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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Be not the slave of your own past...

I think that I mentioned something about reflection earlier in one of my posts. That's where I've been lately... in a place of introspection and self-awaking with regard to my writing endeavors. Now, I'm certainly not trying to sound too deep. I'm simply stating what's happening in me. Now, this has happened before, to a degree. But, never with such resolve as I've seemed to muster this time around. I'm determined to go beyond my past.

On of my favorite quotes comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson. I even have it framed and on my bookshelf in my writing area. (Mary Engelbreit painted a great pic to go with the quote.) He said, "Be not the slave of your own past - plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old."

That, my friends, is where I am today. As I contemplate 2009, and what I wish to accomplish, I meditate on this wisdom. Now, I cannot guarantee my self to be a published success. What I can guarantee, or shall I say what power I hold, is that of resolution and dedication to the craft. If I give it my best, my true and honest best of self, I can insure that whatever happens, I can be assured that my time will come.

I hope this serves as inspiration and encouragement for those of you struggling to find your voice or your identity as a writer. Always remember... writers write!


Shoe Mood:

Getting back to business!

Now, this is just a little something that I do on my website. Everyone seemed to love knowing what "shoe mood" I was in from day to day. So, I thought I'd do it here. It's just a little fun way that I like to express myself. ;-)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I'm Feeling "Scrappy" Today...

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas this year. We sure did in my house. It was a very reflective one as well as relaxing. There was something quite pensive and peaceful about it all. Very different from years past. Not that they haven't been nice, it's just that I think I'm in a different "place" this year. Things took on a deeper meaning for me and my family. Aside from the wii, guitar hero, and the ipod touch, that my girls were surprised with, they too, took on a different and more meaningful attitude towards this holiday, in-spite of the exciting gifts they received.

I'm excited to have this next week off from school and ministry. I've needed a break for some time now. Best of all, I'm fully recovered from that stupid viral funk that hit my tummy-tum. WOW! That threw me for a few loops. The "Jingle Jam" that I directed went on after a snow delay, and was wonderful! The kids did a fabulous job! Now, I lay and wait for New Years, contemplating my next year and what I want to make of it. What about you?

Well, sweet writer friend and fellow cyber-lit-chick Nora, nominated me for the "Honest Scrap Award." What an honor, seriously! It's nice to know that people see me for who I am...I hope.

As taken from Nora's explanation of the process:

"Scrap means left over, fragments, discarded material. Many times truth and honesty are discarded material, considered fragments and left over. People like us need to tell it like it is, and let the scraps fall where they will. There are 2 guidelines for receiving this award. One, you are to list 10 honest things about yourself. Make them interesting, even if you have to dig deep. Two, present the award to 7 other bloggers."

Okay, here it goes...

1. I'm 41 years young. Now, I know that that might not seem like one of the honest things to list, but, hey... how many times have we've been told that women should never admit their age? Well, I'm admitting it, and am proud to do so! I'm not ahsamed to be aging. I'm finally at a place of real contentment, courage, and confidence.
2. I tend to take on too much, making me a, "Jack of all trades and master of none." Then I get terribly frustrated with everything and everyone.
3. For someone with such a type A personality, my desk it a total mess. And there are times when I'm really busy that my house looks like it threw up on itself. (Particularly my laundry room and writing area.)
4. I've walked away from writing on three separate occasions. Just gave up on myself. But, I've recently found a renewed sense of self in my identity as a writer, and believe that the third time will be a charm.
5. I didn't meet my biological father until I was 25. I still struggle at times with it all. We are no longer in communication after a few years of trying to make it work. Sometimes, parents can be so selfish.
6. I never realized how selfish I was until I became a parent.
7. I'm a shoe whore.
8. I have no patience for perpetual stupidity. I try... really, I do. But, I've not been able to stomach it. (Especially, when I'm the one being stupid.)
9. I still miss my Grandfather so much it hurts. Especially when I want his input on my writing.
10. I think I will always wonder if I've been the best wife and mother that I could have been.

There they are. 10 honest things about myself. Now, I must nominate 7 others. Let's see... Kelly Pollack, Danette, Angela, Becca, I'll be back shortly with the others.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh, how I love Christmas...

The brisk winds and crisp chill of the air. The honking of geese as they fly south for the winter. The faint ringing of church bells in the distance on a dark still night. The crunch of snow beneath my feet as I trudge along the whitened path. The array of colored lights reflecting their beauty off of the ice like multicolored semi-precious stones. The laughter of children as they are wound with the energy of the holidays. Christmas carols, foil-wrapped presents, and the desire to do good deeds. Holiday plays, manger scenes, and star-topped trees. Good wishes, merry spirits, and feeling the depth of love. Being loved. Celebrating a special birthday. Oh, how I love Christmas.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sheeeeee's Baaaaaack!

Hey Y'all! Got back from warm Florida a week ago and have been running and screaming like a banshee ever since.

Had a fabulous time with our families. Visited St. Augustine (one of my all-time fave places to be), savored Thanksgiving at a relaxed pace (almost forgot what the word "relax" meant), and enjoyed just taking a breath. Especially at the beach. I miss the ocean living here up north and more than two hours away. I was a spoiled Native-Floridian, never more than 30 minutes away from the fresh salty-air and beautiful white-noise of the ocean waves for most of my life. Heaven on earth is what the beach is to me. Simply delightful. But, now I'm back and returning to normalcy.

Anyhoo, needless to say, I DIDN'T make the NANO deadline. But, I will say this, although I fear the judgment of cliche', I have a beautiful beginning of an awesome manuscript with a totally fab hook. (In my humble opinion, of course.) So, I'm honestly pleased, and on my own deadline for completion of my first draft by the end of January.

I should have known that I was taking on too much by signing on to do it. But, It did force me to press in and find the next story that I was looking for. How 'bout you?

Also, I wanted to take this time to encourage you to buy books this holiday season. Some publishing houses are experiencing lay-offs and restructuring, so... BUY BOOKS! Support your fave authors, publishers, and book stores. Imagine a life in limited print. No wonderful smell of dusty pages turned by fingertips dampened by the tongue. Okay, I know it sounds dramatic, but could you imagine if publishing houses were few, and we had to rely on e-books and comp. screens to read new releases? Uggggh. No thanks! I'll save the screen for blogging and surfing. I prefer books for the reading.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Okay... here's the deal.

I've missed y'all! Been REALLY busy with... well, life. I've fallen very behind in my NANO endeavor. However, I know where I'm going. So, I hope to be back on track real soon. (I've not updated my word count, UGHHHH! Need to do that, like now.)

I've had major computer issues as of late. It even made me cry for a few moments the other day. (Out of absolute frustration, I'm sure.) My laptop (where I type my NANO WIP) cord broke so now I can't charge my laptop. As I watched with horror as my battery level drained and melted away like Frosty the Snowman on a warm day, I hurriedly attempted to email myself my manuscript in order to open it up on my MAC. However, I didn't realize that my two word processing programs are not compatible. What does that mean? It means that I couldn't open my WIP on my MAC. "No comprende," Mr. Mac said. "No hablan Gateway."

Anyhoo, I now have a partial on my laptop until I can run out and buy the $105.00 cord that I need to recharge my battery (that won't be until Thursday). And, the remainder of my WIP is on my MAC. Divide and conquer. I feel like that's about what has happened to me. That and I'm still dealing with a parent at school who feels like I'm contributing to pagan rituals by having allowed the children in our preschool to paint tiny miniature pumpkins during the week of Halloween. We've still not come to an agreement. And, I don't think we will on that score. But, that's a whole other story.

However, I will say, "Push on!" That's what I'm going to do. In spite of my hectic schedule, crazy people, a house that looks like it threw up on itself, a dog who has (well, not technically on himself, but on my oriental rug in the dining room that I now get to go and clean), and all the little fleas on the dog of life that would love nothing more than to suck the blood right out of my creativity and drive. We can do this, people... whether or not you're participating in NANO, you do have a WIP that you're working on, right? Push forward. Forge ahead. Completion or bust!

Well, I have parent teacher conferences beginning tomorrow. So, I'm needing to go now, and complete the remaining student assessments (after I clean the puke stain out of my rug).


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yes, today is my birthday. I won't tell you how old I am, but I will say that I'm one year shy of being 21 twice. Anyhoo, I'm really excited about this birthday, because it's special in a big way. Why? Because I kept a promise to myself and attended my first writer's meet-up. That was my present to myself. Putting a fire under my bumm and participating in my writer's group.

I've been a member for 9 months now. But, I've yet to get to any meetings. That is, until today. I'm so happy with myself. It was just another small victory in my determination to re-identify myself as a writer.

There's something to say about getting to know other writers, whether they write in the same genre or not. We all have many of the same challenges, disappointments, and what-not. It's important to understand that we are not alone in this journey.

It may not seem like a "big-deal" to others. But, to me, it was. When you break enough promises that you've made to yourself, you find that you just quit making them altogether. That's where I was. I just gave up because I had lost my resolute attitude. So, when I quit making excuses, and signed up for NANO, and RSVP'd for my meet-up, and told my family that I was getting back up, brushing myself off, and going for it again, this time with all the self discipline and resolve that I could muster, I realized that I was not only making a promise to self, but to others. A sense of accountability rose within me. I would not only be disappointing myself, but I would be breaking promises to others who believe in me.

I am a writer. Writers write. It's as simple as that. Happy Birthday to me!


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ready... Set... WRITE!

Okay, for those of us who are participating in NANO, today was the big day. I hope that you were able to start off with a "BANG!" I'm sitting at 1008 words so far. I'm not finished for the day, just taking a little break. I wanted to update the word ticker on the NANO site, but I can't seem to sign in. I guess there's been an influx and the server can't handle it right now.

I'm really excited about this current WIP. I have a problem though. What is it? My "inner-editor" is creeping up. I feel her. She's standing over me with her librarian spectacles, waiting and watching for grammatical errors and what-not. She and my muse are at each other's throats today. My muse loves artistic abandon. She enjoys the free-spirited writing that I had promised to give her. However, "Lady Editor" came for an unexpected visit and is determined to make me abide by the rules of proper literary etiquette. I'm hopeful that this can be a peaceful venture. The jury is still out.

How about you? Do you find that you stop yourself in the midst of a flow and correct things that honestly, could stay put until a later revision? This is my first time attempting NANO. I really thought I could just sit and write without my perfectionistic ways dominating my creative process. I'm truly a both sides of the brain type of gal. I'm 49% left and 51% right, or is it vice-versa? Does it really matter? I'm basically 50/50. And I find that my artistic side and logical side often go to war over creative control. I guess I just have to have a talk with "Lady-Editor" and let her know that I'll call her when I need her services. Until then, I'm going to have to simply "court the muse" if I'm ever going to get through this thing called NANO.


Word count update: 2238

Friday, October 31, 2008

I'll Snag the Tag!

Okay, sweet cyber friend, Kelly Polark, put out the challenge for anyone who would like to snag it. What is the catch? Tell seven little known things about yourself. So, here it goes...

1. I was a cheerleading coach.
2. I was a child model and made commercials.
3. I use to pull the tails off of lizards so that I could watch them wiggle without a body. (Okay, I was only four!)
4. I still like to catch lizards when visiting family in Florida. (I don't pull their tails off anymore.)
5. I also like catching green garden snakes.
6. I love to play practical jokes.
7. I didn't meet my biological father until I was 25.

Anyone else game? Just leave a comment letting us know so that we can pop by and visit ya! Thanks, Kelly!

Okay... tomorrow is the BIG day. Those of us who are participating in NANO are gearing up for the great 50K word challenge that starts tomorrow and runs through midnight on November 30th. Good luck to us all!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


That was how it seemed to explode in my brain the other night, when the idea for my upcoming WIP rose to the forefront of my mind. I was sorta kinda freaking out about NANO. I was racking my gray matter to come up with something meaningful and hopefully fruitful for me as well. I normally don't have a problem coming up with ideas. I guess it was different this time because I was placing so much pressure on myself to materialize something worthwhile.

Anyhoo, I sprung up out of bed and ran into the family room where my dear hubby was watching late cable news. (I'm amazed I even made it out there as my vertigo had been really bad.) I was so excited! I just couldn't keep it in. I was afraid that I wouldn't sleep at all that night until I had emptied my thoughts out on the coffee table. The cool thing about it was that he was excited as well. We sat and talked about it, allowing more to formulate as we discussed all of the potential this story could have.

So, I guess I'm as ready for NANO as I can be at this point. I'm identifying my MC and fleshing her out. I'm researching, and thinking about the supporting cast. I'm excited, expectant, hopeful, and terrified. How 'bout you? Two days and counting...

NANO virgins... UNITE! (And those going at it, again.)


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hello... hello! I'm at a place called vertigo!

Well, I didn't have the flu, or strep. What did I have? A bad infection in both of my ears. So, now I get to hear the annoying sound of bees humming in my clogged ears and fuzzy head. I've been on antibiotics since Friday. But, I've yet to get my equilibrium back. It's not fun to veer sideways when walking in a hurry. Though, I do kinda dig the trippy-dizzy feeling when I get up or turn around too fast. Just kidding. However, I should be feeling stellar in just enough time to get nauseated about NaNoWriMo. Doesn't that just figure?

I think I had a moment of temp insanity when I signed up. November is a CRAZY month for me and my family. I'm the director for our Christmas play at church, and we have quite a lot to do in November to be ready for the play (sets, costuming, drama coaching, memorizing my lines, etc.). I'll also be out of town for the full week of Thanksgiving. (Visiting family in Florida, YAY!) And, my birthday is in November! (Shameless plug. Tee! Hee!) Seriously, don't I get a day of pouting about getting older? I know it's better than the alternative. But, still, it's unnerving and harder to except that I'm getting older. Especially when I feel as though I'm getting younger. It's all so confusing!

I know that I need this... NaNoWriMo, I mean. I'm honestly, very excited. I normally have a goal of 1000 words per day when I'm in full-on "manuscript mode." That is definitely going to have to be increased if I'm going to even come close to making the 50k-word goal.

Sometimes I find that I thrive under pressure. Are any of you like that? I'm good in crisis. I didn't say that I like crisis, but I can function well while in one. (Ooops! I forgot about the Christmas program for my students at the preschool that I direct. I haven't even chosen the songs or skits yet.) Well, there it is... another official crisis. *sigh*

Well, if any of you want to buddy-up for NaNo, I'm "CJRay" over there, just like on the "blue-boards." I'm still trying to figure out how the site works. I need to take some more time and play around with the functions.

Well, six days and counting...


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Uggggggh! I'm Totally Distracted By Shiny Objects!

Blame it on "medicine head," (I think I may have the flu. I'm running a temp and I hurt in my bones) or "ADD," (I don't have a diagnosis... I just use it as an excuse) or my attraction to whatever is going on around me today that doesn't have anything remotely to do with actual "writing." I can't seem to settle myself down and plot ANYTHING!

I did however, get into a huge political debate with a "cyber" friend in a particular ladies forum. I normally wouldn't "go there" with regard to politics, but, I just had to... you know how it is. You read all you can stomach until you're distended, and then you end up throwing up.(Please don't ask me where I stand or who I'm voting for. I won't answer that here.) Let's just say that I "posted away" a few hours today. And where has it gotten me? I'm not totally sure. Most likely shunned at worst and at arms-length at best. I hope not, because I dig her and the others. When did it all start? Last night after a glass of red. Uh oh...

Anyhoo, I might also be slowly gearing up for NaNo in my mind. Waiting... watching... the calm before the storm. The rest before the craziness. Whatever it is, these excuses sound really good. They make me feel justified.

I do have ideas though. Not lots, just some. But, I believe good non-the-less. How are your ideas coming along? I'm really going to begin carrying my little notebook around with me again. Do you guys do that? I was amazed at what I would be inspired to write. Things would seem to fly at me begging for voice. Love that!

And, I'm waiting until after NaNo to revise a completed manuscript that I have. One that I've put away for a while. Maybe I can breathe new life into it. I don't know. Maybe I didn't go with my gut instinct enough or write with total abandon. I have a hard time "letting go" and following the flow wherever it takes me. Maybe I'm too much of a control freak. Who knows?!

The passion is there. I just tend to play it way too safe.

10 days...


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Am I the Only One Who Misses "Miss Snark?"

Okay, I'll proudly admit that although she was the Simon Cowell of the literary world, this steeled-toe-stiletto-clad bearer of brusque brought a lot of sunshine to my cold and dreary writing days. I miss her! For all of her brutal honesty and her nasty little habit of serving up candor sprinkled with some "sassy" for good measure, I learned a lot from her. Who, pray tell, could ever take her place? No one, I'm afraid. That's great to a point, because who would ever imagine there could be two of Miss Snark? She had a gift, truly. It takes someone special to serve it up the way she did. A perfect blend of nasty and needful.

She wasn't hateful to everyone. That's what was so great! You would read through the comments on her posts just waiting for her to dump on perpetual stupidity. Okay, Okay, Okay, Ooooooooh... thats gotta hurt!

Oh how I wish she would return from time to time. Has any one read anything from her lately? Maybe, one day, we can coax her out of retirement just long enough to make us cry, for joy, of course.


Monday, October 20, 2008

I Am Writer, Read My Roar!

Well, I did it! I signed up for NaNoWriMo, and I don't know whether to be fired up or puke from anxiety. I'm totally excited about it, though. I know it will be the best thing for me in order to get "back in the saddle again" after nearly two years of toying with the idea of novel writing once more. I have really missed my previous writing disciplines and schedules. And, my life has changed quite a bit since I've completed my last manuscript. However, there is always opportunity to do what you want to do, if you really want to do it bad enough. So, I guess I'm gonna be writing like a crazed person on a deadline again because, I am. And, I hope that whatever comes of it, I will be more the writer that I knew I could be.

Many of my "Blue-Boarder" friends are signed up. So, it's nice to know that I'm in such good company. It's important to encourage anyone that you know who may be participating in this thing, as it can be quite daunting, at best. If you are one, let me know and we can encourage one another and "buddy-up."

I had the most remarkable thing happen to me the other day. Well, it didn't necessarily "happen" nor was it to "me," per se. But, it was special non-the-less. My youngest daughter, who is ten, began to write her first novel. Seriously! And, it's pretty darn good, too. Seriously! And, I'm not just saying this because I'm her mother. I was really shocked at the depth of her main character and her hook was amazing for such a young person. I'm so happy for her, and must say that I'm more than a bit proud as well. The most surprising thing about it all was that it happened naturally, without any prompting from "mom." She came up with everything on her own, and decided that this was something she wanted to really do, on her own.

She said that she loved to watch me write and always felt like it was something she'd like to do. Wow! I never saw it coming, honestly. But, I'm happy that it did. So, I guess that my temper tantrums followed by brief moments of insanity, whimpering at the sight of "e-jections," yelling at the computer, banging my head on the keyboard, and stalking the mail person like a mad-woman hasn't traumatized her too much.

Phew...that's good to know.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spinning My Wheels

Okay... today I'm simply "spinning my wheels," so to speak. I know what needs to get done in order to get the job done. However, I'm so stretched with "life" that I'm in serious need of getting it all together. If you are at all like me, you would be one who suffers from "tunnel vision." I focus so intently on one task that when I'm faced with multiple obligations and responsibilities, I grow terribly frustrated. I want to get it all done quick and fast, so that I can move on to what I really want to do. I feel as though I'm tripping over myself to get to myself. If that makes any sense at all.

I'm not giving myself the luxury to "hit and miss" anymore with regard to my writing goals. I know that, for me, I have to be reading and writing in order to fuel my creative spirit and tickle my muse. That usually means writing at least 1000 words per day and reading one or more books at a time (one on the craft of writing and one that inspires me or just plain makes me feel good). The reading has not been the problem... it has been the writing.

I've had a real struggle, lately, getting back to "me," and doing the things that I used to do to be productive. I've written zilch, nada, nothing of significance in my mind. I have it in me. I feel it bubbling under the surface. Maybe I'm taking it all too seriously, afraid to make a mistake. I'm waiting for the right idea, when I shouldn't be waiting at all. It was said by an unknown individual once, "The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn't write." So true. I've found myself there. Oh yeah... I'm there.

I've even contributed my own "quote" on this subject, "We can be so afraid of making a mistake that we don't make anything." I guess it is time to practice what I preach. I have to push through, once more (and I'm sure it won't be the last) to the place of productiveness. Write, anything... just keep writing!

With November being the official national novel writing month (NaNoWriMo), I'm feeling like maybe I should  jump on in and just do it! In case you're wondering what NaNoWriMo is, it's when those participating begin November 1st with the goal of writing a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight November 30th. I've wanted to do this for several years now.  I think I'm at a good place now, fresh with no earthly idea what my next work in progress will be. Will you join me? If you're interested, check it out at

Let me know if you're game!


Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Determination Factor

Determination, drive, decidedness, resolve, whatever the word we choose we must have it in substantive spades if we want to succeed at this thing called "writing." I've taken a few days since my last entry to reevaluate my passions and pursuits, not just in writing, but in my overall life. I had to do that in order for me to find where it is that writing fits in my life dynamic.

Being a wife, mother, teacher, preschool director, as well as assisting my husband in kid's ministry, and running my household, there has to be a "fit" for everything needful. Writing is a needful thing for me, as well of course as reading. And that my friends is where the disconnect has been for me as of late. 

Samuel Johnson once said, "The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book."

I found that as I stopped reading, I stopped growing. I stopped visualizing the dream. The "input" factors to my creative function began to run dry. My determination and drive began to fade. It's true. You may not believe that not reading can have such an effect on us in our writing, but it does and will. The passion to write, the resolve to grow and improve and keep on fire with rapture and enthusiasm for our craft is directly related to our input. We can't output without input.

So, I've picked up my old faithful "Writing the Breakout Novel," by Donald Maass as well as those novels that make me feel good and inspire me. Like Dodie Smith's, "I Capture the Castle." One of my all time faves.

Where do I find the time to read? I look for it everywhere. I have to. Instead of TV, I curl up in my bed with a book. While I'm sitting in my car in the parent pick-up line at my daughter's school, I read. Every chance I get. And, it's made all the difference for me. I no longer feel parched. I feel as though I've had a nice long cool drink of water.

It's amazing that we know what we know, but still make the choices that we do. I knew that when I allowed reading to take a back seat, my writing would suffer. It had to. It made it all the easier to walk away. No challenges. Life is always easier when we have no challenges. But, it's the challenges that create the character within us and the drive to succeed.

So, I guess I've said all of this to simply say, if you're struggling in your writing endeavors and you're not reading... READ!

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." - Mark Twain


Sunday, September 28, 2008

A New Focus

"Today is a new day." We've all heard that said before. But, for me it is. You see, I've begun a new, again. A few months back, I walked away from writing (for the third time) in a year and a half. 

I felt so incredibly guilty... such a loser. How could I walk away from a dream that has meant the world to me for so long? It was easy. That's the sad part. The fact that I found it so simple was a real eye opener for me. I came to a place of reevaluating my dream, and what may have brought me to such a place that I could just walk away.

Thanks to my awesome friends at the "blue-boards," I realized that I was not alone, and that I should never give up. Taking a break or a much needed time of respite, did not mean that I was a quitter. Others have gone through the same thing. Some of them, time and time again. I was just one of many. And the best part? They all had picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and were better for it.

So what? So, I hadn't finished my WIP that I had planned on completing three months ago, or revise my completed manuscript one more time. So, I hadn't queried in months. So, I hadn't blogged in a month and a half. Today was a new day.

For those of you faithful followers of my previous blog (, it is still there, but geared toward life and it's many generalities. This one is focused on my writing and all things related. It's a cathartic thing that I believe I need to regain my "mojo" and push forward. It is my "passion pill."


Must Reads

  • "A Long Fatal Love Chase" by Louisa May Alcott
  • "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell
  • "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith
  • "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo
  • "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier
  • "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing" by M.T. Anderson
  • "The Grace Awakening" by Charles Swindoll