Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back to School -- with Missy Tippens

I probably post about this every year. But it's that time once again. The beginning of the school year.


photo credit: iStock/Sandralise 

No, I'm not a teacher anymore. But I do still have two kids in school. One is a sophomore in college. He just started back to class this week. It was tough leaving him at the dorm…

Continue reading this post at my personal blog by clicking here. (I'm trying to revive my personal blog so will be linking back and forth between there and here. I hope you'll bear with me while I try this new blogging method I've seen other bloggers use!)



Available for Pre-order!
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www.missytippens.com

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Finding My Happy Place

Angie here:
you've likely heard the phrase: Finding my happy place, right? I always heard, "Picture a beach somewhere..."

Lately I've realized the happiest place I've ever been is my yard swing. I'm happy every time I sit in it. I might approach it stressed, but it doesn't take long until I'm finding my happy place and the tension releases. 

It's a dream thing, really. I've wanted on most of my life. This year for my 50th birthday, Hubby bought me one. And as any woman knows... It was even better because it was on sale! 
Here's what I see when I'm working on my laptop in the swing.

We've spent several evenings together enjoying the swing, the breeze, and unplugging from work. It's helped us reconnect after a fast-paced travel season with me off speaking all over the country and his heating /AC company pounding the hours. We've been laughing, sitting close, and watching the sunset or the stars.
A brilliant Montana sunset viewed from my swing :D

I also go out when the shade comes and work on my laptop. It's beautiful to watch birds, butterflies, deer, and our minis. But I've also invited people to swing. This is where my grand daughter asked to, " have a butterfly because they're c-u-u-t-e!" Her little 2 year old voice singsongs through my head and heart often. 
Guppy munching blackberries while watching butterflies :)

I hope for many more years of sitting outside finding my happy place. A place I pray, marvel, laugh, and relax. And Hubby says he'll bring a sleeping bag out so we can sip hot cocoa in the snowy winter. I think I'm game :) And when I'm away, stressed, I'll go there in my mind. Great memories are being made in my happy place. It's my little heaven on earth right in my own front yard. 


Where's your happy place? Do you have one yet? (It took me 50 years...)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RWA 2014 Photos

Angie here: I took a few photos of my experience at RWA 2014. But less than normal. I had the honor of speaking at a workshop called Fit to be Tied to Your Desk (on how health, fitness, and nutrition are crucial to creativity & writing) and I shared special stretches/exercises/tips for people with desk jobs. No pics though because I was teaching. I didn't think to ask someone to  snap a few. Dang!
Narelle Atkins with Angie at the Faith, Hope, & Love meeting before RWA 2014 started. 
FHL meeting: Janet Dean, Missy Tippens, and Angie Breidenbach. 
At the Literacy Signing: Angie & Dorothy (Dotti) Adamek. 
RWA 2014 Literacy Signing donated $53,000 toward the support of literacy!
Margaret Daley & Angie at Literacy Signing. 

A friend posted this on Facebook and I downloaded it, a little blurry, but I'll keep it as a lovely memory :)

Lots happens all at once. The Beau Monde soirée was on the same night as the Literacy Signing. This is Laurie Alice Eakes in Regency costume and her Seeing Eye Dog, Nick. This RWA chapter teaches Regency dance at their event held inside the bigger conference! Very fun!
Angie & Laurie Alice (we were roomies and had a good time.)

Amazon had a presence in both workshops and a party for the authors. This is a rendition of traditional publishing...
And Amazon's rendition of Kindle, Create Space, ACX publishing. 
I tend to take notes differently now. I write a few, but I take photos of presenters slides so I can listen better. I missed the beginning of this workshop so another writer let me snap a pic of what I missed. Things go so fast that this habit has helped me immensely this year!

Lacy Williams taught Photoshop! Highlight for me because I needed the updated training for the full program I was given for Christmas.

Lunches and other meals were too short when not part of the package, but RWA is trying to help cut costs. Hotel catered meals are usually 2-3 times the expense of getting it on your own. The fun part is being able to connect on a more personal level with old and new friends. 
Carla Laureano, Angie, Shannon McNear, and Elizabeth Younts. We're at the San Antonio food court in the mall next door. 

The conference was super fast and busy. This is the first conference I've actually had to go lay down several times. But when you don't feel well, it's better to take care of yourself than push through. The workshops I did attend made a lot more sense because I took time to care for my migraine. It's frustrating when everything seems so important, but if you let yourself keep running down very little will stick anyway. So when attending an event like this, plan what is crucial and also plan a little down time. You can always do what I did and ask someone for a pic of their notes :) That's real life for real people. 

Also, buy the recordings of things you really want. A hint, the last year's recordings are often on sale later and closer to the next event. Or you can ask a friend to buy the heavily discounted recordings at the conference for you. 

RWA conference is over 2K people! It's pricey to travel, attend, and cover hotels. But though I haven't been in about 7 years, I'm glad I did this year. 

What ideas or thoughts stick out to you?
Have you attended a big event like this? 

How Do You Memorize the Bible?

Angie here: How do you memorize the Bible?

I've tried a few different ideas to memorize verses, but then I fall out of the habit. Reading the verse, closing my eyes and repeating it seemed okay. Putting a verse to music and singing it worked sometimes too. Breaking a verse into sections and doing either of the above techniques worked. I've also run my finger across verses to focus, used a highlighter, and made memory cards. As a teen, I made mini posters and hung verses on my bedroom walls. But eventually, I didn't memorize that many and it seemed hard to keep it up.

Recently I came across a new idea that seems very common sense. I often use an app on my iPhone to read called Youversion.com (I like it because I can switch versions at a touch and compare texts for better understanding.) The "plans" include devotions based on topics like marriage and parenting or goals like read the Bible in a year or concentrate on a particular book. 

The common sense idea is to read each verse 10 times out loud. One verse a day. But you stay in one book of the Bible and learn that book. Each day you repeat the verses from the days before. 

An interesting thing is happening as I attempt this challenge--now and then a phrase pops out at me in a new way. I stop and think about it. It's like something is being revealed I never understood before. 

Right now the book I'm learning is 2 Peter. It's the one chosen by the app on my phone. But I'm wondering if anyone has ever managed to memorize the whole Bible? It's not easy. Then again, this is a new skill and habit. Skills and habits performed regularly over time become easy. That's what I'm hoping. Disciplining myself to do it each day seems more the problem. 

One other thing I noticed is memorizing in a hard copy of the Bible helps me find the area the verse is in better than an app if I forget the verse book or number. I seem to remember an approximate placement. I'm wondering if there's a good way to combine app and paper so I'm seeing, hearing, and touching it. Hmm. 

What helps you to memorize the Bible?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Romance Writers of America Conference

Missy, here. I had the pleasure of spending time with a few of our bloggers at the Romance Writers of America conference this past week in San Antonio. It was so nice to see each other in person!

I thought I'd share a few of my photos. Later, maybe Angie will share the ones on her phone since my first one is a little blurry.

Here's one after a fun lunch at the beginning of the conference.

L to R: Lindi, Angie, Mindy, Missy

This is one from the awards ceremony Saturday night.

Missy, Mindy, Lindi


And here's one from the Harlequin party. We had so much fun! 


Mindy and Missy


Do any of you have friends online who you've had the fun of meeting in person?


Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

We at the Faith Blog Wish you a Happy 4th!

Photo by Missy Tippens--JFK Museum, Boston

What are you doing to celebrate our amazing country?



Photo by Missy Tippens--JFK Museum, Boston


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to learn just about anything!

Angie here: For 3 days I've been trying to figure out how to minimize a file. It's an important file full of photos... for a book proposal. But it's heavy, heavy photos. The standard duplicate and minimize every photo would take weeks. There are a lot and that's a lot of hands-on photo work. Yikes!
Need a little energy to keep going?

I think even my #Muse was beginning to get a bit fatigued. He pulled out my energy drink more than once. I'd done old tricks to minimize photos. I'd searched for new tricks to minimize photos. I was still over 10MB too large and getting very frustrated that I couldn't minimize to the need.

And then... yes, I Googled one more time (I'd already tried about 30 times and not found what I wanted.) I worded it a little differently and voilá! I am thrilled to say you can minimize an enormous file to near nothing! 

How to learn just about anything!

Search engines are our friends! So let's say you have a bunch of photos or a large-sized file you need to send. It's way too big to go by email or you want a newsletter to go out that people or their email servers won't reject.

Here's how to minimize a massive file down to near-nothing and preserve the interior material... Wait for it...


  • Copy/paste into a new Word doc.
  • A new option comes up called Reduce File Size (under the File header option).
  • Click that option. Then leave "remove cropped sections".
  • Change to the Picture Quality you want: best for email, keep same resolution, etc. (I chose "best for email" option.) 
  • Run through it quickly to make sure things didn't shift (3 of my photos shifted to other pages and I quickly snapped them back in place). Then save that new file with the same name, but add "small" to it so you can see it quickly to attach. 
Uh huh. It's that easy. No need for buying any extra apps or programs. Color me stunned that something so simple existed all along and I never knew it.

My Muse book series proposal is on its way. Yay! (And I think my agent is finally a bit relieved that I've quit telling her I can't figure it out, lol!) I can. I figured out how to learn just about anything by searching online. But I'm still not a rocket scientist... hmm.

Go ahead – Google and figure out how to learn just about anything!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

About that Control Issue

Diana here:

I'm going out there on that limb...you know the one that's about to break and send you careening down a rocky cliff? I'll be sitting at the bottom rubbing my owies and flushing in embarrassment because I was so honest with all of you thinking, maybe just maybe you would understand the situation.

So here goes:

I want to be in control--of everything.
I also want to be good at it, so good that it would be impossible to tell if I'm having a bad day or was losing control.


control
Copyright: ra2studio / 123RF Stock Photo

I want to stand in that yoga pose "The Tree" and say delicately never losing my calm or balance as things happen.

It's not working out for me. Medication changes, headaches and now a summer cold have inched me to the unstable side. I complain I have so much to do, that I want to do and even look forward to doing.

And yet, one by one the balls I have spinning so effortlessly and with a smile are beginning to fall.

The sad thing is that this is not the first time, the second or even the tenth time I've tried to go it alone. It seems I have to lose control of almost everything before I remember that I can change everything by surrendering my will and choosing His will.

That's my confession. What I want to know is this, am I alone?