Friday, January 27, 2012

What have I been busy doing?

~On Saturday (the 21st), I went to one of the most amazing conferences ever (in my opinion)! And it's free! I've attended it for the past several years (missing it only once or twice). I love it. It's Mission Connexion Northwest.

~I wrote my first essay for Writing 121--the online college class I'm taking.

~I sent out a novel proposal. Which has already been rejected. No, it hadn't been rejected yet when I wrote this post. Actually, I haven't sent out as many proposals as that post makes it sound but articles I've submitted have received lots of rejections...I didn't mention those :).

~I submitted to Devozine.

~I've been reading a book for review (in addition to reading assignments from WR 121).

~Earlier this month, I found out my testimony (not about romance!) was chosen to be published in the Love Letters From The Heart anthology by Pix-N-Pens Publishing.

~There's a new year of Go Teen Writers prompts that started this month. My first entry didn't final but I'm hoping the next one will!

~I wrote a letter to my patient penpal.

~I've been participating in the weekly Bible study with international students at my home.

~Something super-duper exciting that needs a post all it's own :).

Things I've been doing for fun:

~Playing Mario Kart Wii with my dad and younger brothers

~Watching TV shows

Things I need to do:

~Study math.

~Keep up with my writing class. It's fast-paced!

~Send out another proposal/query to a new agent.

~Practice driving. (I'd rather learn to ride a horse...)

What have you been doing? What are your plans for the next week/month?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Upcoming Giveaway for Natalia!

I'm going to be hosting a giveaway on my blog for this sweet little girl.

The way the giveaway works: People donate items. I post the big giveaway post with pictures of the prizes. Each entry is $5 or $10 (haven't decided yet...comment and tell me which is better!). You leave a comment for each donation you put into Natalia's grant fund. You have the chance to win prizes and best of all, you're helping an orphan girl who desperately needs to be adopted!

I need YOUR help!

1. Do you have something you could donate? Gift cards are always wonderful. But feel free to be creative. My awesome friend, Emily, is donating an adorable crocheted armadillo. Please note that unless you live near me and can drop the prize off at my house, you'll need to ship the prize to the winner yourself :). I'll email you the winner's address after the giveaway ends.

2. When the giveaway happens, please enter and spread the word! Actually, you can spread the word now by linking to this post...the more people involved...the better!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

If I get ONE MORE rejection...

...I'll still keep submitting.

All right, I'll admit it. That's not the first thing that crosses my mind when I receive yet another rejection. It's more like "ugh, I'm sick of getting rejected" or "am I ever going to get a job?" or "come on, there has got to be an agent or publisher somewhere who will be interested in my novel!".

Sending out job applications is so not fun. Neither is sending out novel proposals. It's hard to figure out which one is more work (I'm sure it depends...but I'm leaning toward those proposals...everytime the guidelines are somewhat different!). Job applications generally involve filling in blanks and maybe answering a few questions. Proposals involve the the the guidelines...and organizing your thoughts (i.e. writing). Yeah, I'm definitely going to have to go with the novel proposals. Which are, actually, a writer's job applications.

Although rejections can be really discouraging, they can also motivate us to work harder and improve our skills. Not to mention the lessons in patience... :)

So how about you? How do you handle rejections? What lessons have you learned? Any recent rejections or acceptances that you'd like to share?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's A Funny Thing

After I posted this post, my brain has been flooded with stuff to write about. Now I have multiple drafts waiting to make their appearance :). Of course, they will only last so long.

I like Carrie's suggestion to write about what I'm busy doing. So I'm hoping to do that in addition to whatever else I think of. (And yes, I realize my writing and grammar are not always the greatest in my blog posts but I have to write technically well in so many places that it's nice to goof off a bit and break some writing rules on my blog :)). If you're wondering what prompted that, you're generally not supposed to end sentences with "of". Or use a million parentheses. Or smileys.

Does anyone else have any suggestions on what I should post about? Now that I'm getting "into" blogging, are there any must-read blogs that you recommend? If they have to do with missions, adoption, filmmaking or writing, I'll be especially interested!

There's a link that I want to share. It's not a blog. Saying that I "like" this link is a major understatement: It's awesome to see children whose forever families have found them!!! There are still so many who are waiting (like Natalia). Please pray for them and spread the word! Perhaps you can advocate for one of them on your blog?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Going to College

View the full slideshow

(This photo is of Oregon State University.

Disclaimer: This post is not an attempt to spark bitter arguments or put down stay-at-home daughters.

A few years ago, I made the decision that I would not be going to college. A few months ago, I did a 180 and decided to go to college. Here's a glimpse into what happened.

When I first heard about stay-at-home daughterhood and watched Visionary Daughters, it seemed really nice. It made sense. I like being different from the crowd. But in a sense, I jumped from one crowd straight into another one. I don't think either one is inherently "wrong". It depends on God's will for your life. Where is He leading you? You can glorify God at home. You can glorify God in college. You can glorify God on the mission field. You can honor him as a homemaking wife and mother. You can honor him as a doctor. As a lawyer. As a writer.

That's what really matters, isn't it? Bringing God glory. Loving Him first and loving others second.

There can be wrong motives for going to college and there can be wrong motives for staying at home.

The problem that sticks out in my mind is that the stay-at-home daughterhood movement often doesn't stop at sharing their position as a viable often presents itself as the right option at the exclusion of everything else. Come to think of it, some college-loving people do the same thing. "You're not going to college?!? What?? What will you do with your life?" That's not right, either. College is not for everyone. I stand by that.

One of the defining issues that made me finally stop defending and promoting stay-at-home daughterhood is their stance on missions. They're against women missionaries. (Unless you're married and move as an entire family unit to another country.) They see the heroic God-fearing single women missionaries of the past as flukes. Accidents. Mistakes. I see them as women following God's calling on their life...women who were in the very center of God's will for them. Were they perfect? No, none of us are. Are all women destined to be missionaries? No, neither are all men. We are all called to be a part of the Great Commission by praying and sending and sharing the Gospel wherever we are. Not all are meant to go (who would be there to send?). But if God says go, you go. Having felt the undeniable longing in my heart for missions, I cannot say "no".

This was separate from my decision to go to college. I can be a missionary without a college degree.

I hated doing a 180 on such a life-altering decision. The first time it was relatively easy. As a kid, I'd grown up thinking that of course, I'd go to college...isn't that what everyone does? (Both of my parents are college graduates.) When I decided at about 14 years of age to stay at home, my parents were supportive. We both saved a lot of money. I didn't need to find a job outside the home. Sure, people might have occasionally thought I was crazy...I had to get used to that eventually, anyway :). But after four years of highschool...four crucial formative teen years of not preparing for college...never having taken the SAT...after telling family and friends...after *gulp* trying to convince others that they didn't need to go to college (and to stay at home) was not a decision I could make lightly. I wrestled with it. Once I make a decision, I like to stick with it. I make goals and I work hard to achieve them. I went over the pros and cons. I knew this decision would affect the rest of my life.

And...I chose college.

For a variety of reasons.

Not the least of which was...I love media. I'm especially passionate about filmmaking. If I can someday combine media and missions, it'll be a dream come true. The truth is that most organizations (yes, even mission organizations) require a degree if you're going to be working for them in a technical field like video production or at least equivalent work experience (which is horribly difficult to get without a degree). So my plan is to major in New Media Communications and minor in writing.

Now, this is not a right-away thing. It's not even a for-sure-this-will-work-out-and-happen thing. Due to not having taken the SAT in time, I can't attend university until Fall 2013 (unless I want to go without any chance of receiving financial aid...uh, no, thank you). And you know what this means: I still need to take the SAT. It keeps looming in my future. I feel so inadequate in math. I know I need to just pick a test time and do it.  (And study, of course.)

There are unanswered questions. What if I don't get a high enough score on the SAT? What if I don't get a job to help pay for college? What if...? If I try my best and it's God's will, I have to believe it will all work out.

So that's where I'm at right now. I've made a conscious choice to go to college but there are no guarantees. In that respect, it's easier to choose to stay at home because there aren't so many unknowns that could keep you from doing it. It's certainly not stopping me from trying, though!

I'm actually taking my first college class online through a local community college. More on that later.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blogging More Regularly...Is It Even Possible?

I have not done a very good job of regularly updating this blog. At all. It's hard for me to figure out how some bloggers can blog every. single. day. Where do they find the stuff to blog about? (Of course, if you have lots of cute children running around...that helps...I don't have that...) While I doubt that I can blog every day, I am hoping to blog much more regularly. This is actually a totally crazy time to be making a goal like this. I'm busier than I've been in awhile (and I'm normally pretty busy) but I know that I can make the time. If, for instance, I write a blog post instead of reading too many of them :).

There is BIG news coming up about a way to help Natalia. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Review: SAT & College Preparation Course for the Christian Student

The title is a mouthful. But it's nice that James P. Stobaugh has taken the time to write a SAT and college prep book for Christians.

On the front cover, it lists three of the benefits students receive from reading it:
~Test-taking insights and strategies
~Timely tips for thriving academically
~50+ sample essays sharpen your skills

My SAT prep books are old so I was excited to get the chance to review a new edition! I think this is a unique resource for students preparing for the SAT. This book is not the same as The Princeton Review or Kaplan books which include sample tests and focus on the "right" way to take/crack the SAT. Academically, those are probably more helpful and to-the-point. This is especially so for someone like me who waited until after highschool to start studying for the SAT. Don't make my mistake. Start studying ASAP! There is a 3-Year Plan (for those starting in 9th grade-recommended), a 2-Year Plan, and a 1-Year Plan. I've been going at my own pace and mixing this book with other SAT prep books.

In the Appendices, there are vocabulary helps, recommended reading lists, a reading journal, a prayer devotional journal, possible target Scriptures, and test-taking strategies. Then there are the fifty sample college admission essays that you can peruse. This book is written from a Christian worldview with an emphasis on the spiritual side of things. It begins each day with a Bible passage and the author's observations (whether he relates it to a personal or historical incident or literature, etc.) I was surprised that the recommended reading lists didn't have more Christian books on them. This book reinforces the importance of reading a lot but since I grew up an avid reader, it didn't apply much to me. I need serious help in math and there are math problems sprinkled throughout the lessons...I've mainly used the book for these. I like that the answers in the back of the book come with an explanation.

In the end, I feel that this book will help some students more than others. It's worth a look!

~I received this book free from New Leaf Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.