Sunday, November 30, 2014

Final Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

I thought about including these thoughts in another post, but honestly, I thought it deserved its own write-up, because for me this was a very big deal. I didn't want to bury it somewhere that it would seem insignificant.

I may have mentioned when I first started NaNoWriMo, that I was planning to go all rebel on you, and write a nonfiction autobiographical account of my last several years. I wrote about 7,000 words before I realized, hey, I can turn this into a novel. This post (how to turn your life into a novel) was sort of helpful in that regard, but mostly, I just relied on my sense of humor and spry writing skills of joy.

If you read Chris Baty's history of NaNoWriMo, you know that this is serious business! I wasn't sure what to think. I had heard of it for a few years from my friend Sarah, who has participated in the past. She was a much-smarter, violin-playing genius who lived next to me at Covenant, so I figured, "there is no way I am in the same camp as Sarah," when I started to consider writing a 50,000 word book at the end of October. Yes, it was the end of October. Yes, I got on the bandwagon at the last minute, and I somehow still managed to get my name in our local Pulse. (Read all about it!)

I first realized NaNoWriMo was a really cool, real thing when I went to the meet-up at a local coffee shop in town. I met the Municipal Liaison Shannon and we hit it off really well. She is extremely good at keeping the boonies-people out of the Chattanooga group, so for that we are all thankful. ;) Shout out

I had two problems at the beginning. First, I had already written 7,000 words. That's against the rules. Second, I didn't know how to write a novel. I had to scrap the 7,000 words of nonfiction and start fresh on November 1st.

As you can see, keeping up with the daily word count was, for me, a serious challenge. While I was reading updates like "passed my daily goal by 10,000 words today" from some of my fellow NaNoWriMo participants, I would look at my little graph and think.... oh my goodness, I am so behind!  They kept telling me that at the rate I was going, I would finish sometime around mid-September of 2022. Finally around day 22 or 23, or the third weekend of the month, I had a lot of time to work on it. It was the weekend, two of our kids were at Grammy's house, and I pushed myself really hard and drank a BUNCH of coffee. You can see on my graph- my word count shot up from 29,246 to 35,171 words in one day, basically almost to the target for that day... which, for me, was a very big deal. I kept showing Stephen on the laptop. "Look! See?! WooHoo!!!! I can't believe I'm doing this! Jealous of myself!!"

Finding writing time was its own challenge. As a full-time Mom, I can't necessarily buckle down and do serious work during the day. So I started waking up at 5:15 every morning. By the third week, it was really starting to wear on me, and by the end of the day I was soooo tired, I was about to pass out after dinner. But I still felt like I was getting somewhere with my plot, I was getting to know and beginning to enjoy my characters, and I kept encountering my protagonist in random people I met throughout the day. Basically, all I can say is: I felt inspired. That's the only reason I kept on writing.

I listened to this music during the entirety of writing my novel.

I wasn't sure how I was going to finish, what with Thanksgiving on the horizon and the positive feeling I had that I would be too busy those last few days of November. Throughout the entire process, energy for the novel came out of nowhere. One day, maybe the second Saturday of the month, Stephen was watching the kids so I kept bounding up the stairs, two at a time to quickly jot down my ideas. Near the end of the month I started dreaming about my novel, and having ideas for the next scenes in my dreams. I told you it was inspired, in a way! After we got back from our trip, I had a huge burst of inspiration and wrote another 2,000 on Friday night to catch up a bit.

The last two days I buckled up and hung on for the ride, and pushed to keep going. I kept going to back to read over it and I was wasting time. I kept editing the first part over and over again. I had to open another document in Google docs, because I was pressed for time, and the first document was too long to edit. I wrote another 1,500 words, edited a little, and here we are.  I'm a novel writer. I'm a novel writing beast.
this image has never been used before

The process of writing a novel has been eye-opening.   This experience made me a more conscientious writer, and it has really improved my endurance levels. I've never written anything like this before. Perhaps a few short stories along the way, but that's it.  I think it could lead to other opportunities in the future. I definitely want to keep writing for RH- nothing is changing on that front! But coming up with a plot and keeping up with this story has been a wild ride. 
All done!

I wouldn't say my novel is amazing, submittable material, but if it were pared down to say, a novella, I would be proud-ish.   I always wondered how novelists are able to edit such lengthy books, and I think the answer is that after working on it for so long, you start to discover that you have memorized it! You know where all the conversations are, and you know where they lead, and you can snap back 100 pages in time and immediately know where your protagonist went on a trip with her friend to New York City to visit a photographer friend of theirs and got stuck in NYC traffic on the way to an art show.  You know because it took you six hours to write that part.
But, even still I made it:
Facebook Profile

Everyone should participate next year! It's fun. Start thinking about what you'll write now-- but don't start writing it! That's against the rules... obviously.  ;-)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekly Minutiae Part Two, Vol. 1

So, if you've ever read my blog in the past, you know that I used to have this really fun feature, called "Weekly Minutiae" (pronounced *mi-noo-shuh* for all intents and purposes, although their are probably multiple ways to spell and pronounce it--if so, forgive my ignorance). So now, the two Bob's are wondering:

Well... guess what?! It's your lucky day! This feature Weekly Minutiae (say that five times fast) is coming back! Maybe not with a vengeance, because my brain will get fried, but, we can just see how it goes. Maybe take it a week at a time, you know?

I have to take this opportunity to say that my friends are awesome.  Right now I am especially thankful for my IRL friends. I have awesome friends. I'm blown away by their kindness. Popularity may not be the name of my game, (shoutout to the private fb page gals from church in particular- you know who you are!) but my friends make my life so much better.

And so, you are asking: What exactly is Weekly Minutiae? As it says on my About page, it is not a reveal-all- only you can decide how much or little is your style- but the official definition is:

" updates, funny things they say, photo dumps, and the like."

Mainly, this is a 'blogging is fun' deal. A weekly recap, with pictures and funny things people and kids say, and all of the fun trivia in between.  I'll try to keep it interesting!

So. Let's do this.  I'm just going to tell you a little bit about this past week. :)~

If you know anything about me, you know that I love the Dollar Store. I let the kids pick out one dollar-item each. They usually pick out little things, like a package of balloons or lip gloss. Anders likes the little tiny cars.  Even though I'm not a fan of filling my home with junk, for the record, they usually play with whatever toy or item they pick out for the rest of the day.  And, it's just a fun weekly outing. We still go every Friday. So, win! The Honda van, not the Nissan, is our car. Just checking to make sure we're all still awake here. :)

The girls really wanted to make play-doh after Molly got back from school one day.  For each of them, it meant something entirely different. For Molly, it was a chance to practice "cooking"- she added all kinds of extra ingredients. For Frances, it was her chance to practice making a little bowl. She recently made one at her one-day-a-week Storytime. For Madeleine, it was all about making snowmen.

It is so satisfying to work on a project and see it come to completion/fruition. For me, this was the Becky Higgins scrapbook I've been working on for over a year. The thing I absolutely love about Becky Higgins {* in my neck of the woods, it is found at Michael's 
and Hobby Lobby, and I know Amazon carries it} is that, unlike Creative Memories, they really do the work for you.  You don't have to use a million thousand stickers, or think up a million thousand catch phrases. That's all there for you already.

Here is a sample page. If you are a vacation-type you'll love Becky Higgins. The heart of the matter is, I do I like how it turned out. However, the jury is still out on whether I will do this next year. For one thing, the scrapbook itself is honking huge. Secondly, as you can see, the photos aren't all able to face the same direction. When you're really reading the whole thing, all at once, it can be hard because you have to stop to consider and stuff.  Sarah Kerner does a much better job with this.

Here is another example page.  Again, notice the upper right picture is facing a different way. I was trying to put all of the photos from a particular event here, so I wanted to include it even though it didn't seem to fit perfectly. Clearly I'm a beginner! However and even still, there is so much to love about it.  I think next go round I will get the small size scrapbook, and hopefully it will go better.

The girls were learning how to take turns using the sprayer. They need a lot of practice with sharing, but they are getting so much better. Washing dishes is always an occasion for sharing practice.

Madeleine sometimes takes her naps on our bed. She is a silly little monkey.   She often plays iPad or iPhone games until she falls asleep. It works and is Mother-approved-- as long as she hasn't already had too much screen time for the day.  If she has, a book on CD or a calm CD can work wonders. I usually find her fast asleep after a few minutes.
Stephen got me a new hat for our Anniversary. I like the button. It makes me feel hip. And just so ya know, I don't love this picture of me. I have another one, and my husband Stephen said I look terrific in it, but I hate that picture. bleh. So this one it is.

You guys, I'm so excited about this new feature! Yay/Woohoo/Insert excited face here. Stay with me!
And I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving.  I'm thankful for time to write, the blogosphere and all of the awesome people in it. I'm very thankful for my kids who keep me on my feet and running every day, good books, spicy tea, and all of the quirky little things in life. Like chocolate. Definitely thankful for chocolate.

Thanks for visiting!  My fun news is that this is going to hopefully become a link-up - someday, someday maybe! Maybe even in the near future. I'm thinking in the new year if all goes well. We shall see. It completely depends on how long it takes me to figure how to do all the things. Please consider linking up in the future, if you have a blog!

Check back for links to my articles at RH.
See my about page for more information.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Molly's Celebration of Life

I'm so thankful for Molly!

Molly was born at a hospital in Annapolis, Maryland.  Annapolis is right by the water and it is famous for having lots of sailboats.  Molly was born there, on a very cold day in January. She lived in Annapolis for the first four years of her life, Molly also lived in Washington D.C. for about a year.  She always returned to Tennessee for Christmas and Summer holiday!

Age 0-1

When Molly was six weeks old, she laughed when we did a boop on her nose game! She had never laughed until then! We were glad we discovered that game. When she was a baby, she always wiggled like she wanted to squirm right out of my arms. When she was 4.5 months old, she took a taste of solid food for the first time. When she was five months old, she tried peaches, but found them too sour!    She started rolling over when she was five months old, and a few days before her 1st birthday, Molly took her first steps.

We had a fun celebration for her first birthday, with lots of friends in attendance.

Age 1-2

When Molly was 1 1/2, she was a fairy princess for Halloween! That year, she loved to feed the ducks and visit the Art Museum with Mommy and Daddy. We came to Tennessee to celebrate for Christmas, and she got a Winnie-the-Pooh bear from Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas. Her Grammy and Gramps gave her a pink Honey bear. She watched The Nutcracker and loved it! She ran to her room yelling "tutu!" and we had to get out the pink and purple tutu that Grammy made for her. She wanted to practice her ballet!

Age 2-3

When Molly was 2, We took a trip to see her Grandparents, and we went to see the penguins at the aquarium.  At this age, Molly loved to talk, she was comical and always cracked us up. One time, we took her out shopping, and she saw a picture of yoda.  She said, "That's a bad pig." Haha!

When she was 2 1/2, she became a big sister to her sister, Frances.  Soon after that was Halloween, and Molly was a monkey! One time, she ate a lemon, and although she found it too sour, she actually ate the whole thing!(Here is a picture of when Frances was a baby). That Spring, her cousins Luke and Lucy came to visit her and we went to see the mouments and the Natural History museum in Washington D.C. with them!

We tease Stephen about buying gifts that are not age-appropriate. He bought Molly a tennis racket when she was 2 and a jumprope when she was 3. Poor girl has to pretend she knows how to use them!

Molly was making a mess pulling clothes out of a box. I asked her what she was doing.
"I'm making a house! But you're too big to fit in it."

She says, "I remember cherry-or-chik'n with Sonora."
I said, "You remember going to chik-fil-a with Sonora?"
Stephen, "She's saying trick-or-treating!"


Age 3-4

When Molly was 3, she went to Pre-school. You might not remember this, Molly, but you loved your teacher Ms. Mary!  You always looked forward to seeing her.  We came to Chattanooga again, this time to stay at her Grandma's lake cottage that summer. Grandma and Grandpa taught Molly how to yodel! They also taught her many other songs, that she loves! She knows "Jesus tender shepherd, hear me. Bless thy little lamb tonight. In the darkness, be thou near me, keep me safe till morning light." Grandma always got Molly to paint with watercolors! It was their favorite thing to do together.

Age 4-5
Molly holding Baby Madeleine!
When Molly was 4, she became a big sister again to her little sister, Madeleine. Molly said something funny when Madeleine was little. We asked, "Do you have any prayer requests, Molly?" And she said, "Pray that Madeleine would grow some hair! We lived in D.C. at the time, and in the winter, we got lots of snow, and in the summer, an icecream truck would visit our street. Molly said, "I got ice cream truck on my knee!
Several years, Molly has had the chance to go to Marannook, a camp in Lafayette Alabama to see her Great Uncle Charles and Great Aunt Barbara for Thanksgiving. We have a wonderful tradition every year,  that some of the kids go down to decorate the field. My Uncle Charles always has spray paint on hand for this event. We paint a huge turkey in the middle of the field, with the words “Turkey Bowl” and the year on it, then decorate the endzones for the two teams- the “Turkeys” and the “Bowls.” While some paint the field, others go for a warm-up jog around the lake, or collect pine cones for the coming cozy months of winter by the fireplace.
She has always been very in love with horses!
Age 5-6
When she was 5, we moved to Chattanooga. She enrolled in a ballet class. Molly attended a Storytime program, where she learned letters and did beautiful crafts, and she attended Preschool 2 days a week.When she was 5 1/2, just two days before Kindergarten, her baby brother Anders was born. We love our family, our many traditions, and we have many happy memories of Molly growing up. She has been a wonderful big sister! She makes her sisters laugh all the time and gives them lots of activities and comes up with creative games for them, she likes to be the leader of the pack and likes to be helpful with babies, she loves horses and ponies and hopes to learn to ride them someday.

Mollyisms (the funniest things Molly has said and done)

Age 6
loved to say, "You are KIDDING me!"

Age 5

Age 4:

Molly, do you have any prayer requests?
"Pray that Madeleine would grow some hair!"

"Sometimes I pretend there's a little apartment building, and big people try to go in, and then they POP TINY and then they can fit." -Molly, after I drew a picture of a building.

Age 2:
Molly led her babysitter all the way to the Annapolis dock yesterday. Which is down the street, and around the corner- about a 10 minute walk.

She and Stephen were swinging on the playground, and suddenly the chains just came off the hooks and they were sitting on the ground. "I want to go home now," Molly said. I was worried that she wouldn't want to go to the playground for a while. But never fear, she found a new love with Daddy while I was getting my haircut today... the icecream truck ride outside Borders. Since she was a wee bit disobedient, (threw a fit) she didn't get to do the merry-go-round, so Grandma and Grammy- when you come for Baby Sister's arrival, Molly is already planning to take you to the mall so she can ride the merry-go-round. :)

Her favorite things to say are:
"last day"- yesterday, or sometime in the past.
"last morning"- meaning, before her nap, or yesterday, or sometime in the past. She often uses this phrase to refer to what she remembers before she slept.

And while we were skyping with Kira, she told Kira, "I'm drawing buffalopes!"

Madeleine's Celebration of Life

You were born at home.

You slept through the night at 6 months.

You loved scooting.

You love pulling up on the stairs.

You love talking gibberish. (Usually you grunt like an old man.)

You moved from Maryland to Chattanooga at 5 1/2 months old.

I can't wait to see you walk and talk.

You are sweet, sweet.

Thank you sweet girl for coming here and being a part of our life.

You leave us changed, in a good way.

happy 10 months, Sunshine! :)

This gal is really alert. I picked her up from her nursery class a few weeks ago, and her teacher said, "Did you know that your baby answers back? I asked her if she wanted to go outside, and she said, 'yeah.'"
And I said, "Yes, I did know that!" Because she has been doing it at home for a couple of weeks already! Ask her anything, and she recognizes it as a question, and will respond by nodding her head, and saying, "yeah!" We're still trying to get her to say Yes since that sounds more polite ;)
And ya know, the occasional 'No' might be a helpful part of her vocabulary.
I'm sure once she is two she'll have that down pat!!

Other things about Madeleine at 10 months:
-she likes pureed chicken and veggies
-she is down to 3 bottles a day, getting more from table food
-she is consistently a very good eater
-she is very similar in size/weight to what her older sister Molly was at this age
-she loves to eat yogurt, bread, fruit, and occasionally table food like steamed veggies cut up
-I think she has allergies b/c she has a perpetual runny nose- that plus teething makes for a lot of wiping
-she is a content younger sister- she loves her big sisters (except when Frances is trying to hug her)
-i think i've mentioned before that she is very observant. i love seeing her look all around at everything.
-she does not make it through mass, ever. we sat behind a very quiet baby this past Sunday and i was embarassed at how loud Madeleine was... Stephen took her out twice.
-i'm not surprised because none of our girls are quiet- ever. :)
Score for enthusiasm: 100%
Score for focus: 86%

Stephen and Molly, circa 2008! See any resemblance?!

She is SO SMART. Especially for a one year old. Seriously.  She can say, "Bye-bye," today she said, "Uh-oh, Daddy." She says Mama (Sometimes it comes out Mmmm-Dada), ta-ta for Thank you, "aaaah dun" for All Done.  She also shakes her head No and says, "Yah" and "Yeah" or "yeah-yeah" a lot for yes.  Daddy has been practicing vowels with her, and she says, "A- E- I" and then clicks her tongue for O and U! It is so so cute and funny. She can say "Hiiii!" usually when daddy gets home, and "Ni-Ni" for Night-Night. Today Stephen was convinced she said "birthday" and I'm pretty sure she said, "endurance. " :) She imitates all the time. Molly said, "I think she's saying , 'I'm a superhero.' ha, ha. ;)

She started standing all by herself a little after 11 months. She has taken up to three steps on her own. (Big girl- yay!!!! That was on Sunday).  So walking is JUST around the corner, I'm sure.  We're trying out the big girl tennies now!

We moved to Tennessee when she was six months old. It was quite an adjustment for all of us, not least for her. She quickly made friends with the workers in the nursery, and they have commented about how much she has changed and how smart she is to "answer back" when you ask her a question. :) Since moving she has also received lots of love and attention from grandparents on both sides!

She is a hilarious and good baby.  She loves squinching up her nose when she smiles (much like her Mama as a toddler), and she does a funny blinking thing for Daddy. She's very content for the most part.  She is a super-fun baby to have around!  She loves her big sisters, and they have both been helping her to learn how to walk! Which is very fun to see.  We're so glad to have you around, Madeleine!

I took Madeleine to the park today. While we waited on her sisters, we walked around, visited some shops, and shared an icecream cone.   She kept making a cute "sour" face every time I gave her a tiny bite of ice-cream- I think because it was cold. She was *very* good. She started saying "Mama" and standing on her own this weekend. She also said "banana" and "yuck" while drinking a bottle!

And here I am!

So I just had this thought-- why not go back to I still have the domain name, I will just have to erase the posts that make me appear immature! WIN! (Sorry, another inside joke!)

So here I am!

God bless your time here!!

30 Books in 2014

I made a resolution to read 30 books in a year. For a while, I used the Kindle app on my iPhone occasionally for reading easy e-books, easy re-reads, such as Anne of Green Gables, or other short books. That’s a great way to do it in a pinch, or if you’re multitasking (i.e. watching kids at a Mall Play area or waiting for the French Fries to fry...or burn;).I still can't believe 2014 is coming to an end so soon. Reading has been sorta a stop-and-start-type thing. You know, Mothering. It's a thing. But I did accomplish my goal, plus some. BTW-Today's post will be linked to Twitterature at Modern Mrs. Darcy. (see below!)

Yep…. I love real books.   

I finally figured out my husband’s iPad and used it for Kindle- I’ve read a handful of books on it.  Personally, I think it is good for ebooks, and I did read a few of those, but otherwise I’m a Real Book junkie.* I just adore allowing physical books to occupy space on a bookshelf. I love to see the titles of recent books and classic books all lined up together. Also, a really quick disclaimer: I did not adore each and every book I read, and if I could express it more gracefully, then I would... so for that, I am sorry. To see a list that includes what I read last year, click here (and here).

So sorry for the rambling! On to my list.... Here's what I read, etc.: (This might get sort of long- sorry!)

1. Cultivating Your Creative Life (Jan)

This is perfect for stimulating your creative life.  I get excited about interactive, artsy type books- the kind you find in a bookstore and just want to sit and look at for a while.  This will get you excited to make some tea, journal, and watercolor or gel pen it up. It will push you to be a more creative thinker and journaller. 5 stars.
2. Maisie Dobbs (Jan)

I discovered this book from one of my favorite blogs, Fountains of Home.  To be honest, this made me want more from No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (see below).  The writing was good, but the story and plot were too predictable and at times rather boring.  I love the sense of humor of the books that inspired this one. 3 stars.

{also{Cranford-} I can’t count Cranford, because I simply found it too stuffy and predictable, therefore I did not finish reading it. Honestly I was disappointed that I didn’t love it. :( Boo!}If anyone has any encouragement for me, please, do tell!;) Discouragement? Don't tell me! ;)} (Feb)

3. The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency (Feb)

This book series is light-hearted, entertaining, and energetic. It will make you think. Profound and absorbing. Entertaining. So, so good. 5 stars.

4. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead  (Feb)

I loved the connection to Madeleine L’Engle, and I haven’t talked about this author enough. She is the namesake of our third daughter, and one of my most favorite authors. (We also were thinking of Mary Magdelene and I know there is a St. Madeleine, as well). Give me almost anything by L’Engle- and I’ll be sure to adore it.  I heard of this YL book from the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy. Smart, and unpredictable. 5 stars.

5. A Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (Feb)

I was excited to finally read this one. It got a lot of hype and attention when it first came out, and I was dying to see what the fuss was about. I was not disappointed in the least, want to read the next books in the series. Reminded me of a more sophisticated and sassy Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll? So. good. 5 stars.

6. Tears of the Giraffe  by Alexander McCall Smith (Mar)

The second in the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency. Just awesome. Not as fun as the first, but still very, very good. 4 stars.

7. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (Mar)

Funny, funny, funny! Having followed this story of the family on the AT, and living near the AT, and having hiked some of it growing up (My husband was the more serious backpacker of the two of us, actually, but I did a whole lot of hiking growing up), I adored this book. Bill Bryson is - simply put- a scream. He’s hilarious.  You’ll have a rousing good time pondering how one person could really eat only noodles for dinner night after night after night… and drink black coffee with pink specks in it...while hiking miles upon miles upon miles every day. What will he do when he gets turned around, separated from his partner and low on water? Don’t read it on your Kindle- it’s too long for that. 5 stars.

8. Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider (Mar)

Honestly, I was a little bit disappointed by Tsh’s second book.  I don’t know… can’t put my finger on it.  I am starstruck by her blogging skills, and I love almost every single blog post she has ever written. Somehow that didn’t translate to a book for me. 3 stars.

9. A Little Book About Confession for Children by Kendra Tierney (Apr)

Kendra Tierney is most definitely someone to watch. First of all, she is an amazing Mom- you can pick that up after just a few minutes on her blog Catholic All Year. She has so much talent and she is quick. This book is such a beautiful, humble book, and you can dig your toenails in and really grow from it... although it is a little too short. I hope she writes more books! 4 stars.

10. Spirit-Led Parenting by Megan Tietz and Laura Oyer (Apr)

I put it off for too long. I needed to get into the know about about this movement in American parenting books. I’m glad I read it, and I was glad to be done. Missing some main points. 4 stars.

11. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (May)

I love Jhumpa Lahiri’s whimsical, descriptive writing. This novel is no exception. She illuminates the Indian-American landscape and let’s be honest… you can tell she’s a foodie a mile away! It is also adapted to screen, which I was happy to watch. Some sexual innuendo; for mature audiences - book and movie. 4 stars.

12. The Sinner’s Guide to NFP  by Simcha Fisher (May)
Very similar to Notes From a Blue Bike, an extremely talented blogger doesn't translate to an author for me. Why did this book rub me the wrong way? Can someone else pick up the torch, i.e. this subject? 1 star.

13. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (May)

I saw the movie before the book, so I knew it was sad, but you guys. His story is heartbreaking. Read this book if you want to know what it’s like being an Irish Catholic (in an alcoholic family) moving to America. So brilliant and hilarious, with intricate details woven throughout. At times a little depressing for my taste, but witty and to the point, so, worth it. 5 stars.

14. All New People by Anne Lamott (May)

Anne Lamott will forever and ever have my heart. She is witty to the point. A writer’s writer. A writer for the people.  Be still my novel-reading heart. Beware- language and sexual content. Still, stunning and profound. 5 stars.

15. Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler (Jun)

I think I have to say this was far and away my most favorite book of the year.  It was just So. Much. Fun  Readable and funny, full of wit, wisdom, courage, and inspiration. Oh my goodness, go get a copy for yourself right now, sit your butt in a chair, and devour it like the rest of us! 5 stars. to buy, click right here.

16. The Little Oratory by Leila Lawler and David Clayton (Jun)

This book… How I love thee!  No more words can be said that haven’t already been said. 5 stars.

to read the rest, click here.