Thursday, May 17, 2012

As You Can See...

M.C. Escher
Photo Source: Studio Palermo
Times they are a-changin' (Bob Dylan)

I wish I knew the right words to express my thoughts today. The truth is, I'm heavy of heart about what I'm about to do here, which is to retire this blog. There...I said it. Aren't you glad I didn't beat around the bush?

I sure am. Before I sign off, though, I want to say a couple of very important things.

First, I want to express my sincerest thanks to each one of you who has so faithfully visited this little space called my blog. Whether you've been reading for the past two years or whether this is your first time here, I so appreciate your willingness to make space for me in your life.

Second, I want to tell you how scary it is to start new things. It's so scary that I have been putting it off for months now. Although I've lost some momentum in this season of procrastination, I have learned so much about myself and about what I'm going after with my writing. And that brings me to the final thing I want to say.

Metamorphosis I
Photo Source: Visualize_Us

Although I must finally lay this treasured work of mine to rest, I believe it has been the beautiful cocoon for a work far more beautiful, far more amazing, and far more impacting than it could have ever become by itself. It is so fitting for me to end this treatise on transformation with a transformation!

My new butterfly has wings with many colors. Some of them are unfurling and drying nicely, while others are still wet from emergence from the cocoon. Allow me to share the beauty of my new wings with you as they are today.

The first wing is my brand new project: Jewelry History. This one is nearly dry and unfurling as we speak. I do so hope you will take a minute to pop on over and check it out. It is a joint project with a very special sponsor, who wishes to remain in the sidelines as much as possible. (FYI: I am inviting you in its embryonic stages, so bear with us as we get our bearings and choose the layout and design over the next month or so. Since it is a joint project, it will take a little while to iron all these details out.)

Butterfly Lady
Photo Source: A. P. Kelson Jeweler

Another wing is Brightness of Your Dawn, a blog all about in-depth, creative Bible study. This one is nearly ready for flight, though it is waiting for the other wings to dry before it will be able to take full flight. I created this blog as a way to merge my passion for the Word of God with my passion for creative writing. If you love the Word of God and long for new ways to approach looking at Scripture, you may very well find what you're looking for here.

The third wing is script writing. This wing is also nearly dry and ready for flight. I have partnered with Donn Kropp of CLiCKPLAYceu to bring medical professionals a fun and entertaining way to earn continuing education credits through video training modules. I'd love for you to check out the module Compassion Fatigue, which we worked on collaboratively. Right now we're writing the script for our next course on Pain. Soon, I will be writing blog posts and newsletter articles for Donn, as well as producing pamphlets and other materials for medical professionals.

The final wing is drying more slowly than the others. This wing, when it's fully dry, will be our family business. This wing is by far the most colorful and will include several components. First, will be the debut of my writing website, which will debut in June. Along with my website, I will debut my brand new blog: A Word in Season, which will feature daily word posts as well as writing prompts and other fun tools for writers. I will also produce a monthly e-newsletter with in-depth articles about writing, editing, and publishing (if you'd like to be included on the mailing list, please send me an e-mail).

Shhh...It's a Secret
Photo Source: The French Bee Blog

Another facet of this wing will be my husband's website, which will include his garden design philosophy and a blog about plants!! I can't wait for this to come forth! Though we will have two separate websites for now, we will also launch a brand new family business blog. Though this will be the last piece we put in place, it will be the most exciting, as it represents a union of ginormous proportions. This blog will be the place where you can read about all things pertaining to the Andrews family, including homeschooling, business, and a very exciting announcement that we will make in the near future (probably this fall). (No, Grandma, we are not having a baby). However, we are birthing something, and you all will be the first to know when we're ready to share the news!

So, this is the last official post I will be writing here. However, for those of you who follow this blog, I will come back when our websites go live AND when our family blog goes live, just to pass along the links.

It has been a fantastic voyage. I'm so glad you've come along with me. I do hope to see you in the faraway lands our butterfly takes us on its brand new journey!

Until we meet again, I wish for you peace and joy in every moment!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Novel Idea

"Boat Ran Aground" (Copyright Ralph Klein. All Rights Reserved.)
To purchase this as a print visit Posterlounge
I've run aground upon the dry shores of "appropriate" reference material. In an attempt to push my writing vessel back out to sea where I can catch the momentum of the wind, I've turned to an unlikely source for information and inspiration.

Popular fiction is not typically considered bona fide research material. However, in order to write a credible story for readers of all backgrounds, a writer must do a certain amount of research to write her story.

My current project with EraGem Jewelry requires in-depth knowledge and understanding of the stories of antique jewelry pieces and the people who wore them. Along my research path, I found myself browsing the library catalog in search of The Language of Flowers*, by Kate Greenaway.

A Victorian Era code book detailing the meanings of flowers during that era, The Language of Flowers* promised to be the perfect companion to Jeweled Garden*, by Suzanne Tennenbaum and Janet Zapata. Jeweled Garden has proven an invaluable source of information about botanically-inspired jewelry throughout history.

Flower Shop Exterior (Crysanthemums = Truth)
Photo Source: The City Sage

Though the Redding Library does not have a copy of Ms. Greenaway's book, I did find a novel with the same title by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I promptly went out and borrowed a copy, and it does indeed reveal a wealth of information about the meanings of flowers--an important foundation for me to lay, as Victorian jewelry designers often embedded coded messages within the color and form of each piece.

Not only am I learning about this tradition of sending secret messages with flowers and jewelry, but I'm also enjoying the story about a broken young woman's journey out of the foster care system. Having grown up without a place or purpose, Victoria is sent out into the world on her eighteenth birthday, seemingly ill prepared for what she will encounter. A few days of sleeping in the park lead her to Bloom, a flower shop where her unique knowledge of flowers and their meanings lands her a job with Bloom's owner, Renata. Soon Victoria's secret knowledge of plants begins to cause her customers to bloom in their circumstances. I am hopeful that she, too, will begin to come alive as she discovers her place in the world.

A Cherished Scene

"After three blocks I came to a liquor store, where paper-wrapped bouquets wilted in buckets under barred windows. I paused in front of the store. They were mostly mixed arrangements, their messages conflicting. The selection of solid bouquets was small: standard roses in red and pink, a wilting bunch of striped carnations, and, bursting from its paper cone, a cluster of purple dahlias. Dignity. Immediately, I knew it was the message I wanted to give. Turning my back on the angled mirror above the door, I tucked the flowers inside my coat and ran." (Diffenbaugh, The Language of Flowers*, p. 5)

Vintage Daisy Flower Brooch (not Victorian Era)
Photo Used with Permission from EraGem Jewelry

What I've Learned So Far

If I were going to give my daughter a gift of jewelry,
I would buy her a hair clip with a daisy on it to celebrate her innocence.

If I were going to purchase a brooch for myself,
I would choose a tiger lily to represent the queen I am becoming.

If I were going to give my husband a gift,
I would choose a potted Indian jasmine as a sign of our attachment to one another.

If I were going to plant a garden in honor of my son's birthing day,
I would choose periwinkle for the ground cover, tender remembrances.

I look forward to sharing more as I continue to read. By the way, if you've read Ms. Diffenbaugh's story, I'd love to hear what number you would assign it on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 = Couldn't get into it; 5 = Finished it, but wouldn't recommend it; 10 = I own it now). Leave me a comment with your rating and your favorite scene.

Peace & Joy,

*This is an associate link to Amazon. I will receive an associate commission for any purchases made through this link. I thank all those who are willing to purchase recommended books through these associate links. These commissions help support me as a freelance writer.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Holding a Piece of Time
Photo Source: Nicole Lee Artistry


What am I going to do today?

I have plenty to choose from, but nothing seems like the right choice. Nothing seems like it will make me come alive. Nothing seems like it will feed me, nourish me, teach me, strengthen me.

Nothing seems to dominate the mood.

I'd rather let go of nothing and embrace this moment. The coolness of the keys beneath my fingers. The tapping sound each letter makes as I spell out a word. My daughter's voice ringing from the other room, calling me to attend to her needs instead of to my own.

In fact, now I have a reason to rise from the deflating cushions of my leather chair, now several years old. Now I have a reason to stop my flow of thoughts and step outside of myself to make a connection with her. (Be back in a minute...)

And now, the sounds of blocks and Legos finding their proper places in the other room; the sounds of my children negotiating the details of cleaning their room. The smell of fresh air floating in from the open bathroom window, and the trill of birds blowing in on the breeze. The distant sound of my husband's voice as he connects across the miles with his best friend over the phone.

Today, as words fill this page, I feel myself smiling, relishing the richness of this moment. I am grateful for the mundane, for it is a wise and noble teacher. I am grateful for today. I will unwrap it as the gift it is one moment at a time.

What are the senses of this moment for you?

In Peace & Joy,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Know Thyself

Know Thyself
Photo Source: Intense Experiences
Personality tests provide a rich array of information about what makes us tick. Last time, I wrote about the DISC personality inventory, which I took after hearing about it off and on over the past six months. I talked about bar graphs in general and my red bar graph in particular. I shared the definition of two of the words that describe me on the D for Decisive scale:

Responsible & Inquisitive

I encouraged you to take the inventory and discover your own D words.

Have you done that yet? If not, CLICK HERE.

When you get your results, you will discover all manner of useful information about yourself. You might find that, like me, your approach to problems and decisions is forthright. You may find, as I did, that you usually depend on yourself to determine new directions you will take. Or, if you're not like me, you might find that you appreciate a lot of input from others before making decisions for change.

You may discover that under pressure you make swift decisions. On the other hand, you may learn that no matter how high the pressure is, you simply will not make a decision without enough information. You may discover that you will tackle long-term specialized projects with a high degree of persistence. This is definitely true of me.

You may discover, like I did, that despite believing that you have very little patience, you actually behave as though you have a "long fuse," especially at work. Be careful, you may be keeping that anger just long enough to set it loose at home. If this is true for you, it might be a good idea to stop off at the gym and vent some of that frustration before heading home.

Whatever the case may be, I know you will gain powerful insight into the way you make decisions, solve problems, interact with others, approach expectations, set your pace, and express your emotions. You may find a number of things that surprise you, and you may find some powerful encouragement to continue to be fully who you are in every area of your life.

Regardless of whether this is the first personality inventory or the hundredth (as is nearly true for me), I know you will find the fifteen or twenty minutes it takes for you to fill in your responses worth every minute. After all, the Greek sages warn that it is best to "Know Thyself," as opposed to allowing those on the outside to define you.

I'd love to hear two of your D-scale words. Leave me a comment including your words and their definitions!

Peace & Joy,

P.S. For a fun know thyself activity, click on the photo source link.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Who Am I Anyway?

Photo Source: Quantum Learning Solutions

I just took a personality inventory called the DISC test. My friend Sarrah gave me the link, and since I can't figure out how to share it with her and my other writer friends on Facebook, I decided I'd share my results with you here.

You can take the test here: FOR FREE!

So, the fun thing about this test is that it gives you not only one bar graph, but two: A results graph and a values graph!

I'm still trying to figure out how to save a picture of my results to my desktop, so I can't actually show it to you (any help would be appreciated). However, I can tell you that the first bar on my results graph is red, and it shows that I'm a medium D--D for Decisive.

Some of the WORDS that describe me on the Decisive scale are:



Yes! Those are two fantastic words.

MacMillan Dictionary defines RESPONSIBLE as "sensible, reliable, and able to be trusted to do the right thing," and INQUISITIVE as "asking a lot of questions about things, especially things that people do not want to talk about," AND "keen to learn about a lot of things."

Yep, these nail me! You can count on me to be just like myself.

Take a leap with me and jump over to the test. All you need to do is put a little information in the Get Started box, and it will take you to the test. It really is free!

Once you've taken it, pop back over and leave me a comment answering this question:

What top two words describe your Decisive qualities?

And if you figure out how to save a picture of your bar graphs, please will you share that little secret with me, as well?

Peace & Joy,

Friday, March 30, 2012

On the Horizon

Copyright 2004, Victor Bregeda

I've written the past couple of weeks about becoming the hero of your own story. In that courageous vein, I begin this post with thoughts of the future. Vintage Betrothal has been my primary writing location for the past two years. My heart is full of joy as I recall all that we've learned and all that we've shared. My mind quickly conjures the joys and sorrows of the queens of old, beautiful jewelry, and inspiring quotes. What a pleasant journey we have made together. 

If this is beginning to sound like a farewell note, that's because, in a way, it is one. Loathe to let this cozy place go, the future beckons with greater and greater pull, holding out the promises of bigger and better things on the horizon. Over the past few months, my pen has flown across the pages of my journal with business ideas, book ideas, writing projects, and inspirations for writing and for writers. I have worked tirelessly to find an organic way to blend all my different projects into one place, to lighten my load by working smarter rather than harder, and to bring you along for the journey.

Though I've wracked my brain to come up with a way to take Vintage Betrothal into the future with me, I just don't see how it's going to work. Some of the transitions I've pulled you through this past year have been abrupt, and others have been so subtle you may have missed them altogether. For this final transition, I wish it to be a smooth journey for both of us. Neither of us will miss this one, but we should be able to enjoy it along the way.

This first part of the transition is simple: By next week, Vintage Betrothal will have a brand new name: A Word in Season.

Eventually, A Word in Season will move from its familiar haven at Blogspot to a brand new space on my very own website. Though yesterday's web building session holds great promise for the future, it proves that creating a website is a slow and tedious process filled with joy and discouragement. Since it will be another few weeks before our new location is ready, I will continue to meet you here for our weekly visit.

On that grand day when we make the final transition to our new home, I will place a link here for you to follow. I believe you will truly enjoy the new site and all that it will offer you as a reader. Until then, I do hope you will join me here next week for the next leg of our transitional journey together.

Peace & Joy,

Friday, March 16, 2012

Becoming the Hero of My Own Story

Which Book Do I Read First?
Photo Credit: Darling

Have you ever wondered how to fit it all in? Do you have an answer to that question? Do you like the answer you came up with?

I asked myself that question last night, and I realized doesn't all fit, and I don't like the answer. However, I do like it when I intentionally answer it rather than letting things fall through the cracks. A hero doesn't let things fall through the cracks.

I fell off my hero horse and let my favorite readers down by letting Vintage Betrothal slip through the cracks. I'm sorry. I'm back on the horse again. I still have to prioritize my time the next two weeks, which means I won't have time to write a new post until the first part of April.

However, I do have time to take a few minutes today and let you know about it. In the meantime, if you don't know what to do with yourself, check out a few oldies but goodies (three top-performing posts of all time):

Bonus points go to the reader who can figure out why these three blog posts have outperformed all the others I've written in the past two years. Share your thoughts in a comment!

Happy Reading!