Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lassen Peak-The crown jewel of Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Peak bathed in sunlight just before sunrise
One of the perks of getting up early to get my daughter to the bus stop is I get to see Lassen Peak in all its splendor at sunrise. I have a soft spot in my heart for mountains. They're beautiful, fierce, rugged, and a testament to God's magnificent creation. Watching the effects of light on Lassen and its granite neighbors at different times of the year makes me appreciate this beautiful mountain.

Lassen Peak with a fresh coat of snow just before sunrise
 If you haven't visited Lassen Volcanic National Park, you're missing out. It's one of my favorite places to be, and I don't get there as often as I'd like. I read somewhere that it's one of the most under visited of our national parks. I'm not sure why. It has four types of volcanoes: plug dome, shield, composite, and cinder cone. It's also an active volcanic area and a hot spot for scientists. 

Lassen Peak shrouded in smoke from the Butte Fire burning in El Dorado County
From the road, you can get up close and personal (but stay at a safe distance) with boiling mud pits and steamy sulphur vents. But if you don't mind a little exercise, you can take a hike and visit some of the more menacing features such as Bumpass Hell or Boiling Springs Lake. There's also lots of things for kids to do, such as the interactive area in the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center and various ranger led programs. 

I live within 45 minutes of this amazing park, but have yet to take advantage of all it has to offer. You can be sure, hiking to the top of Lassen Peak is on my bucket list. Just gaze at the photo above and imagine yourself at the top of the mountain on a morning like this. Breath taking!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Well, I did it. 50,000 plus words in about 25 days. April was a busy month, busier than I expected, so I kicked myself a few times for signing up for Camp NaNoWriMo. What did I get myself into when I already had enough on my plate?

But once I commit to something, I have to see it through.

It sure feels good to accomplish such a feat. 50,000 words. Wow! It's daunting, but not impossible. Though it took the first two weeks to get it together and build up steam, by the third week the words came like a freight train and I got to my destination well ahead of schedule.

I love how the story turned out. I love the characters and I love the setting. It's hard not to love the fictional town of Rock Creek since I based it on the actual town I reside in. By the way, the name of the creek is very real.

Someday, I'll go through this "book" and begin the revision process, but not until I finish  my current WIP. Isn't it just like us creative types to start one project, get bored, start a new one, and get bored again? To be honest, Camp NaNoWriMo was the change in pace I needed. It gave me a renewed appreciation and a surge of excitement for the story I've been working on for years (which I will finish). In the meantime, I'll continue to bask in the glory of my successful stay at Camp NaNoWriMo.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review

Lighten UpLighten Up by Angela Ruth Strong
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bethany Light is a personal trainer. She's lonely, trying to fix her family, and struggles to forgive her dad for cheating on her mom. In an attempt to make sense of things, she seeks council from the pastor of her church and ends up falling in love with him. Too bad he's engaged to one of her clients. With plenty of wit, a bit of sarcasm, and soul-searching, Bethany learns it's up to the Lord, and not her, to repair the hearts of others. Angela Ruth Strong did an amazing job showing the results of too much judgement and not enough forgiveness. I loved all the characters in the book from the motor-mouth "dumb blonde" to the adorable UPS guy to the strong-silent-type-green-eyed pastor. Angela should give a workshop on character development, not to mention, writing in first-person.
I recommend this book to anyone who desires a closer walk with the Lord and appreciates a no-nonsense Christian fiction that doesn't sugar-coat real life, all with a good dose of humor.

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 19, 2015


I've participated in National Novel Writing month a few times over the years. Writing 50,000 words in a month really isn't hard for me once I buckle down and get to it. But in November with Thanksgiving taking up some of that time? Not so easy, especially since we usually go out of town for the holiday. I'm forced to squish 50,000 words into three weeks. That's 2,381 words a day. Not an easy task when you have a job and a family. But I did it! Yea!

Then I heard about Camp NaNoWriMo which takes place in April. Oh, oh. Another month with a holiday, but it so happens we usually don't go away for Easter. I can do this. And I get to be in a virtual cabin with 12 cabin mates. I love camping, virtual and otherwise.

I sign up and get this crazy idea about writing a fictional story loosely based on the history of the small town I live in. We've been residing there almost ten years and during this decade, I've heard some incredible stories. So much fodder, so much history, and a lot of interesting people. 

National Novel Writing Month and Camp NaNoWriMo are both wonderful ways to focus on creating a first draft of a potentially great novel. I challenge other authors to check it out, if you haven't already. Cabin assignments will take place in six days, so it's not too late to sign up.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Let's keep this between you and I...

The Bible mentions gossip so many times, it goes without saying God is pretty serious about it. We all know it's not right to talk about others behind their backs. But how often do we ignore this? And we can't be pious and point fingers at the unchurched and say it's their problem. Gossip is not limited to mean and worldly people. Stop and think about this. How many times do we, as Christians, talk about others with good intentions? If we add a disclaimer such as, "Keep this between you and I"  and agree to pray for the poor person we're talking about, is it still gossip?
I've been thinking a lot about this because I live in a very small town where the act of gossiping is not so well hidden as it might be in a larger town. Gossip doesn't seem to travel as fast when there's more people involved and it's easier for the instigators to go unnoticed. In a small town, you might as well get a bull horn.
I have also been the brunt of gossip though I've done nothing to warrant it. It's a case of mistaken identity. Isn't this what usually happens? More often than not, gossip is spread without the facts to back it up. We take one person's word for it and pass it on. 
The Bible says, "A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends." Proverbs 16:28
Gossip is never a good thing, no matter how innocent it may seem. Left unchecked, gossip can rage like a wildfire. Inevitably, people get hurt.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A New Look

Yesterday I played around with blog designs and settled on one I really love. It goes with my title like real butter on cinnamon bread. 

The old header included a photo I took a few weeks ago of Lassen Peak against a gorgeous sunrise. I gave up the photo in favor of a new header design. 

I miss seeing this image every time I check my blog, so I decided to create something using one of my favorite Bible verses. I hope you like it.

Feel free to use this image for your blog or website. Please link back to me,, if you do. Thanks!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kill Off Your Character With A Cow

Writers are always looking for ways to kill off a character in their books by accident or by foul play.
Pick up your favorite suspense or mystery novel, or tune in to the latest episode of CSI or Criminal Minds and you’ll find the most common life-ending causes are GSW’s (gunshot wounds), blunt force trauma,
exsanguination (blood loss), or asphyxiation (loss of air). These conditions usually occur at the hands of a jealous lover, serial killer, or someone under the influence of mind-altering drugs. In most cases, the perps are human and occasionally your typical predatory animal.

A cow is not a predator, nor is the backyard Bambi.

But did you know these sweet-faced animals kill more people than the great white shark gone rogue?

I’ve seen documentaries showing the dangers of hippos, I know a jellyfish’s sting can be fatal, and I’ve seen videos about fatal attractions with deer. Still, I’m surprised cows and horses commit murder so often. Certainly, we humans have more contact with our favorite farm animals than we would have with, say, a shark. I’m sure there are more farmers than surfers in the world, so this would make sense. Still, it’s a hard pill to swallow.

Now, if golden retrievers and cats were included in this image, I would really have to get on my soap box.

Let’s give Jaws and jealous lovers a break and change things up a bit. Wouldn’t it be kinda cool to write a story where the character gets clobbered by a crazed cow as opposed to a creature from the Cretaceous period?

Or a flock of formidable ducks set Fargo on fire? 

Or better yet, a bunch of bunnies blow up a building full of brigadier generals? 

Horses take hostages in a high rise in Houston? 

Deer damage the infrastructure of Detroit and take over the auto industry?

The possibilities are endless!

I’d love to hear your ideas, so do what the chimp says.




Monday, January 19, 2015

1949 Advice from Singer and Writers of Old

I saw this image on Facebook and just had to laugh. People had such a different mindset, not to mention expectations, back then. Remember those 1950’s TV shows such as Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy? It seems no matter what the women were doing— vacuuming, dusting, or preparing dinner—they were wearing nylon stockings, high heels, and their hair was perfectly coiffed. Crazy.

I prefer vacuuming in my pajamas or sweats, thank you.

After reading those words from the 1949 Singer Sewing Manual, I got to thinking about authors from the old days. Things were way different back then. They typed entire manuscripts on typewriters using actual sheets of paper. Can you imagine what it would take to produce a full-length novel? Did they type out a first draft, go back and revise it, and then re-type the whole thing all over again? They must have gone through reams of paper and typewriter ribbons in those days. I’m sure they pulled their hair out before “The End” ever made it to paper. Maybe that’s why most of them wore hats.

And what did writers do before the advent of typewriters? Parchment and feathers dipped in ink?

If you think long and hard about how rough those authors of old had it before computers became main stream, with their delete keys and back space buttons, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens.

We have so easy, don’t you think?