Saturday, May 28, 2011

"'Tho We've Gotta Say Good-Bye For the Summer"

That King Charming and Me...

We're always coming up with crazy ideas and doing weird things. 

I think our friends must wait to see what new crusade we'll be on next. 

So here's our latest: 

We're winding back the clocks to the dark ages. 

We're turning off our TV. 

We're turning off our Internet. 

We're craving a memory-making, nostalgic, and active summer without technology to distract us or steal away our time.  So we're taking a vacation from technology until September. 

We plan on having a family movie night once a week, and we can get on the Internet any time we are willing to ride our bikes to the library to do it.  Other than that it will be an old fashioned summer.  I might even write a few snail mail letters.  : ) 

I'm definitely planning on reading a lot of good books and hopefully writing a rough draft of a novel.  There will be Otter Pops, BBQ's, slip and slide, sprinklers, etc.   

I thought the kids would throw a fit when we announced our plan, but their response was, "You mean you guys can't be on your computers?" (said with shocked faces)  They just couldn't believe they get to have a whole summer of our undivided attention.  (Talk about convicting) 

I'm going to miss you all.  You may have noticed how infrequent my blog posts have already been this spring.  I think making the decision we made for summer has prompted us to be on the Internet a lot less already.

I'll check my email as often as I can at the library and may even be able to sneak in a few blog posts.  Otherwise, I'll see you all in September!

Have a great summer! 


Friday, May 20, 2011

The Persevering Pen

Born a scribe and given the gift to pen,
She dreams of painting stories with her words-

Masterpieces that entertain, elicit laughter,
          Even tears.
Portraits of adventure and beauty
The medium of words pointing to the
          Master Storyteller.

Her dream is pure while she is small
She writes on scraps and in notebooks-
Lists of characters with fancy names, fragments of plotlines and
          Fantasy places.
Mere scratchings of a little girl
The simple, innocent words revealing
          Sweet Dreams.

Growing older, and tasting life,

She clings to her pen but doubts her words-
Voices from within and without, voices of truth,
          Voices of lies.
Messages of ‘not enough’ and ‘too hard’ bombard
The world and her fear invite her to quit before
          She Fails.

Born a scribe and given the gift to pen,

She writes through the fear and the failures words that-
Sometimes fall flat, sometimes soar high, but always come from
          Her Heart.
Running the race marked out for her she remembers
The One who gave her the pen and calls
          Press On.

I wrote this poem today for a contest Rachelle Gardner (literary agent) is hosting on her blog.  I think she was looking for something a lot lighter and with more humor, but this was what came out of me today.  I decided to share it on here, too, because I know a lot of you share my dream for writing, and that others of you have your own dreams.  I just wanted to encourage us all to not let voices of doubt or fear keep us from running after the dreams God has written on our hearts.  I need this message as much as all of us.  : )  
Have a wonderful weekend!  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Introducing the Van Cluck Sisters

We have some new fluffy babies around here- 

Chickens!  : ) 

We may have been slightly influenced by a certain royal wedding last week when we named our girls. 

We each picked out a chick of our own and decided they needed very aristocratic names.  Prince Charming had a little help naming his chickie.  "Bird" just didn't seem fancy enough.  : )    

Meet the Van Cluck Sisters:

Lady Goldia Rosemary Van Cluck

Goldie is a Golden Sex Link chicken and belongs to Youngest Princess

Lady Angeline Ann Van Cluck

Angeline is an Ameracauna chicken.  She will lay pastel Easter colored eggs.  She belongs to Oldest Princess.  

"Lady Di"
Lady Diana Van Cluck

Diana is a Rhode Island White chicken and belongs to King Charming. 

Lady Ramona Augusta Caroline Van Cluck

Ramona is a Golden Sex Link chicken and she belongs to Prince Charming.

Lady Beatrice Anastasia Adelaide Van Cluck

Beatrice is also a Golden Sex Link chicken and she's mine!!  : )

We are so excited to have fresh eggs.  They should be laying for us before school starts again in the Fall.  Right now they are still in their brooder, but King Charming is hard at work designing and building "Cluckingham Palace" (a.k.a. The Coop).   

As soon as they establish their pecking order, and we can see who is the boss, we will know which of the ladies will receive the title of "Her Majesty the Queen".  After that we'll decide who will become our princess, duchess, countess, etc.   We're not having fun at all.   : )

I originally titled this post "Meet Our Newest Family Members" but King Charming put the kabosh on that.  He has told us over and over again they are not family members, to not get too attached, and to remember these chickens are food providers, might die, and might end up in soup.  We're prepared for the worst, but still having so much fun.  I can't believe how fast they are growing and changing.  On Saturday they were puffballs.  Now they are already getting their feathers.  

I like being a chicken farmer!  : )   

Want to vote on which one you think will end up Queen? 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Backward Thinking

I've been doing a lot of studying the Bible lately for teaching Sunday School and for a retreat I'm speaking at in May, and one of the themes that keeps popping up is the idea of how much we can't trust our own hearts and minds to tell us the truth, and how much the things that seem right and true in this world are really backwards or upside down thinking.

My cousin Katy posted this on Facebook today, and I thought it was such a cool picture of how backward we can have it:

Thanks for sharing, Kate! Love ya!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


You are Big

Maker of stars so enormous

Earth appears as a speck of dust

Designer of galaxies beyond our reach

Sculptor of mountains too high for me to summit


You are Big.

But today it is your smallness
That steals my breath
And fills me with awe
And sends me to my knees.

You are small.
Your signature stamped on the minutest cell

Aware of each hair upon my head,
Your tiny jar
Collecting every,
     individual tear that






Small enough to know our hearts,
You see

I am not lost on this speck of dust
I am known.
You saw my Micah,
Lost to me before she was big enough to see
But not lost to You who held her in Your hand and ushered her to Your side
The day she flew to be with

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?


You are small.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Latest Good Reads

I do love to get lost in a good book, and I've gotten lost in some good ones lately. 

It's interesting how different the types and genres of books I've been reading are from one another.  You'll see from my list that they vary from YA Fantasy to Contemporary Christian Fiction.  None of these were perfect, but all of them were entertaining, and I didn't want to put them down.  

Young Adult Fantasy/ Fairy Tale:

I stumbled on this one at the library and maybe I enjoyed it so much because I didn't know what to expect.  It was such  a pleasant surprise.  It's the first of a trilogy called "The Chanters of Tremaris" and I really enjoyed this fantasy world.  I've already been to the library for Book Two and Book Three in the series so I can keep going. 
The Singer of All Songs (Chanters of Tremaris Trilogy, Book 1)

This one is a fairy tale and a sequel to Goose Girl. I didn't like it as well as Goose Girl, or her other books like Princess Academy and Book of 1,000 Days, but as always, Shannon Hale is a master with words and I liked being back in Bayern. It has a little bit of a slow start, but by the middle I was hooked again

Enna Burning (Books of Bayern)

Christian Fiction:

This one caught me from the beginning and had enough adrenaline to keep me reading after the Hunger Games Trilogy ruined me.  My only complaint is it is obviously the first of a series (that hasn't been written yet) and left me hanging at the end, waiting for the next book.  (Did I mention it hasn't been written yet?  Hurry up, Joel!)  : )
The Twelfth Imam

I have been following Jody Hedlund's writing blog for awhile, so it made this book,her debut novel, extra fun to read.   The Preacher's Bride is the one for you if you are in the mood for some good Christian historical romance. 

The Preacher's Bride

Verse Novel:

And of course you all had to know I'd be reading another verse novel.  This one didn't disappoint me.  : )  I'm still in love with the genre and really enjoyed this book:

The Weight of the Sky

Question For You:  Do you stick to one genre of books or do you like a variety?  Have you read anything great lately? 

Happy Reading! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Website is Finished!

I'm celebrating today because my website is finished! 

The URL has been forwarding to my blog while I waited for the website to be finished, but starting today that address will take you directly to the new website.  Please stop by and check it out  I'd love your feedback.  : )

The next two things on my to do list are a blog makeover- it's long overdo- and getting And Then You Were Gone released on Kindle.   

I hope you all are having a blessed Monday!  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

On Writing: Who Am I?

A Season of Preparation:

Writing fiction has been a lifelong dream, but I am not in a season of my life where I can or should devote the time necessary for full time, professional writing.  Out of necessity, it has to remain a hobby. 

Just for now. 

I hope later that will change, and I will have more time to pursue it like I want to do, and find out if I even have enough talent to write publishable stories.

In the meantime I see this as a season of preparation.  I'm studying the craft of writing, and I write whenever I can, loving every minute of it. 

Who am I?

One of the things I'm trying to do is discover my voice, my audience, and my genre.  I've heard you should write what you love to read, but I love such a wide variety of books, and I have three manuscripts started that couldn't be more different.  One is Contemporary Christian Fiction, one is a verse novel, and one is a fairy tale.  Which one do I commit to finishing? 

Who am I as a writer?  Shannon Hale, one of my favorite authors, said, "I spent eighteen years writing unpublishable stuff, and I now realize it was all in pursuit of my voice." 

That's where I am at.  Do I want to write Contemporary Christian Fiction like my favorites Francine Rivers and Joel Rosenberg?  Do I want to write verse novels like Karen Hesse?  Do I want to write fairy tales like Gail Carson Levine and Shannon Hale?  Do I write for adults or for young adults and middle grade readers?  I'm not sure yet.  And when I settle in to the genre and audience that fits, what does Becky Avella the storyteller sound like? 

I don't know yet, but I'm praying about it, and I believe I can't know unless I just keep writing.  That's where I'll find myself.  Not in the thinking about it, but in the actual act of writing.  Just thinking about writing or talking about writing won't make me a writer.  I need to write.  Even if the progress is slow. 

My Goals:

I'm so thankful for the writing community.  I've been given some wonderful advice like this from my new friend Michelle Massaro at Adventures in Writing:

The next time you decide to pick up your pen, I'd encourage you to put it to one of your half-finished books instead of starting yet another from scratch.

Or this from author, Jody Hedlund:

With 3 uncompleted manuscripts, I'm also inclined to think you might need to push yourself to finish one of them, even if it's just as simple as giving yourself the goal of 300 words a day. (Or giving yourself the goal of finishing one during the summer.)

So those are my goals for now-

1.  I need to know what it feels like to actually cross the finish line instead of starting over. 
2.  I've settle on one of my manuscripts to finish and have dedicated this summer as the summer of a completed rough draft.  
3.  I know I'll have to turn off my self-editor and realize the first draft won't be perfect (or even good) and I'll need to turn off the the but "who am I really" questions and just write to "The End".  That voice will be discovered as I continue to finish manuscripts and in the revisions. 

I'm so excited! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Seeing Green

The Corned Beef and Cabbage are all set to go for dinner tonight with Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream for dessert of course. 
Yum, Yum, Yum!!   

And after the fun we had with our Valentine's Hair-Dos, the girls and I decided we needed shamrocks in their hair today-

Oldest Princess

Littlest Princess

Directions for hairstyles are from this site: 

All Ready for a Green Day at School-
No Pinching! 

Hey!!  Did You Forget Someone, Mom! 

 See I'm wearing my green, too- 

My husband's family on his mom side came from Ireland only two generations ago, and although I can't claim as much, there's some Irish blood in me, too.  We have a lot of fun  celebrating our Irishness and St. Patrick, a man credited with bringing the good news of Christianity to Ireland and who was described as being "humble" and "thankful" for that honor.  

Happy St. Patty's Day Everyone! 


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Last Year It Was That Mustache...

Last year he grew that THING-

 I think they call it a mustache?  I've repressed it.  : ) 

And now??  That King Charming of mine just can't seem to leave his good looks alone-

But this time I can forgive him because it was for such a great cause: 

Being the hero that he is, he shaved all his hair off to show his support for kids with cancer and to raise money to help find a cure.  



My Hero!

Thank you so much to all of you who put up with our constant begging on Facebook, and to those of you who contributed to the almost $500 he raised.  His team took first place with a total of $6,800 and the event here in our city raised over $50,000.  Awesome!

My new hero is the lady he works with who shaved all of her long, beautiful blond hair off in memory of her mom who recently passed away from cancer.   And one of the men raised another $600 or so when he promised to shave the mustache he had been growing since he was 16 years old.  Of course they took care of that on stage.  : ) 

It was a good lesson for our kids.  Prince Charming didn't recognize this new bald version of his daddy, but the girls are now growing their hair out for Locks of Love so they can be like their daddy. 

Hope you all are having a blessed weekend and surviving the Day Light Savings change. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Best Birthday EVER!

That's how she described it. 

Hearing that and seeing the look on her face in this picture did my heart so much good!! 

I love seeing my baby girl so happy. 

It really was a fun celebration.  First it was pizza at our house, then a trip to the theater to see Tangled.  (I loved that movie!) and then home for an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen and a sleepover. 

(It only took me until 1:00 in the morning to get the giggling to stop)

We topped it all off the next morning with some unplanned sleepingbag sledding and a batch of homemade waffles.

It seemed to be a success.  I'm just still in shock that my girl is 9-years-old.  I'm going to be in major shock next year when she turns ten.  

That's a decade. 

Oh my goodness! 


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Creation-Deprivation Disorder

Creation-Deprivation Disorder
That's what I've got. 

And I've diagnosed my family with the disorder, too. 

I don't believe we were created to be so sedentary or confined, and I've craved more interaction with nature, but I haven't known how to make it happen.  

I've recently begun reading this book, hoping it will inspire me, so I can inspire us:  


The author labels this generation's lack of being outside as "Nature-Deficit Disorder" but I prefer to call it "Creation-Deprivation Disorder".  I'm craving being surrounded by creation so I can know the Creator better and to worship Him as I see Him in what He has made.  I want that for my kids, too.  

Today, I was reading the book and making excuses about it being too cold outside, when I heard the sound of a Disney movie trickling down the stairs.  I decided Prince Charming and I needed an adventure, so I bundled us up and got on my bike and left our neighborhood.  

Thankfully, it doesn't take long for us to get away from our concrete subdivision.  First we said hello to some of our animal friends- 

Then we stopped at a dried out creek bed on the edge of our neighborhood and played and explored, romped, and threw lots of rocks:

It was gray and cold.  The only color was Prince Charming's jacket.  But it was the perfect backdrop for imagination. 

We had a lot of fun on our adventure! least for awhile. 
Then the wimp came back out in us.  : ) 

It's been about three days that I've been very intentional about getting myself outside and encouraging the kids to do it, too, and I can't believe how great I feel from the walks and bike rides.  They've left me hungry for more.   

When the girls came home from school I showed them this website and sent them outside to build their own Fairy House. 

They are mid-construction, so I'll save the update on their progress for another post.  They said I could share the end result as long as I reminded you all not to scare off the fairies.  : ) 

Here's to more adventures to come!  

Q4U-  Do you feel like you or your kids are creation deprived? 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Missed It? Made to Crave Re-Runs

I just received this email and thought I'd pass it on for any of you who were interested in the Made to Crave webcasts but missed them the first time around- 

Made to Crave Webcast Re-runs Starting Tuesday, February 22nd

We've heard your cries, your pleas, your requests and your many emails asking us to re-run the Made to Crave webcasts. So, we've made special arrangements to re-run the webcasts on demand for the next 6 Tuesdays!

We're calling them "Tell a Friend Tuesdays!" For 24 hours, starting tomorrow morning, we'll re-air Week One of the Made to Crave webcast on demand. All you have to do is go to anytime tomorrow starting at 6 am EST, and you'll be able to see Lysa, Tonia, Kathrine Lee, and Dr, Chilton chatting it up.

Invite your mama, your sister, your girlfriends, your neighbor you like, and even the one you don't like. You won't want to miss this unique second-time-around opportunity!

We'll be doing some fun giveaways every Tuesday on Lysa's blog too! (

See you there!

Holly Good
Executive Assistant to Lysa

You can read my series of blog posts about Lysa's book and the webcasts by clicking here. 

Happy Monday! 


Friday, February 18, 2011

The Hunger Games Trilogy Ruined Me

Someday soon...when it's not a Friday night and I'm not too fried to be coherent...I'll write a review on my latest reads, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. 

But for those of you who have already read these books, you'll understand when I say they ruined me.  Now everything I try to read seems too dull to hold my interest.

I'm craving a good read to ween me off the adrenaline rush that was the Hunger Games.  Any suggestions out there in cyber land?  Lately I've been a YA Fiction junkie, but I'll take any suggestions at this point.


P.S.  Please pray for Prince Charming.  He's had a bad case of croup this week and I had to take him into the doctor's office this afternoon for his second dose of steroid treatments to ease his breathing.  I can't wait to see him back to himself again and to stop worrying about my sweet little guy.  Thanks! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Princesses Show Off Their Heart Hairdos and Final Made to Crave

We were all so proud of the girls' Valentine's Hairdos this morning, I wanted to show them off:

The girls woke up and asked for hearts in their hair this morning.  I didn't know if that was possible, but figured Google is good for everything.  : )  We stumbled on this amazing hairdo site here and decided to give it a shot.  It's a miracle we made it to school before the tardy bell, but it was very easy and so much fun.  

I hope you all have plans for snuggling your family today and remembering the greatest Valentine of all:

Don't forget tonight is the final Made to Crave webcast.  You can watch it here.  I'm so thankful for all I've learned from Lysa these past six weeks and for the honor of being a part of her blog tour. 

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! 

Love you!