Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Different Kind of Christmas Poem

A friend sent me an email from a soldier in Iraq. Please say a prayer for our brave souls across the sea, far away from loved ones and standing tall to keep us safe.

Subject: A different Christmas poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light.
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me."

"My Gramps died at 'Pearl' on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am."

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile."
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
It is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

PLEASE, Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum , Iraq

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why wait?

Some of my crit partners were recently talking about being unhappy with their weight, right here before the holidays when we all seem to gain. So we decided...why wait until the new year to start dieting? I'll let you know if I can stick with it this time...Hubby comes home in April and I'd love to surprise him.

I've always heard that a support system helps. It's all about the encouragement, support and...accountability. So why not? It's helped me with my writing. Of course I'd love to go to the extreme and lose a bunch really fast, but I want to keep it off this time. It needs to be a lifestyle change. I don't really eat bad all the time...but I had gained so much weight for various reasons...heart problems and pregnancy...that even when I eat well it's not making a difference. I think if I can be better with my food choices AND exercise regularly, maybe it'll work this time.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving's that time again...for giving thanks. I won't get mushy and say all of the things in my heart. But I am truly blessed. I have a loving, wonderful and supportive group of family and friends and I try to thank God everyday for blessing me.

Things don't always seem to be true blessings but I really believe that things happens for a reason. God didn't promise it would be easy. Hubby is working in a war zone...key words ~ he's working. My writing hasn't exploded and editors aren't burning up the phone lines or mail routes with contracts ~ but they're not filing protective orders against me nor have they said "You suck. Go away!" So it's still a workable dream.

I won't have a huge celebration this year...but my family is healthy, happy and safe. Most of them anyways. But as much as I miss having my chaotic household full with dysfunction...I'm kinda looking forward to a quiet, laid-back day for once. The huge family dinners are well worth it when everyone's gone and the house is finally clean, but now I can sit back and relax.

And appreciate what I'm missing. God Bless you and yours. Have a happy, safe holiday!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Prayers Please!

Recently a friend blogged that a fellow writer has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Kristy Dykes is an award winning, best-selling Christian fiction author and has recently been diagnosed with an aggressive, malignant brain tumor.

Please read through her blog...with a box of tissues...Kristy, her husband and family are in my prayers!!! May God lift you ~ Kristy, Milton and family~ up with His healing hands and surround you with strength, peace and comfort.

Monday, November 12, 2007

What Makes a Hero?

What or who do you think of when you think of a hero?

I could be sappy and husband. He's not military, but he's working smack in the middle of a war zone. Why? So his family can have a better future. Not necessarily better in material things because the money is so good, but better...easier. One of the only things we've fought about in our money and how to pay bills at the end of a pay groceries when you're bank account is almost at a zero balance. How to put gas in the truck just to get to work. Do you know there are people having to pawn televisions and wedding rings to put gas in their cars...while the oil companies post record, billion dollar profits? So many families are just one paycheck from being homeless. So, for my husband to want to be away from his family, friends and home and work in a war torn country...he's my hero.

As writers alot of us are constantly seeking tips and ideas to make us better writers. This morning as I opened my internet browser an article caught my eye...check it out. It's an interesting story.

AP Story...What Makes a Hero?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Balancing Dialogue

Ann Roth is a wonderful Harlequin American Romance author whose website has some great writing tips and articles for writers. I was glancing around trying to figure out if a second ms I have could be considered for another eHQ pitch contest...and I found an article by Ms. Roth about balancing dialogue and pacing. Click on her name above because I've added a link to the article...very interesting!

Hope you guys are having a great weekend!!

NaNo... first ms was a NaNo. It had potential. But the editor I'm targeting said it was too ambitious. Sooooo. I signed up for eHQ NaNo so it's not really official but I can push myself to rework the first ms instead of moving on. Hopefully it's not dead and I'm beating myself senseless trying to make it work. It's like I'm on a charging horse that won't pull back or stop when I yank on the reins.

So girls...I'm working and will get back into the swing of things. At least I'm not the only one struggling though. We need to just find our mojo girls and make it shine!

Have a wonderful weekend!! You guys have to check out my friend Chicki's blog...she kills me! It'll definitely make your day. Enjoy. Chicki Brown

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sleepless in Oklahoma

Who knew I could miss snoring. About the time I get used to hubby snoring's time to go. Now I can't sleep. Ugh. He's on a flight to Dubai as we speak and it usually takes me a couple of days to feel somewhat safe. The hard part of the trip is going through Baghdad. His buddy that's over there with him is already back, safe on base. But his wife called to warn us...someone stole the money out of his wallet when he was taking a shower while processing through Baghdad. What's wrong with people...

I haven't been able to write much lately. I've got the itch though. I'm soooo ready to get immersed back into my story and rework the sub-plot. I read today, trying to keep my mind occupied and ended up dissecting the secondary characters, back-story and sub-plot. Hopefully since I'm basically starting over I can try to focus on doing a better job at layering.

Hope everyone has been well and writing!

Sunday, November 04, 2007


That's what I got done this weekend with my WIP. But we had two birthday parties and a cook-out for hubby. He leaves Wednesday so the next couple of days will be spent cramming as much time together as we can.

One of my wonderful crit partners, Jennifer Shirk has sold her first book!! Congrats girl!! Can't wait to buy your book. Just the first of many.

On another note...we've been hearing alot about the movie The Golden Compass and the leading actress, Nicole Kidman. Well, after hearing the backstory about the athiest author and his intentions, we decided to boycott the movie and actors supporting the film. We took little man to see The Bee Movie and saw previews for the other film...Sam Elliott.

One of my favorite cowboy actors is Sam Elliott. And he's in the movie. How can I be so mad at Nilcole Kidman...and disappointed in him ~ not mad. But he is also supporting an author with the intention of targeting our children with his anti-religion beliefs. The bad thing is the movie looked beautifully crafted. It would be so easy for us to get sucked in. But now that I know the history and meaning behind it...I noticed much more than I ever would have. Lesson learned...

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cowgirl Up!

Thank you so much for your hugs and encouragement! I'll email the editor to make sure it's ok to resubmit and will rework the story without the sub-plot. At least I'm not sick of the ms and it will almost seem like a new book. Hopefully I can use most of the big scenes without a major overhaul. Ha. Like I think it'll be easy or something! I think I'll try it as my NaNo story...

But something else is on my mind. I've received several emails from caring friends and it's also being circulated around school..."The Golden Compass" is a new movie soon to be released that is geared towards our children, and is based on a trilogy of books written by an author who wants to promote anti-religion and is an athiest. His idea is to hook our kids into the storyline by dumbing down and watering the first book so the kids will want more. Even want to buy the the third one I've heard that Adam and Eve type characters kill God. I refuse to buy the book or do anything to promote this type of verbal vomit.

What amazes me the most...Nicole Kidman is the star actress. She is also a parent. Surely in her position, her publicist has warned her of the potential liability. I liked some of the things she has done. But I will no longer waste anymore of our hard-earned money to reward her for promoting her beliefs and promotion of the evil and deceiptful anti-religion garbage. Here is part of one of the emails I've recieved:

Children's Leaders,

Our children are in danger of seeing this movie. You MUST warn your parents about this movie due to be released December 7th 2007. "The Golden Compass" is a movie that tells children each one of them must have a DEMON (They spell it Daemon)! If they don't there is something seriously wrong with them. Go directly to the movies website and follow the link to "daemons". These daemons are fashioned into cute little animal characters that will be in stores ready for parents to purchase for Christmas gifts. Get the warning out to your parents as soon as possible. I know you will once you watch the explanation of "daemons" from the movies own website.

More information about the movie and the book's author,

Information below taken from the Catholic League website

Catholic League president Bill Donohue discussed the league's reaction to the upcoming movie, "The Golden Compass":
"New Line Cinema and Scholastic Entertainment have paired to produce 'The Golden Compass,' a children's fantasy that is based on the first book of a trilogy by militant English atheist Philip Pullman. The trilogy, His Dark Materials, was written to promote atheism and denigrate Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism. The target audience is children and adolescents. Each book becomes progressively more aggressive in its denigration of Christianity and promotion of atheism: The Subtle Knife is more provocative than The Golden Compass and The Amber Spyglass is the most in-your-face assault on Christian sensibilities of the three volumes.
"Atheism for kids. That is what Philip Pullman sells. It is his hope that 'The Golden Compass,' which stars Nicole Kidman and opens December 7, will entice parents to buy his trilogy as a Christmas gift. It is our hope that the film fails to meet box office expectations and that his books attract few buyers. We are doing much more than hoping—we are conducting a nationwide two-month protest of Pullman's work and the film. To that end, we have prepared a booklet, 'The Golden Compass : Agenda Unmasked,' that tears the mask off the movie.
"It is not our position that the movie will strike Christian parents as troubling. Then why the protest? Even though the film is based on the least offensive of the three books, and even though it is clear that the producers are watering down the most despicable elements—so as to make money and not anger Christians—the fact remains that the movie is bait for the books. To be specific, if unsuspecting Christian parents take their children to see the movie, they may very well find it engaging and then buy Pullman's books for Christmas. That's the problem.
"We are fighting a deceitful stealth campaign on the part of the film's producers. Our goal is to educate Christians so that they know exactly what the film's pernicious agenda really is."
Together we can stand against this attack from Satan to destroy children.
Gay Wall
Children's Director
Georgia Ministry and Resource Center