Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Monday, June 28, 2010

New week - New Adventures!

I’m currently on chapter five of my book and am super proud of this!! My schedule hasn’t been that easy to manage lately, so the fact I’m prioritizing my writing, makes me really happy. I now have the science down behind cleaning toilets in two minutes or less. Dinners and lunches for the whole week need to be planned on Sundays (I’m too healthy to eat takeout or hot dogs and mac and cheese). My husband now handles dirty-dish duty if I’m cooking. And I found a way to stay focused at work. Work is for work and writing is for home. I can’t mix the two together - way too hard. I don’t work out as much as I would like, but I can start up again full force in November. My health magazines say even 30 minutes three times a week is enough. I am exercising my mind though! There is a lot of give and take right now, and compromise. My husband is a gem. Not once has he doubted my decision to do this. He’s my biggest cheerleader. I love him for this.

I know some family/friends think I’m crazy. I just smile at them when I can hear the thoughts and conclusions forming in their heads. My silent answer: Yes, I do believe I am going to complete this book and, yes, it’s going to become something! This answer is what keeps me going. Most friends and family are extremely supportive and excited for me. This, I am forever grateful for.

I have been reading a lot of authors’ blogs and article links via Twitter - all which say first time writers MUST write. My secret to pressing on: I cannot analyze the total distance to Chapter 33. Truth of the fact is, Chapter 33 is pretty far off, but not so in the book world. I am making progress - and I must continue to focus on the small feats.

1. I have already completed five chapters in a month’s time. Yeah!

2. I still manage to keep up with all that’s asked of me - I still play on a volleyball league, work full time, handle bills, do freelance on the side, write for the paper and KSTP AND go away almost every weekend...

If I continue at the rate I’m going, I’ll have 30 chapters done by November. That is my goal. Karl and I are supposed to take a family trip to Mexico in January. I want that trip to be my personal celebration trip. I want manuscripts, outlines, query letters, etc. out to agents, so I can fully relax and resonate in my life’s biggest dream possibly becoming a reality. How cool to lay in the sun, with a Corona in hand, with my adorable husband lying next to me knowing I DID THIS. I wrote 33 chapters - completed a book I am excited about and proud of. I took something I thought would be incredibly hard and time consuming and ran with it!! This, my friends, is how people grow!

My motto right now: Don’t make someone a priority in your life when you’re only an option in theirs. This helps me find the time for writing. Perhaps, I make myself too available sometimes and can easily be taken advantage of. So I like this saying a lot. It’s a quote I found on a friend’s Facebook page. It’s a way for me to stay focused, positive and determined. You will always encounter someone who wants more of you. Remember - “a relationship should complement, not complicate!”

Keep pressing on!

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chapter Two Complete!

Morning world! It's totally amazing what a week of rest will do to my body. I don't know if it's fair to say I rested, but I feel like a million bucks today. Flu must be out of my system! Christie's back!

Yesterday Karl and I celebrated our ten month wedding anniversary. When we clicked our glasses full of sweet tea over a healthy dinner (cooked by me), we both had a premonition - we felt like we should be celebrating ten years! That was kind of fun to giggle about. Then we started talking about gray hairs (some have been spotted already) and what our life will be like ten years from now. I honestly can say I count my blessings everyday for Karl. What a special gift to wake up to every morning! I'm excited for the next ten years!!!

I made a special trip to Mall of America (MOA) yesterday. Karl thinks I have a Bath and Body Works lotion obsession. Maybe I do, considering almost an entire shelf of our bathroom closest is full of half-used bottles. On the other hand, Karl has a lot of vitamins, strange prescriptions and medicines covering his shelf (and I mean...a LOT). We really do have a pharmacy in our bathroom. He made me promise that if I buy a lotion, I have to throw two out. I did that this morning! Bath and Body Works has the BEST sales at the end of June, especially at the MOA. I only purchased like ten bottles of hand soap, some lip stuff and ONE bottle of lotion. Their lip stuff that's usually an insanely expensive $7.50 was $1.75!!! I LOVE C.O. Bigelow lip gloss!

The best part of my trip to the MOA was seeing the rotunda set up for a book signing (Alyson Noel - A NY Times Best Author). I even took a photo of the set up and emailed it to my mom and my friend Jaymie. My mom even wrote back she already has her outfit picked out. LOL! She's really the greatest!

I was inspired after my dinner with Karl and wrote for two hours. I pumped out Chapter Two and felt really giddy after I hit save. I am LOVING this book so much. It's so much fun. They synopsis was the challenge for me, but writing the book is taking what I already pieced together in the nine page synopsis and breathing life into it! I'm hoping I get to Chapter Three tonight! I did skip my workout, but that's okay - it's all about a little give and take.

"A friend understands what you are trying to say...even when your thoughts aren't fitting into words." - Ann D. Parrish

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Sometimes our bodies know best

Some weird things have been going on with my health lately. I can't quite tell if it's stress, exhaustion or some sort of odd bug? The facts: I have been getting less sleep, running around a lot more, freaking out 24/7 that I should be writing instead of doing everything else. I think all that worry got the best of me. I mean...on Monday I crawled in the back seat of my car to catch a 10 minute catnap between work and volleyball. Food didn't even sound good. Me passing up food for sleep, something is definitely up. Then last night I arrived home from work and felt flu-like. What is up?? I'm usually so healthy. Then the chills started. Karl - with his obsession with thermometers - took my temperature. The fever began! [Sidenote: I really do have the most incredible husband, even if he's wearing his "game over" t-shirt today with a bride and groom printed on the front.] When I woke up, I felt incredibly weak with my head on fire. Temperature read 101. Yeah - no work! I can finally write! Not so.

When the body is sick, it's sick. There's no focus, energy or creative juices flowing - it's nearly impossible. Instead I slept. A lot. I think getting sick is a reminder that we can't do everything. It's OK to say no once in awhile and it's time to SLOW DOWN a little. Around 9 p.m. tonight, I started feeling more like myself (hence this blog entry). Plus, I'm now at my wedding weight...time to bust out the skinny jeans!! I feel terrible since my friend Kimbra is getting married tomorrow and I was supposed to go to their rehearsal and groom's dinner tonight. I didn't want to infect anyone, plus I'll be ready for the wedding tomorrow! Everyone knows I like me some weddings!!!

As for my book, I chatted with my friend who continues to graciously take time to review anything I send his way. He was finally able to devote time and read my nine page synopsis and actually LIKED (maybe even LOVED) all the revisions and provided plenty of encouragement - enough to totally motivate me. I feel like I'm now on the right track and all I have to do is write. YEAH me!!! I really like where my book is going!

Dreams really are strange. Where do they come from? Why do some go by the wayside and some really become a reality? I truly believe all dreams can become a reality.

Like Walt Disney says, "If you can dream it, you can do it!"

I'm going to start setting some goals for myself and I'll post those next. Goals help keep me on track! No more getting sick!!

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Monday, June 14, 2010

I got up at 4 a.m. to write!!!

I just wanted to share my excitement with the world! I woke up at 4 a.m and wrote chapter one of my book! I know. I know. Big deal, right? For me this is the REAL first step of turning my dream into a reality. So it is a big deal. This means I'm really doing this. I mean - who gets up at 4 a.m. for kicks and giggles??

I will admit I'm struggling at work right now and choking back coffee. The coffee I grabbed from home tasted like swimming pool. Yuck. I will have to discuss this with my husband later. He's the coffee maker in the house. He wasn't so quick to text me back this morning. I had to dump it out the minute I walked into work. During this time, I also poured cream into my water bottle because I'm a walking zombie. And the person who used the coffee last, didn't make a new batch so I had to stand and stare into space for a good 15 minutes until the coffee finished brewing. I wonder if it's the same person who refuses to replenish the toilet paper in the women's bathroom or even the paper towels? It's really not that hard! Same with dishes. Why wouldn't you just do your own dishes instead of letting someone else do them for you? I bet that person doesn't get up at 4 a.m.

Oh yes, there could be some issues with focus today - the eyelids are heavy. Plus, it's raining. Rainy days always make me tired. And I have to play volleyball later in this mess! I'll pray for storms.

Totally thinking about taking a nap over lunch, but I also grabbed my laptop quick as I was leaving. It's cloudy today and that means I'll actually be able to see my computer screen at the park over my lunch hour.

Like they say at Caribou: Life is short. Stay awake for it!

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

A week of waking up at 4 a.m.

My challenge for the week: wake up at 4 a.m. three times to write. I usually get up around 6 a.m. for work, and have realized that the only way I'm going to find time to write (this month at least) is by waking up early or going to bed late. June is our wedding month this year with August, September and October coming in a close second, third and fourth place. We only have five or six weddings, so I'm not going to complain. The summer of 12 was a bit extreme.

One of my favorite parts in my day is crawling into bed with Karl and having library hour. We both pick up a book, snuggle close and read...or I Tweet and Facebook. So I decided this means I'll be getting up early rather than going to bed late. Waking Karl up in the mornings is a veerrrry long process, so I know I won't be missed much if I sneak downstairs and write. I used to be a great morning person. I used to exercise in the mornings before work. I used to show up at work before anyone else. But, I was also 30 pounds heavier too (weird since I was working out, but not so since I was eating 3500 calories a day). They say sleep is a great weight loss tool, and I'm worried I'll pack on the weight. Lack of sleep always makes me hungry. I'm going to see how this week goes and refuse to have any food in sight until after 6 a.m.

I also have a lot on my mind.
1. We had a wedding this past weekend in Two Harbors, Minnesota! Beautiful country, but also very cold and foggy. Saturday, the day of the wedding, I woke up sick. Was it the three drinks the night before or did I catch a bug? All I know is in college I used to drink a lot more than that and could run a half marathon the next day. But I did just turn 31 last week. Could be a sign of what's to come? I was so mad at myself! I love weddings, and there I was sick in bed. Not only did I miss the family pictures, but also the genuine emotions of the day. And I also realized how lucky I am to be healthy - I sure take it for granted!

2. I have a book club tonight. We just got home from this long trip, and we have to get in the car again for a book club. I love the people. I liked the book. But I'm frustrated because again I have no time to write. By the time we get home, it'll be time to sleep!

3. I am totally missing The Bachelorette! I play volleyball on Monday nights right after work. We DVR The Bachelorette (and I say WE because Karl does watch with me). We've been so busy that I haven't even watched the first episode. I'm kind of okay with it because I didn't like Ali very much when she was on The Bachelor. Part of me thought she got exactly what she wanted. She had to cause drama to get noticed (i.e. she was way too mean to Vienna). Then she realized that Jake was a bit too geeky, emotional and feminine for her and faked her work excuse. This caused some of the viewers to feel sorry for her. Now she has her own little show. Maybe I'm wrong about her? Maybe she is wonderful. I've never met her, but sometimes I get vibes about people and I have one about her. This thinking also totally goes against the book I read for my book club - They Anatomy of Peace. I'm viewing her as an object and not as a person. Damn. I am a hypocrite.

4. Work is crazy. I was hired on as a Graphic Designer, but now am the graphic designer, web designer, marketing manager and search engine optimization project manager. Anyone who knows me understands my need to be busy, but this is a little over the top...enough to make me write about it.

5. I wish I could travel. Don't we all? My dream is to write a best seller, make enough money to write books for the rest of my life, travel and be a stay at home mom. Is that too much to ask for? Oprah and Jillian Michaels both say you can have whatever you dream. I'm going to try that.

6. We have another wedding next weekend. At least I know I won't be drinking! No more of that. Remind me I said that, okay? Remembering we have back-to-back weddings is when I decided I have to get up early to write because there is very little time on the weekends. Fingers crossed that I have Sunday to do some writing, but Karl reminded me it's Father's Day...

This leads me to the question why can't life and our dreams be easy? I guess then they wouldn't be dreams, right? And life would be somewhat boring if we always got what we wished for... I suppose I could make myself feel better by saying I'm doing "research" for my book by attending all these weddings!

I'll keep you posted how I survive waking at 4 a.m. tomorrow. Plan is: get up early and write. Go to work. Head straight to volleyball. Try to eat somewhere in the hour break I have. Play volleyball again. Read more of Heat Wave and Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies...and do it all over again on Tuesday, minus the volleyball. I might try writing over lunch too...

Cherish your health!

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Writing, rewriting and writing again…

Here I am again…writing, writing, writing. And boy, do I love it! I just wish there was more time in the day! How do writers do it with full-time jobs and kids?

So I took the advice my famous writing-assistant friend gave me, and pretty much chopped up my first synopsis – and to think I was so proud of my first attempt! But my friend’s suggestions made sense to me, plus he’s in the business for that very reason! After revising the synopsis for an entire week and two days, I now LOVE it. I think this storyline will make writing my book a whole lot easier. To me, it seems to flow a lot better and there are lot more characters, dialogue, current events/technology, action, suspense and ROMANCE!!!! I had a five-page synopsis and now I have a nine-page summary! I’m kind of impressed. This is going to help me start my outline and THEN I’ll have to start over at chapter one again! The question: how fast can I write 33 chapters? Will I find time every day to write?

I decided when I was on a walk with my husband, Karl, a couple weeks ago that I’m definitely not a person who does things just to get them done, especially the things that really matter to me. I see people who have the same routine every single day and refuse to change their ways. If only they would take a risk or chance, growth could happen! They don’t even know what they are missing! Instead nothing ever changes. I know I can’t be in that type of environment for long.

Before, my dream was to write a book and get published. Now, it’s to write a REALLY good book that I’m totally excited about and become someone. I know I am already somebody, but I recently read a short story by Mark Twain that made me think twice. I put together a newsletter four times a year for a small engineering company in New Ulm and this was in one of the articles. The story reads:

Mark Twain once described a man who died and met Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. Knowing that Saint Peter was very wise, the man asked a question that he had wondered about throughout his life. He said “Saint Peter, I have been interested in military history for many years. Who was the greatest general of all time?”

Saint Peter quickly responded, “Oh that’s a simple question. It’s that man right over there.”

“You must be mistaken,” the man, now very perplexed. “I knew that man on earth, and was just a common laborer.”

“That’s right my friend,” assured Saint Peter. “He would have been the greatest general of all time, if he had been a general.”

EXACTLY! How will I ever know if I don’t try? I don’t want to look back and wish or regret – I want to be proud because I tried!

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A little writing advice from a friend

I have this friend from high school who I haven't really seen since...uh...high school (thank God for Facebook). I recently posted something on his wall and a couple weeks later he messaged me back. I told him I was writing a book. He told me he lives in Hollywood and is an assistant writer for Michael Dougherty, who wrote X-Men 2 and Superman Returns. Can I compete with that? I mean, this is a guy who runs into Brad Pitt, rubbed shoulders with Drew Barrymore and even got a chuckle out of George Clooney while sporting his favorite plaid pants. But all I could picture was the guy who I sat next to in high school yearbook class! Soon we were emailing back and forth and last night I had the pleasure of talking to him for 50 minutes!

I had emailed him a five page synopsis of my book. I have been feeling overwhelmed. I'm reading so many different opinions from the Internet that I don't even know what direction I'm headed in. I'm even reading that I don't even need to write the book anymore! What? Supposedly now I just need to find an agent. But that's not what I read five articles ago on a different website. I need a biography. I need an outline. I need a query letter. I need a 1-2 page synopsis. I need this and that. What about the book itself??? Hearing this totally fed into my procrastination. Ah ha! I'm almost done, I thought! TOTALLY WRONG!

My friend called me and offered his opinions, especially since he's been dealing with all the pressures himself. I appreciated what he had to say more than I think he'll ever know, and I needed to hear it. My husband, of course, is on my case about this as well. I have to WRITE the book. I have to FINISH the book.

In the words of my friend, finishing the book will be one of the greatest personal feats of my life - and I just need to suck it up, divorce the idea of developing a best seller or contacting agents - I need to WRITE!!!!!! He also suggested some ways to improve my story. Some of his words that will stick with me are remembering to stay true to myself and put my own STAMP and VOICE into this book. This book is for me. Nobody else. But me. And this will show.

The hard part will be making this book a priority. This means saying no to fun nights out, weekends away and doing things for others - all very hard for me to say NO too. The next six months will have to be about me and finishing this book. I have to do it.

So, it's back to chapter one and fixing this up. I know myself. I know I can't just do something mediocre and be proud of it. I need to put my heart and soul into it.

See you on the flip side!

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