This past weekend, our family went down to Red Deer to support Jason as he ran his first "Super" Spartan Race, which is 8 miles in length (and 20-plus obstacles). He ran this race on a team with our friends Darryl and Amanda Magnusson. This was their first Spartan Race, and they did pretty good, all things considered. Darryl told me afterwards that he did better than he expected, and he looked pretty happy about it.
That race was Saturday morning. On Sunday morning, Jason ran the 3-mile "Sprint" (same course, just altered) with the "Elites"--which can be read "die-hards." He beat his goal time of 45 minutes by almost two minutes.
Way to go, honey! I'm so proud of you!
book review , share the joy Friday, September 05, 2014
About a month ago, while doing research for my current writing project (which stars a mermaid), I found out that I AM NOT ALONE... because I found the blog of MaryLu Tyndall, "The Cross and the Cutlass", in which she was discussing HER current project's research. Turns out, we both think that mermaids can find a place in Christian literature. Knowing I wasn't the only one crazy enough to try that was a great encouragement to me.
A week later, I exchanged several emails with MaryLu when I contacted her looking for an editor recommendation, the result of which was that I met the wonderful Lora, who is now MY editor, too! I could say lots of nice things about Lora, but this post is to review MaryLu's book, so I'll talk about Lora later :-)
The reason I mention all that is that I found out that MaryLu had begun her writing career when God gave her an idea for a story about Christian pirates. I can see that look on your face--it is the same one I had when I read that, myself.
Interesting combination, I thought, as I read the Amazon book reviews on her first book in "The Legacy of the King's Pirates" series, and added it to my wishlist. With the normal "free time" I allow myself for reading fiction, I had no idea how soon it would be before I actually got to dive into those alluring stories, but was intrigued enough to put them pretty high on my "want to read" list.
Fortunately for me, when I asked Lora for several books to read that exemplified the suggested changes in my writing style she was telling me about, MaryLu's first "Pirate" book, The Redemption, was on the list. I lost no time hustling my cyber-butt over to Amazon to get it. (Yay! Assigned reading!)
Before I proceed, I want to mention that I do not normally read romances.Most romances are too smutty for my taste, or too formulaic. The last one I read was about five years ago, a Nicholas Sparks novel called A Bend in the Road, and afterward, I only regretted the several hours of my life that were now irretrievably lost with so little return value. In general when it comes to fiction, I favour fantasy (mostly classic stuff that has stood the test of time--I am currently reading Robert Jordan), classic novels (think Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Danial Dafoe, and other long-dead literary greats), and if it is a modern novel then I prefer stories where there is a little mystery and a lot of personal growth on the part of the main character.
Ironically, I also tend to stay away from Christian romance novels, because although the ones I have experienced have all been clean, they have also been a little too... tame? Bland? I don't know... Unless we are talking about a romance that takes place in the context of biblical history. I have read several novels based on Esther, as well as Leah, and other women of the Bible where romance was a key part of the plotline. Don't ask me why... this post is to analyze someone's book, not the strange workings of my own brain.
From the first pixelated page, The Redemption had me hooked. There was danger, suspense, personal growth, and yes, a little mystery.
Charlisse is a realistic, struggling heroine, who didn't magically figure out how to survive on her own (which is a positive for me) when the ship she had bought passage on was destroyed in a storm and she was left alone on a tropical island. Her past, which has scarred her both emotionally and physically, presents real personal struggle that she must overcome in order to heal, and learn to love. If it weren't for the fortunate (?) appearance of a lusty bunch of pirates, she would have died on that island. At some points in the story, Charlisse wonders if that might not have been a better outcome.
Captain Merrick deals with the daily conflict of living out his Christian beliefs while captaining a much less-religious pirate crew as a privateer for the King of England. Like many men who are trying to become better than they once were, he teeters between moments of heroic bravery and tenderness, and struggling against the desires his old self would have given into without a thought. The reader is always wondering whether he will protect Charlisse, or whether he may be her biggest threat... Merrick himself is not even sure of the answer.
These two collide when Charlisse's quest to find her father conflicts with Merrick's commission from the British governor of Port Royal.
Unlike the feeling I had when closed the last page of Mr.Sparks' novel, I reached the end of Ms. Tyndall's with a feeling of regret to see it end so soon. Fortunately for me, there are three more novels in the series. :-)
Yesterday, I received notice that MaryLu has the Kindle versions of these books on sale until September 10 on Amazon. For $2 to $3 each (and the first one was free when I just checked), you could have more entertained hours than a Pirates of the Carribean movie marathon, with less cost per minute, and just as much fun. Once again, I hustled my cyber-butt to pick up the rest of the series immediately. Now that I've finished typing this review (while sitting in the passenger seat on a 7-hour drive), I intend to start reading them!
about me , family , Jabin , Jason , Jude , Levi , Noah , photo Tuesday, September 02, 2014
The First Day of School in our house came with high emotions for every member of our family this year.
Jude, just beginning Junior High, was both excited and nervous to be in a new school with unfamiliar classrooms, teachers, and routines, but also glad to be able to see his friends on a daily basis again.
Noah, despite acting quite hyper last night and this morning, kept insisting that he was NOT excited "because of all the WORK!"
Jabin was just plain ol' excited to see his friends again. He loves school.
Mom was excited, too. The last couple of weeks, listening to the boys quarrel, has been an endurance test for my sanity.
Jason, being part of the overworked tech department for a school division, looks forward to the First Day of School with the opposite of excitement. The day is likely to be a long string of calls and putting out fires, just like it always is. It's the day itself that is the endurance test for him.
Fortunately, it will all be over by tonight, honey. :-)
Levi was just excited to go to town this morning. (We took Noah and Jabin to school to help them get their supplies to their classrooms.) Then, he was excited to play outside. Now, he's excited to go on a walk with Mommy.
|All his eggs in one basket. :-)|
Yay! for fall routine.
What is special about your day today, friends?
So, naturally, I decided that it was a good time to revise my web presence by taking all my varied interests and centralizing them into a new website (because I almost don't have enough to do with my time ;-D). Trying to maintain all my various creative websites and blogs has been driving me a little batty... When I am finished, my personal blog here at Winters' Day In will be combined with my music and crafting stuff, as well as my author's site, under the URL www.talenawinters.com, which currently only hosts my music. (Also known as "the make-work project that will save my sanity.") I am SO excited.
Of course, this is on top of the website that my eCommerce platform is forcing me to create because they are closing down their service. (The one I operate at www.wintersdistributing.ca.) The deadline on that is February 1st, and since it only took me three months of 3-a.m. benders to make the first one FROM SCRATCH, I figger I have plenty of time to make a second one now that I don't have to rebrand and recreate all my images, etc. Right? Right?
What fun is making just one website when you can make two? (Tongue planted firmly in cheek, in case you didn't notice.)
So, my fall projects? (Besides co-planning an awesome Comedy Night fundraiser for the orphanage?) Build two websites. Get my first novel published. And figure out how to store the copious amounts of potatoes I planted so they will last the winter.
What are you up to in September, friends?
Many people consider the New Year to be the time to reassess their lives, goals, and priorities. I used to think the same, until the time my oldest child began kindergarten. Then, the yearly rhythm somehow shifted, and August and September seemed to be the more natural time to "reset" and rebalance everything.
Usually, I am trying to decide which things I want to commit to for the fall. This year, I am trying to decide what I can cut out.
Since last year was my first year in many not home schooling, I took the fall season to just kind of "learn to breathe" again, and catch up on my life. Much of my day was occupied with occupying the little dynamo who is my youngest son. However, despite the fact that Levi is a full-time job on his own, I am kind of used to maintaining several full-time jobs at once, and often think I can take on more than I really can.
So, I guess it's no surprise that by this spring, my schedule was over-full once more. I looked forward to the less-scheduled days of summer just as much as ever.
Only problem is that this summer maintained a level of "busy-ness" much greater than I normally prefer. As it draws to a close, I don't really feel like I got to draw in that steadying breath in the hectic cycle of my life and just "pause."
I think there is some delusional part of my brain that really does believe I can do it all: be the ideal wife, super-mom, sister, and daughter; cook all our food from scratch that I have first grown on my own farm by the labour of my own hands; maintain an orderly and clean household; volunteer at church; volunteer for the orphanage; be a good friend and maintain meaningful relationships; run several businesses; promote said businesses through marketing and social media; and have energy left for the creative outlets I find so necessary for my mental and emotional well-being.
The logical, thinking part of me reads that paragraph and realizes the sheer impossibility of it all. But that afore-mentioned delusional part of me is NOT okay with that.
So, the question becomes "What can actually be changed? What things can be done by others? What things must I make time for to maintain health?"
Sometimes, the things that stay on the "must-be-done" list are chosen by others--like the migration and rebuilding of my store (www.wintersdistributing.ca) that I now have only four months to complete. Or they stay on the list because of previous commitments or because we need the income.
But still... I am looking for things to change. I pray that I can discern the activities the Lord would have me choose.
What kinds of things does fall make YOU think of, friends?
Thank you, Kristen Lamb. I needed this reminder today.