Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Writing Assignments and Life

The other day I read a fellow home school mom’s blog. She was talking about teaching her children a Bible memory verse. Well, as I read what verse it was. I thought “We may have learned it, but I think it’s time to revisit it”. So instead of relearning the verse, I had the boys read it and write a short paragraph as to how they could apply it to their lives.

One particular son has gotten into the habit of arguing and complaining about anything. So, we(he and I) are working to help each other.

BTW my last post was an interview with Mary DeMuth. In the next few weeks I will be posting book reviews for 2 of her books. One of which will be releasing very soon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mary DeMuth/Daisy Chain

I met Mary DeMuth on Twitter. Her inspiring words, have helped to motivate my writing habits. Her book, Daisy Chain, was released on March 1, 2009. Mary is an expert at breaking the cycle of destructive family behavior patterns. She has written many parenting books including: Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, Building the Christian Family You Never Had, and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God. Mary has written novels that inspire people to take their trials and turn them into triumphs. These novels include Watching the Tree Limbs, Wishing on Dandelions, and now Daisy Chain. On top of being an award winning author, wife, and mother, Mary, somehow finds time to do speaking engagements in the US and in Europe. To find out more about Mary, please visit,

Here is an interview with Mary about her writing:

How did you get involved in writing?

I’ve been writing since college when the bug hit me. I wrote my first short story about a missionary going to Russia (when it was firmly encased behind the iron curtain) and having to do all these clandestine things to share the gospel. I’m embarrassed to write this, but the piece started with these four words: Thump, thump, thump, thump (representing the protagonist’s heartbeat, of course).

I’ve been actively writing since 1992 when my daughter Sophie was born. I created a newsletter that helped moms manage their homes. I bought my first computer from the proceeds. I also designed and edited church newsletters, wrote homeschooling curriculum, and even wrote a script for an ultrasound training video. Soon after, short stories started flying out of me. When we moved from East Texas to Dallas for my husband to go to Dallas Seminary, I decided to get serious. I met my friend Sandra Glahn then, a professor at the seminary and a published writer. She shepherded me through the query-letter-writing process and has been an incredible cheerleader.

In 2002, I wrote my first novel. In 2003, I signed with an agent, then signed two nonfiction books. Since then, I’ve had five books published (those included), Daisy Chain being my sixth book. The first novel I wrote is yet to be published.

How do you find time to write?

I make time to write. I give myself word count goals every day. While my children are at school, I work full time. Lately I’ve been writing and promoting like a crazy woman, pulling 10-12 hour shifts. Even so, it’s a priority for me to have a sit-down dinner with my family every night. It helps that I love to cook.

What do you enjoy most about the writing process?

I love the initial flurry of words on the page where I’m uninhibited. I love fleshing out a story as it comes to me. I see my novels on the movie screen of my mind, which may account for the visual nature of my narratives.

What was the most difficult aspect of the writing process?

I am not in love with rejection. I also don’t cherish rewriting. But it’s a necessary and important evil.

What would you say to someone who wants to become a published author?

Here’s the analogy you need to memorize and internalize: Beginning the publishing journey is like wearing a sweatshirt and toting a sack lunch at the base of Mount Everest, thinking, Hmm, this should be a breeze!

In addition: know you are called. Know you have talent. Know you’re full of tenacity. All three things will help you succeed along the journey.

Another idea is hang out at The Writing Spa and its corresponding blog WannabePublished. I tackle nearly every question a new writer would have. I offer weekly free critiques and I have guest authors cameo there. I evaluate the saleabilty of a book idea. Hop on by at

Here is a link to Daisy Chain at Check it out. If it sounds good, buy it. :0)
And don't forget to check out Mary's website

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Habits part 2

I also pulled this from my previous blog. Sorry I didn’t get this posted until now. Life called. And I answered.

This is a quote from Miss Charlotte Mason: "Habit the Instrument by which Parents work.--'Habit is TEN natures!' If I could but make others see with my eyes how much this saying should mean to the educator! How habit, in the hands of the mother, is as his wheel to the potter, his knife to the carver--the instrument by means of which she turns out the design she has already conceived in her brain.”

That’s a powerful statement! If we as mothers, and teachers, (dads too), could train the right habits into our children and students, think of the kind of world we’d have.

You might ask, “How can I change a habit of someone else?”

1) Are you, yourself a good model of the habit or trait you want to instill? Perfection isn’t what I’m referring to, but can you do it without any effort, is the question. If not start with you first. How can you teach something you don’t practice yourself? It won’t work.

2) When you’re ready, discuss with your student/child what is expected. Not in a harsh or authoritative way, but with an expectation that what you say will be done.

3) This is the hardest part for me. Consistency! If the child forgets or strays, gently remind him what is to be done. Always speak with a sense of expectation, that it will be done. Approaching it this way makes you the friend rather than the dictator.

This is what Miss Mason said about this step: "...the mother must devote herself for a few weeks to this cure as steadily and untiringly as she would to the nursing of her child through measles. Having in a few--the fewer the better--earnest words pointed out the miseries that must arise from this fault, and the duty of overcoming it, and having so got the (sadly feeble) will of the child on the side of right-doing, she simply sees that for weeks together the fault does not recur."

Miss Mason warns of the one fatal mistake often made. Inconsistency. If a person is progressing in the new habit, the teacher/parent thinks they’ll "just this once" overlook a slip up. This is deadly to the process. This is the time when the new habit is forming in the brain. Think back to the first post; the neural pathways. The “Just this once" mentality will prevent the habit from being established. Stay the course and your child/student will soon effortlessly perform the new habit.
Have a blessed day!:0)