Why the blog?

I write as the Spirit moves me. I have prayed about what I'm supposed to do with my life a lot. A lot. Writing. Writing is what I believe God is leading me to do. Whether or not He wants me to write for anyone to read is His business. Much of my writing has been therapy for me so maybe I'm the only one who is supposed to read it. So, why the Blog? As a sounding board, a note pad, a place to keep my ideas and thoughts. A place to share and promote my books, and photography. Written prayers, a place to vent. Possibly, even a place for the unknown reader to learn about the love of Jesus.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fundraisers the Fun Way

I don't know about you, but I love to give stuff away.  I've given so much "stuff" away, I'd probably be rich if I had sold it all.  Alas, I don't really care about being rich.  Giving makes me happy.  Giving breathes life into my veins.  Giving is a gift that God has given me and I intend to use that gift to the fullest!!   

Every Friday, I post a code for a book or two on Smashwords that anyone can get for free.

I give away my time and talents (what little I posses) to my church, Matthew's Hope, and anywhere that will take me.

I'm not bragging, I'm imploring you to use me, take what I give and use it for good.  

Early this year, I joined Origami Owl.  Not to make a ton of money or become a business mogle in the direct sales industry.  I joined to meet people and to give back via fundraisers.  Several charities and friends in need have benefitted from these fundraisers and I would love to continue in this endeavor.

Do you have a charity that needs money?   Do you have a child in school?  Do you have a favorite cause you would like to raise money for?   

Are you tired of the boring fundraisers - candles, cookies, discount cards, calendars - stuff you really never need or use?    

Origami Owl is an amazing company, started by a 14-year-old girl who wanted to earn money to buy a car.   Their mission statement is:

"Our mission is to be a force for good; to love, inspire, and motivate people of all ages to reach their dreams and empower them to make a difference in the lives of others."

I like that.

How can I help you?

marathonmom.origamiowl.com

Feel free to download this poster from here, my Facebook site, or my Pinterest page.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

THE END

"The End".  It's a bittersweet sentence.  The end of what? The end of whom? Maybe, it's just the beginning.  

As a writer, 'the end' takes a long time.  I look forward to finally being able to write it. The ending is difficult to write, at least for me.  As a reader, I often am sad when I reach the end of a good book.  I want the story to continue, what happens next? I suppose that's what sequels are for.

"The End" is a badge of accomplishment, a finish line, a statement that a goal has been achieved.  The End is synonymous with "Whoo Hoo!  I did it!"

As a runner, the finish line is just a stepping stone.  This race is over, when's the next one?  After writing ten, now eleven books, I must have the same mind set for writing.  It's not quite so easy to pick up and write a new novel as it is to put one foot in front of the other and run another 3, 6, 9, 26.2 miles.  Although, I must admit the older I get the running is becoming more difficult than the writing.

So, you're asking, have you just written "The End"?   

Why, yes, yes I have.  Thank you for asking as my thoughts wander and my fingers take me to another place because I'm thinking of something else to write and whether or not I want to run 25 miles in the 98% humidity tomorrow.  

Ready? Set? HERE IT IS!!!


WILDWOOD

My husband, bless him, says this is my best book yet.  He says that every time.  I believe he thinks he's not allowed to say otherwise because I feed him and he sleeps with me. What do you think?  

I have the paperback coming out soon on Amazon and also the ebook is available on Smashwords.com.   Check my website (www.colleenwait.com) on Fridays for Freebie Fridays through Smashwords.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fun? in Phoenix part 2

Continued from previous post:
Friday morning, I woke up at 5 am.  My roommates were still asleep so I crept into the bathroom and put on my work-out clothes and went down to the gym.  My key didn't work.  No surprise there, par for the course so far I suppose.  I called the front desk and they sent someone right away to let me in.  I ran for about 45 minutes before anyone else showed up. I enjoyed the solitude.  When I returned to the room, my roommates were up and dressed.  I was not in a huge hurry to get to the convention hall.  The women I had met up with the night before planned on being there at 6:30 to get good seats.  My roommates and I arrived at 7:30.  The large hallway was just beginning to fill up, but it wasn't overly crowded and we found our group near the front of the line.  Next to us was a woman with a service dog.  Not just any service dog - a great dane.  

Service dog at convention.



Because of what happened next, I may need him.  I stood with my group near the front and by the wall.
As the crowds got heavier, I moved closer to the wall where it was a little more open.  Several minutes later, I begin feeling agitated.  I'm looking around, shifting my weight from foot to foot, backing up, turning around. My heart is pounding and I start breathing heavy.  Basically, I'm in fight or flight mode and I'm starting to shake.  Mentally, I know I'm safe, not in any danger.  Physically, my body is rejecting all intellectual thought.  Suddenly my eyes begin to tear up and one of the ladies in our group turns around and looks me in the face, "All you okay?" she asks with a very concerned tone.  I shake my head no and tell her I'm going to the bathroom and I'll be out when the crowds go away. Fortunately, the bathroom is only about three yards away but I have to push through the crowd to get there.   Inside the converted men's room, I find and empty stall, lock myself in and start crying my eyes out.  I texted my husband, "I wanna come home!"  I did at that point.  I could have left with no regrets.  Being the wonderful man he is, he assured me I was fine and to take a breather and go back in when I was ready.  Which I did.  I was embarrassed.  This was the second time this had happened.  The first was at a race when I couldn't find my husband after crossing the finish line.  I sat on a curb and cried for 20 minutes (after running around in a panic thinking he had left me).  

About 10 minutes or so later, I left the sanctuary of the men's room and found my group.  Fortunately, they were near the front and I was able to relax - sort of.  

The main session was really good.  The shadow dance group performed and Bell (the founder) sang.  Several videos were shown.  One was about the trip to Europe and the new Swarovski crystal line of jewelry (yippies) and the Origami Owl story.  If your kids want a car for their birthday, have them watch this video.  If you've ever wanted to own your own business, watch it.  Also, we learned something that I thought was really exciting.  Origami Owl will begin offering health insurance through Agentra beginning August 1st to qualified designers (meeting minimum volumes).  Read more about it here.

Near 12:30 I was ready to climb the walls. Plus, I was starving.  12:30 Phoenix is 3:30 Orlando so way past my lunch time.   I excused myself and found some food and a free massage!!!  I so needed that massage.  It was free but I tipped the woman well.  I went to two breakout classes and then I broke out and went back to the hotel.  Around 5 pm just as we were all leaving for our group dinner, a sandstorm warning set off alarms on everyone's phones.  We didn't get caught in the storm, but could see it in the distance.  

Dinner went well, I had dairy-free options to eat.  It was a little stressful at first because I had to find a waiter, in the crowd, to ask about food.  I'm always stressed when eating out and this was no different, worse even.  One of the women, Christina, made the evening and really the whole week-end bearable and even a little fun. 



There was a photo booth in the restaurant and she was the first person to pull me in.  Normally, I don't like having my picture taken, however, with the hats and funny glasses and mustaches it was fun.  She, Christina, always answered my texts right away and checked in with me often throughout the week-end.  My roommates were great, too.  In fact, they decorated our hotel room door.  The pictures of me they pulled off the internet. 
I love this quote from Chrissy Weems:  The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our "behind the scenes" with everyone else's "highlight reel".   You may think the grass is greener on the other side, but if you took the time to water your own grass, your's would be just as green.

 My husband often says the same thing, referring mainly to Facebook.  People's lives aren't that perfect and we tend to compare our meager life to what is portrayed on FB as a perfect, happy life.  

All you need is within you, right now.  Search for it, find it, water it, and let your light shine.  If you are having a bad day, skip!

Overall, this was an experience that I needed as much as I did not want it.  I needed to get out of my comfort zone.  I can't say that I'm afraid of crowds.  Otherwise, I would not have gone at all.  For me it's a physical reaction that I, thus far, have little control over.  Praying definitely helped.  I know my limits.  I push myself out of the box a little at a time and next time, if there is a next time, I will do more, enjoy it more, engage more, socialize more.  

I returned home exhausted, yet excited at all the possibilities that lay before me.  I leave you with this:


  


AND HERE ARE A FEW PICS:










INTERESTED IN BECOMING AN INDEPENDENT DESIGNER (SMALL BUSINESS OWNER) ?  CONTACT ME THROUGH FACEBOOK.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Phobias and fun? in Phoenix

If you read my last post, this is a followup to the "thing" looming over my head that I didn't want to do.  If you haven't, go back and read it and then make the recipe and relax while reading this post.

This is actually the journal I kept in the days leading up to and during the convention/conference spanning over a month's time.

The first thing that popped in my head when I heard about the Origami Owl convention was, "No thanks!"  I'm not comfortable in crowds, especially crows of women, hyped up on caffeine, all excited hootin' and a hollering .  I've had bad experiences in crowds (specifically in New Orleans and Manhattan).  When an outdoor vendor event became available during the time of the convention, I signed up.  I thought it would be great, no competition because everyone would be at convention and I'd be cozy in my little box.  Well, the post I put on our FB group site set off a firestorm.  Two of the people on my team jumped on and posted, 'you've got to go to convention!"  They gave me every reason in the book why I should go.  They were valid reasons, but I wasn't so sure.  Would I have to fly alone?  I don't like to fly.  Period.  Alone was out of the question.  How much would it cost?  Where would I stay? How would I get to the hotel?  Where and what could I eat?  Could I bring food?  "Don't worry about it," they said.  "We will get you the details later, just go sign up."  Right, me not worry - Hah!.  So, I prayed about it.  Gave it to God, took it back, gave it back to Him, found something else to stress over and took it back again.  

I signed up, then traveled to S. Korea with my husband and youngest daughter.  After six airplanes and two different hotels, I'm a little more relaxed.  I can do this, I thought.  Upon our return to the US I booked the shuttle to and from the airport then a few weeks later realized I had booked it for the wrong month!  Ugh!.  Called the shuttle and got it fixed, at least I hoped.

I didn't buy the team t-shirt.  My apologies, I thought it looked like something my mother wore bedazzled in the 1980s.  I'm sure the designer worked very hard on it, just not my taste.

I wanted to keep my food issues private, however with two pre-paid dinners, I had to let those in charge know.  I did check the hotel restaurant menu and figured out what to bring with me, so I was pretty sure I wouldn't starve - or get sick.

Someone posted a YouTube video about how to pack a carry-on that was helpful.  It worked quite well.  Clothes didn't wrinkle much and I had plenty of room for my purchases and freebies.  

A week away from conference and my nerves began to get to me.  I went to my first American Christian Fiction Writers meeting and was underwhelmed.  I was nervous to be in a group of "peers" and strangers who might tell me my writing stinks and I should go back to my day job.  At the meeting, there were nine of us.  Still, I was nervous.  I could just imagine how I would feel in a group of thousands.  

Fear paralyzes you and keeps you from doing things you want to do and things God wants you to do.  That is so true.  On Monday I wanted to crawl under a rock and hide.  I thought, "If my husband was going with me and my son wasn't waiting on test results, I'd feel a whole lot better."

Wednesday, the 23rd was my birthday.  I had a great time hanging out with my husband and our oldest daughter.  Lunch at downtown Disney, House of blues.  It was a great distraction.  While there, my friend who encouraged me to sign up called to check on me and give me encouragement.  It was much appreciated.  She then gave my info to the two women I'm to room with (whom I had only met once).  They, in turn, contacted me and encouraged me.  It soothed my nerves even more.  It was nice to know people are looking out for me. 

I tried to go to sleep early the night before my trip, but not even two melatonin could put me in sleepy land.  I got up at 5 am, stretched, exercised for a few minutes, showered, hung out with my husband until he had to leave for work.  Nicest thing - when we hugged goodbye, he didn't want to let go!  Usually, he stops hugging first.  My flight was scheduled to leave at 10:30, board at 9:50.  Of course, even though the airport is only 45 minutes away, I left at 6:30.  I made a smoothie, made sure I had everything, started praying, and got in the car.  Traffic was light, thank God.  I missed the blue lot where I was supposed to park and ended up in the garage by the terminal.  It cost more, but I wasn't going to circle the airport until I found it.  

My boarding pass was on my phone, but since I hadn't used the app before, I printed out a pass at the kiosk.  Went to the wrong airline kiosk the first time. Then, I almost forgot to empty my water bottle before going through security.  A guard said I could dump it in a nearby planter, so I did.  The passbook barcode worked!  Woo hop!  I was then shuttled down the security line to a man swiping hands.  I didn't know what that was all about, but wasn't about to argue.  Apparently, if your hands are clean, you get to be expedited, meaning you don't have to take off your shoes or empty your bags.  My necklace did set off the metal detector, though.  Not surprised since it did last trip.  Overall, I made it from car to gate in about 30 minutes.  Then, I sat and waited to board.  Facebook was all lit up from other Origami Owl designers posting about traveling and their excitement.  I wasn't excited, but I hoped to meet up with at least one person before arrival at the hotel.   

The flight from Orlando to Atlanta went smoothly. No bumps, no air sickness, no familiar t-shirts to identify comrades in convention.  On the walk to the next flight, I met up with a woman from Clemson, and then several more from all parts of the country when we reached the gate.  The young woman who ended up sitting next to me was a younger version of me.  She hadn't flow in over ten years.  She has motion sickness.  She was separated with a 2-year-old son.  I felt bad for her, I was in her shoes not long ago.  She got nervous at take-off.  I tried to keep her (and me) distracted by talking, but she threw up anyway.  Luckily, she hadn't eat all day.  On the descent, the ride became very bumpy, apparently due to hot air pockets, and we both got sick to our stomachs.  Neither of us threw up.  Whew!  Most of the passengers were green by the time we landed.  

I got off the plane and found the Super Shuttle with no problems.  The ride was only about 10-15 minutes to the hotel.  The star greeted me with a bottle of water and were friendly and helpful.  When I reached my room, the key didn't work.  Fortunately, hotel cleaning staff and a supervisor were on the floor and they quickly brought me two keys, which was good because my roommates were delayed.  I let them know I had an extra key so they wouldn't have to go to the registration desk.  I ate my packed lunch/dinner then met up with several ladies from my team who had arrived earlier in the day.  We went over to the convention center to check in and do a little shopping at the O2 store.  We got some great freebies and I bought an IPad cover and a t-shirt.  After standing in line for several hours both to get in to the very crowded store and for check-out, I quickly excused myself and went back to the hotel and tried to go to sleep.  My roommates finally arrived at 2:30 am.

The day had been long and exhausting and a bit overwhelming.  I hoped to be able to relax the next day and enjoy myself.  At this point, I was still a bit nervous and anxious and not at all having fun. The people I was with were familiar, but not "friends" or family.  I think had I been totally alone to wander as I pleased I would have felt better, but being thrust into a throng of strangers all hustling and bustling and trying to be "first" in everything was just a little....the word escapes me but angst comes to mind.  I can only take crowds in bits and pieces, small chunks at a time, then let me out - I need to escape.  

...more next time


Colleen Wait Edits

Colleen Wait Edits