Saturday, March 30, 2013

Some Bunny That I Used to Know: A MUST SEE!

Happy Easter Ya'll! 

I'm "hopping" you guys love to laugh as much as I do. Check out this funny Easter Themed Spoof made by some great friends of mine, and talented musicians, Matt & Joanna Black! When you get a chance, stop by Matt & Joanna's page...they are INCREDIBLE people making AMAZING music!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Beating the Easter Blues: What to Do While Your Honey's Away

It's difficult to celebrate Special Occasions and Holidays when your spouse is deployed, or away for training. It's hard to feel like celebrating when the one you love can't be there to join in on the traditions, fun and laughter.

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With Easter next week, I can't stop from wondering what our family would be doing this year if my husband were home. Where would we have went for Easter dinner? Together, we would have taken the kids to see the Passion Play at our church, and together we would talk to them about the importance of Easter in our Christian faith. I wonder how many ugly eggs my hubby and the kids would insist on coloring? Where could we hide the eggs that would keep the kids busy long enough for he and I to raid their Easter baskets, lol....we would NEVER do that.

The memories keep me going through times like this; I'd say they keep most of us going during the deployment. My memories equal hope. I think of the good times, how they make me feel, the laughs that were shared, and those memories allow me to hope for the future--that there will be even more good times to come. Easter is a good time to be filled with hope; after all, Easter is all about hope.

There are many Military families missing their loved ones this year, I just want to take a minute and encourage you. Hang in there. In the words of my Momma, "Paste that smile on, and go on." Acknowledge that you don't feel like celebrating. Cry about it if you must over a bag of those awesome Hershey candy coated eggs and a glass of milk (I may or may not have done that, lol). Once you've acknowledged these feelings, go on and get your celebrate on! Make yourself if you have to, because you need to, because your children need you to, because the others going through the same battle need you to.

Think of the good times and know more are on their way.

Beat the Easter Blues: Tips for Making this a Memorable Easter Even With Your Spouse Afar:
  1.  Find a church to attend for Easter Sunday: If you haven't heard about the hope Easter is about, it's about time you heard it. :)
  2.  If you're close to family, go home and hang out with them.
  3.  If you're far from family, get together with friends and play games, talk, eat, laugh, hunt for eggs!
  4. Color Easter Eggs with your family, or start a new Easter Deployment Tradition; maybe it's making a special breakfast, or playing bunny freeze tag where everyone hops around like bunnies---it's a blast and a calorie blaster! Be creative, and have fun.
  5. Talk openly with your kids about the deployment, and how they feel about their parent missing Easter and other special occasions. Have them think of things they will do next year when their soldier is home.
  6. Remember that traveling any road alone is lonely; if you're feeling down or need to share some exciting news, there's nothing like a good friend to do life with. If you don't already have someone you can confide in while your hubby/spouse is gone, and even when they're home, I would highly suggest you pray God sends you one.
  7. HAVE FUN! Whatever you do this Easter, and while your soldier is deployed, try to have fun and laugh. Anytime your soldier is away, is just plain stressful. Laughter is a good prescription for stress.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Tale of Forgiveness via the Deaths of Sea Monkeys

Ugh. I'm a sea monkey killer. Admitting is the first step to healing. lol.  

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What a week my friends! I'm looking at a pile of clothes that need to be folded, game pieces tossed about in the floor. Nice. My house looks lived in right now. Inviting, but lived in. Maybe I should light an apple scented candle? It's nap time here at the Conway house--Thank you JESUS for naptime! Though the house is quiet, I can't seem to shake the thought that on my table, swimming about in a make shift tiny tank, are several tiny sea monkeys on the verge of death because I threw away their food by mistake. A few have already perished from starvation...ugh...I'm drenched in guilt. Did you know that not even Walmart sells Sea Monkey food?? I've been all over the place trying to find what these critters need to survive and NO ONE sells it. By the time I've ordered special sea monkey food, they will have all died. I might as well go ahead and give myself a new title to accompany Christian, Army Wife & Mother: Sea Monkey killer.

It was an honest accident. Not like the time I "accidentally" broke my son's flute, or the time I "accidentally" ripped a larger hole in my husband's favorite Khaki shorts he had been wearing since high school--those things HAD to go. I honestly did not mean to throw away the sea monkey food.

My son will be heartbroken to know there are only five little monkeys left--no they're not jumping on the bed. Stop smiling, it's not funny. :)

I'm going to have to ask for his forgiveness. Though it's trivial, and these little critters are just some  microscopic floating specks, I feel terrible that they are going to die, and even more terrible at how upset my son will be. It seems lately I've had to ask his forgiveness a lot.
  • I'm sorry I raised my voice at you. Please forgive me.
  • I'm sorry I kissed you in front of your friends. Please forgive me.
  • I'm sorry I wasn't listening well when you were trying to tell me something. Please forgive me.
  • I'm sorry I ate your Popsicle when you went to the bathroom. It was staring at me. Please for forgive me.
  • I'm sorry I lost your reading book list; I'll make another one. Please forgive me.

And now: "I'm sorry I starved your sea monkeys to death. Please forgive me."

My son is always very eager to forgive me. He may be sad about what's happened, but he's always ready to forgive when I ask. I love that quality about him, and I wish I were more like him in that regard.

Am I always so willing to forgive? No. Such a bummer. Sometimes I think it's because I don't know who my anger or frustration is towards. It's not always a person that offends me, but rather, it's the circumstances of life. It's when you find out your husband may be home early from deployment and then the plans change. It's when unexpected, inconvenient things happen that can cause an unforgiving attitude to take hold. In those instances, there is no one in particular that unforgiveness is directed towards, so is there still a need to ask for forgiveness?


Unforgiveness can lead to depression, rage, bitterness, resentment, negativity, stress and stress related illnesses, as well as a host of other emotional problems. Forgiving doesn't have to have a person involved. Forgiving is about letting go of the right to stay offended over a wrong committed against you in order to live a full life without some stormy cloud following you around. It took me awhile to learn this concept, and it's taken even longer to put it into practice. What can I say? I'm a work in progress.

My son's got this whole forgiveness thing down pat. I think I may take notes from him tonight when I ask for his forgiveness again.

Poor Sea Monkeys. Should I hold a funeral for them?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Author and Guest, Jessica R. Patch with Writing Tips for All!

Spring is just around the corner. Spring cleaning anyone? Well, I'd rather clean up my writing than my home, so that's why Jessica R. Patch is stopping by my blog today. She is a very special lady with a lot of valuable information on writing...the do's, the don'ts...the in's and outs. She will have your manuscript sparkling in no time!

Jessica, thank you for being on today!

Cleaning Out the Funk
by: Jessica R. Patch

Thank you, Hannah, for hosting me today!

When my house is clutter free and clean, a candle burning—the scent of apples and cinnamon lingering in the air—everything seems right. I can settle in on my couch and feel guilt-free for anything I want to do: read, watch a movie, take a nap etc…

Our manuscripts are much like our home. We spend a lot of time on them. We live through our characters. We smell what they smell, we live where they live. And we want our readers to do the same thing.

It’s important to de-clutter, dust, vacuum, and sweep away everything that doesn’t belong. We want our stories to be welcoming, inviting, and a place for readers to settle in—guilt-free—and enjoy the time they spend experiencing our “home” for however long it takes to read it cover to back.
Here are a few “cleaning” tips to help polish your manuscript:

The first thing I do when I clean my house is pick up the big things and put them where they go. Bags of chips and cereal boxes on the counter go in the pantry. Shoes, clothing, coats that the kids strung across the living room have to go!

1.      Remove and organize the big stuff first. Print your manuscript if you can. If not, maybe you have a Kindle. You can load it onto your Kindle or iPad (Kindle app needed) for free! Make the font bigger. (You can also zoom in and change the font for a fresh eye on your computer if the two above aren’t possible for you.) Read through just like you would someone else’s book and pull out plot slips, contradictions, discover plot holes and make notes. Does your character stay true to who they are? If not, de-clutter the manuscript. Do you realize you don’t need 4 POVs to tell the story? Delete! Cover the big stuff first.
I always dust before I vacuum.

2.      Dust away the –ly words and filler words. It’s important to make your writing tight. Powerful. Give your reader an experience not just a story to read. First do a search on “ly” and look at how many –ly words you have! Then see if you can find a powerful action verb to replace it. For example:
John softly crossed the room. He didn’t want to wake Annabeth.
We can turn this into something stronger by using a word that will help the reader experience the story better.
John tiptoed across the room. Annabeth still slept. (I also restructured the last sentence to go deeper in John’s POV—but that’s another post!) Tiptoed gives a better visual of what John is doing, doesn’t it?
Filler words are words that you don’t really need. Can you find the filler word in the sentence I just wrote? Yep, it’s “really.” If you can say a sentence and get your meaning across without words like: really, very, just, quite, etc…then delete the filler word.  

3.      Vacuum overused words and phrases.
Chances are you’ll get attached to certain words and phrases. I’m editing my latest manuscript and I’ve found that most of my characters want to shrug and turn the corner of their mouth up. Once you see a word or phrase two or three times, make a note. Then do a search of those words and phrases. Pull out the thesaurus, in print or online, and start looking for synonyms or have them do something else.
Your character might be a shrugger and he/she does it often. That’s fine. Just make sure not all your characters are shrugging, or biting their lip, or raising their brows. You get the picture.
There are a lot of things you can do to clean up your manuscript, but these are only a few. Happy cleaning! And if you need someone to partner with you to help you polish and shine your manuscript, see my critiquing & editing page at I’d love to work with you!

Jessica R. Patch writes inspirational contemporary romance with plenty of mystery and suspense. A passion to draw women into intimacy with God keeps her motivated, along with heaping cups of caffeine in the form of coffee. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or teaching the new & growing believer's class at her church, you can find her sneaking off to movies with her husband, embarrassing her daughter in unique ways, beating her son at board games and contemplating how to get rid of her irksome dog (she hasn’t attempted any of them…yet). She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency.
Connect with Jessica at her website, facebook, and twitter @jessicarpatch!