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.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Goals for 2011

I think we get tested in our lives from time to time. I'm not sure by who, though I have an idea, but I personally believe ideas pop in our heads for bigger reasons than we know at the moment. I had a recent discussion with a friend who thinks brain waves are behind these thoughts/ideas that find their way to us. I think he explained they come from cells and neuron combustion or something crazy like that (he lost me).

But I think it's more than that.

Without getting crazy religious, I think God knows who we are and who we can become and created us for a purpose. Maybe it doesn't make complete sense because some humans don't even get the chance to live a full life. However, those who've been given the gift of life are granted free will, meaning we get to make most of our own choices (depending on age and circumstance) and can design our own little journey. And I think that's pretty cool.

I've always wondered why I never wanted to become a firefighter or a pilot or a teacher, etc. Instead, I've always wanted to be a writer. And that feeling hasn't gone away, it gets stronger with every passing year. I mean, at one time I wanted to play volleyball in the Olympics, but I knew I wasn't good enough. There is a difference. Maybe this is how Taylor Swift felt when she persuaded her parents to move to Tennessee or Johnny Cash when he sang a song from the heart and scored a record deal. Something moved these people to keep after their dreams, no matter the amount of rejections.

I want to believe something or someone is pushing me to follow my dream(s). With that said, 2011 is right around the corner and that means resolutions! I feel like I need to get some of my goals written down so I'm held accountable throughout the year and can go back and check them off one by one. Here they are in no particular order.

1. Receive representation for my book
2010 was all about writing my first ever manuscript, all 330 pages of it. This was a huge challenge and journey - but once completed, something inside of me grew. I became hungry for more. A deep passion was birthed. If I lived in a perfect world, I'd set up shop in our house and write all day (that's how fun writing my manuscript was), but to pay the bills I need to hold my job and balance the dreaming. In 2011, I plan to query my manuscript off to agencies and intend to touch my book and smell the pages. I want to have book signings and walk into Barnes and Noble and see my book on the shelves. One step at a time.

2. Travel somewhere new
I love seeing all parts of the world, especially with my husband. I enjoy exploring with him and building memories. In 2010 we concluded our amazing trip to South Africa and took a week's vacation along the west coast (Northern California, Oregon and Washington) in August. Who knows where 2011 will take us(fingers crossed it's somewhere warm). I've always wanted to go to Hawaii...

3. Start a family
Just so you all know, this goal scares me to death. I don't want to lose my freedom - I'm still very much selfish, but I do want to see what we can create and what they'll look like and who they'll become. Plus, I'm not getting any younger. I know the chances of having children drops once women hit 35, and that age isn't far away. I'm scared to lose sleep, my body, patience and myself. Most of all, I'm worried our marriage will change. Right now we're able to do whatever we want, whenever we want and we have so much fun!!! I have a feeling that spontaneity will go away. Plus, I have a hard enough time trying to keep up with everything going on and only have to do laundry once a week and cook for two and clean whenever my schedule allows. I'm semi-aware of what having a child means and know it's going to be hard - very hard - so this means I'll work my ass off at making the experience precious. Am I scared. Very. Ready? Not so. Are we ever? Probably not. But I think it'll be awesome, stretch marks and all.

4. Start a recipe portfolio/blog
I love health and fitness and cooking healthy meals. Sometimes I even impress myself with the recipes I piece together. I take a recipe from a magazine or a cookbook, and make it healthier. I love colorful meals with tons of flavor. I think it'd be fun to take snapshots of our faves, write out the ingredients and start a "family" recipe book. Watch for this in 2011.

5. Get an article in a magazine
I subscribe to 10 or 15 magazines. It's a bit of an obsession. I can't remember the exact number anymore. In 2011, I want to open one of them up and see an article written by me.

6. Say "no" more and do things for me
I have a tendency to say 'yes' to others simply because it'll make them feel better. It may make them happier, but it makes me insane. Why do I do that to myself? The older I get, the things that matter are doing those things I genuinely want to. I need to listen to that voice telling me 'no', and form the sounds and actually say it. I've learned people are highly capable of doing things themselves, but find it easier to ask someone else for help rather than learning themselves. I'm guilty of this as well. But I have my own life to live and dreams to chase after. My life would be a lot less complicated if I just said NO more.

7. Get organized
Part of the reason I feel so scatterbrained is because my husband has a chunk of his stuff packed away in his town home. Yes, as's been there for over a year and a half now. That's another nightmare - I wish we could sell, but I try to remind myself we'll be fine and it'll sell when it's supposed to. Not only that, but I'm a pile person. I have piles everywhere: on the carpet, in the corner, on our island. Why? I need to purge it all and that's my plan for 2011. Get rid of stuff and start a filing system!

8. Stop biting my nails
What can I say? I'm an addict. But it's time I let the damn things grow already!

9. Flush out the bad with the good
Karl and I are going to try and metals detox. Karl had to pee in a jug for 24 hours. The results: he had high levels of arsenic and platinum in his body. Ewww! I'm nervous but excited since I do not believe in those liquid detoxes one bit. This one is a 30-day program. No, we won't be starving ourselves, but will be eating really healthy foods (like grass fed meats, filtered water, raw veggies) and taking some cleansing pills that are supposed to pull the metals out. I'm excited to try this. More to come...

What are some of your goals for 2011 and how will you hold yourself accountable?

"I wish you sunshine on your path and storms to season your journey. I wish you peace - in the world in which you live and in the smallest corner of the heart where truth is kept... More I cannot wish you except perhaps love - to make all the rest worthwhile." - Robert Ward

Friday, December 17, 2010

And the Results are...

In my last post I was 'darn-near' close to finishing my manuscript (ms) and sending it off. I did finish (hip hip hooray!) and I want to share the next step.

1. Second Round of Edits Completed!
Yes, you read right. A couple weeks ago I finished the second round of edits on my ms. And yes, I celebrated. Maybe not as I thought (no booze...rats), but internally something grew. First and foremost, I consider that a success. I think when we consistently ignore those "nudges", we die a little inside. But it's too hard. I can't do that. We tell ourselves. Pretty soon negative thinking becomes a habit. Yet, when we do something challenging and scary, and then finish, so much of us grow. And that, my friends, is awesome!

I mean, I wouldn't perceive myself as an editor - I am after all a writer - but there were glaring mistakes that stood out to me and needed to be fixed before I'd let anyone beside my critique group see. And thanks to them, I've received constructive suggestions and was able to fix them chapter by chapter! It's a great feeling knowing I'm satisfied with my entire ms; however, do note that I'm not sure I'll ever be 100 percent satisfied until I get representation. And maybe what I think is complete is just the beginning for an editor/agent/publisher once they get a hold of it...if they get a hold of it. Everyone keeps reminding me this is a long journey. I try to remind myself this.

2. My husband will finish reading my entire ms tonight
Drum roll please. Yes, Karl will finish Wanted: Groom for my $100k Wedding tonight. The reading began last Monday. I'd print copies and bring them home and he'd read three chapters at a time. I'd fix dinner or put away dishes as he read in another room. I'd listen closely for laughter or sounds of "mmmming" and "ahhhing". Nothing. Pure focus is what I got and I appreciate it more than he'll know. Of course there were giggles, mainly when he spotted a ridiculous grammatical error or pointed out my awkward sentences, but for the most part he'd flip to the last chapter, stand up and say, "Dang, I want to read more!" To me, that was a good sign. And thanks to Stephen King and his book "On Writing" he taught me it's okay to have someone, like a lover, read/critique your stuff. King's go-to reader was his wife. No, Karl isn't an English major or a writer/editor, but he reads more books than anyone I've ever met, and he's brilliant and funny and the love of my life. I wanted to include him in on my dream, and journey. After all, he's the reason I finished the book. He believes in me and that's the coolest feeling ever!

3. My manuscript is now in the hands of a a screenwriter.
This sounds like a big deal, but my friend "the screenwriter" is critiquing my ms out of the goodness of his heart and I can't thank him enough. As you roll your eyes, I know, I's not like once he touches it, it'll turn to gold. But I get his input, which feels like gold! Ha! He's in the business and will know if my story is a hit or a total miss, and can at least guide me on the right path if I ventured the wrong way. I hope it's a hit - I think it is - but again, I like vegetables and bright colors, not everyone else does. Luke is the guy who helped me complete a ten page synopsis back in June so I could use it as my guide while I wrote. He said, "If you follow this, you'll be fine. I don't want to see anything until your ms is completed." 

And here it is...December...and I'm done!!!!!!! I'm finally comfortable enough to send it off to him for review. He just completed filming his first movie "The Day" and is going on Christmas break. He has enough time in his insane schedule to review my ms. My ms! God, that feels awesome to say and write.

So, here I sit, nibbling off every last nail. My heart beats through my chest and my stomach churns. What if he tells me my writing needs help? What if he says, "It's a great story, but the writing could be better." What if he snorts and tosses it to the side after chapter one? What if...what if...what if....

I guess this is the story of life, isn't it? Do we ever really know what the outcome is going to be? I can sit here and tell you what I want it to be, but is that enough? No. But at least I tried:)

Stay tuned!

"There is no failure except in no longer trying."
- Elbert Hubbard

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dance like nobody is....writing....

You can probably tell that I'm nearing the end of my ms, since I'm not updating my blog as much and I'm MIA. Sorry about that, but I'm soooo close. Below is the latest!

My Writing/Editing Status
I started with this crazy wedding story idea back in April, during my writing class. Okay, in truth, it started more than five years ago when I was mailed an invite by Wedding Day Diamonds and Glamour Magazine. Why I got the invite, I will never know. Everyone was left scratching their heads at that one, but now I know it's part of something bigger. Anyway, I was invited to bring a couple girlfriends to try on rings and drink wine and champagne at the jewelry store. Cool, right? Ummm, yeah! So I went with my girls, Kimbra and Angela. We tried on some fabulous rocks. A nice guy behind the counter started a ring "wish list" for me.

"Oh, yes, my boyfriend will love this ring," I said, flashing off the rock, knowing very well there was no boyfriend. I was as single as they come.

Then, off to the side, was a drawing: "Win a Ring."

I'll just throw my name on a piece of paper and see what happens. Like I'll win.

I won a beautiful wedding ring. And I didn't have a fiance to show for it. Did I look stupid standing up in front of everyone, hugging people like I was their BFF? I'm sure. But I didn't care.

Was God watching down on me that night...?  Of course he's not about material things, but was the concept all part of a greater plan? I mean, of course I had yet to fall in love before I'd ever think of writing a romance novel...

But...back to the story idea... I remember sending off my idea to a couple of my closest girlfriends. They liked it. My class thought it was clever, and I decided...maybe I'm on to something here. Maybe I was supposed to win that ring a few years back so I could share the experience but also tie in a lot of modern technology and trends.

Since then, the storyline grows and has developed into this really cool manuscript I'm proud of. I'm close - really close - to being done, as in fifty pages and THE END will be staring me in the face (again).  I'm so close, as in, Karl (my husband) gets a full copy to review and maybe my friend Luke (if he's not too busy promoting his movie).

The whole process is a crazy story in itself...I sign up for a fiction writing class because writing a book was and is a dream of mine. I get a wild idea to write about a gal who wants a wedding so bad she puts her name in a drawing and wins a $75k dream wedding...without a boyfriend. She has eight weeks to find Mr. Right or the wedding is no longer an option. Is it possible? You tell me:).

Meanwhile, as I'm learning how to outline an entire ms, and writing a synopsis, drafting chapters, I come across five other hopeful women fiction writers, looking for 'critiquers'. I send my work to them...I get feedback and pages back slaughtered in red...and then I get frustrated. Real frustrated. Maybe I wasn't cut out to be a writer. Boo hiss.

Then Luke says, "Nothing of value comes easy, Christie." OK, so maybe he's right. The ring came easy...but I value writing and relationships so much more!!  They mean something deeper.

I flip open my laptop and read every single critique with an open mind and learn. I develop a website. I start blogging for Star Tribune. More hopeful writers start finding me, asking me questions, offering up advice. A male writer (word to ya, Lyle) starts reviewing my stuff (and is actually okay with it!). I back out of fun plans, sacrifice working out and cooking my infamous healthy dinners (sorry Karl). I put my nose to my laptop and write/edit/revise/whine. I learn. I grow. And I read. Oh, I read: blogs, books, magazines, anything I can get my hands on.

Before I know it, I have a completed ms staring at me. But I'm not jumping around. I'm a little excited, but knowing it's not my best work dims any celebratory dance.

Finishing the ms was just the beginning. I wanted to throw up at the thought of picking apart 340 plus pages word by word, but realized the more time I gave 'nurturing' it, the story grew better...and better...and same with my confidence in writing.

Then one day I sort of "got" it. The light went off, and the joy of writing was back! It's all I want to do, and I take off work from my "real" job to write. Screw relaxing...that's what writing IS for me - a wonderful, exciting place. I couldn't be happier.

Soooo...Sunday it is - the day - where I get to see 'the end' (no pun intended). And will have a piece I'm proud to hand off to Karl to read. It may not be perfect. There will always be changes, but this time I'll soooo be dancing! Watch out world!

Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully
- Phillips Brooks