Something New

A3 button

From time to time I encourage my readers to get out of their ruts and try something new. That’s what I did recently, by becoming a columnist in a new blog called Almost An Author, or A3.

Unlike Lisa’s Musings, my columns at A3 will be writing-related. My particular column is called Talking Character, which is about–you guesses it–character development and characterization. This is my first small step as a writer from writer-in-training to teacher. It’s both scary and exciting.

Why is it called Almost an Author?

Almost an Author was created to help aspiring writers improve their craft and become published authors. A3 consists of over 30 writer/author columnists posting on a monthly basis to encourage and equip aspiring writers. In addition to regular columns, A3 will host two annual writing contests and feature a different bestselling author each month.

Check out the blog’s grand opening by reading this interview with award-winning suspense writer DiAnn Mills. (I’ve heard her speak. She’s a great encourager!)

Or you can read my first column here.

So, what have you done lately to push yourself outside your comfort zone?

Need a Little Monday Motivation?

lazy dog

I can’t face another Monday!

Some Mondays it’s hard to find the motivation to get moving.

Perhaps we know the week holds challenges we’re not ready to face. Perhaps we’re still weary from what has come before. Perhaps we’ve just had too much weekend. Whatever the case, if you’re struggling to find the motivation to keep going, here are a few quotes to inspire you and help you on your way.

Finding the right attitude

  1. “Promise me you’ll always remember: you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~ (Christopher Robin to Pooh)  A. Milne
  2. “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. ~ Vidal Sassoon
  3. “The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today: we put them off till our deathbed.” ~ Steven Pressfield
  4. “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour and with that one, is what we are doing.” ~ Annie Dillard
  5. “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in – forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  6. “I cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good that I can do.” ~ Jana Standfield

Taking the next small step.

  1. “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” ~ Stephen King
  2. “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” ~Vincent Van Gogh
  3. “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.” ~ Robert Collier
  4. “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”~ Charles R. Swindoll
  5. “Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting. ~ Christopher Morley
  6. “The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

Facing challenges

  1. “To be successful you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can’t just accept the ones you like.” ~ Mike Gafka
  2. “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” ~ Margaret Thatcher
  3. “Sometimes painful things can teach us lessons that we didn’t think we needed to know.” ~ Amy Poehler
    “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” ~ Helen Keller
  4. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
  5. “If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don’t nurse your bruises. Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter. This is the only way to take life – this is also ‘playing’ the game!” ~ Emily Post
  6. “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

And one more for good measure…

People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
~Mother Teresa

It’s Not My Job to Fix People

fix other people's problems

Photo Credit: Brother O’Mara via Compfight cc

Sometimes people disappoint us. We are annoyed by their lack of manners, upset at how they seem to be falling short of their potential, or concerned by their unhealthy choices. We see an attitude, behavior or skill that needs to be improved, and we want to help them.

But it’s not our job to fix other people’s problems.   Continue reading

A Short List of Happy Beach Reads

happy beach reading

Call me strange or unsophisticated, but I don’t want to spend my vacation reading books described with terms like: dark, tragic, devastation, haunting, brutal, abuse, psychological, or tearjerker. (I also avoid descriptors like glamorous, fashion, gossip, sorority, and steamy.)

I want page-turner that is uplifting, not depressing.

I want a book that is fun, imaginative, or intriguing. (Preferably all three.)

I want a book that will not consume my thoughts after I’ve returned to the campground or the condo.

Perhaps some of you do too. Continue reading

Enjoy the Process

enjoy bare feet

When was the last time you enjoyed the sensation of grass on your bare feet?

When was the last time you savored each bite of your meal?

When was the last time you found yourself humming while doing some task?

Our society is so focused on results, goals and dreams that it’s easy to ignore the process that gets us there. And yet, most of life is process. Continue reading

What Happens When You Run on Empty

old gas pump

It’s all fun and games until the tank runs dry. Then things can get messy.

It was a busy weekend: Graduation, graduation party, a church fundraiser luncheon. None of these events taxed my social interaction tolerance to its limit, but added together in a single weekend they spelled trouble. Continue reading

Reflections on 29 Years

wedding rings

My husband and I just celebrated our twenty-ninth anniversary.

Or, to be perfectly accurate, yesterday was our anniversary, but by mutual consent we will celebrate it next weekend. We’re not too fussy about things like that—perhaps because we are both pragmatic, logical-thinking engineers.


As I look back over the 29 years we have been together, I see a relationship that has been tempered by time. Continue reading

Baskets, Life, and New Opportunities


new baskets

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to begin making baskets again. I also decided it was time to branch out in other ways, so I accepted an invitation to join a wonderful and diverse group of women who contribute to a blog called Putting on the New. As you might guess, the blog is about what it means, in real everyday life, to put on the “new self” Paul describes in his letter to the Ephesians.

Putting on the New is a place for sharing life lessons, and “wrapping our heads around the awesomeness of His love and what He did for us, and figuring out how to live in the way that He wants us to.”

I hope you’ll stop by and, in addition to reading my thoughts on what weaving baskets teaches me about life, check out some of the other insights shared by my fellow bloggers.

Putting On The New