Sunday Summations

Why is it that we're always learning? changing? discovering?

I think, in ten years, I've only figured out that nothing stays the same.

This makes branding myself a bit of an issue. If you're on my blog, you can see I made changes again. I've had a pretty 'cutest blog on the block' design up for a while. I knew it didn't really suit my writing, but I was okay with that for now. Even if I write on the darker side, I'm still a girl. I like pink and flowers and snazzy designs.

But the rule of promotion says to "Brand" myself. Make sure people can recognize me no matter where I show up online. This isn't a writer's rule, either, btw. We all recognize certain ideas, logos, themes when it comes to businessess whether they are online or off line.

This past week, I started messing around with my facebook page and my blog and my twitter. It's different. Not permanent, perhaps. Eventually I'd like to have my own domain involved and an actual Bethanne Design created that really IS me. But that will cost money!! So, I'll make do until then...

I think part of my problem is that I get bored. I like the change. Probably part of the reason I've enjoyed sharing a life with my husband who has moved us several times in 15 years. I get on my blog a couple times a year and I start messing with it. changing font, changing design, changing my bio.

So, there it is, the new design. It's fun, different, darker, and winner of the Most Likely to Change award at the graduation banquet. ;)

Let's Summate! [I don't think that's a word, but I don't care]
{ I'm editing. } <--that's the nutshell, btw. ha! doesn't it kind of look like a walnut?

I've written a lot of novellas over the last couple of years. I remember when I hit that phase. I'd written a half dozen full length novels, and I think I was tired. No luck came from any of those submissions, so I decided to shake things up. I'd heard that writing short helps focus your writing. That when every word counts, I would need to make every word count!! So I started writing shorter stories, 30K.

Two years later, I'm ready to go back. I've learned alot in writing them. I HAVE improved my abilities [I think], but now I'm sitting here with comments like... "if you made this longer, you could develop the characters more and really give the reader a better feel for them. Invest the reader!" and "I'm sorry. I don't review novella length. It might be a great story, but I just don't read them. Too many times I find I'm wanting more."

For me, that's okay. I do have a novella length coming out in November. But it's a Christmas story, so I think it will do well. People are more likely to pick up a themed shorter story. I am, anyway!! Something to get me in the spirit. :D This also means that I've had to rethink a few stories I'm working on now--like I said, editing. I think it's time to open the gates--so to speak. Time to bring the shorter novels up a step. Really get into the characters' heads, find the kinks. Find what I was missing before.

And then I'll see. :)
I was going to write something new this fall.
I don't know how that is going to happen, but if all else fails, I think in December I will take a break from all this editing and write something new over the holidays...even if it is another Holiday Novella. ha!

Have a great week,
With Love

Woman of Faith...

Please come to the front office. Woman of Faith...your Father is here with your lunch.

That's kind of what I feel like right now. Embarrassed because all my classmates are looking at me funny, a few are snickering, and my good friends will say, I'm not laughing AT you, I'm laughing WITH you. I forgot my lunch. I would rather my father not have brought my lunch to school at all. How embarrassing! As I walk down the hall, he's standing there by the office door holding that brown bag up and waving it a little. As if I might not recognize the lunch I made this morning. Or as if I don't know I left it on the counter when I walked out the door. I quickly look behind me, to make sure no one is there, relieved when I find the hall empty.

I'm taking my writer's hat off...again. It's possible you think I'm crazy by now. Or perhaps you have stopped following my blog because it's too unpredictable!! If that's the case, you aren't reading this I move on. :D

I struggle with Christmas every year. Keeping this time of year joyful and peaceful has become a trial. First it was so easy when the kids were little. No one complained. No one had lists... every year, it gets a little tougher to hold onto the true meaning.

This year feels like a crisis. With a teenager and an almost teenager, there are times I feel like cancelling Christmas. I even thought of this great idea to encourage goodness and kindness by having the kids earn Christmas points throughout the year[next year]. Not a punishment where they would be taken away if they were bad. Just complete a reward system. Simple Acts of Kindness. Helping one another. We can do these things...and be naughty on occasion. So this seems the answer! My kids must EARN what I spend my hard-earned money on.

But then I hear someone say...Christmas is about giving. God gave us Christ. We didn't deserve Christ. Or deserve the sacrifice he made for us. We were already a broken race. Humans hurting humans. We did not have perfection. Our gift from God is life eternal. This is the true meaning of Christmas. This is why I will set aside all the ugly that keeps popping up. If we are to love as Christ loved, then we should be able to show love even when we want to rip people's heads off instead. Christmas can be [will be] peaceful because I do not have to worry about how good my kids have been. There is no list of naughty or nice. There is only Love. I love them.

In light of the tragedy in Newton, CT. I have so many thoughts on love, on children, on consequences. Sometimes, it's hard to realize that if my children were to leave this earth, they would not recognize that I love them. Punishment must come with the gentle hand of teaching and love. Love your children unconditionally. Do not let them think that they must earn your love by being good.

That lunch up there? It's Love. It's the eye-opening reminder that I am not perfect but my Father loves me anyway.

Now that I've Christianed all your asses...
Enjoy the coming weekend!
With Love,

Merry Christmas

This weekend I celebrate the birth of my Lord, Jesus Christ. I'll head to church and receive him in the Eucharist. I'll stay up late Saturday night, putting gifts around the tree, our reminder to each other that we should be more like God who gave us the greatest gift of all. With my own family around me, we'll make a cake and sing Happy Birthday.

I'm going to think of all the pain Jesus' mother, Mary, went through, bringing him into this world. In my quietest moment, I'm going to be proud of my Catholic Faith, the ONLY one that holds a woman in the highest regard above any other human being [except Jesus :D].

When I look at my children this year, I'm going to thank God for each and every blessing--Virginia, Matt, Thomas, Sean and Darla. That he called me to be a mother to them over anyone else and that they came from the Love [of God] that my husband and I share. No one can take that power from me. God's way is the most powerful presence in my life.

I pray for all mothers as I start the New Year that they will understand the POWER of motherhood. Even in the bible, the only person who could turn Jesus' head, the only person who could make him perform miracles before his appointed time was his Mother. Today [the day of Jesus' birth], in history, more than 2000 years ago, women were given the Power of the Almighty God.

That is something worth celebrating.
With Love,

PS See you after the New Year!

Tina Vaughn

Passionate Critter member Tina Vaughn is sharing a Christmas story with us on our blog. Today is Day one of our count down to Christmas.

Enjoy a short story.
Drink some coffee or cocoa.
Anything to pass the days until Christmas when we can finally celebrate the birth of Jesus.

wait, wait, wait. I've had five kids so I totally get the waiting game!

Your Stimulus Check

I had a good friend mention keeping our Christmas money "in the family." And it really hit me that I'm so guilty of buying crap just to fill some kind of quota. A Christmas quota, ya know? I have five kids and every kid gets at least two gifts from us... one of a necessary sort and the other something from their list. But, usually, I end up at Walmart buying CRAP. Well, that's the way it seems at times...

Then I got this email and it made me chuckle and think, YES. WE are going to do something different this year. I am going to buy American. NO matter what. That is my goal. Even if it means gift cards to restaurants....

Sometime this year, we taxpayers will again receive another 'Economic Stimulus' payment.
This is indeed a very exciting program, and I'll explain it by  using a Q & A format:
Q. What is an 'Economic Stimulus' payment ? 
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q.. Where will the government get this money ?
A. From taxpayers. 
Q. So the government is giving me back my own money ?
A. Only a smidgen of it.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment ?
A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a  high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China ?
A. Shut up.

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the U.S. economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:
* If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, the money will  go to China or Sri Lanka . 
* If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to the Arabs.
* If you purchase a computer, it will go to India , Taiwan or  China .
* If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
* If you buy an efficient car, it will go to Japan or Korea.
* If you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan.
* If you pay your credit cards off or buy stock, it will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.

Instead, keep the money in America by:
1) Spending it at yard sales, or
2) Going to ball games, or
3) Spending it on prostitutes, or
4) Beer or
5) Tattoos.
(These are the only American businesses still operating in the U.S. )

Go to a ball game with a tattooed prostitute that you met at a yard  sale and drink beer all day!
No need to thank me, I'm just glad I could be of help.

Hello Christmas

I see you peeking at me from around the corner.

I'm too smart for you...

You can't kill my joy...

So what if there are only FIVE more days left to go shopping?

So what if I don't have a menu put together?

Christmas will be wonderful because I'm with my family...and we don't need lots of presents or perfectly manipulated menus.

48,582 On the WIP. WHOOT!
951 a day to the NEW YEAR
Must get some more done.