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Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Magic of Written Goals

goalsAbout fourteen months ago, I signed with literary agent Chip MacGregor. He sent me a document—kind of a “getting to know you” interview. It had twelve pages of questions about my life, my past, my plans, and my dreams.  By the time I’d finished answering those questions, the document was 28 pages long.

Phew. So far, this having-an-agent thing seemed like a lot of work.

But there was something magical about that document, because reviewing it fourteen months later, I realize that many of the things that had seemed like pipe dreams in the fall of 2013 are now reality. The most obvious is my freelance editing business. Chip often challenges his authors to think creatively about how they can make a living as a writer. For me, editing has always come pretty easily, so a freelance editing business seemed a good way to go. Now, a year later, my business is booming.

Tweet this: There’s something magical about writing down your #goals. Share your #2015 goals today.

There are other things, too. This blog, for instance. I promised myself I would start to blog regularly, and now I am, thanks to my critique partners here in the Quid Pro Quills. Also, I’m in the process of self-publishing a book, something I’d barely considered a year ago. I’d made it my goal to finish one book and begin another, and I’m halfway through that second one, which is a slightly different genre than I’d written before. And I’m attempting to build a speaking/teaching ministry, which I’d only dreamed about a year ago.

Tweet this: Those who write their #goals are 95% more likely to achieve them. Share yours with us!

I believe the hours and hours and I spent answering those questions for Chip—committing my dreams to the harshness of paper and pen or, in this case, black pixels on white—made them no longer just dreams. It made them goals. And when you write down your goals, you’re more likely to achieve them.

I’m sure some psychologist could tell you why that is. I prefer to think of it as magic—saves me the brain power. Whatever the reason, I’m a new believer in firm, written goals. I’ll be updating those goals again this year. I can’t wait to see what God has store for 2015.

Have you written down your goals for 2015?

Are there any you’d like to share today?DSC_8915-25ed

Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. She is the author of two books, Faith House and One Christmas Eve, both Christmas stories, and a freelance editor at Robins Red Pen. Read excerpts and find out more at her website.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in Robin Patchen

 

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Saying Goodbye

2006 Jason_grazing_late_evening_versePlenty of exciting things happened to our family in 2014. It was also a year of deep sorrows. We said goodbye to some long-time four-legged family members. We lost Luther the Beagle/Lab mix in May, just short of his 17th birthday. We lost Buck the St. Bernard in August, at age 11 1/2. Then on December 12, we said goodbye to Jason, our son’s black Thoroughbred. Jason would have been 25 on New Year’s Day.

Jason came to live with us in 2001. He started his life as a race horse and ran until he was 7 years old, when the racetrack in Detroit was closed. We bought him from the fellow who took him off the track. He 2004 Jason Headwas 11 when he came here and our son was 13. Jason was what horse people call “bomb-proof.” He’d been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. I never feared for our son riding down the road on Jason. School buses or logging trucks, nothing rattled the 16.2 hand horse we mostly referred to as “the big guy.”

Our son started retraining Jason to run speed events at the local 4-H horse shows. Speed was something Jason knew plenty about, but his experience didn’t include barrels or poles or buckets. While plenty of horse people told our son he’d never compete with a Thoroughbred against the local stock horses … nobody told Jason. After their first year – with both of them learning – the pair were competitive and brought home their share of ribbons. That big, black monster could weave the poles in pole bending like nobody’s business.

Due to the rigors of five years of racing, Jason started showing signs of arthritis by 2006. Our son bought a young horse to train for speed events, but still rode Jason around the farm, for the trail rides, and in the local 4th of July parades.

In 2009, we officially retired the big guy. He spent his final 5 years as a much-loved pasture ornament. He deserved it. He was the perfect first horse for our son. I couldn’t have asked for better. Rest easy, my friend.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2014 in Pegg Thomas

 

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What’s Your Story?

It’s the day after Christmas and less than a week before the start of a brand New Year. And there is no better time to reflect on your writing FWF Photogoals than at the end of one year and the beginning of the next. One of the goals potential writers have is to finally get the story God put in their hearts down on paper. Is that you? No worries. It’s not too late and the New Year provides a great starting point.

So pull out the pencils and paper or dust off the typewriter keys because we’d love to know what your story is about. The last thing we’d want to hear about is a God inspired story that remains unwritten.

So … What’s Your Story?

~ Kara Hunt

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2014 in Kara Hunt, Video Blog, Writing

 

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The Writer’s Christmas List

writer's Christmas list

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Humor, Pegg Thomas, Writing

 

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Songs of The Season

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Silent Night . . . Away in a Manger . . . O Holy Night . . . .

‘Tis the season for Christmas hymns! Here are two lesser-known (but theologically rich) Christmas hymns. They’ve been around for centuries, but their timeless messages are new to me. Meditate on these lyrics:

Of The Father’s Love Begotten

Of the Father’s love begotten ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the Source, the Ending, He.
Of the things that are, that have been, and that future years shall see, evermore and evermore.

Oh, that birth forever blessed when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bore the Savior of our race,
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer, first revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore.

O ye heights of heaven, adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
All dominions, bow before Him and extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent, every voice in concert ring, evermore and evermore.

This is He whom Heaven-taught singers sang of old with one accord;
Whom the Scriptures of the prophets promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the Long-expected; let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore.

Christ, to Thee, with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving and unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion, and eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

~ Aurelius C. Prudentius, 413, cento
Translated by John. M. Neale, 1818-1866
and Henry W. Baker, 1821-1977
Public Domainfile9221293737060

To Us A Child of Hope Is Born

To us a Child of hope is born, to us a Son is giv’n,
Him shall the tribes of earth obey, Him, all the hosts of Heav’n.

His name shall be the Prince of Peace, forevermore adored,
The Wonderful, the Counselor, the great and mighty Lord.

His pow’r, increasing, still shall spread, His reign no end shall know;
Justice shall guard His throne above, and peace abound below.

~ John Morrison, 1781
Public Domain

What’s your favorite Christmas hymn?

~ Jericha Kingston

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in Jericha Kingston

 

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Famous for my Chocolate

2014-12-15 13.13.48I’m famous for my chocolate. Well, maybe not famous, but close to it.

Twenty years ago, my husband and I were living on the second floor of a house-turned-apartment in Norwood, MA. If you know Norwood, you might’ve heard of The Colonial, a fabulous restaurant on Savin Ave. We lived almost directly across the street.

Another newly-married couple lived in the first floor, Rick and Darcy, and one year, Darcy gave us some fudge for Christmas. It was the most delicious fudge I’ve ever eaten.

That winter, Ed and I relocated to Oklahoma, near my mother’s family, so the following Christmas, I made a few batches of Darcy’s fudge recipe and shared it with my aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Christmas has never been the same. My family loves that fudge. They wait for it, and when I walk in the door at our family Christmas get-together with it, their eyes twinkle. (I come from a long line of sweet-toothed folks.)

Tweet this: Two great chocolate recipes for Christmas. Great as gifts!

Fast forward a few years. We were at a party, and I tried these delectable chocolates filled with peanut butter—sort of like homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I found the recipe, and now every year, I make those, too.

The other day, I posted a picture of the peanut butter balls on Facebook, and my best friend was at my door within an hour. Oh, sure, she had a lame excuse. “I just wanted to return this to you,” she said, holding out an item she’d borrowed. And then she added with a little grin, “You didn’t freeze those peanut butter balls, did you?”

To keep myself from eating them, I had, but we defrosted a few, and she left with a baggie full of candy and chocolate residue on her fingertips.

So these recipes I share with you are treasures. I’m famous for my candy bar fudge (thank you, Darcy) and my peanut butter balls (which some folks call Buckeyes—Ohio folks, I think.) Feel free to share them with your family.

What about you? What recipes are you famous for?

Do you have other traditions your family looks forward to?

Candy Bar Fudge

½ cup butter
1/3 cup baking cocoa
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup milk
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
30 caramels, unwrapped
1 Tbsp water
2 cups salted peanuts
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup milk chocolate chips

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, cocoa, brown sugar, and milk. Microwave on high until mixture boils, about 3 minutes. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Pour into a greased 8-inch square pan. Put the pan in the fridge until it hardens. (The freezer works well, too, and faster.)

In another microwave-safe bowl, combine caramels and water. Microwave until mixture melts, stirring every 30 seconds or so. Combine with peanuts and spread over fudge layer.

Melt chocolate chips in a double-broiler and spread over peanut mixture. Place fudge in the refrigerator until chocolate hardens. Return to room temperature before cutting.

Peanut Butter Balls

1 lb. butter at room temperature
2 lbs. creamy peanut butter at room temperature
3 lbs. powdered sugar
2-32 oz. bags chocolate chips (you probably won’t use all of them)
2 Tbsp shortening (the recipe calls for paraffin wax, but ick)

Combine the butter and peanut butter. Gradually add the powdered sugar. (I have a full-sized Kitchenaid, and this still nearly overflows the top. If you don’t have a big mixer, I suggest you halve the recipe, or at least work with half at a time.) When you get the mixture well-combined, form walnut-sized balls and place them on a few jelly roll pans. (You could use a melon-baller to help with this process.) Freeze them on the pans.

When they’re good and frozen (I usually wait a day or two), melt 1 bag of the chocolate in a double-broiler with one tablespoon of shortening. (I use a big stainless steel pan on a saucepan with a little water at the bottom.) With toothpicks, dip each frozen ball into the melted chocolate and place on wax-paper covered jelly roll pans. Pop back in the fridge until the chocolate hardens. When you start to run short of chocolate, add more chips and a bit more shortening until you’ve dipped each peanut butter ball. (This is not an exact science, obviously. But you can’t go wrong—look at the ingredients!)

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Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. She is the author of two books, Faith House and One Christmas Eve, both Christmas stories, and a freelance editor at Robins Red Pen. Read excerpts and find out more at her website.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2014 in Robin Patchen

 

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Christmas Movies – Book Giveaway!

ChristmasCollageThere’s something special about Christmas movies. We look forward to watching them every December. They usher in the Christmas season.

My favorites are the classics. Those made back when values and morals were still as black and white as the films. At the end of the story, you walk away with the warm feeling that everything is as it should be. In a word, satisfied.

Candice’s new Christmas story, Silver White Winters, delivers that same sense of ending satisfaction. (Hallmark channel … are you listening?)

I’m going to give someone a kindle copy of this book. To win, just name all three movies represented in the photo. Think hard! I’ll pick the winner on Saturday, December 20, 2015. Be sure and leave your e-mail address to enter.

~Pegg Thomas

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2014 in Giveaway, Pegg Thomas

 

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