Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thoughtful About . . . I Am


I am a mom--an imperfect one, but one who tries to show her kids what she can...and who is constantly amazed by these two precious little people who latch onto my waist and declare, "Mine! You'll always be my mama!"

He is my Father--a perfect one, who shows me in so many ways what I can do through Him. Who constantly amazes me with the gifts, small and large, that He has given us. Who patiently whispers, "Mine. You'll always be my daughter."

I am a wife--one who messes up now and then, who says the wrong thing and forgets to make dinner. But one who still gets that little pitter-patter inside at the thought of seeing her husband after a short absence. Who dares to dream along with him of somedays and maybes.

He is the Bridegroom--the one who is always waiting for his Bride to remember her vows, to remain faithful, to reach for perfection. The one with arms outstretched in love for His church, for the world.

I am a bit of recluse--the kind who likes company, sure, but who gets lost in a crowd. Who sits at a party feeling awkward, even when it's all family. Who can give a sermon or a speech no problem, but who often stumbles through the unscripted...until she has a keyboard under her fingers or a pen in her hand.

He is everywhere. Always. And yet He doesn't force His way in. He stands outside the doors of our hearts and awaits our invitation. To come in. To sit with us. To give us the words we can't find and the sense of belonging that sometimes evades us.

I am a homemaker--but not the kind who makes a beautiful, showcase home. I appreciate those, but they're not for me. I would rather spend my spare dollars on dreams and goals and helping those who have less than on curtains or decorations. All I need, I have discovered, is enough--when I find myself with more, it's meant to be used for a greater purpose than my own comfort.

He is the Creator--the one who made the world and all that's in it. Who clothed the lilies of the field. Who made a home for every creature. The one who bids me, "Don't worry about tomorrow. Just follow Me today."

Sometimes, when I'm tired or down or just overwhelmed, it's easy to focus on all I'm not. But I'm not not. I am. I am all He made me, and all He made me to be that I haven't yet realized. I'm flaws and strengths, weaknesses and determination.

I'm a shadow of Him--a mirror, I pray, of His light. I am His. And He is I AM.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Word of the Week - Apple


Yesterday my hubby called our daughter "The apple of my eye," and she looked at us like we were off our rocker. "The apple? How does an eye have an apple?"

Good question, my girl. Good question. =)

The word apple has been in English as long as there was English to be in...but in a much broader sense than you might think. It applied to all fruit, even including nuts and berries. This was true as late as the 1600s. (So translating Genesis with the forbidden fruit being an apple was being rather vague, really...)

As for "apple of the eye"--it was literally the pupil, which people thought was a solid thing; but by calling it the apple, they were saying it represented that which was most treasured or cherished. It's a phrase that comes from Old English too, in which case, it shouldn't be too surprising, since all fruit in an area belonged to the lord in the days of serfdom, and commoners seldom tasted it.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thoughtful About . . . A Way to Help!

The potato harvest in Bulgaria ~ Food that can change lives!


It's been a familiar refrain for me lately--that I don't want to be all talk, I want to do something to share my faith, take a stand, make a difference. And I know I'm not alone in this. But all too often, we ask...but what?

I have a what. And I'm excited about it. =)

I've talked a bit before about friends of the family who have been traveling as missionaries to Bulgaria for the last 20 years. Right now they're in the planning stages for a permanent move to Bulgaria, so they can serve the community of Romas (the gypsy people) they love like their own. Well, last week they got some news with the potential to devastate this community--their crop of potatoes had been harvested, but the market had bottomed out. They had no buyers. What were they going to do?

Our friend, Mike, had been praying about the situation, and talking with friends in the field. Friends ministering to another group in that region in desperate straits--the refugees fleeing ISIS. Tens of thousands have come into this region in the last year, running for their lives. Many are Christians. Some are "not Muslim enough" (read: extremist). All are in a dire situation, living in camps and not sure where their next meal will come from.

The refugees need food for the families.

The Romas need to sell their crop to support their families.

The solution is pretty clear--the Romas can send their potatoes to the refugee camps, solving both problems. But that requires us.
http://www.gofund.me/zyrq3s

I'm so incredibly thrilled to have a tangible way to help! This is something I can relate to: potatoes. They cost $300 a ton, including transportation to the refugee camps. $300 to feed hundreds of people.

I spend that on my family's groceries in a couple weeks. Kinda puts it in perspective.

But our donations can make a very real, very direct difference in all these lives. And it's not a donation to some huge organization, where I have no clue if my money is actually helping or just paying for mailings that get tossed. Absolutely 100% of funds raised (after the fees of the site hosting our fundraiser) will go toward this mission.

It's officially being hosted by the non-profit my husband started recently, ARM (Appalachian Relief Mission ~ an ARM outstretched) in conjunction with our friends' organization, Roma Missions International. Both have new websites with not a lot on them yet, but you're welcome to check them out. www.AnArmOutstretched.com | www.RomaMissions.org

I can't imagine being forced from my home to keep my family from being slaughtered by extremists--but that's the plight of these refugees.

I can't imagine growing up in a country where talking of faith, of God, was illegal--but that's what these Roma farmers faced until the fall of communism at the end of the 20th century.

Let's make a difference. Let's feed some people. You can find the GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/zyrq3s

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Remember When . . . Georgia Was Chartered?

It's my day on Colonial Quills, and today I'm talking about the founding of the Georgia colony. Did you know it was meant to be a charity colony? Hop on over to read about it!

Colonial Quills : Georgy - A Charity Case


I learned a lot this year, teaching my kids early American history--and one of the things I'd never known before was about how the colony of Georgia came to be.
James Oglethorpe

It began in the mind of General James Oglethorpe, who was greatly disturbed by all the poor he saw in London--and the drunkeness. He as his friends had been discussing the woeful situation for quite a while, with no ready solution coming to mind. Then one day they saw a map of North America, and they noticed a large swath of land still unclaimed on the Eastern seaboard, between English South Carolina and Spanish Florida. Read the Full Article

Monday, July 20, 2015

Word of the Week - Skeleton


Not to be gruesome or anything. ;-) I was looking this one up to see when the phrase "skeleton in the closet" came about.

Skeleton itself first arrived in English in about 1570, meaning a mummy, dried-up body, or bone remains. The word came from Latin, but the Latin word had come in turn from Greek, so it's an ooooollllddddd concept, closely tied to the verb form that meant "to dry up, parch, wither."

The meaning of "bare outline" followed in about 1600, from which we get "skeleton crew" or "skeleton key." The phrase that sent me in search of it to begin with was coined right around 1812.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Launch Team


I will be back to regular blogging next week--I promise. ;-) Today I'm still trying to wrap up all the craziness of building my launch team for The Lost Heiress. =)

My slots for free books were quickly filled (and over-filled), and it was even brought to my attention that by the time the emailed version of my blog went out to subscribers, the form had been turned off. (I turned off the form but didn't realize subscribers got the notification so late! Sorry!)

I can't put any more people on my freebie list, BUT if any of you plan on buying or have requested it on Netgalley and want to join my launch team to join that community and the fun involved (special giveaways for those helping me promote, lots of behind-the-scenes that the general public won't get, and the fun of fellowship with other readers who love the same sorts of books you do), just send me a quick note asking to be added to the Facebook group.

Thanks so much for the support and enthusiasm! It's so much fun to see all the new-to-me names and faces of people eager to read Brook's story. =)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Writing Retreats and Cool News!

Monday afternoon, I returned from a rather amazing 4 days of retreat. Given the questions I was getting on Facebook about how I pulled off the word counts I did, I thought I'd take today to chat a bit about this writing retreat. =)

Over the course of three full days and a couple stray hours on Thursday night, I wrote 49,000 words. That's nearly half of my book. I was at 66K when the weekend started, and I finished it up at 115K. I have never before written so much in so short a time. I have certainly never before written over 18,000 words in one day, like I did on Sunday--hurtling toward The End. But there were a few key ingredients to make it possible.

1.) Quiet and No Distractions
This is about all that's within view of us at the cabin. Not much. All quiet. Ahhhhhh.

This is our whole purpose for having a writing retreat every year. Stephanie and I both have small children, which means interruptions aplenty. Interruptions we would never want to go without--our kids certainly come first--but which can get frustrating when we don't get solid work time for months on end. Especially when under deadline--ahem. Having a few days when no one is at our elbow asking for our attention is a rare treat.

2.) Focused Mindset
Stephanie. Very focused. Very, very focused...

Tying in with that, knowing we're going to have solid time with no distractions means we can be in the right frame of mind. We know this time is coming. We plan for it for months. We go in determined and focused, and unlike those days when I think, "Oh, look, an hour of quiet--I must focus! [Oh look, an email!]" This is time we pay for. We invest in. No way am I going to squander that! (Which should really be a lesson to me as to how I approach those stray hours too...)

3.) Preparation for the Physical
We didn't think to take pictures of the crammed inches of counter space teeming with
fruit, pretzels, and CHOCOLATE...

On the average day, I stress about dinner. And have to stop to get three different lunches. And breakfasts. And must approve snacks. During this weekend, a quick trip to the market give us a few solid choices for quick meals. The only thing we have to think about it, "Soup or salad?" A two minute conversation, and Stephanie and I can decide if we want to take a break and walk over to the little restaurant for a sandwich or have a working dinner. There's very little thought involved at the time--it's all been done ahead. With all our needs already planned for and met (including several bags of chocolate...), a major daily distraction is eliminated.

4.) Instant Brainstorming
A beautiful foggy morning in the mountains is so inspiring!

I like to think that I could be so productive if by myself too, but honestly, I have no idea. At the moment, the 3 retreats I've been on have all been with Stephanie. And that's worked out amazingly. Stephanie and I write at approximately the same pace, and we know each other very well. That means we can push each other onward ("I just hit 4,000 words! Where are you?") without making the other feel like a slacker. And it means that we know we can interrupt the other for very quick brainstorming, like, "So how would you react if you learned your boyfriend had spread this lie about you?" (My answer to which, by the way, was "NO! CHASE CANNOT DO THAT TO ELLIE!" She didn't listen. *Sigh* LOL.) This super-fast help steering over bumps is fun, refreshing, and oh so helpful.

5.) Plotting Ahead of Time
Me with my notes beside me and all crucials--like water and M&Ms--on the table at my side

I'm not an outliner, not fully. The first half of a book is complete discovery for me. I write, I see where the story takes me, what characters emerge as prominent. But by the mid-point of a book, I know where I'm going and where I'll end up, and I have a good idea of the path I should take to get there. My previous two retreats, I was in the beginnings of my novels. I went into the weekend with a few ideas for particular scenes but mostly with some general, sweeping ideas. This time, being at the end of the book, I was a lot more particular. I wrote down every scene I needed between where I was and the end, sorted by POV. I printed it out, color coded it, and felt pretty happy with it. I had 29 scenes to write, and I hoped it would land me in my target word count.

I found this method to be extremely productive for this weekend, this portion of my book. I never really had to stop and wonder where to go next--though of course, one little tweak I made ended up with reordering, deleting, and merging of scenes, and adding 2 I didn't expect. But those were easy changes to make. And for the first time, I finished my manuscript on retreat. On the same day that Stephanie did. Which was really awesome, and made an ice cream break thoroughly deserved. =)

~*~


When I got home, it was to the realization that The Lost Heiress was in the hands of the marketing and promo teams at Bethany House, and the cool emails started pouring in! I've begun my launch prep, including putting together a team of influencers to help me spread the word, putting up a page with extras on my website--and I also got the news that it will be made into an audio book! This is my first audio book, so that's pretty darn exciting. =) I can't wait to hear how it turns out!

I've filled my slots for those who get a complimentary book (over-filled it, actually), so I can't promise any more of those, but if you plan on purchasing one (or read it through NetGalley, where it just arrived) and would like to be on the team and help spread the word about The Lost Heiress, I'm happy to add you to my private Facebook group for influencers! There will be a special prize or two open just to my team during the month of September, and we'll be sharing ideas on where to post reviews, creative ways to spread the word, etc. Just leave a comment below with contact info, send me an email at roseanna at roseannawhite dot com, or message me on Facebook. We need to be friends there in order for me to add you to the group.