Gifted

 

I’ve got a bunch of great emails lately.

First was when I won this:

My Scharffen Berger Prize Package

Then I got this great piece of news:

Best. Email. Evvver.

Last week, my reader, Beth, sent me this:

Accessories

I’m currently waiting for the delivery of this:

Le Creuset Orange Tools and Crock Prize

And today, I learned that one of my blog posts is going to be featured on BlogHer.Com on November 18th. They even sent me this awesome Blog Badge to promote it:

My head is kinda spinning.

I’m told I should buy lottery tickets. Often.
I guess I’m just lucky that way.

I’m not writing this to brag.

I’m writing this to keep it real. Because I still can’t believe it.

Playing June Cleaver

 

In the last six months, I’ve lost my job, been late on the mortgage and car payments (not, like, detrimental-to-my-credit late, but late nonetheless). And even though I don’t know from one day to the next if I can buy milk for the family, I’m doing what I know I need to do: Write. Cook. And sometimes, combine the two.

 

And my little prizes and recognitions are amazing. The only thing better would be the Backstreet Boys personally singing “As Long As You Love Me” as I drank a bottomless Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte that magically had no calories.

I think it’s God’s way of saying, “Keep at it.”

Because let’s face it: When life throws you lemons, dontcha need those little bits of encouragement? Dontcha really just want to throw those lemons back?! I could really care less about making lemonade, and I love being in the kitchen!

So. Here’s the plan: Keep blogging. Get recognition. Keep writing. Keep cooking. Finish my cookbook. Sell my cookbook. Get more recognition. Earn money. Buy a lottery ticket. Win mucho money.

And hire someone else to make the lemonade. I’ll be too busy enjoying life.

Stinkin' Big Lemon

My Otherwise Untitled Friday Posting

Happy T.G.I.F.! It’s been quite a week, but then I say that every week.

Things are certainly changing around here, in my small and big circles, and I couldn’t be happier.

You’ll all remember when I decided to chop down the cherry tree… okay, it was actually an overgrown Mulberry that I couldn’t keep trimmed. I thought I would be sad at its absence, but it’s actually been pretty great. First, with fall creeping in on us, I’ve been able to turn off my outside watering system thereby saving a few pennies. Second, with the tree completely gone, the morning sun shines even brighter into the dining area and living room and it’s wonderful.

Well, lo and behold, the two adjoining neighbors across the street have sawed down the three evergreens that divided their lots. Three incredibly tall, bluegrass colored trees. For the last two days their yards are nothing but fallen forest. The sun is even more prominent. I do love my Vitamin D! Tonight one of them lit a fire with their new wood, and it threw me into a panic. Out here in the SoCal desert, the smell of smoke is not always welcome, and definitely puts me on high alert.

I decided to “branch out” with my blogging, and have subscribed to two that bring me great joy: “Wild Life in the Woods” and Good Life Eats. In fact, I just won GLE’s first holiday recipe exchange giveaway of the year: a great gift basket from Scharffen Berger Chocolate Makers valued at $150.00. I can’t wait to get it and start holiday baking with my mom and Julie! Since I’ve had an extreme interest in writing a Quick and Easy Cookbook, I was so tickled to be a winner. I’m hopeful to win more this season, and at least contribute to the holiday baking that way. In the meantime, I’m sharing a few recipes, and working on more. I hope to have my “Quick and Easy Survival Cookbook” ready for marketing within six months! So if there’s any theme or recipe you’d like to see in it, let me know!

I’ve spent a small amount of time trying to win online giveaways. So far I’ve entered several. I can’t tell you what they are, because if I win, someone will be getting a lovely Christmas gift! In doing this, I’m also learning what “professional bloggers” do and don’t do. It’s a great learning experience, and fun to boot!

Which brings me to a few other changes this week on my blog. First, I changed the background. It adds a little more texture and visual depth, and I like that. It’s a picture my daughter took last year. She’s so creative when it comes to photography, of any kind! Back to the blog: The sidebars were getting a little overwhelming, so you’ll see that I deleted a few widgets, added a few, and changed a few. It’s a subtle change, but I think it works. One change is that I added a “Recipes” tab under the home page photo. Every recipe I post is linked there, so you can easily find what you’re looking for. I added a facebook “like” button. If you like what you read, just click it. It’s a great way to see how many readers I have for each post. BONUS: I figured out how to have (most of) my links open in a new window. So if you’re only halfway through reading this, don’t worry. You won’t lose your page. I’m getting more and more tech savvy each day. I also added a “Contact Me” page tab under the home page photo. Want to ask me a personal question? Send me a private message? Just click there, fill out the form, and send it on its merry way. I’ll get it in no time. And since Amazon Associates are allowed back in California again, I posted my Amazon Store widget (no, it’s not MY store; it’s just my selection of interesting products!), the Amazon Tag Cloud which is another way to check things out, and Google AdSense. I don’t know if they’ll make any difference, but I’m willing to give them all a test run.

The best two changes in my life this week is (1), I finally found my writing voice. I’ve been hemming and hawing around, playing with this and that… and I finally found the clarity and focus I need to be the writer I was born to be. What I write isn’t important. Why I write is. I must write for God. That’s not to say I am blatantly Bible thumping anyone. It just means He is the driving force behind every word. (To read more about this epiphany, check out my post Apologetic). Two years ago I wrote a two-week study on the Ten Commandments. I recently dug them out and redrafted them and have sent the collection out for review and evaluation. It’s a start, one that I’m super excited about! Now I’m praying for a Christian literary agent to say YES, it’s marketable.

The second greatest change is the announced return of Flashpoint to TV. It’s the first new show for ION Network, which has typically aired only reruns and infomercials. Flashpoint is so much more than a cop drama. It’s an indescribable experience. (Read my summer post here). I want to write so much more about it, but you have to just check it out for yourself. Tuesday nights. ION Network. Check your local listings for times and channels. In some areas, it’s known as PAX Network or something else. This is a show you don’t want to miss. Trust me!

One thing that hasn’t changed is my state of unemployment. Last week was the scariest financially I’ve had in a few years, but it seems to have stabilized and I’m back on track. It’s not an easy track, but at least it’s familiar. My prayer is not for a job, but for income. I would love to get paid to write from home; to not have to work a day job and then work on the laptop. But regardless of how I feel, I still have to job search. It stinks.

In the meantime, I write and trust God to provide for our needs, and even some desires… like a Chocolate Gift Basket. He makes life sweeter. =)