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December 18, 2015

Nearly ten years ago, I read Dianne Jacob’s book, Will Write for Food, after purchasing it from the Writer’s Digest catalog. It has become one of my favorite writing books, surviving year after year of ruthless culling of my bookshelves. I reviewed it then in my brand new blog, and it’s a bit staggering to look back on that post, as both I and my blog have aged an entire decade.

I’m still here, and I still enjoy sharing great books and writing resources. In 2009, Dianne Jacob entered the world of blogging as a way to update her book, and you can keep up with her at Will Write for Food.

Because of vast changes in the world of print and digital writing, Dianne Jacob’s new edition has been extensively revised to reflect current media trends. I enjoyed this 2015 release and found it brimming with practical advice for bloggers and photographers, as she offers a smorgasbord of ideas on how to become a professional in the field. That is, how to make money from your food writing.

Will Write for Food

In her introduction, Dianne Jacob shares:

Much has changed in the world of food writing since 2005, most notably in the widespread acceptance of blogging. Ten years ago, bloggers had barely emerged, and the print world did not respect them. Since then, a national food magazine asked a food blogger to write a monthly column…a food blogger got a show on the Food Network…more than a hundred food bloggers have book deals, and a few make a six-figure income. Learning good photography, social media skills, and self-promotion has become as important — maybe more so, if I’m being honest — than being an excellent writer.

Whether you’re a gourmet food aficionado or simply enjoy sharing your love of cooking through recipes and personal photography, this book has something to offer you. After devouring this new edition, I learned the field of food writing is still wide open, and if you have a passion for food writing, this book can help take you to the next step of becoming a professional.

Here are a few ways you can break into the huge market for food writing:

Start a Food Blog
If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a book, the best place to begin is by creating a blog. Then you can start immediately in finding your voice and audience, which will build your platform as an expert in your field. Chapter 4 of Will Write for Food is completely devoted to helping you get started. Jacob has interviewed dozens of successful food bloggers and shares their tips to help you.

Become a Better Photographer
Food writing works in sync with beautiful photography. Jacob explains, “Since the web is such a visual place, this is the best way to increase views. Of course it isn’t easy, but having terrific photos can propel a food blog to stardom.” She includes many practical ways to make your photo shoots look more professional.

Master the Art of Recipe Writing
“A well-written recipe is like poetry,” says Jacob. “Agents and editors can see a good one a mile away.” Who knew there was such an art to writing down your recipes? There is, and chapter 8 explains how you can become a master of the art. She includes a list of powerful action verbs that will bring your recipes to life. I especially enjoyed reading about how Julia Child captured the attention of legendary editor Judith Jones because of her strong knack for punchy verbs.

Compile a Cookbook
The world of cookbook writing has changed drastically in the past decade. Cookbooks are full of stories, which help grab a reader’s attention. “Many people read cookbooks in bed as though they were novels,” Jacob says. “They provide escape from daily life and a source of guiltless pleasure.” I confess I’ve done this very thing. I love reading descriptions of food, and especially the narratives behind them. Many magazines and websites have created sections to showcase the stories behind recipes. My favorite is Guideposts.

Write a Food Memoir
Ah… I love food memoirs. When I traveled to Tampa a few years ago to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the egg industry, I found myself spending the weekend with strangers who had one main topic in common: we loved reading and writing about food. So we discussed our favorite food memoirs, as we dined on scrambled egg burritos on the bus ride to tour egg farms. My all-time favorite food memoir is Julia Child’s My Life in France, which was co-authored with her nephew, Alex Prud’Homme. Julie and Julia sprang from the original, and I’m also a fan of farm-to-table memoirs such as Kristin Kimball’s The Dirty Life. There’s a never-ending market for weight-loss stories and recipes, and I reviewed Heidi Bonds’ Who’s the New Kid? here. Dianne Jacob devotes all of Chapter 9 to “Crafting Memoir and Nonfiction.”

Create Fiction Infused with Food
I love it when I’m reading a novel infused with descriptions of food. I can’t help it. I learn so much about characters and setting by visualizing meals in the story. Jacob writes, “In fiction, food is a device that helps you develop characters based on how they cook, which foods they like, and how they eat. It also creates a mood or sets a scene, and establishes the time.” Many fiction authors today include recipes, and several books I’ve reviewed have inspired me to try out a recipe I’ve discovered, such as Eva Marie Everson and Linda Evans Shepherd’s The Potluck Club and Cyndy Salzmann’s Friday Afternoon Club cozy mystery series.

I hope you get a chance to read Will Write for Food, and if you collect trade books on writing, this is one you’ll want to acquire for your shelves. Reading the updated edition ten years after the first has me focused less on myself and more on how I plan to incorporate food writing in my English/Language Arts classroom. I can’t wait to see what kinds of recipes and stories my teen students come up with. Maybe we’ll even compile a classroom cookbook or break into food blogging. The opportunities for sharing a love of good food and writing are endless!


About the Author:
Dianne Jacob is a popular speaker at food writing conferences and workshops in America and around the world. She judges for both the James Beard Foundation annual cookbook awards and the IACP annual cookbook awards. The coauthor of Grilled Pizzas & Piandinas and The United States of Pizza, and the writer of The Good Pantry, she lives in Oakland, California. She can be reached at her website and blog, where she covers food writing trends, issues, and technique.

Note: I received this book, complimentary, from the publisher for the purpose of review.

By: Heather Ivester in: Blogging,Book Reviews,Cooking & Recipes,Writing | Permalink | Comments Off on Dianne Jacob Offers Great Tips for Bloggers in Will Write for Food

June 10, 2010

If you’ve been around the Christian mom blogging community for a while, you’ve most likely heard of Kelsey Kilgore, who blogs as Holy Mama. A west Texas mom of four, Kelsey recently published her first novel, A Love for Larkspur. She’s also a gifted humor writer and encourager for stressed-out, battle-worn parents.

Hi Kelsey. How’s the weather in Texas? Have you seen any more tumbleweeds lately?

Here in West Texas, it is HOT. We went to three baseball games on Saturday and at the start of the second game, it was 107 degrees. By the end of the third game it was cooling off at 100, and it felt lovely. Really! West Texas heat is dry, never humid, and that helps.

It’s so hot here, that vets recommend shaving your long-haired cats in the summer.

Isn’t he CUTE?! My ten-year old, Ethan, made the little purple shawl. I haven’t seen any tumbleweeds, but it isn’t really the season now — the best ones are found in winter.

Oh, that cat is ADORABLE — and the shawl too! Can you describe for us a typical west Texas summer scene? I mean, do people really walk around wearing cowboy hats and boots?

Why, yes …. yes you do often see hats and boots here, year-round. But that’s the exception, not the rule.

A typical scene … I don’t get out much and my life revolves around children, so bear with me. What comes to mind are endless Saturdays of kids’ sporting events, the happy shrieks of kids splashing at a swimming pool, and grilling outdoors with family. None of that sounds particularly unique to this part of the country, now that I think about it.

Oh! We feed prairie dogs sometimes, just for fun. They like pretzels and carrots.

A pretzel-eating prairie dog — now that’s definitely not something I’ve ever seen here in Georgia!

OK, I’ve been reading your blog for years. Do you think writing can help alleviate some of the major stresses moms face today?

Writing alleviates some of MY stresses as a mom. But other moms I talk to often say that writing would only add to their stress — everyone’s different. It’s not my major stress reliever — blogging, for me, is more of a tool for documenting my kids’ childhoods and these years in general.

I know this is a fast-paced time period, and I forget so much! I want to always be able to look back and see what I wrote/thought/believed during this time. I don’t mind sharing my life with whoever might be interested in reading about it — but largely, it’s written for the future me!

I agree — if I don’t write it down, I forget it! What else do you find to be a good stress reliever?

My two main stress relievers are cleaning and exercise. Preferably something fairly violent, with lots of punching and kicking of other individuals, but a punching bag will do. Since I tore my left ACL in September, I’m not cleared yet to go back to kickboxing.

In the meantime, I’m trying to build up strength and endurance so I’ll be ready for it again when the doctor gives the go-ahead in December. I haven’t always been this way — I only started exercising after antidepressants stopped working for postpartum depression after my 4-year-old was born.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Not really. Most of the time I don’t even think of myself as being a writer, even now. Writing was something that came very easily to me, and I knew it would always help me out in whatever I ended up doing. As it turns out, I’ve ended up mothering, mostly, with a little writing on the side. Next year all the kids will be in school full time, and maybe then I’ll be writing more — and thinking of myself as more of a writer!

Did you have a teacher or mentor who particularly encouraged you with writing?

Yes, Penny Arrington, high school English teacher extraordinaire. She was the sort of crazy-tough teacher that you either adored … or feared and had nightmares about for the rest of your life. (I mean that in a good way.)

She had super high standards and she expected every single student to meet them — and she pushed us very hard in order to help us get there. I admired that. I admired her. Still do. She’s a high school counselor now, and we had dinner about a year ago when I went back to my home town for a brief visit.

How did you get started writing fiction?

It was a God Thing. A very, very weird God Thing. One night, a very long time ago, I had a vivid dream with all sorts of interesting people. I woke up in the middle of the night and had a sense that I should make it into a book.

In order to let that crazy thought go, I prayed something I should never have prayed. I said, “God, if you want me to write that, help me remember all of it because I usually forget dreams. Amen and goodnight.” And I thought I’d go back to sleep. Instead, I stayed awake all night and scene after scene played out in my head in a way I’d never before (or since) experienced.

So the next day, exhausted, I started to write. It took almost a year. And what came out of that was truly a terrible read. But what ALSO came out of that was a whole year of hands-on learning in what to do and what not to do in fiction writing.

I learned so much from that experience — I wouldn’t trade that awful manuscript for anything! And nor would I read it again, for anything! Or subject anyone else to it — but still, it is precious to me if only in its immense personal value!

In your debut novel, A Love for Larkspur, your main character, Lark, has a close relationship with her mom. Is this based any on your relationship with your mom?

I wanted a good mom-daughter relationship in the story. At the time I wrote it, I was living here in Texas and my own mom was living in Australia. I only saw her once or maybe twice a year. I was also dealing with a mother figure in my life who was painfully, and suddenly, rejecting me.

Those feelings and issues are in there, and I intentionally wrote a strong, positive mom figure into the story so it wouldn’t come off as so “anti-mother!” That being said, my own wonderful mother is extremely different from Lark’s wonderful mother.

Do you enjoy having your mom live closer to you now? What’s your favorite activity to do with your mom?

Now that my mom DOES live close by, I’m so grateful for all the time we spend together! We like to shop or go eat or take the kids swimming. Occasionally she’ll get me to go antiquing with her (not my fave) or we’ll plant flowers or do yard work together.

For those of us who aren’t from Texas, can you tell us about larkspur? When does it bloom?

Larkspur is in bloom right this very second at my house, as you can see, next to golden Stella d’Oro daylilies.

The foliage is delicate, and ferny, and can look very much like a weed to a novice. So when we moved into our last house and a flowerbed seemed to be overrun with these little weedy plants, I tried to pull them all out.

Eventually, after ripping out thousands of them, I gave up. I was shocked to discover what the “survivors” turned out to be! And of course I wished that I’d left them alone. In subsequent years, that flowerbed recovered from my misguided efforts and every June it became a traffic-stopping display of the prettiest larkspur in town. The ones in the photo above were planted from seeds I took from our last house.

Why did you choose this name for your character?

I like unusual character names, and I love plants and flowers. It just worked out to combine the two!

In your novel, Lark enjoys jogging to ward off her stress. Do you also find exercise helps you cope? How do you make yourself go to the gym? Do you have any tips for the rest of us?

When I wrote about Lark jogging, I hadn’t started running. I’d always wanted to, but didn’t think I’d be any good and hadn’t ever tried. I’m a runner now, but I’m fairly new.

When the antidepressants stopped working for the postpartum depression, the doctor suggested hardcore exercise. And I hated this idea. Everyone else at the gym was probably skinny and knew what they were doing — and I had baby-weight and varicose veins. I had no business being there. But the drugs weren’t working and my depressed face-planting on the carpet wasn’t working out so well, so I committed.

I made myself go to the gym and exercise every single day — even though I couldn’t stand it — for six weeks. And then I noticed that I liked it. After that, I let myself go just four times a week if I wanted to, and if it felt like it was enough to keep me sane — but oddly, I usually wanted to go more frequently than that.

Now I still go because I want to. I don’t feel like I’m myself if I skip for very long. That’s all the motivation I need. (And I like to work out at home or go for a run or try other gyms. Not being tied to one location helps). But whatever motivation YOU need? Give it to yourself.

If you want to schedule it so you watch Project Runway while you’re on the treadmill, go for it. Whatever works, within reason, is worth it. Before long, you won’t need to be so creative. But don’t let yourself think, like I did, that you don’t belong or you’re not good enough, or you’ll never fit in with the skinny group. I have social anxiety issues, can you tell?

Oh! And make yourself try a class! I like almost all of them. I’m not coordinated enough for Step classes, but am not above making a total fool of myself in a Zumba class or dropping the barbell on my foot in a weightlifting class. Gyms are full of dorks like me, so it turns out, I fit right in. (And I did get skinny! And sane. Okay, well, no, that’s a total lie, but sane for ME, and I even wear shorts. Short ones!)

I read in ParentLife magazine that you’ve found blogging to be a good way to share your faith. In your four years of writing online, what has been the most positive aspect of blogging?

Overall, the most positive moments have also been the hardest. Our 16-year-old daughter has been a challenge to raise, and we’ve had a heartbreaking four years of placing her in various residential treatment centers and trying to navigate through her psychological/emotional/mental issues and stay strong (and safe) as a family. Sometimes we’ve been successful, and at others we haven’t.

My heart aches for the parents in similar situations who find me by googling various diagnoses their children have been given, and we often end up in long, tearful but supportive email exchanges. None of that happens on my website where people see it — it’s a behind-the- scenes operation that can be emotionally draining, time-consuming, and a wonderfully precious way to tell a mom or a dad, “You are not alone. And you will be okay. I have lived through this and so will you. There is life on the other side of this.”

I remember all too well those dark, hopeless periods of parenting her, and these people often write from that same desperate place — and are stunned at finding someone who understands what no one else in their life has understood. They’re good parents. They’re trying their hardest, and they’re falling apart by the time I hear from them. Those conversations are often divinely timed and inspired.

I’m honored at the way God uses my little website to bless these sweet, depleted parents. I had no idea that sort of thing would ever happen, much less, regularly. But it does, and those exhausted, often misunderstood parents are dear to me in a way I find difficult to explain. Their stories are mine as well — one I don’t often write about except in my emails to these dear strangers.

Kelsey, you have an amazing ministry. Keep it up! Who knew blogging humorous slice-of-life stories would put you on the front lines encouraging battle-weary parents?

Now, back to your fiction writing, do you have plans to write any mom-lit in the future?

Yes, well, maybe. In theory. But you know what always stops me? It feels weird to create children’s characters that are wonderful that I want to spend time with, and yet they’re not my own children. Characters become so real to me, it feels disloyal in a sense.

All the best parts of my male leads come straight from my husband, so I’ve never felt conflicted there. One day I’ll resolve that in my head and make it work. I adore writing about kids and what they say and how they think — I just haven’t transferred that over to fiction yet!

I hope you will someday! In closing, do you have any advice for moms who desire to write with a house full of kids, dogs, cats, and piles of laundry?

You can do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s good. It’s YOURS. And just because of that, it has value and so it’s worth the effort. If you want to write, you really, really, really should. If it’s for an audience one day, great! If it’s not, that’s just as great! Your thoughts and ideas and creativity deserve an outlet, and if writing is the one you choose, I applaud the choice.

Don’t let the kids, pets, and laundry be your excuses not to do it. I wrote entire book-length manuscripts while breastfeeding babies and perfecting the One-Handed Because I’m Holding a Baby ALL THE TIME And Look — There’s One On My Boob Now Isn’t He CUTE Typing Style.

It can — and should — be done, regardless of children, laundry, or other bits of Life. My mom once gave me the book Anybody Can Write, by Roberta Jean Bryant. I recommend it.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Kelsey! You’ve offered us so many great ideas. I think we’re all ready to lasso our next challenge. Yee-ha!

Be sure to visit Kelsey Kilgore’s website and Holy Mama blog, where she rounds up her highly entertaining tales of motherhood and occasional recipes involving pine nuts.

May 13, 2010

Hello. My name is Heather, and I’m a Book Blogger.

I just wanted to write that to see how it looked. I’ve introduced myself in many ways, but never as a “book blogger.” Apparently, there are lots of us, tons of us in fact, who blog about books, and now there’s even a convention full of people who will be meeting together to discuss blogging about books.

Here are a few of the topics that will be presented:

* Professionalism/Ethics
* Marketing
* Author/Blogger Relationships
* Social Responsibility
* Writing/Building Content

I would love to be there, but since it’s May 28 in New York City, alas, I won’t. That’s the last day of school for us, and I’ll be busy loading up kids and the contents of their newly cleaned-out lockers.

If YOU would like to go, I hope you can, and I hope you have a great time. You can read all the details here. Admission to the Book Blogger Convention also allows you access to roam the celestial BEA (Book Expo America), which is billed as “the largest publishing event in North America.” Here’s a rundown of all the exciting events going on for children’s book authors, editors, publishers, agents, booksellers, and other people crazy about kid lit.

I would like to be a fly on the wall for the session entitled “Speed Dating with Children’s Authors” (for booksellers only).

November 21, 2007

I want to thank all of you who’ve emailed me with your encouragement. So many things are up in the air about where my “home on the web” will be, or if I’ll even have one.

Yesterday was both a happy and sad day for me. I attended the “Thanksgiving Feast” at the preschool where my children have all attended. This was the 8th year in a row for me. In many ways, nothing has changed — the food is always the same, the songs haven’t changed much, there is an energetic joy in the room filled with happy preschoolers, parents, grandparents, and teachers.

Yet for me, I knew this would be my last — next year, we won’t have any children at this preschool. What sustained me was the thought that I can always write about these happy times, when the kids are older and I have a quiet place to sit and reflect. Which I don’t have now.

A chapter ends … a new one begins.

I feel the same way about this blog. So much is up in the air. I want to eagerly press forward with some things in my writing world — yet the little people in my home need me more than anyone else right now.

I want to thank you for your friendship, prayers — and patience! As I’ve thought about losing my blog, I’ve been sad thinking that it’s the only link I have with many of you who have become personal friends over the past two years, scattered though we are.

More than anything, I want to finish up writing about my Beth Moore Bible study journey. That will be four more posts, I hope.

Meanwhile, I’m thankful to have family Thanksgiving celebrations to look forward to.

I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

By: Heather Ivester in: Beth Moore,Blogging,Parenting | Permalink | Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving

October 2, 2007

I just realized that today is my two-year Blogging Anniversary. Happy Blogiversary to me!

I was scared when I published my first post, October 2, 2005. It was titled Come on In. I thought I might blog two or three times a week, but it became a daily addiction habit.

On my first blogiversary, I interviewed myself, highlighting some of the bright spots of blogging. Man, I had a lot going on here a year ago. I was writing columns, hosting blog tours, interviewing people, and I was super active in visiting other bloggers out there.

This year, God has put it on my heart to take a step back. I don’t really know how long this will last, but I’ve learned I need to discipline myself to only blog once a week. As I’m typing right now, my two-year-old is standing next to me, singing and asking me questions. So I type a word. Stop. Type another word. Stop. Again. Stop. I need to go put supper in the oven. I try to stay off the computer when my husband gets home from work — and I’m too tired to write anyway after we get our five kids to bed.

October is a glorious month here in Georgia, with cooler weather refreshing my spirit and inspiring me to do new things. This month, my “new thing” is learning to be diligent in saying “no” to everything that pulls my focus away from my home and family. I can justify going to my Beth Moore Bible Study and blogging weekly about this because it’s like stopping in to recharge my batteries. Then I’m back out into the world.

I miss you, bloggy friends. I’m sorry I haven’t been around lately to read and comment on your blogs. Another season, perhaps? Thanks for keeping up with me here. Oh, how I wish I had more time to write…

By: Heather Ivester in: Blogging | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)

August 14, 2007

I can’t believe this is my first time posting in three months. How are you? Is anyone there? I’ve missed this place — and you people.

I hope you had a great summer.

Our schools started back last Friday — so we’re slowly adjusting to our new schedule. But preschool here doesn’t begin until after Labor Day (early September), so my posting will still be light for a while.

Although I don’t have kids swinging from the chandeliers, I do have them jumping on my back while I write … which can be hazardous to my productivity.

Yesterday, I actually found myself belting this command: “Stop it! You may NOT swing on the pantry doorknob!” Several times throughout the day, I had to reassure my four-year-old that he’s from earth — not Mars (as his older sister told him.) And yes, he can wear his dinosaur costume when we pick up his brother at football practice, but he can’t wear his Storm Trooper mask in the grocery store — because he KNOWS it makes his baby sister cry. (And no light sabers in the car!)

I do have so much I want to tell you about our summer — but it’s not over yet!

My current most exciting piece of news is that I SAW and HEARD Beth Moore speak in person at Women of Faith last weekend. WOW!!

I really considered quitting blogging until I heard Beth Moore — but she got me so fired up again.

A group of moms at my church will be starting her Daniel study in three weeks — and how in the world can I dig that much into the Word without sharing it here? Every single person who has done that study has told me the same thing: “It changed my life.”

Well! I do miss writing here — but blogging is like eating chocolate for me. I can only indulge in small bites, or it becomes an addiction. My plan is to try to limit myself to posting twice a week, and only when my children are at school.

For now, I hope you’ll check out the new August issue of Christian Women Online — especially if you’re a fan of Mandisa! My last Book Buzz column is here — I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my stint as a reviewer and wish I could do it forever, but someone new will be taking this over — and I pray she’ll be as blessed as I have been. (My shelves overflow!)

For all of you writing parents out there, I hope you’ll check out my “Parent Muse” column at Spirit-Led Writer on how to find time to write while surrounded by kids. I’ve also been posting monthly over at Writer … Interrupted, and my latest tip encourages parent writers to pen a letter to someone who needs a bit of a boost. You can read it here.

I’m off …

(And in case you see a woman in the grocery store followed by a light saber-wielding dinosaur in a Storm Trooper mask asking if he’s from Mars … um, that would be me.)

May 15, 2007

I want to thank the devotional writing team at Laced With Grace for honoring Mom 2 Mom Connection this week as their featured blog. That was very nice!

Since this is my last week of blogging for the summer, but maybe longer, this was very encouraging to me. (Thank you, sweet Iris!)

May 8, 2007

Mary DeMuth tagged me for a blog meme, 8 Random Facts About Me. Hey, you’ll have to go check out her list and see the cover of her mom’s devotional book in KOREAN! Mary, I hope your dream will come true of leading praise & worship someday — you should do it!

Here’s how you play:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

OK, here goes:

1. My favorite snack is this Atkins’ Protein Bar. It tastes like a chocolate candy bar — yet it’s got enough protein to prevent that sugar high-low thing that makes me crash.

2. We have six chickens right now. I could seriously spend all day watching our chickens peck around the backyard. They’re so much fun to watch! Our two-year-old daughter calls them “chich-ens.” And she runs around trying to “catch the chich-ens.” She caught one yesterday and sat down and petted it for about half an hour. Poor chicken!

3. I want to go to Venice someday. I have several paintings of Venice on the walls of my house. I love looking at the canals and boats — I dream of gliding along in a gondola someday with my husband.

4. I’m reading Caddie Woodlawn out loud to my daughters right now, another Newbery winner that I missed reading growing up. It’s by Carol Ryrie Brink, who wrote about her grandmother’s childhood growing up in late 19th-century Wisconsin, told from a first-person point of view. It’s great!

5. I went to the same high school as the actress, Julia Roberts, who was two grades ahead of me. We did NOT have a drama program at our high school — but she was good at making political speeches for school elections.

6. I have trouble motivating myself to exercise, so I’m keeping track of how many miles I walk/jog on the treadmill. I’ve figured out it’s 268 miles to reach one of my favorite beaches (Tybee Island), so I subtract from that number every time I treadmill. My goal was to walk to Tybee by the end of May — then I’d fit into my old bathing suit — HA! It’s looking like I might get there by September, when pool season will be over and I can once again hide in my sweatpants.

7. I just finished reading Tracey Bateman’s novel, Catch a Rising Star, book one in her Drama Queens series. It was funny! If you like to watch soap operas, you’ll love this one.

8. I spent a summer driving a delivery truck in Lake Tahoe, California. I worked in a copy shop and had to deliever flyers and marketing materials to Caesar’s Tahoe. Lake Tahoe has got to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

That’s my eight. Now I’m supposed to tag eight of you. Hmmm … if you’re interested in this meme, consider yourself tagged — and let us know you’ve blogged it!

April 30, 2007

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do … I know that nothing good lives within me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Romans 7: 15, 18
(New International Version)

During the summer of my freshman year in college, a friend of mine shared these verses with me. I read the whole passage, from Romans 7:7 to 7:25, over and over again. How could Paul know exactly how I was feeling? That there was a constant battle going on within me. The War Within.

For the first time, I began to feel like the Bible became my daily Bread; I would die without it. At the age of 19, I devoted my life to studying God’s Word and to following His call on me to teach it to others. In college, I taught Bible studies in my dorm room. In my 20s, I taught the Bible in a Japanese Christian church. I started a ministry for international students that met weekly for prayer and spiritual growth.

In my 30s, I’ve been frustrated at my lack of time and energy. Being a mom is so consuming — especially when I have five little people who need me for everything, constantly. I’m so thankful for the ways the Lord has blessed me, yet the War Within never leaves me — as I battle so many issues.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve written less and less about myself as time has gone on. I’ve focused mainly on external topics: books, people, movies, culture. I’ve felt less comfortable lately in revealing my personal thoughts in this format. I can’t really explain why — perhaps it’s just the terrifying immediacy of reaching an audience. I often need time to process things I go through — and I also appreciate a “gatekeeper,” such as another writer or editor who first reads my work before it’s published.

I know that in order for me to really do the kind of writing I’d like to do I must take some time away from this blog. It’s not the posting itself that takes up time; it’s all the correspondence that goes on behind the scenes. I’m receiving more and more press releases and requests from authors, publicists, publishers, etc.; and since I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I spend a lot of my creative energy responding to people in polite, positive ways.

In college, I learned this spiritual equation:
Delayed Obedience = Disobedience.

I want to do what God wants me to do, yet I also want to do what I want to do! It really is a war within. I’m confused right now — and I wrote a friend last week that I’m dealing with most of my stress at the gym. Whereas it used to take me a mile of running to process my emotions and feel energetic again, now it takes two or three. Maybe I’ll be a size 4 by the time I get through this stress!

I’ve told a few people through email, but I’ll make it public here that I’m not going to be blogging after May 18th. At this point, I’m not sure if it will just be for the summer, or if it will be a more permanent change. I will definitely let you know.

Some of you who read here are old friends who only connect with me through this blog. And there are many of you who are new friends I don’t want to lose touch with. I’m sorry to disappoint you if you truly enjoy reading here, and especially if you’ve linked to me. I can’t tell you how much you’ve encouraged me!

I still have a couple of interviews to post, some more books and movies to share about … and then, I will log out of WordPress. Until further instruction.

April 16, 2007

This is one of the sweetest things ever.

I’ve been a reader of Amy’s Humble Musings blog ever since a google search on the word “humble” led me there — nearly two years ago.

Amy is sick — very, very sick — with a sixth pregnancy. Too sick to go anywhere near her computer. So her husband has taken over her blog!

This just makes me smile — if you want to know what it’s like for a rocket scientist (really!) father of five very young, homeschooled children to manage a home while his wife suffers through morning (all-day) sickness, you’ll have to visit.

I hope the Scotts will one day write a book together on marriage and family. They’re BOTH wonderful writers!

Please keep Amy in your prayers!

By: Heather Ivester in: Blogging,Friendship,Marriage,Motherhood | Permalink | Comments Off on Blogging Parents