sign and we were deep in prayer and flooded with doubts and fears over what we should do. We felt God was calling him to work more with a small nonprofit organization here in Taiwan.  I felt safe in Uwe's job. The benefits that are provided are really quite unreal. Many of you know, but his job provides the following: rent-free apartment that comes with all the large appliances, round trip flights back to home country every two years, free schooling, and a paycheck. They provide more, but those are the biggies.This small nonprofit is great, but it is fairly new and funds just aren't there to compete with the principal position he currently has.  But, through this study and God's Word, I was challenged in where I placed my security.  I was challenged to put my security in Christ alone and let him provide for ALL of our needs.

So, "secure" seem like the perfect word for me this year. To remind me that Christ is my security. That He alone will provide for all that we need for this coming year. That I don't need to worry and fret about it. He's got it all covered. What I do need to do is be obedient and pray, watching to see how the whole puzzle gets put together.  When I do that, I get excited to see how next year unfolds.

And to test my security we just found out that our building will be getting a new elevator. The elevator will be out of service for about three weeks.  Did I mention we live on the seventh floor?  A friend and I have been discussing about getting our "China legs" back...we both lived there and did not have an elevator.  Guess, the kids will be getting them, too. I'm fighting this "fear" with being thankful that our building doesn't have higher floors and that we don't live on the 23rd floor or something like that. And I'm praying and waiting to see how God works with this one. Maybe Matthea will come out of the three weeks accomplishing climbing stairs and we can take that off her IEP. =)

So, did anyone else do myoneword? What did you choose? Be careful because it will get you. =)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tuesday's QBR

InkheartImage via Wikipedia
Up this week for book reviews are:
1. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
This is on my FitG list. And only because it is on that list did I make myself finish reading it.  Okay, that is sad. But, it just never seemed to end for me. If you's like to read a full review on this book click here.

2. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

This story of World War I is told in the POV of Joey, a British farm horse turned into a war horse.  As a farm horse he loved his owner/friend Albert. Throughout the war we see him long to find Albert again and go back to the peaceful fields of home. But will he?
I really liked the idea of writing about war through the eyes of an animal. I think this helps bring a deep and hard subject to a younger audience in a less threatening way. I think it is a great middle school read....maybe even upper elementary.
This book was previewed for the library.
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Friday, January 7, 2011

Homeschool Wrap Up (lightly sprinkled with some good news)

Vacation is over and I'm back with the goal to finish well with homeschooling Jie Jie this semester.  So, this month is themed "Winter"...lots you can do with this, but a lot you can't do living in a part of the world where it doesn't snow. (Not complaining...b/c I love that fact!)
Anyway, here are some pics of things we've been doing this week:

Materials used: felt, safety pin,
and stapler.
Final product!
In Bible we read about the man that was healed after his friends lowered him from the roof to the feet of Jesus. Jesus told the man, "Pick up your mat and walk".
We made mats. Normally I'd make these out of paper, but knowing that Jie Jie would tear the paper we used felt. I put a safety pin at one end of the strip to use like a needle. I cut five slits in the green felt. Then I cut out three white and two red strips. After the first weave we stapled the strip down so she wouldn't pull the strip out each time. Then we stapled the other end of the strip after she finished weaving.  I had to help her push the "needle" through, but she pulled it out on her own each time.

 During her time at school with Ms. Jones, she has been working on tracing lines.  Ms. Jones gave me these wonderful laminated tracing lines. I love them because there is a green dot and a red dot. Jie Jie knows that she should follow the yellow line until she gets to the red dot. Red means stop.  If you would like to have these tracing worksheets click here.

"Carefully" pouring water...
Since it is winter we looked at two things. The first was a science experiment to see what water does when you put it in the freezer.  So, Jie Jie poured water into a little container with he Lego polar bear and we put it in the freezer. After supper the fam got to see the results. Jie Jie laughed and laughed at the stuck polar bear. While we ate, I set it next to the heater and we watched the water melt.  It was a good activity for all three kids.

The other winter activity we did this week was making her own book, The Colors of Winter. I downloaded this little book from Musings of Me.  Each page is simple with a one word sentence. (eg. The scarf is purple.) We read it together and then Jie Jie colored the pages.  She had more fun with this than I thought she would. If you'd like to do one click here.

We did other things this week that we will do all month like numbers and letters. I'll do a post on that another time to show you the fun activities I found to do with her.

And now for the is about me. I entered a contest a few months ago with WOW! e-zine. I just found out today that I made it past the first round of judging. That means I'm in the top 100 or so of around 300 entries. (just sprinkles...) I'll find out in a few weeks if I made the top 10, which is the second round.  Anyway, I haven't won, but it sure did brighten my day just getting that fun bit of news in my inbox. =)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday TGC


  1.  As you know from yesterday's post I want to work on making time to allow growth in my life.  Katie had some good ideas about how to manage your time on her site Wonderland Homeschool. It is mainly for homeschooling parents, but I think there are some ideas that gear towards all.  For me, internet eats away my time and this post brought that to my attention. So, if you dare to read click here
  2. And for those writers out there, Kristi Holl had a good post, "What's Holding You Back?". Again, this is geared towards writers, but I think anyone can relate. What kind of fears do you have that keep you from doing what you love to do? For me, I fear of what others think. Just posting a blog like this is a huge step for me...So, if you want to read more about this click on Writer's First Aide.


  1.  Mark T. Mustian is giving away his new book titled The Gendarma. He also has some great tips for published authors or for us that are on that road. Something to put in our back pockets to remember later. Giveaway details can be found here.
  2. And for those educational people, Mama-Jenn is giving away her Educational Cubes. For more details on what those are and on the giveaway click here.
  1. Only one that I saw this week. C. Hope Clark posted it on her site. Tweet Me a Story. Can you write a story in 140 characters or less?  Interesting challenge I must say....not one that I'm up for at the moment. But, if you are click here.
I'm giving you two freebie sites that I think are kind of fun.
  1. Mary Vee's site God Loves Kids is full of great stories based on Bible stories.  And this year she is taking every Monday to devote to missionaries with her series, Missionary Adventures. This month is devoted to China with Gladys Aylward. Click here to start reading her exciting adventure or to read it out loud to your kids.
  2. Totally Tots has a new feature called Tots on a Mission. This week the focus is on Kenya. Tara gives a free worksheet with facts, coloring, and points to pray about.  I really like Totally Tots. I get most of my ideas for teaching Jie Jie on this site or its sister sites. 
Okay, that wraps up this Thursday. Hope there was something there that you could use, enjoy, or maybe even win. =)
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011


WIP stand for Work in Progress. Yes, this day will be devoted to telling how I'm doing on my novel and other projects. But, I've been thinking about how my life is a WIP. And if my life is a WIP, then I'm sure yours is, too. So, on Wednesday WIP, I will be writing short bits on Life WIP, as well as, my writing.

So, to start this L-WIP (that sounds a bit dangerous) I thought I'd start with looking at the new year that has started. You can go here to look at my goals for the year. But, after posting those goals I thought about spiritual goals that I didn't write down. Then I came across this post by Sherrinda about having one word that drives your goals. And I'm still not sure what that word is for me, but it will have to do something with faithfulness or obedience.  I'll let you know next week what I end up choosing.
This weekend Alan Seigler spoke at our church and it is quite fitting with this topic as well. I won't give all the details, but here are the 10 questions that he asked us regarding our Spiritual Health. I'll give you a heads up #5, 8, 10 were my top three to look at for this year (as well as 3,4, and 9). I told you I was a WIP. 

  1. Am I more thirsty for God than I was a year ago?
  2. Can I honestly say I have decided to follow Jesus?
  3. Have I moved to create the environment I need to grow?
  4. Do I see the world more and more through the Jesus' eyes?
  5. Am I gradually replacing worry with trust in God?
  6. Am I giving more now then I was a year ago?
  7. Do I find that I am more accepting of others? (not tolerant, but judgmental)
  8. Am I growing in my capacity to forgive others?
  9. Am I more persistent in my praying then I used to be?
  10. Am I slowing down and leaving time in my life for growth?
So, how are you doing? Did you know about the myoneword New Year's Resolution? Do you have a word for the year? How's your Spiritual Health?

W-WIP News: I started editing the first chapter of my novel. Okay, I started last night because I knew I had to post something about it. But hey, isn't that why I'm doing Wednesday WIP? To keep me accountable and push me forward in this area of my life? 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tuesday's QBR

I switched Tuesday and Thursday around because Tuesday was just too early to report any contests and Tuesdays will now be QBR: Quick Book Review.
I have two this week and they are both books that I previewed for the library.

1. Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol by Jim Krieg
Think any 1980's cop movie or TV show and you have the character sketch of most of the players in this book.  Change the cops to hall monitors and the setting to a school and you have this book covered. It was an interesting read since I remember most of those movies, but felt that some of the humor might be lost with MG crowd.

2. RIOT by Walter Dean Myers
Claire (15 yrs old) is a biracial daughter of a black man and a white Irishwoman during the Civil War. We follow Claire, her family and friends during the drafting of soldiers for the Union and watch as the poor Irish emigrants start rioting against the blacks and against the draft. Written in screenplay format made it a bit hard for me to follow at first. Lacked character development either because there were too many characters to follow or the fact of the format it was written in. I'm not sure since this was my first screenplay to read.