A to Z, Take 4

A to Z blog hop at Patterings
Can you see me
happy dancing?

A to Z is back and I'm so happy. This is my favorite blog meme to participate in and host.

What's a meme? A meme is when a group of people get together and post on a similar topic or theme. It's the blogger's version of a progressive dinner...or a potluck dinner. Full of variety and fun.

Here's why the A to Z meme is my favorite...
  • Because A to Z gives me the perfect excuse to just post on any random thing that happens to begin with the letter of the week. 
  • It often opens my eyes to things in my world that begin with that letter and lets me post on things I wouldn't normally post about. 
  • I take a lot of pictures and it's a fun outlet for them.
  • A to Z is a great post jump-starter for me, often giving me just the spark of inspiration and creativity I need.

The A to Z meme will be starting again Wednesday, October 8th. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join us. It's a come as you can thing--no commitment, just jump in and post on the week's letter as you can.

I'll be posting a blog hop linky so each of you can have the linky gadget on your sites. It's more user friendly that way. =) If you'd like all the linky codes (A through Z) so you can schedule ahead, email me (patterly {at}gmail{dot}com) and I'll get it right to you.

Here's the deal for A to Z:

  • Anyone can play. Some of us will be returning A to Z-ers, but any one can join us and we would LOVE to have you along! The more the merrier! Grab a friend and join us!!
  • Anything goes. If you're pressed for time, pressed for brain cells (a common ailment of mine), stumped, whatever... a simple list will work! Or a picture or a verse—anything to get a post up. Seriously. Just make sure it ties in with the week’s letter. It can also be as focused or even a complicated post about a word that starts with that letter. Anything goes, related to the letter.
  • One letter a week. We'll start with A and finish April 1st, unless we take off for the holidays.
  • Wednesday's the day. (This is different from past rounds, so take note!!) Posting day is Wednesday. Or Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. ROFL. If you're like me, you might not remember on Wednesday, so any day works. I don't care, but that brings me to...
  • Let's link together! Part of the fun of a meme is linking together so we can encourage each other on. I'll put a linky up on my site each Wednesday, shortly after midnight so you can link up. Since this is a hop, you'll be able to put the linky code in your post too so the links appear on your site. (So very handy! *grin*)
  • Guilt-free participation!  Time is precious commodity for all of us. If you participate, all I ask is that you take a few moments and visit and comment on TWO other participants' sites. No need to visit everyone, but a couple is very appreciated.

Want to know more about memes and why you'd want to participate? Check out Making the Most of Memes for more information.

Would you feel more comfortable joining us if you had more of an idea of how or what we do? Check out past A to Z posts and feel free to follow some of the links at the bottom of each post.

Grab the button and join in the fun! If you're joining us, we'd love to have you add the button to your sidebar or inside your post, or both.

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Don't forget, A to Z starts back up on Wednesday, October 8th. 
Hope to see you then!

Maranatha Christian Writers Conference

Last week I was able to attend the Maranatha Christian Writers Conference, thanks to a scholarship from Cec Murphey. It. was. WONDERFUL, and everything my awesome agent said it would be. Loaded with information, warm and welcoming, an incredible ratio of faculty/attendees, and packed with opportunities. This conference isn't focused on fiction. In fact, it covered more than I anticipated. All-in-all, it was fantastic.

It took almost 24 hours after the close of the conference for me to assimilate what God had for me--and I'm still in awe of it. Because I'm heading back down the road in just a day or two, I did a video clip of how the conference is changing my direction. I do not want to lose momentum, and more importantly, I sense that immediate obedience is key here--so I'm posting this video clip, despite the fact that the road noise is bad and that I'm driving. *eye roll*

If you had seen me, you would've laughed. I didn't want to stop and write but there was no way I wanted to lose or forget what God was giving me. Desperation is the mother of creativity, or something like that, so I rubber banded my phone to the GPS mount and did video clips. I learned just how hot it gets in the windshield of my car...hot enough to over heat and shut down my phone! But here's what I got just before she overheated...

I'll be building on this and there will be tweaks here at Patterings... Tweaks that God has been leading me to for months now. I'm excited and scared. It's taking me right out of my comfort zone, but that's okay because I'm holding onto God's hand and I'm hoping that YOU will join me!

So tell me, are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Gone Working

This summer has been filled with monkey business.

I've been at fairs more than I've been home. It was a great summer but so very different than normal for me. But hey, why be normal, right? =)

Fonzie is a trooper and a great lil worker. Here he is enjoying a break while on the job...

I'm so very thankful for the work, even if it's been hard being away from home so much. God provides and I've learned more than I anticipated...more than I imagined I could've while holding a monkey's leash. I'll be telling you more about that in the months to come.

Monkey Monday at Patterings

So tell me, what's something special-to-you that your pet does?

ACFW's At-Home Conference

For years I've been part of ACFW and each year I watch the conference come and go. Since joining, most of the conferences have been so close to home that it made not attending that much harder. But the time hasn't been right yet, and I'm good with that.

One thing that's made staying home easier is the At-Home Conference that Karin Beery and Tiffany Colter host online. I've been able to catch a few sessions here and there even when I was super busy, and I've been able to teach, too. It's always such a treat.

Why is the At-Home Conference so cool?

  • It gives those not attending the ACFW Conference and the sessions there a chance to learn. Each year Karin rounds up a great crew of teachers who present lessons on many different aspects of writing.
  • We can fit the At-Home conference into our own schedules, without leaving home or what we're doing. The lessons are sent via email so we can read, study, and apply them even if it's in the middle of the night or the baby's teething. 
  • The At-Home conference offers a chance to connect with other writers--a virtual meeting. This year they're doing a Facebook group so we can chat and interact, asking questions, sharing what we've learned, and encouraging each other. That connecting and networking is often what makes attending a conference extra special, so being able to do some of the same even though we can't go is a great bonus!

When is it?

This year the At-Home Conference will be offering four classes a day Thursday, September 25 through Saturday, September 27.

Some of the classes...

  • Moving to the Next Level: a Judge's POV
  • Writing Great Dialogue
  • When You're Stuck - Fun Ways to Unlock Your Creativity
  • Cooking Up a Novel Without a Recipe
  • Writing Crime Right: Ensuring Accuracy in Your Crime and Suspense Stories
  • Rx for Writeritis: Remedies for Literary Ailments
  • Creating Speaking Topics and Bible Studies From Your Fiction
  • Deep POV
  • Using Social Media for Building Brand Image
  • Your Characters' Personalities and You
  • The Forgotten Art of Line Editing
  • Clearing the Blog Fog  -- I'm teaching this one! ;-)

I have to tell ya, I'm really looking forward to some of those!

Check out who's teaching these classes!

How can you attend the ACFW At-Home Conference?

  • Members of ACFW can sign up here. If you attended last year, it will say you've already registered, but you will need to update your information. Click the 'update' option and proceed with registration.
If you can't attend the ACFW conference in St. Louis, join us for the At-Home Conference. In addition to the great list of classes, there's also more than a dozen donated books and items that will be given away at the end of the event.

For more information, head to the At-Home Conference site.

Learning. It's Worth the Investment

I should’ve done this six months ago—not that I had time, but hey, better late than never.

I planned on setting September or October aside to learn how to use my very annoying computer (six months ago I was moved onto a mac—not my choice—and I’ve been going crazy ever since), and other things because I’m so sick of banging my head on the wall. I figured four weeks invested in learning all I could would eventually be saved in time wasted hunting and pecking and all the accompanying frustration. Since I found the classes I wanted faster than anticipated, AND I had a window of days open unexpectedly (God is so good!!), I started early, never dreaming how fast my frustration would end.

Last week I broke the piggy bank I’ve had in hiding and bought Joseph Michael's video course on learning Scrivener. It was worth it. I am in awe of all this program can do. But the part that currently has my mouth hanging open is the project statistics and settings. It not only keeps track of your word count, but you can set targets, specific DAILY targets, and it will track it for you. It even gives you a bar graph to show where you are in reaching your goal. No more mental math for me! A quick glance will tell me if I’m even close (cuz the bar graph is color coded: red to yellow to green).

No more clip boards and stray pieces of paper for me! I now understand why people rave about this program and say they’ll never go back. I'll tell you more about this tool as I dig into it more and gain more experience on it.

I’m taking other classes and I’m finally learning how to use my Mac, too. No more making applesauce with it! WOOT!

If you’re frustrated by things you don’t know, it’s more than worth taking the time to LEARN them. It’s worth the investment of the time and money. The return on your investment is often surprising. I know mine sure is!

So tell me, what's something that has you frustrated because you don't know how to do it?

What's Your Resource?

The other day, after washing the dishes I was gnashing my teeth over how long it was taking me to rinse the kitchen sink after scrubbing it. I mean, really, how long does it take to wash bubbles off the sides of a sink and down the drain?

Like you, I had a mile-long list of things I needed to do but it was taking f.o.r.e.v.e.r. rinsing that confounded sink. I used the dishcloth to wipe them, I used my hand to splash water on them, but still, the bubbles weren’t much closer to the drain than they had been before. Frustrating with a capital F (for my attitude right then, of course).

That’s when I had to laugh at myself. All that splashing and teeth gnashing for no reason. The sink sprayer was within six inches of my hand but I wasn’t using it. Why?! I hadn’t thought of it. I was so consumed in what I was doing, what I was thinking about, and what I needed to do that I didn’t use the resource that was right in front of me.

It was a DUH! moment.
It was a DUH! moment that God used it to show me I do the same thing in almost every area of my life.

God’s grace in my life is abundant. It overflows. But too often I forget about it. I go on about my day, doing the things I do, frustrated because it’s taking so long or is more difficult than I anticipated or… But the real problem is that I’m not using the resource that’s right in front of me and all around me. God’s strength.
My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
When I try to do things in my own strength I’m guaranteed frustration and possible failure. God never meant for me to do things apart from Him. The things He gave me to do require HIS power, HIS strength, HIS resources. Without those I’m just splashing water around wondering why things aren’t working like they’re supposed to.

Am I the only one who does this? Take a moment and examine what you’ve been doing lately. Are you frustrated at the ineffectiveness of your attempts to do your work? Maybe you’re using the wrong resources.
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