Tuesday, September 28, 2021

One Man's ...or Girl's Junk ...

 One Man’s or Girl's Junk…


You may have heard the saying, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” It may well be the slogan behind many a garage sale.


In preparation for a move, my daughter decided it was time to clear the house of unwanted “junk.” Though my granddaughters were at first reluctant to part with old toys, the promise of lining their pocketbooks with money from a yard sale proved to be strong motivation to purge the house of many a stuffed animal, game, or plastic toy.


If you read my post a couple of weeks ago about the toy box turned coffee table, (Click HERE) you know I did a toy purge of my own. 


I decided to keep a few toys around for my grandchildren when they visit. So why am I “playing” with them? 


It is all part of crafting my new suspense novel. Yes, I could use a storyboard, but I can move these figures around easily.

The hero of my story (Snoopy here) is a real boy scout. He has two important women in his life, “Ariel” and “Snow White.” Ariel is his office manager and she could, in his words, “Chew you up and spit you out in a heartbeat.” 


Snow White is also a woman to be reckoned with. She is the contractor remodeling his house. She also becomes, over time, his love interest.


So why am I playing with these toy figures and blocks instead of writing?


I have a villain (Mr. Potato Head) and he has a few henchmen doing his bidding. See Taz in the corner of Snoopy’s office? Yep, the bad guy has someone working on the inside. 


In crafting a suspense novel, I need a few red herrings. That is to say, I need to cast suspicion on a few possible insiders so my reader isn’t sure who is the bad guy.

It may sound silly to most people, but using these old toys to stage who is who and where everyone is at this point in the story actually helped me over a critical stumbling block in my timeline.


I may have to visit my granddaughters’ yard sale Saturday. Who knows what story I may find?

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

New, Fresh, and Strong Again...Renewal


That is my watchword for the week. Renewal. 

Merriam-Webster describes renewal as “the state of being made new, fresh, or strong again.”

New? Fresh? Strong again? We all need it. 

We often search for it. We plan a two week vacation in the hope of finding that renewed strength. I know. I’ve been there. 


But the best experience is when that sense of renewal comes unexpectedly. 


Fungi and Flowers:
So Beautiful

A friend of mine and I took a walk in a local park this week. It was raining a bit. Not much. Just enough to make everything in the forest look fresh. The colors of the wildflowers appeared more vibrant than ever. There was a sense of energy. A sense of renewal.


The next day, we had the opportunity to visit with my cousin and his wife on their farm. Their beautiful home is the epitome of renewal. No, they did not buy an old farmhouse and breathe new life into it. 

They designed and built the house themselves. 


A new house built to fit the era of the farm. Renewal.


A spiral staircase rescued from an old house in a gravel pit given new life in their home. Renewal.


Good conversation over a delicious meal, topped off with peach cobbler and ice cream? Renewal.


Oh, the Sweet Taste
of a Pawpaw!

A ride through my cousins’ woods in their 4X4 utility vehicle, stopping to sample the sweet taste of a ripe pawpaw, learning the names of a variety of plants and flowers along the way? Renewal.


Renewal isn’t about re-inventing your life. It is often about reconnecting with the beautiful world God created and sharing the experience with people you love. Yep, renewal is my watchword for the week.


I think we all need those moments. We all need to take time away from our routines and our televisions. We need time to walk in the rain, enjoy the flowers, engage in conversations with people we care about, and try something new. 


I would love to hear about those unexpected times you have found that quiet strength; that time of renewal.


So this I leave with you today. It is taken from the blessing in the Old Testament in the book of Numbers. It’s in Chapter 6, verses 24-26:  “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”



P.S. There was this one other little renewal issue. It turns out my auto license tags expired this week. One comment from a friend reminded me. So at 8:00 the next day I was at the license bureau. Just in the nick of time. Like I said...renewal is my watchword for the week!








Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Writing To Publish

Writing to Publish...A Roadmap

People with a story to tell come to me for advice. I am hired to speak with writing groups about writing and publishing. 


Mind you, I am not an authority. I am not an expert. 


I am a published author, a researcher, an educator, and a writing coach. 


It turns out to be a good combination.  


The very first story I had published was when my second grade teacher submitted my work to our school newspaper. I didn’t pursue a serious writing path, however until after I left the world of teaching and teacher education. Only then did I put my research skills to use to determine how to become a published author of books.


I am not prone to self-promote. Publishers want it from their authors, but it is the most difficult part of the process for me. If this post reads like self-promotion, I apologize.


The truth of it is, I have a recent release that is now available on Amazon. It is the easy to read and follow…the down and dirty…advice I offer as a writing coach to anyone who would like to publish their work.


Now Available on Amazon
(the book. Not me.)

The book is cleverly called Writing to Publish: A Roadmap to Success. I’m actually pretty happy with it. I like being able to help other people learn a bit about the craft of writing and publishing. Everyone has a story to share.


So if you long to write or you know someone who has that dream (read: perfect gift for the would-be writer) this book may be for you. 


It is available on Amazon. CLICK HERE.


The word on the street is that paper may soon be in a shortage status. Though my novels are available in both print and ebook form, Writing to Publish is currently only available in print copy.


You can check out my other books HERE on my Amazon Author Page.


Whew! I made it through the post without too much anxiety over self-promo. Now for something fun. I saw this joke on the internet:


Three writers, Al, Ben, and Carl, who were attending a writing convention, booked a room on the 75th floor of a hotel.

When they arrived back at the hotel from the convention, the receptionist told them, "I'm terribly sorry, but the elevator is broken. In the meantime, you will have to take the stairs."

Now, Al was a writer of funny stories, Ben was a writer of scary stories, and Carl was a writer of sad stories. The three of them agreed that, to make it less boring, Al would tell the other two his funniest stories while they climbed from floors 1 to 25, Ben would tell his scariest stories from floors 26 to 50, and Carl would tell his saddest stories from floors 51 to 75.

They started to climb the stairs, and Al started to tell funny stories. By the time they reached the 25th floor, Ben and Carl were laughing hysterically.

Then Ben started to tell scary stories. By the time they reached the 50th floor, Al and Carl were hugging each other in fear.

Then Carl started to tell sad stories. "I'll tell my saddest story of all first," he said. "There once was a man named Carl who left his hotel room key in the car..."


Well, at least I thought it was funny…


For more real fun, shoot me an email at rebecca@waterswords.com and I’ll add you to my monthly newsletter. 






Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Box in the Basement

 The Box in the Basement


Almost twenty years ago, I found a wooden box at Goodwill. It was marked eight dollars. Furniture that day was half off. Apparently the box with its hinged lid counted as furniture because I got it for four bucks.


I took my find home to use as a toy box for my first grandchild. Soon it was filled with Thomas trains, wood puzzles, and a talking truck. As Joshua grew we added an assortment of toys. His younger brother and cousin enjoyed the dinosaurs and matchbox cars. As my family grew, more children were added to our clan. Two more boys and three girls.


That old wooden box has served my family well through the years. It has been home to an assortment of stuffed animals, coloring books and crayons, games, and Legos. 

It also has housed an assortment of baby dolls, Barbie dolls, and plastic food that is particularly delicious on pretend picnics. 


Even empty margarine tubs, sheets of half used stickers, and refrigerator magnets have made their way into the toy box. The box was so full, I could no longer close the lid.


Since my youngest grandchild lives far away and does not show a particular interest in many of the “well-loved” toys in the box, I decided it was time to clean it out. 


At least that was my intent. I would clean it out and donate the usable toys to Goodwill. As I started the project, though I found very little worth keeping. I pitched most of the remaining toys, papers, and random puzzle pieces. I threw away the Happy Meal boxes and the broken crayons. I sorted all that was left on my ping-pong table in the basement and made a plan for the proper disposal of the rest.


The stuff I took out wasn’t the problem. The problem was, “What do I do with this box?”


It was not a particularly distinct piece of furniture. I often thought it was perhaps built from woodshop scraps by some loving grandfather as a toy box for his own little ones. I studied the box. It was still sturdy. And useful. As something. Somewhere.


I needed a coffee table so I repaired a couple of the joints and painted the orphaned toy box with a color identified as “tabasco.” After it dried, I painted over it with some old dark walnut stain, let it soak in a minute or two then wiped it off. 


My not-so-new toy box now serves as a new-to-me coffee table. And I like it.


It occurs to me that I am like that toy box. I am aging and to some I may not appear as useful as I once was. And yes, I’ve had a joint or two repaired. Yet I still have a lot of good life left in me. And I have the capacity to take on more. 


No. I am not going to go down the road of getting a fresh coat of paint. Read: No facelift or hair coloring for me. I don’t need it to find joy. 


I simply need a new purpose. And the opportunity to continue to serve others around me. How about you? What is your purpose? How do you serve?