Thursday, February 17, 2011

"...It's the Other"

You know the saying, "If it's not one thing, it's the other."  The Army has it's own version.  "Everything breaks when your spouse deploys."  Hmmm.  Let's see if that holds true.  Nathan deployed July 24th.

August:  The loan Nathan and I took out finally closes (started the process in June 7) but they are trying to charge us $1000 in points when we specifically took the higher interest rate with NO POINTS.

September:  New paperwork for our loan, but there are three different sets of settlement statements presented to me at the signing.  You saw that correctly.  THREE.  Loan closes with an entirely different amount than any of the three from the signing.  Discover that the title company charged $450 more on the "final" settlement amount than on the "correct" settlement amount (of the three possibles) presented at closing.

October: Plumbing backs up, plumbers decide it's a collapsed pipe, dig up the front yard and break the water main into my house.

November:  Still fighting with the title company over their fees.  For the first time in my life, I engage the services of a lawyer.  He writes them a letter.  Their response?  They have to retrieve my records from storage.  Huh!  Weather turns cold, but the furnace has a mind of it's own and decides if and when it wants to work.

December:  Still fighting with the title company.  They can't find my records.  Roofing layer on my rental house sheers off in a Christmas Eve windstorm.  The wood is still there, but the stuff protecting it (and everything inside my house) from rain, snow, and sleet is gone.  It's Colorado.  In December.

January:  Still fighting with the title company, they were going to look into in and get back to me by "the end of the day."  After a month of nothing but a blue tarp covering my house, the roofers finally arrive.  Their "fix" leaves a shower of debris over THE ENTIRE TOP FLOOR of my house.  It costs me $200 to get it cleaned up because my insurance doesn't cover it (no actual damage to my property...just covered with filth), my landlord's insurance doesn't cover it because there is no structural damage, and the roofing company doesn't cover it because they aren't responsible for the interior of the house and they told me to lay down a tarp., they didn't tell me to tarp, and even if they did, how am I supposed to cover THE ENTIRE TOP FLOOR?

February:  Still fighting with the title company; they never got back to me, and so I'm now on to my second lawyer because the JAG officer can't actually go any further than write demand letters and follow up e-mails which, as you can see, have gotten us nowhere.  The plumbing backs up again.  This time the guy digging up the pipes running from the house to the street hits the gas main.  They also didn't turn my water back on so, tonight, while I'm supposed to be getting ready to leave on a big trip, I have no way to clean up the kitchen after days of trying to not do dishes until the plumbing cleared up, no way to do laundry, and no more sanity.

Do you think the Army would go for it if I requested my husband be allowed to come home early from his deployment because this house (and his wife) are not going to survive much longer?

Until next time,

Friday, February 11, 2011

No Words

Sometimes there are no words.

A precious young couple in our family lost their baby Tuesday night.  Three weeks from delivery, there is no explanation why the baby's heart suddenly stopped beating.  This morning she delivered their stillborn son.

What do you say?  What can you possibly say or do to ease that pain?

I tried to make a card which will honor their little boy who has flown to heaven.  Yes, we know he is safe in the arms of Jesus, but it still hurts to know he won't be resting in the arms of his parents here and now.

The bird is painted with pearl white Lumiere.  It looks harsh in the picture, but really adds a beautiful touch of angel dust.

The words have been "kissed" with Boutique Borders in Twilight over Heavenly Blue. I've also used Buttercup ink, ribbon, and paper.

I hope it brings comfort and conveys in a picture what words can never hope to express.

Until next time,

Monday, February 7, 2011

When You Give of Yourself

Are there people in your life who have given themselves to you?  These past few weeks have been full of that kind of giving for me.  Today, I want to say thank you to these women who are new in my life and becoming more precious daily:  Kim, Kayla, Karen, Heidi, Linda and Pam

And to the two women who have been my rocks for years, and who I pray will still be with me to my dying breath: my sister, Julie, and "my Nona"

Finally, to my mother and my daughter: Olga and Lyndell

These are my women.  Who are yours?

Until next time,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I Won! I Won! I Won!

Has God ever poured so much blessing over your life it filled you up and leaked out your eyes?

Today was the Peak Writing Conference here in Colorado Springs.  Our speaker, Karen Ball, agreed to do a fund raiser.  Anyone could enter a up to a 100 word paragraph and she would critique the first two chapters of their WIP (work in progress). 

I WON!!!

When they started reading the winning entry, I knew right away it was mine.  I raised my hands in the air like a referee signaling a touchdown.  And then, it took me five minutes to stop shaking.  Here's my winning entry:

Bella Ingersol counted ceiling tiles wondering who her lawyers would sue for this. Halston? The tiger trainer? The African government? Hitler?

Could she sue a dead man?

She touched the gauze strips taped to her neck and wrapped around her head. She ought to find a mirror, but Arty forbade it. Before her transfer from ICU, he authorized a private wing for her use and had all mirrors removed.

If she stepped close to the windows or off her wing, pictures would be splashed across every news channel within an hour.

Not exactly how she wanted to find out.

The funny part about this is I write mostly historical fiction, but when I took my contest entries to my critiquing group, the openings of two contemporary novels are what they thought worked best.  This threw me into a bit of an author identity crisis...which sent me to my friends house for a chat...which led to me getting a spot at the writing conference at the end of this month where I get to show my novel to two more editors.
If I ever get a chance to catch my breath, I will use every last bit of oxygen to praise my God.
Until next time,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

When Dream Becomes (more of) a Reality

For many, many years, I dreamed of writing a novel which would actually be catalogued by the Library of Congress and published without me having to pay for it.  At the end of this month, I am heading to a writer's conference with 20 "real authors" and two "real editors" where I will have the chance to present my current WIP (that's "work in progress" for all you non-writer types..ahem. I'll bring my nose back down from the snooty position now.)

This opportunity is a direct result of moving to Colorado Springs, getting involved with a Chaplain Spouses group, opening my mouth to say, "I'm working on a novel" (which is a pretty scary thing to admit outside the walls of my shower), and then jumping in with both feet.  God is blessing me with friends to guide and cheer me on, critics to lovingly say, "This whole thing isn't going to work here," and the freedom to run off for weeks at a time to attend conferences.

For twenty-six years, this dream has been on hold while I focused on raising my children and caring for my in-laws.  It never went away.  I continued to write novels which will likely never see anything but the inside of my laptop, but I kept writing...and dreaming.  I even made "writing for publication" one of my goals when I started this blog a year ago.  It was the first step.  The first time I let my passion to write outside the confines of my basement.  I have no regrets about using all my time and talent to raise my kids.  They are incredible human beings.  But I do wonder what would have happened if I let my heart's desire breath a little during those years.

I have no idea where this will end.  But what a ride!  And what an incredible God I serve...the giver of every good gift!

Until next time,

P.S.  One of those new friends took the profile picture now gracing this blog.  It will be used for my "author" business cards.  Tee Hee!!