Posted on May 13, 2013 - by Kim
Although she is currently living the luxurious life of a retiree, for thirty-two years she was an educator. And not just your run of the mill teacher either. She was the very first special education teacher in the small Alabama county we call home.
But that isn’t what makes her job history unique. Years before she ever darkened the door of her first classroom, back when her high school diploma was fresh off the press, she spent a summer working at a local factory. And not just any factory, but one that manufactured cans.
Small cans, large cans, medium-sized cans. You name it, they made it. Including egg cans. You know, the containers made to house powdered eggs. Those egg cans.
Anyway, Mother spent eight hours a day, five days a week, standing beside a conveyor belt painting the seam inside those egg cans. For the whole summer.
Needless to say, all doubts surrounding the need for higher education flew out the window with the first hours of employment.
Now it’s your turn. What is the strangest job a relative ever had?
HOW YOU CAN WIN A COPY OF “WEDDING ON THE ROCKS.”
Rose is generously offering not one but TWO copies of Wedding on the Rocks AND TWO copies of her previous release Rose of Sharon to readers who comment during the next two weeks and let us know about their most unusual job or a beauty secret and/or mishap. That’s four chances to win a book every time you post here at Inkspirational Messages in the next two weeks.
Contest closes Friday, May 17 at midnight (central time). It is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada only.
Posted on April 29, 2013 - by Kim
She’s a blonde. I’m a brunette.
She has blue eyes. Mine are brown.
She was born on May 12. I was born eight days later.
Her mother cut my hair. My mother’s classroom gave us a place to hang out after school.
She grew up to marry and teach. I grew up to remain single (but still looking) and earn my doctorate in audiology.
When we were kids, we were inseparable. We played Barbies, kept each other’s secrets, and fought like cats and dogs. She even broke my nose back when we were about ten years old — seems when it comes to football in the South, everybody takes it seriously.
When we were teenagers, we shared a cabin at band camp in the wilds of Mentone, Alabama. A few times, when the wild animals found the garbage on the A-framed building’s back porch a little too inviting, we shared a cot. After all, everybody knows a rabid fox wouldn’t dare attack two teenage girls who’d spent the better part of a week in ninety-degree heat on a chigger-infested practice field with rattlesnakes prowling the edge of the woods. At least not if he valued his life. I shared her heartaches and growing pains. We had each other’s back and stood side by side to support those we included in our circle. There were good times and bad times. Arguments and hurt feelings. But through it all, we were sisters.
She was even willing to claim my stinky baby brother as her own.
And although we haven’t been close in years, I like to think we are sisters in our hearts. Just like we’ve always been. After all, it isn’t always about DNA.
Now its your turn. Every time you share one of your sister stories in the next two weeks, you’ll be entered in the drawing for a copy of When Love Calls for yourself and a matching copy for a sister. Contest closes at midnight, central time on Friday, May 3 and is open to those in the U.S. and Canada. Name chosen by Random.org.
Posted on April 15, 2013 - by Kim
After a busy winter season, I’m ready for things to slow down to the moderate pace that comes after Easter. With the end of school on the horizon (which usually means children start ditching their hearing aids and won’t realize they aren’t working until August rolls around, giving me a little bit of a break), I can actually start making a summer reading list. And at the very top of that list are two books, one with a May 1 release date, and the other with a June 1 release date.
The May 1st gem is another installment of the O’Malley series from Dee Henderson. Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story focuses on the baby of the family. And if the blurb on Amazon is anything to go by, it is sure to be a wonderful adventure. Don’t believe me? Read for yourself.
It’s a summer of change for Jennifer O’Malley. The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, and meeting Tom Peterson, and falling in love, is adding a rich layer to her life. She’s sorting out how to introduce him to her family–she’s the youngest of seven–and thinking about marriage.
She’s falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested in a way she didn’t expect, and the results will soon transform her entire family.
The June 1st treasure will be my introduction to author Karen Witemeyer. Her new book, Stealing the Preacher sounds absolutely irresistible. Here’s what Amazon has to say about it.
On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he’s forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man’s daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he’s haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind–a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.
For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna’s outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?
Well, it looks like my list is officially started. Now if life will just cooperate…
Posted on April 1, 2013 - by Kim
First and foremost on this Easter Monday:
Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed!
Want a good laugh no matter how many times you hear it? I have three words for you. Bill Cosby: Himself.
Don’t believe me? Click the link for a little taste of the comedy heaven. Bill Cosby
Posted on March 18, 2013 - by Kim
Like the weakened live virus found in some vaccines, sometimes the best cure is a healthy does of the disease itself. It’s the same for that old disorder native to novelists and non-fictionists alike – writer’s block.
That’s right. When the old word generator seems to have sputtered its last, kick it back into gear with a little forceful love. Or at least that’s what I do.
Fanfiction, the opening scene to another possible novel, a blog, it really doesn’t seem to matter as long as I see words flowing across the page. I’ve even re-written parts of the story without changing a single sentence structure just to get the creative side of the brain to engage again.
So, when the old muse takes what you are afraid is a permanent vacation to Hawaii, don’t panic. Just get in there and write anyway. Soon enough, the old juices are flowing and you are back to cranking out those pearls of prose that would make Mark Twain green with envy.
Posted on March 4, 2013 - by Kim
Almost six years ago, I faced a crossroads in my professional life. Dissatisfied by changes in the office where I’d spent the first eleven and a half years of my career, I was unhappy. Extremely unhappy. And it bled over into every aspect of my life. But in an economy where one did not give up a job on whim, what was I do to?
Pray. After over thirty years of hearing sermons on the power of prayer, I decided to actually put what I had heard into practice. The words “change me, and if not me, change the circumstances,” became my mantra. I even gave up coffee and anything remotely sweet in a kind of extended Lent to show just how committed I was to seeking an answer.
And wait I did. Seems God wanted to teach me a little patience along the way. But when He answered, it was a whirlwind of blessing that made me dizzy.
After four, agonizing months, the beginning came in the form of a phone call from a family friend. She had gone to the movies with a friend of hers. Out of the blue, her friend said she thought another mutual acquaintance was still in need of an audiologist for the state agency she was district supervisor for. My family friend said she knew of an audiologist who just might be interested.
That was the first domino in a long line that landed me in my current position. The second was my family friend insisting I call the district supervisor that afternoon. Then, knowing what I big chicken I am, she demanded I call her back to let her know I had done what she’d said.
Before supper, I had an interview scheduled for the following Tuesday. A Tuesday I had off because I had originally scheduled vacation so I could go as a chaperone on the youth choir tour from church. It had been canceled, but instead of giving up the time off like I usually did, I decided to keep to the plan and spend the week at home.
After the interview on Tuesday, I had to get on the state registry. To do this, I had to have an Alabama license to practice audiology. The licensing board, which meets only once a month, was meeting that very Friday and would need all the paperwork in their hands by 10:00 am that day. It was signed for at 9:30. By 5:00 on Friday, I had the license.
The very next Monday, I was on the registry. And less than two short weeks later, I had been approved by the Commissioner and was ensconced in a brand new job.
And I still couldn’t be happier. Or more satisfied.
Posted on February 18, 2013 - by Kim
As I’ve said before, I’m not reading near as much as I once did or need to again. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have some new heroes in my life. In fact, thanks to some fantastic writers, I’ve been introduced to two brand new ones this television season.
Portrayed by Dennis Quaid, Sherriff Lamb tries to reign in crime in Sin City in the early 1960s. Alongside his brother Jack and his son Dixon, the World War II vet and former military policeman crosses swords with Chicago mobster, Vincent Savino, portrayed by Michael Chiklis, solves crimes, and has a will-they-or-won’t-they relationship with Assistant District Attorney, Katherine O’Connell, portrayed by Carrie-Anne Moss.
While Ralph sort of backed into the job, he’s definitely made it his own. He dispenses justice with an undertone of compassion and a wry wit that delivers some of the best one-liners I’ve heard in a while. There’s even a sense that if Vincent was on the right side of the law, he and Ralph might actually be friends. Even though the sheriff pulls no punches and can be a little heavy handed come confession time, he’s enough of the whole package to keep you coming back for more week after week.
This CBS incarnation of the great sleuth is portrayed by Englishman, Johnny Lee Miller. Along with Joan Watson, portrayed by Lucy Lu, he helps New York’s finest solve crimes while he works to track down the man who killed his love…the infamous Moriarty.
Without a doubt, this Sherlock is the best since Jeremy Brett’s in the 1980s. He’s got it all. The sharp tongue. The deductive reasoning. The demons – he’s a recovering heroin addict. The violin. It’s ruddy fantastic.
Yet there’s something different about the modern day version of the detective. There are times, when Sherlock lets you peak at his vulnerabilities, you can see the little lost boy who longs for his father’s love and approval. He can absolutely break your heart. The fact that he’s deliciously handsome with an equally delectable accent makes him about the most perfect hero to have graced the small screen in a very long time.
What about the rest of you? What TV hero, either past or present, do you think is the entire package?
Posted on February 4, 2013 - by Kim
Now there’s a quote every writer needs to live by.
And there’s the kind of character who seems real enough to invite over for sweet tea and a slice of pecan pie.
Isn’t that what, we as writers want in our stories? Whether they are the hero or the bumbling bag boy down at the corner grocery store, we want them to be real enough to jump right out of the book and take a seat beside our readers on the couch. We want them to become the old friends readers turn to time and time again. And, if we do our jobs right, that’s exactly what our cranky, old sheriff and sweet little homecoming queen next door will become.
Well, we all know about the preliminaries that most books on craft suggest. Things like interviewing the character, completing character sheets with everything from eye color to what is currently in his/her refrigerator, and filling files with pictures of actors or models who closely resemble those fictional inhabitants of our quaint little village flood our hard drives as we plot and plan our stories. But how can we make sure all that hard work has produced three-dimensional “friends” once we type “The End”?
While I’m not sure how Harper Lee would do it, here are a few things I do during the revision stage to make sure my characters seem “real”:
1. Take a good, hard look at a character’s dialogue. Does it fit with the character’s personality? Does he speak like he’s the good ol’ boy you imagined him to be?
If you have access to a text reader that allows you to change the accent of the reader’s voice, run the dialogue through it and see if the character “sounds” right.
2. Examine the descriptions of the characters. Does she “look” like what you have pictured in your head? Is she too perfect, or does she have just enough flaws in either looks or personality to be the girl down the street you love to hate?
3. Do a post-interview worksheet. Sometimes we worry so much about the goals and objectives of our characters on the front end, we forget to go back and check to see if they were met. If they weren’t, is it because the character’s goals changed along the way? And if they did change, did it show up in the dialogue or descriptions? Did it happen the same way if would have if the character was your best friend? Did they finally throw out that moldy pizza in the bottom of the icebox?
That’s what I do to turn a character into an old friend. What, my lovely fellow writers, do you do with yours? If you are a reader, what makes a character “real” to you?
Posted on January 21, 2013 - by Kim
Since us Inkspys can blog on anything our hearts desire this go ‘round, I am going to take advantage of the opportunity and declare my intentions to capture the heart of one Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman. So move over Rima Horton!
Okay, I’m really not delusional. I am in complete possession of all my faculties. I know perfectly well the chances of even meeting the man are less than that of a snowball in the vicinity of Satan’s parlor. Besides, I ain’t no man-stealing woman – an admission, I’m sure, that has Ms. Horton breathing a sigh of relief. But it doesn’t hurt to daydream, does it?
Who wouldn’t daydream about a man who, at least to some of us, is as handsome as sin (as much so now as when he portrayed Hans Gruber in Die Hard) and has a voice that is the physical manifestation of the darkest, velvety chocolate imaginable? The man is the very definition of sexy, topped in my book only by Sean Connery…but that’s a whole other blog.
He’s humble to boot. At least he appears to be in the interviews I’ve seen. Plus he’s shy. And he has that adorable charm one often associates with James Stewart. What’s not to love?
And did I mention his voice? The man could melt the ice around the most frigid girl’s heart with just the ‘A’ listings in the phonebook alone. Personally, my legs would be jelly before he cracked the spine on AT&T’s bestseller.
Sigh. Oh well. Not only was I born a few decades too late, but also on the wrong side of the Pond. Still, a girl can certainly dream. Think I’ll grab a cup of hot chocolate and console myself with Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban. Goodness, but I never knew the number 394 could be so…. well, never mind.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Posted on January 7, 2013 - by Kim
Let’s just think about this for a minute.
Take a teacher who comes in early or stays late to tutor students free of charge. Most would say that person is just doing his or her job. After all, they get paid to educate. Tutoring is just another word for educating, isn’t it?
That’s true, to a certain point of view. However, if you read a teacher’s job description, I doubt seriously you would see a section dedicated to going above and beyond to help a struggling student. Far too many of educators these days are of the ‘you either get it during the class period or you don’t’ mindset. And they are out the door right behind the buses.
And what about those stories you hear every year at this time of year where non-Christians who don’t celebrate Christmas work the holidays for their Christian colleagues who do recognize the significance of December 25. Granted, they get paid for working the shift, but does that diminish the selfless act of forging a day of leisure just so a workmate can enjoy the day with family?
Then there is me. I get paid to test children’s hearing (amongst other audiology-type things) in the audiology suites of the district offices I serve. However, I don’t remember there being anything in my job description that says I have to go to HeadStarts and schools to complete hearing screenings at no cost to those entities. I do it because I know the schools can’t afford to hire someone. I do it because, for some children, this is the only evaluation of their ears they get. I do it because it makes me feel as if I’ve accomplished something important.
So, does that mean the swell of good feeling in the center of my chest I get every time I close up the portable audiometer should be diminished because I get paid every two weeks? Or that a teacher shouldn’t smile with pride when that student she tutored for hours outside the classroom graduates with honors. Or that the doctor or nurse completing a double shift on Christmas Eve so his or her colleague could attend Midnight Mass with family shouldn’t experience that little humble bubble of joy when gratitude is offered?
I think not.
After all, going above and beyond in your job is as much an act of paying it forward as putting in a few hours at a homeless shelter. Both are proof that God still has hands and feet doing His work in this world.