Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday Whimsy - Quotes from Lilybits

Quotes From Lilybits:

"You're not worth your weight in kibble, if you can't beg the food off your human's plate."

"A good way to punish your human for not spending enough time with them is by making sure they're sound asleep before you snuggle next to them. Then get up before they wake up in the morning. Mwa ha ha, they'll never know."

"Make sure your human knows they've had enough sleep by licking their nose between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m., because it's time to get up and play!"

"When a cat is finicky it proves they're descended from royalty." (After all, Mom says I am a royal pain.")

Lily in the kibble bag.

"Every day spent with a cat is the best kind of day."

"The best spots to nap are in the sunshine!"

"As soon as you detect someone doesn't like cats, jump up on their lap. They'll just love it!"

If you would like to share what you think your pet would like to say to you, please enter it in the comment section below. Mom and I love it when our readers tell all!

Also, announcing the winner of Adventures with Vinnie, by Donna Winters:

Congratulations, Janice! Donna will contact you shortly. Happy reading!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Motivation - Let's Chat About Time Management

Let’s Chat About Time Management

We’re going to continue to focus on time management and productivity as writers. As I’ve been reading about how to get and stay in the writing habit, I have come across some advice that urges the writer to keep track of everything they’re doing in prescribed blocks of time throughout the day. Then they can find the lost time, which can be used for writing. This is a time management technique that goes way back, but let’s be honest, most of us know where we are wasting our time or not using it as effectively.

Having goals and blocking off that writing time is important. Unfortunately, life around us can bleed through the lines around our blocks of time. Elderly parents have emergencies, children need help with their homework, and spouses need to discuss important issues or can’t find clean underwear! Well, you get the picture. However, the time we use to do chores or organize the pile of junk we don’t really need is more controllable. One of the most practical websites I keep going back to is Flylady. Even if you’re totally unorganized, she teaches you to break down household organization and time management into bite size chunks of 15 minutes.

Managing our time used on other chores and the environment around us can only contribute to having more time consistently set aside for writing and that is our ultimate goal. Like anything else, Flylady’s methods are a tool and you can adapt them to your style and household. Don’t get bogged down by perfectionism. Now, start flapping those wings!

This week’s writing prompt: Everyone in the town had cabin fever . . .

Write a paragraph about this . . . or a whole story! Have some fun with it!

Please leave a comment and share if you have a favorite book or website that helps with time management. I love to hear from my readers!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Spiritual Uplift - Heating Things Up

Heating Things Up – A Real Beauty Treatment
Cut ruby, image in public domain via Wikimedia Commons
I have fun designing and making jewelry. I even took a metal smithing class a few years ago. Mainly, I enjoy creating bracelets and necklaces with beads right now, but on a whim I decided to look for a gemstone website to browse for fun. I love looking at the sparkly jewels, cut from the rock they were imbedded in, given precise faceting and polished to a reflective shine. Beautiful! God made these lovely gems and man used his God-given talents to bring out their brilliance.

Garnets are one of my favorite gemstones, which is a good thing, since it’s my birthstone. I’m amazed at how many different colors there are, from purplish to green! My husband gave me a lovely rhodalite garnet ring for my 30th birthday, ahem, mumble years ago. The stone is a deep red color infused with shades of violet. It almost looks like a ruby.

Since I like red stones I also enjoyed looking at rubies on one of the websites I was browsing and learned something new. Did you know that all but the finest stones are usually heat treated to bring out their color? When a decent quality ruby is heated nearly to the melting point, a new crystalline structure is formed that brings out a deeper red. The lesser quality rubies have many little fractures, which are filled with dyed leaded glass to improve their appearance and lessen the flaws to the naked eye.

Heat treated rubies. Photo via Wikimedia Commons [cc] by
Mauro Cateb
The fracture filling technique sounds a lot easier on the ruby if you ask me, but you don’t get the same brilliance that the heating technique brings out. The Lord, however, is interested in making us more like His Son, Jesus right down to the insides of our hearts. He doesn’t want to perform a little slap and dab cosmetic fix on the outside, just so we look good. This is why the trials He allows in our lives put so much pressure on us. While we are already new creatures in Christ if we are His children, we still need the heat kept on us to help purge the impurities from these fleshly minds and hearts we still wrestle with. Our thought patterns need to be changed and we need to direct our hearts more toward Him.

I must confess that I find it difficult to be thankful for trials, yet I know I need to keep my eyes on Jesus, who has a reason for allowing or putting me through difficulties. As believers, it isn’t always easy to have an eternal perspective in a finite world, but I’m slowly learning. I guess the question for me is: Would I rather be like the ruby of lesser quality, fracture filled and looking good to others? Or would I prefer to be more like the ruby with a deeper, truer color, reflecting the beauty of Christ to others from the inside out? 

Lord, teach us to see trials as you do, as means of purifying our faith and making us more like You. Help us to trust You through the difficult times. In Jesus’ name we ask these things, amen.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
(James 1:2-4, NLT)

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

(1 Peter 1:7, NLT)

Information on rubies found at 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesday Whimsy - Interview with Donna Winters

Lilybits, not large, but in charge!
Interview with Donna Winters: Adventures with Vinnie

Why, I think this blog is going to the dogs lately! But I am pleased to welcome author Donna Winters for an interview concerning her new book about a rescue dog, Adventures with Vinnie. Rescue animals need to stick together!

How did you get Vinnie?
We were looking for an older shelter dog and searched online at Vinnie came up as being available from a shelter in our region, so we investigated further. At the shelter site, a video was posted showing Vinnie to be a very affectionate fellow. We fell in love with him and made arrangements to visit the shelter with our other dog to see if the two could get along. 

Why do you like rescue dogs?
Rescue dogs are so incredibly grateful to have a home. One of our vets called them “super bonded” to their adoptive family.

I was a rescue cat and I was very grateful at first, but then I got spoiled.

What was special about Vinnie?
It would take a book to answer that question. Oh, how
convenient. I just wrote that book and it’s called
Adventures with Vinnie. In short, he was the best and worst of the canine species: incredibly affectionate with his family; aggressive toward newcomers to our home; difficult to keep confined; loyal enough to come back within moments of having run away (well, sometimes).

Please tell us about your book and where we can find it.
Here’s the back cover blurb, which pretty much tells it in a nutshell:

Handsome. Affectionate. In need of a forever home. And we were in need of another rescue dog. Thus began our Adventures with Vinnie.

From his first day to his last, the only predictable thing about Vinnie was his unpredictability. Loving and loyal, an escape artist to rival Houdini, and a genuinely comical fellow, his antics will make you laugh, give you a fright (but only for a moment), and melt your heart.

So join us, won’t you? With Vinnie, there’s never a dull moment!

Find Adventures with Vinnie at!

Brief Bio:
Donna Winters lives with her husband and two rescued canines in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She has nineteen books in print including fifteen historical romances, one historical novel, one contemporary romance, and two nonfiction titles. Learn more about her and her books, and connect with her at social media sites, by visiting at Great Lakes Romances.

Book Giveaway!
Donna is willing to give away either a paperback or Kindle copy of her book to someone who comments on the post telling in a couple of sentences about a favorite pet he/she has had, or has met at a friend’s, relative’s, or neighbor’s home. Please be sure to leave your email address and add mine (bigwaterpub at gmail dot com) to your contact list so my winner notification won’t get caught in your spam filter.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Motivation - Productivity and Personality

Productivity and the Personality . . . Disordered 

Recently I asked the Lord to show me why I struggle so much with procrastination when it comes to my fiction writing. I sit at the laptop and stare at the blank page. It’s all up in my brain, but I have a hard time getting it transferred through my fingertips. I can even relate to this in other areas of my life. Is there some kind of fear of failure torturing me? What is it? I mean, I love words, the process of creating a story and especially when I get in the zone, writing itself.

Last week, I watched a video talk given by author Susan May Warren from My Book Therapy on becoming an author and one of the subjects she addressed was the different ways the four basic personality types (sanguine, choleric, melancholy and phlegmatic) and how they affect writing productivity. I happen to be melancholy/phlegmatic. Melancholies, she said, tend to overanalyze while they’re writing, which slows them down. That’s how I am! Just throw in a little perfectionism to make the process more agonizing. As far as being phlegmatic, Susan mentioned that they don’t like putting their characters in difficult circumstances. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I do better with internal than external conflict. This makes for a difficult combination.

Understanding these things about myself, helps me bring order to the disorder of my writing habit. Since I am overanalyzing my writing before I even start, I need to find strategies to deal with it. Instead of feeling like I am looking over a dangerous cliff and unsure how I’m going to cross the chasm from the starting point to done, I need to build a bridge. I’ve been reading about writing productivity and trying to find what works for me. One tip I’ve found is writing a summary of what I will be writing that day. I don’t have to outline every little point, but at least I have a rough sketch to help me get started.

The important thing to remember is not comparing myself to the authors who write 10,000 words a day, but what works with my personality to help me become more productive. What is your personality type? What helps you become more productive?

Writing prompt for this Monday: The house on  . . .

Finish this sentence any way you like and continue writing for one to two paragraphs. Have fun with it!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday Spiritual Uplift - Thinking About Time

Fisher Building, Detroit,
from Wikimedia Commons {GNU}

 Thinking About Time

God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”
And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day. (Gen. 1:5, NLT)

For you, a thousand years are as a passing day,

as brief as a few night hours. (Ps. 90:4, NLT)

So teach us to number our days,

That we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Ps. 90:12, NKJV)

When I was a little girl, we often drove into downtown Detroit for doctor and dentist appointments. Dad pulled the car in front of the Fisher Building, the tallest building in Detroit at the time, and Mom and I got out. The building was only 30 stories tall, a junior skyscraper among skyscrapers today, but when I gazed up at the tower of concrete and marble with windows stacked floor upon floor, reaching up toward the sky, dizziness overtook me and my heart drummed away. To my petite personage, the height of the Fisher Building was incomprehensible.

Often when I’ve thought of the eternal nature of God I have felt this same way. When those feelings overtake me I know I'm out ofmy league in comprehension. Faith must take over. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega—the Trinity has no beginning and no end. Does that mean everything is in a circle and time just repeats itself? I doubt that, but I do believe the Lord sees time differently than we do. He invented linear time for us, but He’s not limited by it.

As humans we like to read stories or watch shows about time travel, because the subject is fascinating for us. What if we could travel to the past? Could we change what we’ve done, so that mistakes are fixed? If we traveled to the future would we really want to know what awaits us? We’d like to know the good things, but would we be ready to deal with the negative?

God, on the other hand, exists eternally. He was with us in the past, He is in our present and our future. He gives us wisdom to deal with consequences and to learn from our mistakes and He supplies grace for the difficulties that lie ahead, when the time comes. He is infinite, but our finite little minds can’t comprehend all of these layers at one time, so the years of our lives are linear, numbered in days. If we ask, He will guide us to make the best use of our time, one day at a time, in this new year of 2014.

Father, please give us Your wisdom and grace for the days ahead. Help us to number the days of this year and use them in a way, which would please You. Thank you for whatever time You’ve given us to live for You. Amen.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wednesday Whimsy - Interview with Jakearoo

Today, I am leaving my comfort zone *sigh* and interviewing Jakearoo Dog. Though I must say, he is quite a gentleman and often takes time to leave me comments, so I do consider him a friend. 

My Interview with: 
Jakearoo Dog! Woof!

Hi, Jakearoo Dog! Thanks for joining me today on Wednesday Whimsy.

Woof!  Hi, there Miss Lilybits!

How long have you owned your human?

I has had my Mama for 3.5 years now. I moved here after my skin dad died from a lung disease in Pennsylvania. He knew from reading my Mama’s blog that she liked fur kids, so he told me this would be a good place to live so here I am in Indiana now.

What’s the best way to train your human?

If you don’t practice ‘em dey will get lazy. I haz a ball in every room for exercize. I also good at doctorin’.

Here’s stuff ta do when yer Mama neez ta concentrate on her works so she won’t get bored an’ how ta helps her out:

·      Steal her empty water bottle and kill it by pushin’ it all ober da hardwood floor and makin’ loud killin’ noizez.
·      Choke on da lid so her jump up an’ play.
·      Eat yer food loud and make loud snortin’ dinosaur noises
·      Knock eberyting off da fireplace hearth and run around in all a it sending it hither an’ yon (don’t know what dat iz but Mom sez I do dat real good).
·      Play soccer wif her books an eat da page on global warming cuz it too cold to swim an’ I mad.
·      Play football wif her iPhone an’ chew on da case.
·      Jump on her lap and kissy face her berry hard an’ push my pawz on her chest
·      Lay on her legz so her can’t go nowhere durin’ my nap time.
·      Give her a paw massage all over her body when she’s lying down. (I know she likes this from all the different ways she says “Jake! Jake!”)
·      Slurp her ear just as she’s tryin’ to fall asleep. That way, you know she’s still breathing.
·      Hold da blankets down when she rolls over so she don’t move. Too much movement could cause her to over-exert herself. You don’t want dat.
·      Snore loud so she don’t feel bad snorin’ herself.
·      Help her eat by lickin’ da fork on da way to her mouth so dat she don’t eat too much.

I has a lot more tips, but that should get you started.

What does Karla write?

Well, she should write more ‘bout me, but her always writin’ ‘bout history and humor and hope.

How do you help her with her writing?

One thing I has to do iz make sure she playz a lot more so I bring her my slobbery ball or frizbie and put it on her laptop. I also sit on her lap and snore loudly so her haz background noise. And I make her let me outside and inside over and over for exercizin’. I also sit on her shoulder and fluff to keep her alert.

Any advice to other canine muses? How can we best help our writing humans?

Whatever you do, make sure you bark a lot and scratch on their office door if you hear the word “deadline.” I hear they like that.

Do you ever get in trouble for helping “too much”?

Mama locks her door on me, but I know how to do dat pitiful face wif puppy dog eyez. Foolz her ebery time. Woof!

Karla Akins is the author of The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots and historical biographies for middle grades. She's also a pastor’s wife who rides her own motorcycle and the mother of four boys and one step-daughter, and the grandmother of six. She lives in North Manchester with her husband who is the pastor of Christian Fellowship Church, her twin teenage boys with autism, mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s and three rambunctious dogs. Karla and her husband have been in ministry together for 31 years. You can contact Karla for speaking engagements via her website at

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Motivation - Survey Recap

Survey Recap

First of all, a big “thank you” to those who took the time to answer the questions in my short survey last Monday. It was very helpful. What do you think was the top writing issue survey respondents chose as the one they needed the most help with? If you guessed time management, you’d be correct. 100% of respondents chose this, so you’re not alone!

The second choice was writing consistently, which in many ways goes with time management. We are pulled in many directions by the needs of others, especially family members, church and social obligations, day jobs, household chores, etc. How can we balance it all and consistently schedule precious writing time? Those among us who are naturally organized are always looking for ways to be more efficient. My husband is an example of one of those people! However, I would suspect most of us creative types struggle in the area of time management altogether, let alone organization.

As far as what kind of posts people wanted, both “short posts with writing prompts” and “encouragement for the writing life” tied at 60%. Four-fifths felt that writing prompts were helpful.

This year I will endeavor to share more about my own discoveries in the area of time management, writing prompts and encouragement. I will strive to grow in the area of  sharing my own writing struggles and victories as well.

Do you have a favorite time management tip to share with other writers? If so, please leave a comment. Your comments are important to me and I love to hear from you!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Saturday Spiritual Uplift - Staying Close

Staying Close

As I started reading Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, all over again on January 1rst, I was struck by her candid sharing in her Introduction. She spoke of times when she felt Christ’s presence. This gave me a sense of longing. Somehow in the busyness of the holiday season and changing my routine, I found it harder to spend time alone with the Lord and really listen each day.

"Kittens spooning" from Wikimedia Commons
by Eli Duke
When my oldest son, Matthew, was an infant, he greeted me with smiles and jabbering first thing in the morning. When he was big enough to stand by the railing of the crib, he would reach his arms out to me. I would pick him up and change his diaper. Then we would settle down, so he could nurse, happily content. The nearness and warmth of my chubby baby and the fact that I could quench his hunger and give him a sense of security, made me happy.

I suspect that maternal instinct in me may be what makes me say, “Aww,” at the sight of a photograph of puppies or kittens snuggled up with one another, or with their mamas. Perhaps the positive experience I had with my own mother, knowing I could go to her when I needed a hug, makes me feel that way. Or maybe it's just the universal need humans have for love and acceptance.

When I was going through a difficult family time years ago, with no answers in sight, I would picture myself like a little child, sitting on Jesus’ lap and being held. That thought gave me the sense of security I needed at the time. And now, when I read my Bible and talk to Him, I ask the Lord to speak to me through his word and I wait for that clear sense of His direction. But it’s not always easy. Often it’s so difficult to quiet my heart and not jump ahead and worry about the day’s upcoming tasks. Yet Jesus is always there, waiting for me to return, whether I deserve it or not. Unlike a human parent, He is never too tired to nourish us with His word or hold us close and He wants to share His love and wisdom to light the way for us.

By Károly Brocky (1807-1855)
[Public domain], via
Wikimedia Commons
t’s a New Year and time for me to start sitting quietly with the Lord each day, whether for 15 minutes or an hour, it’s the best way to be refreshed and carry on with the tasks He’s given me.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. (Psalm 91:4, NLT)

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. (Luke 18:16, NLT)

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. (I John 2:1, NLT)

Friday, January 10, 2014

And the winner is . . .

Well, Mom's excuse for being late with the drawing is that today
was her birthday and it was a busy day. The winner of The Pastor's
Wife Wears Biker Boots, by Karla Akins, is Lisa Lickel!

Congrats Lisa! Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday Whimsy - The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots - Book Review

Lilybits--not large, but in charge. I'm baaack!

The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots by Karla Akins

The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots made Mom and me laugh a lot. It also had some sad and tense moments, which made me lick my paws and do cat yoga to relax. I think Mom just ate chocolate, but you didn't hear that from me.

The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots is about Pastor Aaron Donovan’s wife, Kirstie, and her desire to find a way to get away and relax sometimes. She has a busy and challenging family life. Her oldest son, Timmy, is autistic and Kirstie shows him much love and patience. And so does her tough redneck friend, Reba, who helps her out with him. The middle teen son, Patrick, is struggling to figure life out and test boundaries. (I know all about testing boundaries!)   

With judgmental church members calling board meetings and looking for issues to stir up, Kirstie has her plate full. The one thing she wants to do is ride a motorcycle—her own—and feel the wind in her face on the open road. I’d like to feel the wind in my fur, but Mom won’t even let me out the patio door, let alone the open road!

When Kirstie is able to buy her own motorcycle with a small inheritance, her friends Reba, Opal and Lily join her with their own rides, and the adventure starts. People may talk, but that’s just the beginning . . .

Mom says and I concur that The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots is a great read, filled with honest emotions and humor, making you examine your own preconceived notions about people (and other cats, in my case). It touches your heart as Karla Akins deftly weaves a page turning, contemporary story with lifelike characters that deal with real life situations. It’s a fun, but not sugar-coated read. Mom and I highly recommend it. (Despite the fact that the family in
the book have a dog named Goliath and not a cat.
I'll let this one detail go.) Four paws up!  

Leave a comment and follow, if you haven't yet, to be entered
in this week's drawing on Friday morning for a copy of 
The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots.

Next week, I'm moving out of my comfort zone and interviewing
a dog! Karla Akins dog, Jakearoo, will be my guest next Wednesday.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Motivation: How May I Serve You Better?

When I began Monday Motivation early in October, I had hoped to encourage other writers and perhaps create some rapport and a sense of community, but without taking up too much of your time. As we gear up for accomplishing more and writing better throughout 2014, my desire is to serve you, my fellow writers, better. Please take a couple of minutes to fill out the five question survey below to let me know how this can be accomplished. Thank you!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.