Thursday, August 31, 2006

My Insurance BITES!

So after being ignored for a week by my "elder," I tried the switchboard to see if I could find somebody who could help me figure out the hoops I needed to jump through to get them to pay for my midwife.

The whole reason we've stuck with this group for this long is because they cover home birth. Except they no longer do. Because now we are a PPO. And the "in plan" providers don't do home birth. Even though this group has advocated home birth for years as a safer alternative.

So they made the exception for child number three (they weren't a PPO yet at two) and I wanted to talk to someone who could do it for me again. Except the woman who answered the phone and acted really helpful had to go to a "meeting" and transferred me to medusa-the-evil.

"So you are telling me there are no exceptions even though it will save you $4000.00?" (It really will be closer to five, but I was trying to subtract fast). She put me on hold and when she came back (even more evil) told me that if I got a certified letter from every "in network provider" within a 25 mile radius that stated that they didn't perform home birth, they would allow the exception.


Do you know how much money I would have to spend to get that many certified letters? And do you really think that I can get that many people to write the letter for me, the stranger who called, in their busy, hospital birthing schedule?

And then she proceeded to try to educate me about midwives and homebirth (as if I haven't done it twice already and witnessed several others...I'm a trained doula for crying out loud!). She said the only reason that one would hire a midwife was if one planned to deliver at home, because that is what midwives do.

I don't know where medusa-the-evil is from, but around here women hire midwives to deliver at the hospital because they don't want the episiotomy. Good luck finding one that will actually take a chance with a homebirth. And God help you if you do because no insurance would actually cover a homebirth.

I tried the silent tactic, eventually hung up on her (because I was so mad that "goodbye" may have very well sounded like a curse), and broke my phone.

Yes, I did.

And then I lay on the floor and sobbed.

Guess what bill is due tomorrow. Guess who didn't pay it. They better work something out fast or I'll start naming names. And these are actually people who, in theory, care about their "Christian" reputation.

Emily should get a raise (if she did, in fact have a meeting and wasn't just putting me off to medusa because she doesn't like confrontation). Stephanie should be fired. The verdict is still out on my absent elder. For his sake, I hope he was just on vacation this week and forgot to post an "out-of-office" auto reply.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What to Wear, What to Wear?

So, regardless of the weight loss I think I mentioned a couple days ago my clothes no longer fit. I don't even try to hold in my tummy at the pool anymore. In fact I may even pooch it out. I want there to be no doubt.


And the thing is, most of my conference wear still technically fits. Meaning it basically covers my body and isn't uncomfortable. But when I look in the mirror, it begs the question, "pregnant? Or too much ice cream?"

Actually, probably both.

So I'm at that crazy point (second trimester starts in four days!) where I almost want to wear maternity clothes in order to answer the question. I even dug out a few things today to see if they would be appropriate for conference. But can you visualize it?

"Yes, I'm pregnant and trying to sell a novel about infertility."

I should be memorable, at least.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ah, the truth

Today, both my kids got their name on the board. Remember when that was a huge deal? I used to want to cry. I still kinda do.

I consider myself friends with their teacher so I try to get the inside scoop and then cross examine the defense on the drive home.

"Eldest....what happened today with (kid)?"
"Do I have to tell you?"
"Yes. But I'll make a deal with you. I promise there will be no discipline no matter what you tell me." (the teacher had already disciplined so I felt relatively safe saying that. Besides, she asked if I could figure out the truth because she knew someone was lying.)
"I punched (kid)."
"And what did (kid) do?"
"He punched me back." (see this would have been the point when he should have told my why he was justified in punching, but he didn't. He just gave the series of events. Truth serum couldn't have been better.)
"But, why did you punch him?"
"He poked me."
"With what? His finger? A stick?"
"A stick."
"So you said, 'hey!' and hauled off and punched him?"
"I didn't say anything, I just punched him."

And so went the third degree the rest of the car ride home. I feel like I got the truth (they were both in the wrong). I feel like I coached both kids on the more appropriate manner of dealing with the situation. I quizzed them all day.

"If such-and-such does (fill in the blank), what should you do?"

I think soon they will be rolling their eyes at me, but for now I'm just happy I can still weasel the truth out of them so I know what to coach on.

And I have nine more months of this. (I don't even want to talk about the remaining 12 years.)

I got this in the mail yesterday. It's pretty cute.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Chapter four hit the dust!

Ha, HA! I did it!

I have faced the enemy and she is me.

I brought out my first 20 pages and ripped them to shreds. I killed clauses that were poetic because they didn't advance the story. I dropped whole sub-plots because they were preachy and not necessary.

Feeling rather smug, considering the first 20 have been read a gazillion times and I massacred it I took on the next 20.

Slash and dash, entire chapters are 86'd.

There really is something to leaving something alone for six months. In the intervening six months since I last really, truly took a good look at my baby, my novel, I decided it was rot. Unworthy. Not worth the ink it would take to print it out and fix it. Certainly not worth the effort it would take to edit it enough to actually sell it.

But see, I had to. Deadlines, you know.

And you know what? My darlings didn't need to be there. That was for my learning pleasure. And shoot, I dunno if I have it in me to fix the rest of this puppy, but heck, I feel great that I can see enough value in it that I may even talk to a few people about it at conference next month.

So in the words of someone I don't know, but quoted by Stephen King in his "On Writing," (actually I always thought it was Mr. King's statement, but I keep hearing otherwise) "Murder Your Darlings" you'll be glad you did.

And for you non-writers out there....I know I mentioned Stephen King...I'm talking about words, phrases, entire chapters of prose that sound wonderful to you, but need to visit the recycle bin--not anything living. I promise.

I don't even like to kill spiders. Ew, ew, ew.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

All it took was a deadline.

I did it. I worked on my first 19 pages of my novel this weekend. I will take a gander at the next five and then send it in for the slash and dash. That should be the last thing I really have to put any mental wherewithal into until conference next month. A good thing, too, since I am so incredibly sleepy these days I almost can't stand in the shower long enough to shave.

Oh, and I feel great (besides the sleepies). Thanks for asking, Tess. BTW, have you read Arms of Deliverance yet? Wow. Great book.

I also wrote reviews I've been putting off. When I finally get around to writing them, I wonder why I put them off for so long.

I also started The Three Musketeers which I told my book club (in no uncertain terms) that I would not be participating in this month. I did, though, begin the abridged version. I have to say that sometimes the best way to read Dumas is in the abridged. I have no idea what I could possibly be missing out on. If you think you just hate classics, pick up the abridged sometime.

I think I hear my mom choking...

There are some things you can't abridge:
Gone With the Wind (Mitchell)
The Thorn Birds (McCullough)
North and South (Jakes)
Jane Austin (come on, really any of them)

See? I'm not opposed to long books, nor classics, but sometimes the TBR (To Be Read) pile is just too great to spend a fortnight on Dumas. (Maybe it is just the French classics that get to me?)

Sorry, Mom.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

It just goes to show

I am eleven weeks pregnant and I've lost five pounds. I've not thrown up (never allow myself to). I'm eating (because I'm always hungry). And, true, little sounds good, but that which does is potato chips and candy.

All that has changed is my coffee and Pepsi consumption. Less than one a week.

Let me point out that "coffee" to me includes lots of rich sugary creamer. Or a venti mocha frappuccino.

I know, I know, people have told me for years what soda does for the waistline, but frankly I was (and probably will be again) addicted.

But take it from a woman who ALWAYS gains from day one of pregnancy, this five pound weight loss is significant. Especially considering that my waist line, ahem, is no more.

Not sure what the weight is coming off.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Such a small thing

This morning I went to the grocery store at 9 AM, on a weekday with only one child. I couldn't believe how fast we got through. How easy it was. How no fits were thrown. Not even a why. At least not any annoying whys. He asked. I said no. That was that.

Wow. I have a feeling that this whole new world has opened to me. I may even become one of those mothers who wonders why mothers with more than one kid lose it at the grocery store.


I made multiple necessary phone calls. Very little disruption. Problem isn't resolved yet, but I've made headway.

Anyone know how to find a midwife that my insurance covers who also has a back-up OB?

Didn't think so.

And even though my house is not yet up to status quo, it is definitely improving. Improvement over the course of enough days and I may even be able to call it clean soon.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Anticlimactic Morning

After all my fretting over the first day of school, you'd think that I would be able to tell some heart warming/heart rending story, but mostly I just have tidbits.

First, I never got a chance to say goodbye, or hug or kiss because we got wrapped up in bureaucracy and my kids just stoically trampled off.

Princess wanted to know on the way home when tomorrow would be so that she could go back to school. (Not that she remembered that two hours later when she related all the reasons she never wanted to go back.)

Eldest said, "That was NOT fun, at all." But I think he was just being "cool."

And I realized that for all my anxiety over the first day of school I totally missed the idea that this is everyday for the next nine months.

That one was much harder for me to take than this initial separation. This was a LIFE-CHANGING decision. I'm glad I prayed about it.

And on another note, I'm thrilled to report that I got a copy of Siri Mitchell's The Cubicle Next Door in the mail today. I am so positively excited. Alas, I will no be writing 20 new pages for conference, I will just submit the usual.

I'm not a fiction writer. I'm a fiction reader. And that is okay. Okay? OKAY?

Okay, I am a fiction writer, but I am not a prolific fiction writer. And this just ain't my year. Anyhoo, I am a super huge fan of Siri's stuff, so of course, only 25 pages into this one, I highly recommend it. If you like chick lit. If you don't, go buy her Something Beyond the Sky.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


My babies start school tomorrow.

The uniforms are out. The supplies are packed and individually labeled. The snacks are planned. The outing with Frodo (to distract him from the fact that he is being left out) is arranged. The shoulders are tense. The stomach is roiling.

I know, many a parent comes to this moment. The moment where denial no longer works. Where one must face reality, that in 11 short hours my children, who have depended upon me for the last 6 years, will spend part of their day depending upon someone else.

(little teeny yahoo)

(choke sob)

And egads if I'm still not 100% sure of my decision.

My in-laws think public school.

My blood laws think homeschool.

My heart said private, Christian, where I know, love and trust the teacher (and she isn't me).

Man, I hope I'm right.

Meanwhile, what is everyone else doing tonight? Heaven knows I won't be sleeping.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I didn't mean to pick it up...

I have to say that I'm supposed to read and review a book about baby sleep (it is pretty good so far, really) and I didn't mean to pick up a novel. I have pages to write before conference for Heaven's sake. But...

I started Cindy Woodsmall's When the Heart Cries yesterday evening (after 8, because it had been calling to me for nearly 30 hours) and couldn't quit. Let's just say I was a less than effective mother today. And if my children will forgive me (and they seem apt to do so willingly) it will have been sooooooo worth it.

Whether you like Amish novels or not, this one is a keeper. I see awards on the horizion. Yeah, I admit that I'm a sucker for Beverly Lewis so if you hate her, well, maybe my recommendation won't cause you to rush right out and buy this book. But maybe you should anyway. Maybe this is what you need to read to re-evaluate Amish novels, hum?

It was so good.

Not traditionally Amish story-like, but enough so.

Not so much lets-create-a-bunch-of-false-conflict-to-keep-our-couple-apart, romance.

Lots of believable conflict, though.

And I'm sorry to say the ending wasn't particularly happy, but was quite satisfying. You can't just plunk a happy ending onto this story line.

Oh, I ached for Hannah.

And Cindy, I expect book two to come out, ahem, SOON. (Can I get my hands on the galleys?)

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Hey, if you need a Really Good Cry...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Oh, For the Love....

So I have this LOOMING deadline and I can't make myself work on it. I leave for conference in something like four weeks and I have NOTHING. Which I've mentioned, and I'm okay with, BUT I signed up for critiques and special sessions and I have to turn in my manuscript which I've since decided is un-salable. Which leaves me sending that for scrutiny (I feel like I should include a disclaimer that says "I know, won't sell.") or writing something new. Which I totally could do, except I just don't want to.

Not only that.

I can't get up the energy to blog, to review, to clean, ANYTHING. Even practically go to the pool.

I blame the baby.

Meanwhile, what do I do? Read. Just finished Brandilyn Collins "Violet Dawn" which was smashing, of course. And I promised I would not start anything else until I sent in my stuff.

What did I do this afternoon? Start a book.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My Five Minutes, And I Blow It

Yesterday I was interviewed for the news. I saw it coming. As I walked from the pet store to my van after shoe shopping with my kids the camera literally followed my path.

Yes, I'm vain, I noticed. Besides news cameras aren't prevalent in my neighborhood when there are no emergency vehicles around.

So the news lady wondered if I could comment on a bizarre story. Apparently the night before some dude exposed himself to a clerk at the store where I'd just purchased shoes. Did I have any comment?

"Well, it's pretty gross."

Yes, my friends, there is a reason that the people interviewed on the news seem stupid. You see they are handed precious little information and asked what they think. She wondered how it made me feel, and whether I was scared, frightened, or wouldn't shop at night....

I finally held my hand up to the camera (laughingly) and told her to stop, I didn't want to be another stupid person on the news (who hadn't taken a shower and was wearing ill fitting clothes due to my aformentioned condition).

What I would have said had I had time to think, shower and put on makeup:

"That is one sad, sick, little man."


"Only an idiot would think that would do anything for a woman, don't they know that doesn't turn us on?"


"Oh, I'm totally terrified, I will never shop here after dark again." (total lie, when would I go without kids?)


"Show yourself to me buddy and I'll probably laugh my head off. It isn't like my sons don't show that off all the time anyway. You must be about 3."

I turned the news on in a moment of weak narcissism. I turned it off quickly. Who wants to see themselves as a perfect idiot. I figure if I made it on the news someone would let me know.

Besides, surely they got a better quote than, "gross."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My So-Called Love Life

Okay, I know that Allie guest blogged and I pushed her novel, My So-Called Love Life, on August 1-3 (ish). But since then...

Last week I again found myself without kids (for the last time for, probably, two years!) so on Thursday I made my way over to Target (the best place I know of to find the Love Inspired line) to get Allie Pleiter's latest book. I got home at 5:44. I remember this because Hubs and I had made late-from-work plans. I was in the middle of another book (terrible stuff) and I knew that even though I should read that awful book, if I didn't start Allie's I'd make Hubs watch a movie. I get that way when I know I should do something and I don't wanna. So..... it being 5:44 I decided I would better serve my spouse to read a book I wanted to read than to rent a movie he wouldn't want to see.

Let me jut tell you I finished that book that night. By 11. And I took an hour off for dinner (around 8). It was so good. I even let Hubs go to bed without me. I never let him go to bed first. It messes up both our nights.

So, in case you didn't trust my judgment earlier this month when I just trusted Allie to put out something good, trust it now when I tell you it is her best yet. (And I think I've read all her stuff in print...).

And don't forget, it is only out this month, so don't procrastinate. Either Amazon it below or run out to your friendly Target ($3.74).

Friday, August 11, 2006

Conference is coming!

When I talk about going to "conference" I only mean one thing. Sometimes I refer to "conference" and someone will ask if I'm going to XXXXX. That is the next conference in the line-up ya know.


My annual pilgrimage away from all familial responsibilities, to rub shoulders with other writers, to come away excited, that usually is might near my birthday is the ACFW Conference.


But this year I will attend with quite a different spirit. It is rather bizarre. Last year I went armed. I had everything my little mind could conjure up to SELL MY BOOK. I went, I saw, I conquered.

Before my feet touched the ground in Nashville, I prepared like a maniac (I totally recommend this). I knew exactly with whom I wanted to talk. I knew little tidbits about their publishing houses, I knew which football teams and candy bars some of them preferred. I was ready. And I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish. I came home and sent proposals all over the country.

That isn't to say I sold the book.

This year has been tough on me. I got a lot of rejections. I got a lot of positive feedback. And I'm in the middle of self doubt.

Conference is less than six weeks away. Registration is about to close (so you'd better hurry and sign up). And I'm signed up for editor appointments, paid critiques, early bird session, all with the intent of perfecting and selling my manuscript.

But since I signed up, my focus has changed. I feel God is calling me in a different direction. Away from fiction. When it is like pulling teeth to re-work, or write another chapter, but I can blast out an article almost without thought, what does that say to you? Same number of words.

Regardless, I am very excited to go to conference, but this year I have a different purpose. I am going to build relationships. Instead of focusing so much on what an editor had to say to me, I am going to watch for someone who needs to share what an editor had to say to her. And I can't wait.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

If I came into money...

If I won a 200 million dollar lottery tonight, here are a few things I would do with it.

1. Make a huge donation to Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead
2. And insist that it buy water fountains by the playground/sandpit
3. And the tee-pees
4. And the fish pond/pedal tractors
5. And the butterfly garden
6. And the goat pens (yes, I was dehydrated last week)
7. I'd fund the crummy little city pool that my kids like so much so it could stay open
8. I'd fund my husband's entrepreneurial endeavors
9. I'd finally bring home a baby girl from another culture
10. There is this group that builds orphanages really economically
11. I'd do enough shoe boxes that Samaritan's Purse would let me help deliver
12. I'd sponsor more children through World Vision
13. Okay, yes, I'd pay off all the houses of my family.

And shoot, that'd about leave me at zero, doncha think?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What was your first hint?

I'd already read the bad reviews for "Barnyard" (in theatres everywhere) and seen the previews so I knew about the, ahem, anatomy anomaly. Frodo wants to know "why that cow have four peters?"

Okay so "cows" can have udders, but what's with all those guy bovine with udders? And even after people started coming back (previews, ya know) asking why "Otis" had udders, did they not even consider removing them? Was it a genuine mistake, or did they do it on purpose?

I have to say I was embarrassed for the bulls and the creators throughout the movie.

Which, incidentally I didn't see all of.

Because the film broke.

How many years has it been since a film broke on you? I didn't even know they used film anymore. And maybe they don't. But something certainly didn't work. And once they got it fixed (20 minutes later) they started the movie way into it (20 min perhaps?). And then it broke again. And once they got that fixed, we'd missed more of the movie.

And I don't feel like I missed enough to bother going back.

I think I'll use my "readmit" ticket to see something else. (They lady told me I could.)

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Book Meme!

I've been tagged by kpjara for this meme about books. I know you all know how utterly disappointed I am by this have to talk about books AGAIN.

Gasp. Poor me.

1. One book that changed your life: Siri Mitchell's Kissing Adrien. Yes, it is chick lit. Yes, that means it is fiction. But she totally allowed my mind to take the paradigm shift that it had been trying to take for a long time. It changed the way I approach clothing, food, "Christian snobbery..."

2. One book that you've read more than once: Hello? Gone With the Wind. Jane Eyre also, but only because I forgot that I'd read it and once I figured it out, couldn't remember how it ended. The entire Love Comes Softly series by Jeanette Oke. Several times.

3. One book that made you laugh: What A Girl Wants by Kristin Billerbeck. I married the engineer. Nothing like living the book to make the humor roll-off-the-couch-funny.

4. One book that made you cry: Deb Raney's Beneath a Southern Sky. I was so proud to make it all the way through the book without crying and then I hit the prologue. I SOBBED people. And when my husband came home I told him how I'd made it to the prologue without crying and then lost it. And when I told him why I sobbed again. And again the next day when I told my mom. Sniff.

5. One book that you wish had been written: Cookies on Sunday by yours truly. I was going to write it this year, but the year got away from me.

6. One book you are currently reading: Sisterchicks Take Flight. (It's a devotional.) And Giraffe of MontanaVol 2. (I'm just not getting it.)

7. One book you've been meaning to read: Hot Flashes and Cold Cream

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Well it wasn't a bean...

Tonight, as I was trying to charge out of the house to get to a meeting, Eldest came into the kitchen with a big, fat tear running down his face.

"M-o-m (cough), could you get this out of my nose?"

Oh, the dreaded small thing shoved up a nose issue, one in which I have no experience. I transferred my view from his eyes to his nostrils that I was wondering why he was pointing skyward. There in the back of his nose was a k'nex...connector?

"Freeze! Don't breathe! Let me get a tweezers." (Yes, I think I commanded him to not breathe. I meant through the nose. I saw my get-out-of-ER-free card, and I didn't want to waste it.)

It came right out. It helped that it was a tiny tube and therefore easily grabable (with tweezers).
I didn't laugh until it was out. He was embarrassed once I started laughing, so I tried to stop. I have no idea why it was in his nose, but I'm sure he learned his lesson.

Do ya suppose the other two were paying attention?

Friday, August 04, 2006

What Do You Get...

When you cross "morning sickness" with "flu bug?"


One you treat by eating, one by not eating. Thus my quandry.

If I'm still alive next week, I'll tell you all about it.

Never mind, you don't want to know.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Guest Blogger Allie Pleiter!

I tried to put up a photo of Allie's lovely face, but for some reason blogger won't post it. Anyway, here she is!

I got an e-mail last night from my enormously successful and powerful brother. He kidded me that his new au pair was more thrilled by the fact that he had an author for a sister than anything on his own high-powered resume.

I giggled for half an hour.

Sometimes it’s hard to explain how my brother and I emerged from the same womb. Only eleven months apart, no less. Our ONLY mutual characteristic is that we look alike. We are polar opposites in every other way. We fought constantly as kids. Now that we’re both adults—and more importantly now that we’re both parents—we get along much better. As our own parents have both died, we’ve now managed to see the value in each other—after all, we’re all we have left. We want our kids to know and like each other. We want our spouses to know and like each other. And, thankfully, they do.

I don’t think of myself as competitive with him, but my reaction to his email revealed that for the lie it was. As a matter of fact, my tiny slice of sibling superiority tickled me to death. It is not essential to my happiness that a teenage German girl finds me cooler than my power-broker brother. Still, I smirked all the next day.

The truth of the matter is that my brother and I have chosen vastly different paths in life. We can’t use the same measuring stick—we’re human apples and oranges. I’d venture he is as pleased with his life as I am with mine. I’d also venture he’d be as miserable in my life as I would be in his. His version of success is not mine, although on the outside most people (and most of our relatives, I bet), would call him the more successful. He looks powerful. He talks powerfully. People respect him, and not just because he’s well over 6 feet tall. He’s “the respectable one.”

Me, I’m “the artsy one.” 99% of the time I’m thrilled with that. I’m a multi-published author. I’m the mother of two amazing children. I can knit socks (socks, people! Those are hard!) and I work at my kitchen table with a 8.2 second commute (the walk from my bedroom to the coffeemaker). I’ve done things like walk a tightrope, roasted coffeebeans, learned the Chinese tea ceremony, spoken with actors, bought tiaras, and drove sports cars…all for my very cool “job.” I get letters from people thanking me for characters and stories I have pulled out of thin air.

But show up my big brother’s career with my own? Even to someone I haven’t even met yet? Sign me up!

In MY SO-CALLED LOVE LIFE, Lindy ultimately realizes that people love her for more than her voice. “Maggie is what I do, not who I am,” Lindy is fond of saying, not even realizing until the end of the book that she didn’t really believe it. It’s a trap we all fall into. Far too easily. And when we stay home to raise kids, or get laid off, or experience a career setback, often God will use that time to show us how valuable we are. No matter what our resume reads.

Today, as you read this, may you know that you are valuable: Priceless.

Jamie here: I am so excited to run out and buy this book! But it is Love Inspired, so that mean you have a limited time to grab it up. I have a lot of success finding them at Target, and of course you can link below and pick it up from Amazon. You all know how I love Allie so you know I wholeheartedly trust this one will be as great or better than the rest.

See more at her website