Friday, November 30, 2012

Waiting for Lightning

I have six chapters of Book 5 written. A few weeks ago I suddenly got inspired to start writing the last book in my series. I knew how it would begin.

Now I’m stuck.

I know what needs to happen in this book, I know how it needs to end, and how to tie up the series. I’m just not sure how to get there.

I’m waiting for that lightning bolt of an idea to strike. I’m waiting for that Ah-Ha!-Moment. I’m waiting for God’s divine intervention.

I know it will come.

It better. Writer’s block is the worse.

Well, that and your kid getting Roseola. I’ve got both right now.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Too Much November

Is it just me, or is it strange this year to have a whole week of November left after Thanksgiving? Usually we start December sometime during that week following Turkey day. This year is different, and it’s kind of odd to me.

Mainly because once Thanksgiving is over, I can’t help but want to embrace the Christmas season. And starting December justifies my eager fa-fa-la mood somehow!

No matter, the Shaw Manor is already bedecked for the holidays. Our tradition is that Thanksgiving weekend we decorate for Christmas. The years when we’re gone with the Drazins, we either decorate the day we get home, or the day before we leave, which is usually the day before Thanksgiving. That’s what we did this year. It was magical to come home to Christmas.

Still it’s not December yet. I’m thinking I’ll at least restrain myself from buying Christmas gifts until December 1.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Take-Out Turkey

I had a big mommy decision to make this Thanksgiving. If you've been reading my blog, you know it was my family's year to host Thankgiving and we were planning to go down for the weekend and celebrate with them.

Things didn't turn out quite that way. West ended up getting really sick. He had a high fever for almost 48 hours, and wasn't doing well. So Wednesday night I called my mom and had to tell her we were staying home. In that moment, I really felt like a parent. I was canceling plans because my kid got sick.

Of course it was very disappointing for everyone. But it was the best thing to do for our little boy. So our holiday turned out to be the strangest of all. Michael's side of the family wasn't getting together because all his siblings were with inlaws this year (we're all on the same rotating holiday schedule with our families). And we couldn't invite ourselves over to anyone's house because Westly was sick. A dear friend brought us Thanksgiving dinner, so we got out turkey, etc. But it was still a little sad to think about everyone meeting with family and sitting at a huge table to partake in the meal together....

...and there we were....West napping, Michael and I watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Oh well. Just another circumstance to remind me I am a Mom. And I'm thankful for that above all else.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I Dose of Deuteronomy

I thought I would share my Bible verse I chose for reflection time this year. I also wrote a little poem to go along with it.

“…therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may  love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days…” Deuteronomy 30:20

You set the beat in my heart,

A heart built to love You.

You blew the breath in my lungs,

Lungs filled to praise You.

You drew the prints on my hands,

Hands formed to cling to You.

You wrote the prose of my days,

Days meant to be with You.

You are my life!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Who's Year Is It Anyway?

This year it’s my family’s turn to have us for Thanksgiving. Being that my family lives 4 hours away, we swap the holidays with the Shaws and Drazins every year. This year is Drazin Thanksgiving and Shaw Christmas, and next year will be the other way around. I always look forward to Drazin Thanksgiving for a few reasons:

1.      Great homemade meal—whether it’s my mom or my Mimi cooking the meal, it’s always a yummy spread made from scratch. No boxed Stove Top stuffing on this table!

2.      Time of reflection—my dad always leads the family in a time of reflection on God’s blessings. We each take a turn sharing a Bible verse that was key to us this year, and saying what we are most thankful for.

3.      All my siblings in one place—it’s hard to get all my siblings together at once, especially since three of them are brothers with more exciting things to do. But for the holiday they all come, and I get extra time with my sweet sister-in-law. West and his cousin Mina will get to spend time together. Sadly this year my sister will not be with us, as she is in Belize and is saving her plane ticket money for a Christmas visit.

I hope your Thanksgiving is marked by good food, good conversations, and the goodness of God.


Monday, November 19, 2012

My Budding Author

The Book Release for Book 4 this weekend was a fun success, especially since my little Westly was a part of it. You never know, someday he may be signing books for a living!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mama's Books

The other evening Westly was playing with a bookshelf in our family room. He rarely messes with things around the house that are not for him. But sometimes when he’s bored he gets mischievous. I keep my Sherlock Academy books, and copies of a devotion I wrote/published (more on that later) on this book shelf. When West picked up my books, I said, “Those are Mama’s books. I wrote those.”

Then later that evening I was in the dining room organizing the big shipment of books for the book release tomorrow. West recognized my books I was sorting through. He scuttled out of the dining room and was gone for a few minutes. He came scampering back holding a Sherlock Academy book and a Tokens of Grace book (my devotion). He held them up to me and said, “Mama.”

My first thought was, “Wow, he’s a little smartie-pants! And he has a killer memory.” Next my heart welled with love and pride for him. It made me feel so special to see my son holding my work, and affirming that these books were “Mama.”

He’s right. Every word in those books are a little part of me. And I can’t wait to share that part of ‘Mama’ with him.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Releasing Book 4

I’m very excited. This coming Saturday is the book release of The Baker Street Underground, my fourth book! I’m very proud and excited about this one.

I’m proud of it because I was able to complete it in a timely manner while still being a dedicated mother and wife. Thanks to God, Westly’s long naps have given me time to write. Even amidst sleep deprivation (remember, West was up every 3-4 hours each night until he was almost a year old), God gave me the focus, creativity, and energy to write.

I’m really excited about this one because I took some big creative risks as a writer. I went out of my comfort zone a bit, explored some new ideas, and made some daring movies with my characters and plot. But I think Book 4 is better for it, and I grew so much as a writer.

I can’t wait to share my story with the world. If you’re a local Central Coaster, come out and be a part of this exciting chapter in my life! (If you’re an out-of-towner but still want Sherlock Academy books, contact me or order them online at my website)

When: Sat. Nov. 17 10:30am-12:30pm

Where: Toy Zoo next to Michael’s Craft Store in Santa Maria, CA.

What: FREE kids activities/games (scavenger hunt, codes, character profiling), free raffle tickets for free books when you purchase a Sherlock Academy book, free Sherlock Academy notepads to the first 50 customers, personal author autograph on purchased books.

Cost: Books 1 and 2 $12 each, Books 3 and 4 $13 each. Book Set of Books 1-4 $50. Cash or checks.

Come celebrate Sherlock Academy, and do a little Christmas shopping while you’re at it!

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Lil Bro

I’m going to take this moment to promote another blog. It belongs to my youngest brother Andrew (who is 19 years old and stands over 6 feet tall, but is still the baby of the family).

He is an extremely talented artist who has his own style and edge. I’ve been encouraging him to pursue an artistic career in some capacity. I told him to start a blog to get his work out there, and amazingly, he listened to me! Check it out and pass it on. (Get past the first piece of art, the others are pretty cool!)

Disclaimer: I have to apologize ahead of time for the language/content he sometimes uses that is not Christian, to say the least.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Scribble Scribble

Someone asked me, “Did you write this week?”

Hmm…depends on what you mean by ‘write’. Sure.

I wrote a three-page letter to my sister in Belize (have I mentioned my one and only sis is living/serving the Lord in the jungles of Belize? Very cool, but I do miss her terribly).

I wrote out a three-column grocery list and accompanying menu for the week.

I wrote catchy taglines on the backs of the pictures of Westly I mailed to family.

I wrote some romantic pose to my husband and stuck it in his lunch box to find at work.

I wrote a few jaunty status updates on my Facebook.

So yeah, I wrote a lot this week actually.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Still Have a Vote

As a mom, it’s hard to find time to keep up on current events, mainly politics. I’m lucky to get a report on tomorrow’s weather before Westly turns the TV off or accidentally changes the channel. It’s easy to dismiss politics in the name of motherhood. I mean, on a daily basis I’m bombarded with decisions to make: cereal or waffle for Westly’s breakfast, run errands before or after his nap, let him sleep in and enjoy some extra snooze time or wake him and enjoy an earlier bedtime later that day, flick his hand for throwing food on the floor or just act like I didn’t see him do it. Lots of decisions.

Which leaves me hardly any energy to make bigger decisions like Romney or Obama, Lois Capps or Abel Maldanado, YES or NO on that Prop.

However, this year I was determined to stay informed and educated on politics and cast my vote in the election. (after all, these big elections come only as often as Leap Year!) I was not going to become a housewife/mother who would tell her children later, “I didn’t keep up on politics—I was too busy raising kids!”

I kept Westly in his highchair during the Presidential debates on TV. I kick-started some political conversations with friends during play dates. I listened to some AM radio while driving to the gym. And yesterday, I went to the polls.

While balancing Westly on my hip, I quickly filled in my ballot as fast as I could before he got antsy. I proudly wore my ‘I Voted’ sticker and protected it from Westly’s reach.

And I realized one thing has not changed despite becoming a mom: I still felt that warmth of patriotism I have felt every time I casted my vote in the past since I was 18.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Trusting My Gut

I wrote Chapter 1 of Book 5.

And I am astounded to say I think it’s a keeper! That’s usually not the case when I start a new book. Usually I end up rewriting Chapter 1 a few times. With Book 3, I have three different versions of Chapter 1. It’s sometimes tricky to decide how to start a book, for Chapter 1 sets the tone of the whole book. It also has to catch the reader’s interest immediately, give the reader a sense of the plot and conflict, and introduce key characters. Like I said, tricky.

I felt in my gut how I should start Book 5, and I listened to my gut. It’s quite an intense beginning, a little dark, and offers a surprising twist right away. Risky. But I felt it was the right way to start it. I read the draft to Michael and he affirmed what I was thinking.
I have a good feeling about this one...

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Little Secret

A couple friends and family members have commented lately on how much I tend to get done in my days. I write books, teach art, try new recipes, make crafts, etc. I just want to go on record as saying, No I am not one of those super-women who rise at dawn, run a business on their blog, cultivate their own ingredients, and homeschool their children. You know the type! More power to those Proverbs 31 Women!

I will tell you the secret to my productivity: I have one kid who naps 2-3 hours every day!

When Westly naps, I have free time. And since I don’t have any other children, I am completely free to work. Most of my friends have more than one kid. Even if their little one takes a good daily nap, they still have the older one(s) to tend to. They don’t get a big chunk of time each day all to themselves to get things done and indulge in their hobbies.

I realize I am in a nice phase of life right now. I have only one kid, and right now he takes a long nap every day. And I know this will not last forever. Someday we’ll have another child, and sadly someday Westly will take shorter naps or give them up altogether. I’ve been feeling the pressure to make sure I am maximizing my free time to the fullest.

Honestly, I don’t know what I’ll do when I have another baby. Which is yet another reason I’m in no hurry to expand our family!