Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
The last set is from the same collection as our giveaway bracelet, "Heart for Africa's Children". Some of the beads in the bracelet appear almost yellowish-orange in the photos but they are actually pale pink.
Again, if you would like to be entered in the drawing for the bracelet pictured at the very top of this post, please leave me your contact information and which jewelry designs you like the best. You do not have to be a blogger to enter but I do ask that you live in the U.S.A. The deadline for the drawing is 1:00 pm. Sunday, November 4. I'll hold the drawing later on that day.
Another couple of things...
If you're someone I know "in real life" and you'd be interested in selling or buying some of our jewelry, please let me know. 100% of the proceeds go to our trip as all of the materials have been donated. Some folks have volunteered to take some of the jewelry and sell them to their friends and family as a way of helping us raise our needed support. In fact, my sweet mom has already sold almost all of the first package full that I sent her. (Thanks, Mom!)
To find out more about the ministry of CHILDREN'S HOPECHEST and ways that YOU can be involved in making a difference in the lives of HIV/AIDS orphans, visit their website at: http://www.hopechest.org/
And to read more about the journey God has us on, go to: http://elysasmusingsfromgraceland.blogspot.com/2007/10/huge-news-for-some-of-you-this-will-be.html
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Over the last few years, I've discovered some great books by an author who was new to me, Lisa Samson. And over the last few months, I've seen my life getting radically shaken up due in part to Lisa's book, QUAKER SUMMER. I've also had the blessing to get to know Lisa as a person, not just a name, and am looking forward to sharing many adventures with her in Swaziland this January as we travel with Children's HopeChest and other authors including Tom Davis and Claudia Mair Burney. What a deal! I not only get to love on little children for Jesus, but I get to do it in the company of Jesus-freak writers! I definitely feel like I've hit the holy-roller, book lovers' jackpot!
A hands-on person who likes hot drinks!
2. Okay, now can you give us a thumbnail sketch of the REAL, unplugged Lisa Samson? ;)
Totally ADD who wonders all the time where the time went.
3. How long have you been writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer and when were you first published?
Since 1992. I was published in 1994 and no, I didn't always want to be a writer. I wasn't a child writer at all. But I've always loved to read.
4. Do you remember what you did to celebrate the first time you sold a book?
No. Can you believe that? I was living on campus as a Resident Director, [my oldest child] Ty was four. I think we were pretty busy!
5. What's the best advice you have for wanna-be authors...including teenagers who dream of one day seeing their name on a book cover?
I think it's important to differentiate between wanting to write and wanting to be published. If all you want is to be published, you'll compromise your art and your dreams to see your name on the cover. If you want to write, and it's good enough to be published, that's a much more fulfilling scenario. The fact is, writing is hard, it takes many hours and a lot of humility. Listen to people who know what they're talking about. When I first started writing I thought I knew it all. I didn't. I've been blessed with some really great people along the way who have helped me grow.
6. This is your first YA book, what motivated you to write in this genre and where did you get the idea for HOLLYWOOD NOBODY?
Nav Press approached me at a conference and asked if I'd consider writing YA for them. I went out to my car that day and the idea just popped out! I wrote it up, emailed it to them that evening, and there you have it. The least grueling proposal process of my career. Scotty jumped into my head fully formed, so that was a big plus.
7. This book is a good bit "edgier" than the YA fiction of yesteryear. What made you decide to use some of the "colorful" language you did and how is this being rec'd in the publishing world?
I haven't had any pushback yet. I actually took a lot of it out. I suppose I wasn't comparing HN to books in the inspirational market but to those in the general market. Sheesh. Using the [words I used] is nothing compared to Gossip Girls and such. But I kept it to a minimum. Bottom line, Nav told me this book was for an older teen audience so I tried to make it something they'd like while not making it too edgy for, let's face it, the actual readership--girls in their early teens.
8. You say in one of the foreword sections that your daughter Ty gave the voice for Scotty. Can you tell us a little bit about the process of writing dialogue that's believable for characters that are not from your culture, age group, etc.
I just got myself into my daughter's head, used her voice in my mind, her expressions, the way she thinks. I had a real advantage that way, I guess, over other writers of YA who aren't living with the age group! Writing dialogue that realistic is actually writing dialogue that's not realistic at all! We use incomplete sentences, stutter, repeat ourselves. The key is to have your characters say only what's absolutely necessary and nothing more. How they say those things is what gives it characterization.
9. My teenage daughter wonders if you have a picture of what you think Seth Haas looks like or did you base him after a celebrity? ;)
I had a picture in my mind, and Ty showed me Adam Brody and I said, "Close." She pictures him that way. I picture him more like Josh Hartnett. Ty would pick Eric Bana to play his part.
10. I personally LOVE cheese so I've just gotta ask...where did you get the idea for this aspect of the book? The afore mentioned daughter says that if Scotty visits the south again, she's GOT to eat cheese grits! My daughter hates them, but....
That just popped into my head when I was writing up the proposal. I thought it would be funny to give Scotty a rebellion that most people wouldn't think was anything wrong at all. So, I could show her longing to make her own decisions, but not glorify anything I wouldn't want my own teenagers doing.
11. Said daughter also wants to know where you got the inspiration for Scotty?
Like I said, she just popped into my head due to Ty, I suppose, her attitudes, interests, basic personality.
12. In closing, what can Scotty's legion of new fans expect to see from her in the future?
Book two, Finding Hollywood Nobody, is coming out soon. We'll find out who Biker Guy really is, Seth returns, and Karissa is still on hand to shake things up a bit. The book takes place in Marshall, Texas and it's there that Scotty makes her first friendship with a teen girl her own age.
Thanks so much, Lisa. My daughter A and I both loved reading your answers.
BTW, A thinks it would be SO cool for Scotty to have a real blog or Myspace on the internet. I'm just sayin'.
Love to you and keep on writing!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
4 year old T and Super Dad had a great time light saber dueling...well, T had a super time as long as he thought HE was winning!
12 year old B enjoyed trying out unique ways of going down it. Below her, the football game went on unfazed by the aerial acrobatics up above.
Here's nearly 14 year old A about to take the plunge as her camp friends cheer her on.
...and gone all the way to the bottom.
And when she had to wait on the sidelines while her daddy took someone else down the zip line, her heart was absolutely broken. She bawled and bawled and bawled. It was both touching and quite humorous at the same time.
The campground at night, with all the lights sparkling and the folks mingling, reminded me of the midway at the state fair. Here, J, LG, and T head out to the Friday night meeting.
Ever the creative and mischievous one at that, B organized a TPing "party" and decorated not just the boys' tent next door, but also our boys' tent, and to throw off suspicion, B rolled her OWN tent as well!
Racers get ready....
The four "strollers" enjoy their race time together.
And here are all the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners for each age division.
... and enjoys playing alongside a fellow FIAR kid.
I don't know what's wrong with me. I am having a bit of a stomach bug an headache that have me feeling mildly rotten in general, but its my emotions and thoughts that have me more concerned. I just feel so sad and discouraged. I've been crying off and on for a couple of hours now which is just so not me. I'm just so very, very sad and nothing really sad has happened...at least not today anyway. I'm feeling like a failure in a lot of areas.
My husband called a little while ago and he's coming home early because he's so concerned about me. He knows this is just not like me at all.
Thanks for your prayers.
Monday, October 22, 2007
I had hoped to post a lot of great photos and details about our camping trip. I also wanted to put up new photos of more GRACE WORKS jewelry, but to be honest, I'm just plum worn out...or is that plumb worn out? Either way, that's what I am.
We're all feeling the effects of days of fun and nights of sleeping on the ground! I'm off now to take a nap as are most of the other creatures around here.
Hopefully this afternoon I'll get around to doing more about the camping stuff and showing off the beautiful jewelry we created today. My sweet friend Rhonda came over and despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth going on around us, we managed to make some lovely things and I'm hooked on beading!
I've also go a related giveaway planned. So come back soon to find out how YOU can win a one-of-a-kind Grace Works bracelet.
I'm so excited! Okay, in a very low-key, about-to-fall-asleep-at-my-keyboard way I'm excited.
In the meantime, hope your day is filled to overflowing with the knowledge that He passionately loves you and that grace does work in amazing ways.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Jewelry designs that support ministry to HIV/AIDS orphans and widows in Africa.
My sweet new friend Rhonda is donating handmade jewelry to be sold for the benefit of daughter B's and my trip to Swaziland. Pictured are three of her designs.
Each one is uniquely made. All the earrings are surgical steel...at least Rhonda is pretty sure of this. She tries to buy only surgical steel but she threw the packaging away ages ago. On some of the pricier items, real semi-precious stones are used. If anyone wants to order a necklace to match the bracelet sets or if you have special requests for specific colors, jewel tones, etc. Rhonda will be glad to design something extra unique.
The top set is a maroonish-red set featuring a single strand bracelet and drop earrings. The set can be your's for $10.
The set below is comprised mainly of green, purple, and dark aqua colors. Because the bracelet is 2 stranded and more complicated to make, this set sells for $12.
If you are interested in purchasing any of these items or ones that we will be making in the upcoming days, feel free to leave a comment, email me, or if you know me "in real life", give me a call. We'll work out the details on how to get the money to me and how I can get the jewelry to you. Remember, all the proceeds will go directly to pay for our trip to Swaziland.
I want to thank all of you for your outpouring of support and encouragement where the upcoming Swaziland trip is concerned. Its hard to believe that as I sit here eating a scrumptious meal of veggie fried rice and Asian chicken strips while my children also had a filling meal and are now happily playing or doing their chores, that in Swaziland, "about 40 percent of Swaziland's one million people are facing acute food and water shortages" which mean that for many of the people, their one meal of the day consists of some wild edible weeds and a bit of cooked corn meal. And that "poor households are reported to have engaged in negative coping strategies, including transactional sex, leading to a higher incidence of sexually transmitted infections and HIV."
"A recent study has shown that if the current trends are not halted, only one in four children born today will reached the age of 40 in Swaziland." And of these children, nearly a quarter of them are already orphaned.
This is why we're going. I've had some ask me aren't I afraid of going...to be honest, the heartbreak over what is happening over there usually pushes aside any personal fears or worries. Though I will tell you that right after I found out we were going, I started having irrational apprehension that I would lose my daughter somewhere en route. One of my friends said that was obviously NOT something that was a realistic concern as I'm one of the most paranoid, over-protective moms around...okay, she put it nicer and said I was very careful but I know the truth!
I've posted a link to an article that details some of the things I've discussed above and quoted. It truly is devastating what is going on. I am so thankful to God that He's letting me participate in blessing "the least of these". They are so precious to Him, and to me. And you are a part of this incredible happening.
BTW, before I close, daughter B and I are selling handmade beaded jewelry that a talented friend is making for the cause and will be teaching me and B how to make as well. With Christmas coming up, if you'd like to purchase some, let me know. Your gift will not only bless the recipient, but bless those little ones who we will be loving on come January.
Excited about this journey of grace and hope!
P.S. Thanks Rhonda for your passionate support and the beautiful jewelry. Your efforts will yield eternal treasures.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Okay, so I'm hanging out with my nearly 14 year old daughter discussing books. She's saying how she is really wanting to read EXORSISTAH, an upcoming young adult book by Claudia Mair Burney, and I was saying that I couldn't wait for my copy of HOLLYWOOD NOBODY by Lisa Samson to arrive. I was supposed to be rec'ing a copy via the good ole U.S.Postal Service.
Two minutes later the bedroom door opens and my 12 year old daughter hands me a package....its HOLLYWOOD NOBODY! Okay, so maybe that's not a big deal to some of you sophisticates out there ;) , but to us it was pretty darn bizarre that while I was opining about HOLLYWOOD NOBODY, my daughter was getting it out of the mailbox.
I'll admit it, I'm easily excited. But even I have my various levels of excitement...there's the low level excitement I feel when I grab a handful of M&M's and find that they're mostly blue and green ones, and then there are those things that make me want to blog about it ASAP...and this was obviously one of "those"...though I had to wait til today to blog about it due to various other demands (including starting Latin with aforementioned daughters).
I'm speeding my way thru a brand new hottie from the library that can't be renewed, but as soon as I read the last chapter, I'm wrapping my greedy, freckled hands around HOLLYWOOD NOBODY and settling in for a read that promises to be amazingly fun!
For more info on HOLLYWOOD NOBODY and the very talented and entertaining authors Lisa Samson and Claudia Mair Burney, check out these links:
http://lisasamson.typepad.com/blog/ ---Lisa's blog. GREAT writing! I visit it every day as its updated frequently with her mix of sass and heart.
http://www.navpress.com/Store/Product/1600060919.html ---You can not only order the book, but read the first several pages of the book. Be warned, you'll probably find yourself immediately hooked!
http://ragamuffindiva.blogspot.com/ ---Mair's blog. Its a rich, gumbo of grace infused writings.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Nearly 20 years ago, I graduated from Mississippi University for Women and just a couple of months later, I started one of the most exciting and rewarding adventures of my life --- going to Swaziland, Africa as a missionary. When I first arrived, the Baptist mission sent me to stay about a week with another single missionary, Denise Bouchard. She helped me so much during that time of transition to get to know the Swazi culture in a way that I wouldn't if I'd only stayed in the capital city. One thing that really bonded my heart to the Swazi people right away was the Dlamini family that lived on the same mountain as Denise. They were so warm hearted and as new single missionaries would come into their lives, they generously welcomed them into their home and even named the missionary after one of their children.
I had the honor and blessing of being named after a darling little sweetie, Thandeka. Her name means "loveable" or "easy to love" and she was certainly that. In this photo with her brother and me, she is about 3 years old. Sadly, Thandeka died about 3 or 4 years later. She was apparently born with a heart defect but it wasn't discovered by the doctors (I believe it was DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS staff) until it was too late and she was too weak and too far gone to survive surgery.
I still miss her and proudly wear her name. She was truly one of God's little beauties and one that will never be forgotten by all who knew her. I'm so thankful that in January, God will once again be allowing me to love on the children of Swaziland. And I know that as I hold those little ones, my special sisi will be very close in my thoughts and still living in my heart.
Thanks for letting me share her with you,
Elysa "Thandeka Lom Khulu Dlamini"
Sunday, October 14, 2007
The Lewis family joined us for most of the day's happenings. Their boys are some of our kids' very best friends. And Mary is a great Mom pal.
B was a good big sister and taught Baby M the fine art of feeding those greedy goats.
This is the second year that we've gone to the free circus at the fair. The animal tricks were a humorous hit with both the kids and the parents.
Patrick enjoyed riding the CRAZY MOUSE with Super Dad who joined us in the afternoon once his required leadership meeting was finished.