Monday, July 31, 2006
And you think you never learn anything on this blog. I beg to differ. This weekend I learned of the ten top foods that are supposed to help my brain.
Yes, there IS hope for this woman!
My husband took a class this week for educators. He comes home Friday night and we go out with our daughter and her family. They have three precious (and beautiful, I might add) little girls. Hubby is sitting across from the six-year-old at the table, and he asks her if she wants to learn what the 10 best brain foods are.
Hey, the excitement never ends in our family!
Well, you know how people are when they just get back from a conference or class. They’re all excited about what they’ve learned (picture Odie of Garfield fame). Okay, so he says to her, “The first one is yogurt. Pretend you have a cup of yogurt in a package and pour it over your head.”
Okie-dokie then. We stare at him. She plays along. Then he says, “Number two is blueberries. Put one in each ear.” She pretends to do so. Then he says, so what are they? And she goes through the routine with the motions. “One is yogurt, two is blueberries.”
I have to say here, I’m thinking this is kind of cute so by the time he gets to number three, I decide to get in the game. “Number three is nuts. Cup them in your hands and start munching.” We do so.
Have I mentioned we’re in Pizza Hut?
“Number four is spinach. Pretend you’re a captain and put spinach leaves on your shoulders where those shoulder thingies go.” Okay, so he says whatever those things are, but well, I’ve forgotten.
“Number five is salmon. Pick up the big fish and slap him on your belly.” To which I respond, “Why?” He gives me a pointed stare and snaps, “Just do it.” Somebody
needs some patience food.
“Number six, bananas. Pretend they’re on your hips.” I failed to mention that by now the middle child has joined us in the motions and so has my daughter.
“Number seven is--“ and this is where our son-in-law comes in—“brown bread. Stick them under your bottom and sit on them.” Okay, now our whole table is getting into this. And I’m not sure but I think the table next to us is leaning in and I’m almost sure I saw the couple tucking under some brown bread.
“Number eight is olive oil. Rub it on your legs.” We do so and I’m beginning to feel like a scrubbed chicken.
“Number nine is broccoli. Grab some broccoli and stuff them between your toes.” Hey, I wonder why the pedicurists haven’t thought of that?”
And finally number ten is tomatoes.” Throw them on the floor and stomp on them. I want to yell “Food Fight!” But I refrain.
We run through the routine again.
So there you have it, the secret to brain power. Yogurt, blueberries, nuts, spinach, salmon, bananas, brown bread, olive oil, broccoli and tomatoes.
I only eat like maybe one of the group, which might explain—oh, never mind.
posted at 9:10 AM
Friday, July 28, 2006
Isn't it funny how sometimes you feel that God is leading you in one direction, but then everything goes fantasmically wrong in that area, and you can't accomplish what you think He's asking? If I have a major complaint to register with God, it's definitely that. I feel for Moses, wandering around the desert for 40 years, no GPS system in sight, and actually leading people with no destination. Can you imagine what he was thinking? "God, did you NOT send me out here? The point of this, is?" And I'm sure Miriam could be a little barky, "Moses, where did God say to go? This doesn't look like the way. Can you stop and ask directions?"
I know you fellow writers can understand this, because we often feel so called to write, but then writing becomes impossible. We lack time, resources, a publisher --you name it. And it makes you wonder if you actually heard the calling right.
I'm in that place right now. You know, the crazy place, where you think, okay, maybe I didn't hear that right. I feel called back to the Bay Area with all my being, but then, every roadblock on earth has been thrown at us. Okay, wait, maybe it hasn't, but that's not a challenge, God. We've got enough. Someday, all of this will make a great book -- the question is, will I live to tell it? ; )
posted at 1:12 PM
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Ever had one of those totally embarrassing moments where you want to sink into oblivion? That happened to me this week. I'd sent out an email to Robin Miller. I typed in ROB and the handy dandy Microsoft program helpfully filled it in for me with another name. Robert Brewer. THE Robert Brewer who does the publishing "bible" Writer's Market. Only I didn't know it at the time.
I saw that baby whizzing into cyberspace and grabbed at the keyboard (breaking a nail in the process) but it was too late. Oh well, I thought. It's probably someone on ACFW. They'll be understanding that I'm in idiot. The next morning Robert emailed me back asking what this was all about and could I refresh his memory. I humbly apologized and confessed my idiocy. A little while later he emailed me again (REALLY nice guy!) and said he'd been looking at our blog. Yes THIS blog! He was trying to decide on the new Writer's Market and wanted the four of us to do a blog style article for the next book. Would we be interested?
WOULD WE? That's like asking me if I'd like a box of DeBrand truffles. Or a coffee. I've devoured Writer's Market for years, just like any other self-respecting writer. Now I'm going to be IN it! Who would have thought that could ever happen? Not me. Only God. . .
posted at 7:04 AM
Personally, I think we're all obsessive about something. Addiction, whatever your poison, is so easy to fall victim to -- isn't that scary? Americans are the fattest in the world. Well, uh yeah, you try getting Philly Cheesesteak and Frappaccinos in Libya. But onto my addiction: Last night, I was going to treat myself to something sweet at Starbucks, but not too fattening. So I'm in the car, and I pull out my trusty sidekick, "You, Starbucks and Nutrition". It's a little pamphlet I've got with all the fat/calorie information for all things Starbucks. So I start perusing it, and I get this strange look from my husband.
Apparently, it's weird to put this much thought into your Starbucks' order. Who would have guessed? (I decided on a Mocha Frappaccino Light if anyone cares -- my usual order is a con pana -- espresso over ice with whip). My trusty pamphlet goes into its place of honor among the maps, and all is well. The seas have calmed.
The reason I'm thinking about this is that I just got through writing an obsessive-compulsive character: Poppy, in "Calm, Cool & Adjusted", which comes out in October. And I realized when writing her, we're all that way about something -- and maybe I have a little too much freak to ever feel confident again. Granted, it would be nice to be obsessive about cleaning, order efficient function, but no, I got espresso, Mr. Darcy and pedicures. Poppy got health. What about you? Do you have an obsession that is legal by all Christian rules?http://www.kristinbillerbeck.com/
posted at 12:04 AM
Monday, July 24, 2006
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Maybe it's the old West flavor or the towering Tetons or the tall buttes surrounding the town, but Jackson Hole, Wyoming feels like my second home.
Of course, it could also be because I set my New Heights Series in this quaint mountain village. Even though this is only my second visit, I've spent months in this place (okay, it was only in my imagination, but still.) When we stopped here on our trip out west, we decided to spend a few days just soaking in the wonderful small town flavor.
I visited the terrific people at the Crisis Pregnancy Center (which Saving Grace centers around), introduced myself to the owner of Cottage Christian Bookstore and visited several places mentioned in my books.
We enjoyed the rodeo, whitewater rafting, and creek stomping, and my family loved the place as much as I do. Sometimes you just connect with a place, know what I mean?
posted at 8:57 AM
PS I thought you'd enjoy this photo of our accomodations at Yellowstone National Park, affectionately (if not accurately) called "The Cabin". No air. No heat. Needed both.
posted at 3:30 AM
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I’ve been very fortunate up to now to come up with titles for my books, either by myself or with the help of hubby and friends. But I have to say I’m stumped on my next book and I need help!!
The book in a nutshell goes something like this:
Jani needs forgiveness. Char needs to forgive. And the fact that they wish they could trade places with each other? Well, let’s just say it ain’t just the syrup that gets sticky when these sisters reunite on the family maple syrup farm.
IF WestBow uses your title suggestion, I will feature a character with your name in a cameo appearance in my book. :-) Please answer on this blog or send your ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put "TITLE" in the subject line. Then be sure to check back here in August to see if we've landed a winning title!
posted at 9:52 AM
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Diann and I have the best husbands. Take a peek at this picture. Leave the men alone for a day and see what happens! We all went to the Cleveland Women of Faith conference last weekend. Di and I were signing our books. Our guys were left on their own, which is usually no problem. They go sightseeing and generally keep out of trouble.
When the conference was over on Saturday evening, we took the shuttle back to the hotel. We didn't see the men in the lobby at first. They were standing by the window watching for us. They both turned and we saw these T-shirts with our pictures plastered on the fronts. Then they turned around and showed us the back pictures of our book covers! They came toward us and held out a Starbuck's iced americano and a bag of Godiva truffles!
They wore those T-shirts proudly all evening, in spite of the stares and the chuckles from people who saw them. No, they're not for sale, ladies. When you find a keeper like that, you hang on until your fingers drop off! At least Dave is wearing a picture of me that doesn't show my thighs. Thank goodness for small favors. LOL
posted at 9:27 AM
Monday, July 17, 2006
TEN THINGS I'VE LEARNED ON OUR WESTWARD TREK
(3115 miles and counting . . .)
10. You actually can
groom your nails with a Swiss Army Knife.
9. You don't need reservations at the Grand Canyon if you have a persuasive husband.
8. I have no desire to eat bison.
7. Sandals with heels are inappropriate at the Grand Canyon.
6. Chocolates melt in the car. :-(
5. I have no desire to eat rattle snake.
4. Females require 5 times as many bathroom breaks as males. (I don't know why I never realized this before.)
3. Whoever invented the auto DVD player deserves to be filthy rich.
2. It is
possible to memorize the words to an entire movie.
1. When chocolates melt in the car, smart husbands replace them.ONE THING I HAVEN'T LEARNED ON OUR WESTWARD TREK:
1. How to send an email from my wireless laptop.
posted at 3:15 AM
Friday, July 14, 2006
I'm back from Denver, and may I just say that my Donald J Pliner's were worth every cent. I walked so much I lost four pounds, and not even a BLISTER!!! In new shoes! Not to mention, they are just fabulous. I once heard that when Oprah wears great shoes, she wants the cameraman to do a close-up that day so that everyone can see them. Girl, I'm feeling ya!
Okay, besides that...hmmm. I loved Denver, except they have more homeless than San Francisco! I asked the guy in the car, why so many homeless? They give them free medical care, apparently. I'll refrain from my "trickle-down economic" thoughts. You might think me more calloused than feet in bad shoes! But these guys are young. They need to work -- I mean twenties and virile and practice it with me now, "Would you like fries with that?"
I love to be with writers. Writers are weirdos. All of us. We are the types who get lost in our own minds and come out once in a while -- like a bear in hibernation. Even those of us who are more extrovert, still get lost in our own special worlds. Normally, we call this mental illness, at a writers' conference, we call it a profession! On a sad note, I'm back in the country and having withdrawls from walking in the rain to get Starbucks. This weekend, I'll take my kids to the Bay Area because city life is not like a band-aid for me, you just can't rip it off and not feel the pain. I need to remove myself slowly...gingerly...slowly working my way to average espresso and scenic views.
posted at 1:20 AM
Thursday, July 13, 2006
The girls were back together again this past weekend!! We didn’t get to spend near the time we wanted to together, but at least we were able to grab a coffee and share a laugh here and there.
While reflecting over the past weekend, talking with friends, meeting some of my cyber friends for the first time face-to-face, I couldn’t help but think how blessed I am to have my writer friends. Writing can be a lonely business, but fortunately, I’ve never had to deal with that—thanks to the Internet and my ACFW buds who stand ready to help.
Thanks to all you encouragers who offer chocolate on my insecure days (by the way, I’m kind of having one now, just so you know). Thanks for making comments on my crazy blogs (please do so now or I’m going to feel pretty stupid). Thanks for reading my books about middle-aged women (you have, haven’t you?) when you haven’t even sprouted your first gray hair. (The least you could do is work up a good frown line.)
I know this isn’t National Friendship Day, but well, I’m having a sappy moment, okay? Just want you to know--I’m thankful for each one of you!
posted at 3:38 AM
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Editors are the unsung heroes and heroines of the publishing world. The picture is me in the middle with Erin Healy on the left and Ami McConnell on the right. This is the team that produces the Colleen Coble romantic mystery books. It's not just me--anything you like about my books I owe to them. My books would not be the same without them.
I'm at my favorite part of the writing process--revisions. I just got my "Erin Letter" and my "Ami Letter" will be along shortly. While some might get a sinking feeling when they see that attachment arrive in the email box, my heart leaps for joy. Okay, some people say I need medication, but I'm not the only one who feels this way. I stand in pretty good company. Stephen King in On Writing
says editing is his favorite part of the process (and he too likes it all too).
I don't know why people are surprised at how enjoyable the revision process is--everything is more fun with someone to share it. When my editors actually enter into the story and interract with it, fun things happen. What's the thrill of going on a roller coaster by yourself? Or with eating DeBrand truffles alone? It's the same with with writing. Sharing the journey is way more fun than staying cooped up in the story by myself. That's why hearing from readers is so wonderful too--it's another way of sharing our lives. And it's validation that just maybe all those months of working on a project weren't wasted.
So if you hear a shriek of joy at the end of the week, you'll know my "Ami Letter" has arrived. Please don't send me Prozac. I want to stay in my own little bubble of joy. You might try taking it yourself and joining me in my delusion.
posted at 7:02 AM
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I’ve been told every family should do it at least once, and since our boys are of an age to remember it, we’re headed out West. We’ve allocated three weeks to see the sights. It seemed like a wonderful idea at its conception.
What I didn’t take into account is the workload of such an expedition. Because now that I’ve been planning for weeks--visiting numerous websites, making calls, reading books, mapping routes, washing clothes, packing everything but my wilting plants--I realize that I need a vacation. A vacation from vacation preparation.
I figure I’ve spent more than three weeks planning for our three week vacation. Hmmm, something’s wrong with this picture. Not to mention the writing schedule I’ve had to keep to allow for three weeks away right before my deadline.
And in the secret recesses of my mind, I’m wondering how three weeks in the car with three boys is going to play out. I’m afraid after our 50th Are-we-there-yet, our 20th He’s-touching-me, and our 17th I’ve-gotta-go-to the-bathroom (that would be me), I might just snap.
All I can say is, they better have Starbucks out there to keep me caffeinated. And a little chocolate wouldn’t hurt either.
posted at 3:29 AM
Friday, July 07, 2006
Crazy is as crazy does!
Have you noticed there's a name for everything, when really crazy just encompasses it all. In this era of a lack of responsibility, there's really something to blame for everything. The private accused of rape and murder in Iraq is said to have "anti-social disorder". Now, I'm not going to convict the man outside of court, but if he did those things, I don't care what he's got!
Ken Lay died today. This is a man who was convicted of the largest fraud scandal in our country's history -- yet to the end, he played the Christian card as though he'd done nothing wrong, and didn't understand it. Here's what he said after his conviction:But despite what happened today, I am still a very blessed man. I have on my left this beautiful lady that's my wife. I have a very warm and loving Christian family that supports me and a lot of friends including some out in there audience - right now.
And most of all we believe that God in fact is in control and indeed, he does work all things for good for those who love the Lord. And we love our Lord and ultimately all of these things will work for good. . . [Transcribed from CNN video]
He died before he was sentenced. I don't know whether he was a Christian or not, only God knows that, but I do know that he was responsible for thousands losing their jobs and their retirement, and that he personally told people to invest their 401ks in the company -- the same week it shut down. I don't think anyone was going to cling to their Bibles because Ken Lay invoked the Name of Jesus. Ken Lay's witness sucked, because he took NO responsibility for his actions.
There's a disease for everything now. In grade school, I was always in trouble for talking. My teachers said they saw the back of my head more than my face. To think, I could have claimed ADD all that time and had an excuse for my lack of self control. Some lessons you just learn too late. : ) The world has become one big Lifetime movie -- everyone's a victim.
P.S. The GirlsWriteOut crew is off to Denver, we'll all be together today. WOOOHOOO!
posted at 1:32 AM
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
We’re vacationing in the Rockies this week. We’ve attended a concert beneath twinkling stars and majestic mountains. We’ve watched elk stop traffic as they meandered to a patch of grass in front of a gas station to nibble a while. Last night we looked on as fireworks exploded above grandiose mountains that poked through the night sky. It’s been great.
Vacationing is wonderful. You get to meet new people, and dress in ways you never would back home. I mean, hey, these people will never see you again, right?
Case in point. We went hiking yesterday. Now, my man is big on following the guidelines (I know, kind of hard to imagine why he married me, huh?). Okay, he knows we’re going to be in the Rockies so he reads up on what’s needed to hike trails then he makes his little trip to the store. He comes home with hiking shoes—SERIOUS hiking shoes, as in they take up half my suitcase—water bottles and walking canes. Okay, the fact is I need someone like him. I’d probably try to hike in sandals.
But can I just say my outfits weren’t meant to be worn with hiking boots the size of California redwoods (same color, too). Still, when he looked at me with eager eyes, walking canes in hand, I knew I had to yield.
So despite the fact I have on cute little khaki capris and a dainty top, I shrug on white socks (I didn’t pull them up to knee high, okay?), and hiking boots. I can’t begin to express the power I felt once I stood in those puppies. Godzilla comes to mind.
But they worked. Our hike was a huge success (course, I stamped out tiny rodents along the path, but don’t tell the park rangers, okay?)
All that to say, vacation is for having fun. I’ve chosen to ignore what other people might think of me and just plain enjoy myself.
We passed a store yesterday with Indiana Jones type hats. He wants to go back. I’m not quite there yet. But maybe if I can find a red one . . . .
posted at 10:17 AM
Monday, July 03, 2006
FOURTH OF JULY FOLLY
What is it with men and fireworks? I mean, I appreciate the city display of colorful, blooming sparks in the night sky and yes, the loud bass booms that thump my ribcage. What I’m talking about is the hazardous Fourth of July combination of man, lighter, and a case of store-bought fireworks.
It begins young, as I’m beginning to see with my own boys, and is apparently gender related. “Can we get fireworks today?” my boys ask for the tenth time in the past week. They know their dad will stop eventually, unable to resist the temptation of anything that combines fire and explosion.
Not any old explosion for my husband, though. No, if a few firecrackers are exciting, what will three hundred will be like? And bottle rockets? Why light just one? Let’s line them up from here to Illinois and see what happens.
When he was a kid, Kevin lit firecrackers in a bush and caught the neighbor’s house on fire. When he got bored with firecrackers he and a friend had Roman candle fights wherein they aimed them at each other. I asked my husband what every woman reading this wants to know: Why?
“It was exciting to see a fireball coming at you.”
One husband, three boys, and I still don’t understand the male species. In fact, the more I learn about the male mind, the more I wonder how they ever make it to adulthood.
This Fourth of July, I supposed I’ll do what I always do. Stand a safe twenty yards away yelling futile things like “Be careful”, “Stay back”, and “Are you sure you’re supposed to do that?”
posted at 3:40 AM