Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sunday Salon: January 10, 2016

While freezing here in Kansas City, we are also celebrating the first Chief's playoff win in twenty-two years! It is a great time to be a sports fan here in the Midwest.

Miss Peregrine...
I promised myself to read more fiction in 2016, and I am currently about half-way through Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I've admired the cover of this book for years and decided it was time to give into my curiosity.

I made the conscious decision not to read any reviews or spoilers before starting the book, so I could enjoy the story without bias or preconceived ideas. While I find the story slightly odd, I am intrigued and look forward to reading a bit each night before bed.

In addition to this work of fiction, I decided to restart Elizabeth Gilbert's, Big Magic, so I could participate in Joy's January read-along. While I have only read the first few pages, I have enjoyed listening to the corresponding podcast, Magic Lessons, while walking on the treadmill. I think there are only twelve episodes in the series so this won't last long, but I truly love Ms. Gilbert's down-to-earth personality and her authentic voice.

I took an un-anticipated break from writing these past two weeks, in part because of holiday celebrations, but mostly due to other issues which I will discuss later.

Suffice it to say, however, I am ready to start the new year with a return to the blogging routine and writing vision.

I plan to focus my time this first quarter on three projects:

  1. First Impressionism - my middle grade historical fiction novel. While I still love the premise, I have come to accept the first draft was too fractured, with little characterization, and no compelling story. So it is back to the storyboard. I think the homeschool community is my primary market for this book (I have spent the better part of a decade teaching in this environment) and so it is only fitting the protagonist be a homeschooler as well. I look forward to developing Phoebe's character from this perspective.
  2. Spiritual Lessons through Photography (ebook) - this project has sat on the back burner for about three years. I think it is time to take the risk and move forward with the writing and self-publication of this concept. It is my hope to combine my love of writing and photography that honors both in a unique way.
  3. Milestone Memoirs - my vision of marrying one photograph (worth 1,000 words) with a 500 word essay to create a meaningful narrative for future generations. Over the past few months all three of my children have mentioned a desire to understand our family history. Since I am the keeper of those stories, it is my honor and responsibility to pass them down to the next generation. Otherwise, they will be lost forever.
I have several other ideas ruminating... but this is a good place to start.


I eased into the new year by writing only one blog post last week... but it was an important one, at least for me.

For the past several years I have participated in the One Word campaign - that is, select one word to guide decisions and lifestyle for the year.

In the past I have chosen Balance... Peace... and Contentment.

This year, FUN will be the guiding principle.

If interested in reading the thought process that helped settle on this word, please read this blog post.

Other Happenings:

As I eluded to before... there are other reasons for my writing hiatus.

In addition to Christmas and New Year's celebrations, we also experienced the first snow of the year. In typical Kansas fashion, however, the snow was preceded by ice which made travel treacherous. My youngest delayed her departure two days, which meant more family fun and less writing time. It was like old times though... sipping hot tea, reminiscing past holidays, and solving a 1,000 piece puzzle.

The other hindrance to writing these past few weeks is due to some major home renovations.

My son is a skilled contractor, and his wife an amazing interior designer (a talent I never acquired). The two of them created a new living room / dining room/ entry way design that moves this house from the 1970s to the 21st century. We are so pleased with the quality of their work and the aesthetic updates.

It is my sincere hope (and theirs) that the work will be complete by Friday, and I can share before and after pictures next salon post.

Right now it doesn't look like much, but they have put in a lot of sweat equity:
  • remove the popcorn ceiling
  • remove all wallpaper borders
  • add 1/8 inch plyboard to cover the impossible-to-remove wallpaper
  • add wood strips to create a board-and-batten look in the dining room and entry way
  • remove all carpet and flooring
  • dismantle the parlor grand piano (and save parts to repurpose another time)
  • paint the ceiling
  • paint the board and batten
  • paint the walls
  • lay laminate flooring
We are SO excited to see the job complete - and begin to enjoy our new space.


  1. Wow! That was a busy holiday season for you with bad weather and home renovations for good measure. I'm looking forward to watching your projects develop!

    1. Busy indeed... but I've tried to have "fun" the entire time :)

  2. I hope the snow stays away from here this year. I didn't love Miss Peregrine but one of my doctor's said her daughter loves the whole series so I think it's just me. It sounds like you got a lot of work done!

    1. I can't say that I 'love' Miss Peregrine... but I do find the story entertaining :)

  3. Fun times!! I am excited to see your home renovations. We do little bits at a time too and have a large to do list prepared for 2016. I recently read Miss Peregrines...I too was intrigued by the cover and knew nothing about it prior to reading. You'll have to let me know what you think. ;)

    1. Oh Laura... we have not done a single thing to this house in the two decades we have lived here. Our "to do" list extends through 2020 :)

      But it sure feels good to get started!

      I'd love to connect and share reading experiences with Miss Peregrine's ....

    2. We should definitely connect. Please know I'm thinking of you and praying for painless speedy recovery of your arm injury.

  4. Oh, it will be fun to see your new renovations. We did this at our old house before we put it on the market for sale. It looked so good afterward that I almost didn't want to move. Almost. LOL

    Stay warm and have FUN!

    1. That's what we think we will happen too!
      We have considered putting the house on the market in the next couple of years... but I have a feeling once it is modernized, we will want to stay forever :)

  5. I;ve been meaning to read Miss Peregrine, too. I am not sure why I keep putting it off. I just got done preparing for the Youth Media Awards by reading over 50 YA books so I am pretty ready to jump into a good, long adult novel. Happy new Year.

  6. Oh fun to have new digs without having to move!

  7. Looks like you had busy holidays. How wonderful to have handy people around. I am sure it will be great once it is ready.
    I just loved 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children'. The cover did fascinate me, as did the photos inside. The story was somewhat weird, but to me it was like a modern fairy tale. I have not read any of the books following this one.
    All the best for 2016 and a good reading and writing year!

  8. Look forward to seeing the progress photos...even if they're not done.


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