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The REAL Change of Seasons

Today is the final day of September. Until now the weather has been mild. My kids routinely wear shorts. But tomorrow? The seasons change for real. Friday’s forecast calls for a high of 59 degrees. Saturday’s? 54. Really?

 

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What is it about October? It’s as if a switch flips from warm to cold.

As much as I love fall, I’m trying not to think about the upcoming milestones–turning the furnace on, wearing a winter jacket, the first frost… *sob*

Another thought that makes me cringe a teeny bit? I haven’t bought appropriate clothes for my kids yet. This means shopping for jeans, long-sleeved shirts, sweatshirts, coats and boots. I’m also on the hunt for a new winter coat for myself. I tried several on last week, but my heart wasn’t in it. I just didn’t like anything. Plus, I want a coat that can fight the bitter wind of harsh winters. Some of them are just too flimsy and thin.

On a positive note, my hubby bought (and installed) a fire pit for my birthday. Yay! I love sitting outside, getting toasty,  making s’mores and looking at the stars. I’m hoping we’ll have clear weather this weekend so we can try it out.

Oh! I made a decadent treat last week–Caramel Apple Pie. I’d watched The Pioneer Woman make it on Food Network. Let me tell you, it is delicious. Here’s the link to the recipe: “Caramel Apple Pie.” You can NOT go wrong with this one! YUM!!

A few other things I’m enjoying right now? Getting ideas for Christmas gifts, watching college football on Saturdays (and since cross country is almost over, I will be able to spend Saturdays on the couch! Yes!), throwing a pan of ribs in the oven all day long, and wrapping up in cozy throws.

I realize my part of the world has four distinct seasons (although spring is pretty iffy!). What signifies the change in seasons for you? What do you love about this time of year?

 

Have a terrific day!

 

I’m Not at ACFW Conference and I’m Jealous!

I shouldn’t be writing this. Really, I shouldn’t. Social media posts should be positive, uplifting. I want to be a light in this world, not a dark shadow! But I know I’m not alone on this subject, so I’m putting it out there.

I’m not at ACFW conference this year, and I’m jealous!

The logical part of me can recite the pros and cons list on why I’m not there.

We took our first week-long family vacation (no tent involved!) this year. We have a senior in high school with plenty of expenses, and a son in travel baseball with plenty of other expenses. We’ve put money into house projects ever since buying our current home three years ago. There are many more projects to do, big ticket items to replace, wish lists to fund. You know the drill. You live it too!

On top of that, there’s the time issue. Our kids both have cross country races this weekend, I’m trying to finish a draft of a book, and our church commitments kicked into gear last Sunday.

I’m sure you can relate to all of the above. You have your own expense and time issues. We all do.

So even though my logical brain processes and accepts all this, my insecure heart wails.

I’m missing out on the fun, the fellowship, the wonderful meetings with friends, the chance to meet my editor and the worship time. Waaahhhh!

It’s been a few years since I’ve been to a conference (Yes, I’m blessed that I’ve attended them in the past!). I know how uplifting they can be. No, they aren’t perfect. Yes, they can be draining. But even during the not-great times, I loved spending time getting to know other Christian writers. I forged friendships I treasure.

 

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I miss these people! ACFW 2013

 

So what is really going on with these jealous feelings?

Where are they from, why do I have them, and more importantly, how can I handle them without becoming a jerk?

I spent some time in prayer yesterday morning. 

Where are they from? I’m afraid of being left out. Afraid my friends are moving on to newer, more exciting people. Afraid of being left behind in my career.

Why do I have these feelings? I’m a sinner. Imperfect. Immature sometimes.

How can I handle them without becoming a jerk? As I mentioned earlier, I prayed about it. And I realized that just because I’m not there this year, doesn’t mean God won’t get me there another year. If it really means this much to me, I should be praying all year for Him to find a way to get me to conference. I also have to graciously accept that I will not lose my friends and that I won’t be left behind in my career just because I’m out of sight.

I guess sometimes I just want everything to be easy. I don’t want to have to choose between paying for this or paying for that. I don’t want to have to explain to my family that this trip is important to me and that I’ll be missing their events. I feel selfish for wanting to go to a conference just because it’s  fun and I get to hang out with amazing writers.

Sigh.

I’m not at the conference. I’m jealous. But I’m doing something about it. Prayer, a right attitude and M&Ms work wonders.

 

Have you missed an event and been jealous because of it?

 

Enjoy your weekend!

*My second Lake Endwell book, Unexpected Family, is on sale now! Look for it in grocery stores, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere books are sold. It’s available online, too. Go HERE for the links!*

Come On, Brain! Make Writing Easier for Me!

Yesterday was one of those writing days. No, not a good one where the words are jumping from my fingertips onto the page. Not a delightful one where I’m chuckling at what the heroine just said and swooning over the hero’s grand gesture.

 

 

 

It was a long, slow, painful writing day.

 

Right away I could tell it was going to be dreadful. Within minutes I’d exhausted my supply of Gobstoppers. Ate a fun-sized Snickers without even tasting it. Had a Coke by eleven am. Nothing helped.

 

Why is writing so hard some days? I don’t know, but I have a bad session about every eight or nine scenes. Ugh!

 

Looking back, I knew the problem. I was dealing with an unruly scene–a bridge between story points, if you will. Emotional growth needed to happen, but not too much or too soon. I had to get the details right for the scene to be believable. I doubted my original set-up. Realized I needed to beef up the reasoning behind a key theme.

 

By the time I finally wrote the scene, I felt good, but not great. The scene still lacked tension. So back I went, layering in internal reactions to what was happening. Hours flew by, but my word count stayed low. That’s okay. I’m ready to move forward.

 

Writing, like everything else, is like that sometimes. I want it to be wonderful, but my brain balks. Oh well!

 

Do you have those days when work feels impossible? How do you get through them?

Have a terrific day!

 

 

What Revs Your Sweet Tooth?

I’m dreaming of a cupcake. It’s a yellow moist beauty in a cute pastel polka-dot wrapper. There’s roughly half an inch of chocolate frosting swirled on top. My word, I can taste this thing! Mmm…I love cupcakes.

 

 

 

I also love Chocolate Lasagna. A wise, wonderful woman from church brought this delicacy to a church potluck, and yes, I demanded the recipe. Bless her, she emailed the link to me. It’s delicious. I’m sharing it here, Recipe for Chocolate Lasagna. You’re welcome.

 

Last weekend college football kicked off, so I bought a bag of fun-size Snicker bars. They are all gone. They’ve been gone since Monday. Will I purchase another bag soon? I think we all know the answer to that.

 

I shouldn’t be admitting this, but Kroger had a sale event on Klondike bars this week. Hey, when they’re on sale for $1.99 and they have flavors such as mint chocolate chip and cookie dough swirl, it would be a crime NOT to buy them. Right? Anyone… *crickets*

 

As you can see, I have a bit of a sweet tooth. I take my coffee full of sugar and cream. Sometimes I dollop Cool Whip on top for good measure. I’ve never met a blueberry muffin I didn’t like, and I brake for cookies. And cookie dough.

 

What revs YOUR sweet tooth? Or are you  more of a salty person?

 

Have a terrific day!!

 

*All month my new release, Unexpected Family, will be in stores! It’s available online, too. Click on Unexpected Family for links!*

 

 

Ditzin’ It Up at the Post Office

I was not on my game yesterday. Maybe it was the muggy, 91 degree weather. Or recovering from a relaxing long weekend. I don’t know, but I had several errands to run and I’m not sure where my head was at!

 

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It started with the post office. I had several books and the gift package from August to send. Well, my box for the gift package was too small, so I figured I’d buy one at the post office. The gentleman handed me a box that looked perfect, I grabbed my bag of packaging tools and a customs slip (for my Goodreads winner from Nova Scotia), and got to work. I taped the box and set everything in, but it became clear the box was too large. No problem. I figured I’d pad it with newspaper and come back.

 

Meanwhile, I began filling out the customs form. Naturally, I wrote the wrong address and had to grab a new one. Then I wrote the address first, made sure I had it correct and got back in line. I told the kind worker the box was too big and that I would come back later, and he offered me a smaller one. While he did his thing with the postage for my stack of book packages, I repacked the gift. Bingo! It fit!

 

Before I could tape it up, though, the employee gently told me I needed to finish filling out the customs form. Duh! I’d completely forgotten to fill out everything BUT the address. I finished that up and went pack to taping the package. When everything was finally settled, I grabbed my bag and left.

And came right back in, because I’d left my original box behind.

*shaking my head*

Yeah, it was one of those ditzy days. It didn’t get better, by the way, but at least I survived!

 

Do you have trouble with real life after a long weekend?

 

My blog tour continues! Today I’m talking about “Why I love September” at the Craftie Ladies of Romance blog, and I’m also featured for the Author’s Casting Call--find out who I would cast as Tom and Stephanie in Unexpected Family–at Edgy Inspirational Romance. Both are linked. I’d love it if you stopped by!

Have a terrific day!

A Peek into My Non-Writing Life

I’m vocal about my love of chocolate, obsession with coffee, my fun family and, yes, my dumb-dumb dog. It’s no secret I love University of Michigan football and the television show, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team. One thing I don’t talk about much? My parents.

 

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Dad, my husband and I three or four years ago. Love Dad’s smile here!

I visited them Thursday. I’m really close to Mom. She’s a true role model for me. She’s full of energy, never lets anyone push her around, and has a heart bigger than Lake Michigan. I love that woman! I also adore my dad, but his health has declined over the last few years. Due to Parkinson’s disease and late stages of Alzheimer’s, he is too sick to live at home, so he lives in a nursing home.

Dad’s a sweetheart. The nursing staff and CENA’s love him, and so do we. I’m really thankful he has such patient, goodhearted people caring for him. Yesterday, Mom and I sat with him during lunch, and some memories hit me of us eating around our dining room table when I was young. Those moments barb my heart, and I’ll admit, I got a little teary.

See, Dad usually doesn’t recognize me anymore, although he does recognize some people. It really depends on the day. If you told me two years ago this would be how it is, I would have fallen apart. But we’ve (including my sister) been with Dad throughout this journey, and I’m at peace with it.

I’m blessed. I still get to spend time with him. I look forward to it!

Whether he knows me or not, he likes me and enjoys it when I’m there. And every time I look at him, I see his beautiful blue eyes–the ones he gave to me–and I know we’re going to have great conversations someday in Heaven. Do I wish he could enjoy his senior years without these diseases? Of course. In many ways I feel he and Mom were robbed of their golden years. But, hey, we know people who have it worse. We all lose loved ones–some violently, some to disease, some tragically, some slowly, some unexpectedly. Talk to anyone, and you’ll hear a story of loss.

That’s why my faith means so much to me. I know there is better. I know this life is a blip–an imperfect blip–and there is so much more ahead. God gets us through.

Anyhow, I live a few hours away from my parents, so I visit about once a month. The drive gives me time to think, and I am so thankful I get to spend a few hours with Mom and Dad. I just wish I lived closer so I could help more.

So that’s a peek into my non-writing life. What’s going on with you this week?

Release week of Unexpected Family has been fun! Thank you to everyone who has purchased the book and helped spread the word about it!

Have a terrific weekend!

Sneaky Ways to Write More and Other Updates

Sneaking words in…sounds covert and exciting and slightly dangerous! I’m sharing how I sneak more words in each day over at Seekerville! I’d love for you to stop by, plus there are two giveaways happening at Seekerville!

Here’s the link, “Sneaky Ways to Write More Each Day.”

I’ve added Part 2 of my serial short romance, “Love and Other Obstacles” to the For Readers page. If you missed Part 1, no worries. Both are linked on the For Readers page. Newsletter subscribers get first access to installments, so if you haven’t signed up, consider fixing that! Sign up HERE!

 

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On Monday, I accidentally linked to Jeanne Takenaka’s blog early. If you’d like to stop by and find out my biggest life lesson and enter to win a copy of my book (link to entry form is at the very bottom of the post), go to “Life Lessons: Making an Effort–Guest Post by Jill Kemerer and a Giveaway.”

 

The fabulous Cheryl Malandrinos interviewed me and shared it on three blogs!! I talk about my childhood and writing journey. Pop over at The Book Connection: “Interview with Jill Kemerer.”

Boy, it got hot here. I would have preferred the warm weather in early August, rather than September, but at least it’s not snowing yet, right? Tomorrow night is college football kickoff. I’m sooooo ready. Yes, I will be watching the University of Michigan play at Utah on every television in the house! Woo-hoo!!

What’s going on with you today?

Enjoy yourself!!

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