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Sunday, December 27, 2009


It’s that time of year again. Heading into the New Year of 2010. Typically, this means resolutions that will be broken before the month is over. Weight loss and exercise are big on that list among women and probably a lot of guys too. What’s your plan this year?

I’m a one step at a time kind of woman and when I set goals I really want to reach them. In the past when I’ve said I’m going to lose ten pounds or write a book or get rid of clutter I haven’t hung in there very long with my well intentioned resolutions. We all know about good intentions and where they can lead.

I like setting goals instead of making resolutions. What's the differnce you ask? I think from the definitions below you'll see what I'm getting at. To me the idea of making a resolution is that you decide you are going to do something, whereas a goal is a shorter trip in my mind (progress in increments).

a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something

the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end

When I was doing my Christmas shopping a couple weeks ago I saw this book
and bought it for myself. I knew I liked Julia Cameron and her work. I knew I planned on getting back to the gym after a long bout of pneumonia and I knew other plans hadn't worked well for me.

So can this:


really lead to less pounds?

I've just read the prologue to Cameron's book and I've decided to give it a whirl.
I want to get back to the gym and my hubby bought me a special 12 week program I wanted on getting healthy. I want to lose some weight and get my cholesterol level down a bit. And I want to write another book. I'm aiming at four pages a day. But one note of caution here everyone. I have not read this book yet and as a licensed social worker I encourage you to remember this book is written by a very creative woman, but not a nutritionist or therapist. If you have a serious eating disorder please consult a specialist.

So what's your plan? Goal? or resolution? Care to share?

Smiles and Blessings,


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I fell in love with sea turtles when I went to the Charleston, S.C. Aquarium several years ago. I just love those great big creatures. Not too long after that I started thinking about how turtles could help me as a writer.

sea turtles Pictures, Images and Photos
I don't know a lot about turtles but I do know that some are endangered.

The more I've learned about turtles the more infatuated I am.

Galápagos tortoise

Colossochelys/Testudo Atlas Pictures, Images and Photos

Turtles have:

1. A hard shell-for protection. That hard shell is something all writers must develop to protect ourselves from rejection. Let’s face it; I don’t think too many of us look forward to getting rejections from potential publishers. We have to find ways of coping with rejection so we can move on and continue to write what is important, entertaining, encouraging, and meaningful.

2. A slow and steady gait. You know the old story of the tortoise and the hare. Who won that race? The tortoise!

3. Pull that head inside. Turtles can pull their heads in (but not the Green Sea Turtle) and protect themselves that way as well. I also think that’s a turtle’s way of sleeping and thinking.

4. The belly of some turtle's is soft. That happens to us as writers too if we don’t get our exercise. Some Green Turtles can weigh up to 700 pounds! I bet some types of turtle or tortoise weigh even more.

Do you have any ideas you can add to this list? Do you know a lot about turtles? I have a feeling I'll be posting more about these incredible creatures in the future.

sea turtles Pictures, Images and Photos

Mental Health America: The Story of Our Symbol - The Mental Health Bell

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mental Health America: The Story of Our Symbol - The Mental Health Bell

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The story of the Mental Health Bell is one well worth reading. It's also a reminder. A reminder that those of us who are fortunate not to suffer with severe mental health problems should be the first to help those with illnessess that can suck the life out of a person. Mental health allows us to enjoy life. Mental illness and the stigma of mental illness continue to keep some people locked away in a dark place.

I challenge you to make an effort to reach out and do something special for someone who suffers from these devastating illnesses (depression, bipolar, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.)in your church, your neighborhood, or your state. Make a difference this December as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Be a light.

Feel free to leave your ideas on what we can all do to make a difference. I think I'll give the gift of music and take that special person out to eat.

OUT OF DARKNESS INTO LIGHT Pictures, Images and Photos


Saturday, November 21, 2009

fall:) Pictures, Images and Photos

I count my blessings in your provision
and I praise your holy name.
I’m blessed by sun and moon,
friends, and family and a husband who cares
to share his life with me.

I love my books and pens and your indulgence
while I create my stories.
I hear your laughter when I write my comedy,
and your pleasure when I read my words to you.
I feel your encouragement and your praise for a job well done.

I see the changes over the years in a daughter I thought lost,
yet you’ve made her strong enough to withstand the wind.
You’ve rescued her and set her on her feet,
a second chance to play the game of life.

You’ve made my other daughter joyful
with a passion to seek your face.
She strives every day to please you and
shares her heart with those in need.

O God you are my soul keeper, my protector
in the storm.
You forgive and forget and lead me by the hand,
to talk quietly of dreams to come.

Does Fear of Rejection Encourage Writers to Self-Publish?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I was reading Michael Hyatt's Blog the other day on Thomas-Nelson's recent decison to help writers self-publish.

This is a sensitive issue in many ways. I was reading Laurie Alice Eakes blog this afternoon at on the same subject and answered as follows:

One concern I have for those who are self-publishing is all about fear. I know many writers who are confident in their skills and feel led to self-publish and some of them have been successful. But my caution would be that a writer should not resort to self-publishing because they are afraid of rejection.

No one likes to be rejected, but sometimes there are lessons to be learned via the old rejection letter. If those seeking to be self-published are not confident and filled with doubt and think this is the way to avoid criticism they could be in for a world of hurt when their reviews come out if they are less than complimentary.

It's hard enough to face rejection in any form, but it's down right insulting to pay a publisher and then face criticisms that could ruin a writer's career because they were afraid of the traditional route.

My hope for every writer is that they have faith and perseverance to make their words the best they can be, and to choose wisely their path to publication.

What do you all think about this? If you have the opportunity to self-publish will you do it and why? Do you see a big difference in self-publishling non-fiction vs. fiction? How do you think readers will respond? Will this cause an unhealthy split between those who publish traditionally and those who self-publish?

lighting strike Pictures, Images and Photos

Colorado and American Christian Fiction Writers

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dillon Lake Panorama Pictures, Images and Photos

The week of September 12th was exceptional for me. I spent several days with a friend of mine in Denver and the Rocky Mountains. This picture of Lake Dillon is what it looked like outside our mountain condo. All of us need an opportunity to relax and fill our creative wells, our spiritual wells, and our friendship wells. If we don't take time to do these things we can become dry as the desert.

Following those great few days in the mountains I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Denver. I've been to this conference several times before and always learn something valuable. But this time God knocked my socks off. He was in every conversation and I recognized this.

My roommate, Vicki, my buddy Serena and I had a great time reconnecting. I got to meet several of my blogging buddies at and I would encourage you to drop by and visit all of us. I enjoyed meeting editors, attending workshops, volunteering, and participating in a great family reunion of writers who dream big, have a passion for Jesus, encourage each other, and persist despite obstacles large and small.

I returned home exhausted and bleary eyed, coughing and sneezing, and couldn't hear well for 24 hours because my ears were effected from the flight.


Streams in the Desert

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My family and I had walked through a spiritually devastating desert for several years. My oldest daughter had been diagnosed with a severe learning disability known as NLD (non-verbal learning disability similar to Asperger’s Syndrome). For more information you can go to On top of that she’d developed a complicated depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She was eleven years old and in fifth grade. My youngest was eight at the time and so very scared about what was happening to her big sister.

This month my oldest will turn twenty and the severity of the problems continue but we are learning to trust God no matter what. Without Christ in our lives, our church, and many friends, I can’t see anyway we would have made it this far. But I’m a big believer in the power of prayer and in the power of hope. I even have a carved sculpture in my office that simply says, HOPE.


Several years ago, Robin Lee Hatcher, recommended I buy a copy of a daily devotional originally published in1925. That devotional is titled, Streams in the Desert, written by L.B. Cowman, and updated in modern language by James Reimann. Streams in the Desert is relief for the parched soul.

Yesterday was September 7th (Labor Day) and I posted over at You might want to check that out as this is a continuation of that post. Streams in the Desert, begins with Psalm 46:1- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. The first sentence: “Why didn’t God help me sooner?”


And then later the text continues.

"I once heard the following statement from a simple old man, and I have never forgotten it: "When God tests you, it is a good time to test Him by putting His promises to the test and then claiming from Him exactly what your trials have made necessary."

The text continues again: "There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is simply to try to get rid of the trial, and then to be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever before experienced, and to accept it with delight as an opportunity of receiving a greater measure of God's divine grace.

"In this way, even the Adversary becomes a help to us, and all the things that seem to be against us turn out to assist us along our way. Surely this is what is meant by the words "in all these thing we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Rom. 8:37). A.B. Simpson Page 342.

Let me say it can be very hard to learn lessons when our children are suffering. I don’t even want to think about learning a lesson in those circumstances. I just want results. Fast! But looking back over the past nine years I have learned much. Okay, what you may say have you learned through this long, long, trial that still persists? Here’s my short list:
1) Patience
2) Prayer
3) Persistence


My long list begins something like this:
1) The need to let God work in a situation that I feel I need to control. That’s a tough one.
2) Wrestling God for a blessing and what that really means.
3) The need to REALLY take care of yourself even when things are awful because a long term illness of any kind will exhaust you as a caregiver and parent.
4) Hanging on to hope when you can’t find it.
5) Asking friends to stand in the gap and pray when you can’t pray one more word.
6) Finding peace in the Word, on a walk, in prayer, or in "being still."


Through all our trials as a family Christ has always been there for us even when we didn’t know it or feel his presence. Think about your trials and your “dry times.” What was it that you thirsted for? How did God provide?

Every morning on my way to work I pass a fountain that says: “Thirsty and ye gave me drink.” I roll my window down and listen to the calm of the water. It’s really nice when I get a red light and can enjoy it for a minute longer.

Psalm 46:1- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

A Week of New Stuff

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hi Gang,

I actually got out of town this weekend and got some much needed R&R at Lake Cumberland in Kentucky. What a relief! You know how you just keep going and going and take care of everyone else but yourself? Well that's been me for a long time, and this summer it seemed that I wasn't making much progress on taking care of me, but that changed this weekend.

It started out with a migraine headache. Ouch! My gal pals gently settled me in the back seat of the car, and I wore my sleeping mask to keep the light out. Yep, I use one of those when the light is unbearable. It helps. I woke up about 2 hours later, a little south of Lexington and an hour after that we entered a great cabin at Woodsen Bend. The weekend was filled with laughter, boating, swimming, sunning and lots of eating.

Please stop by and visit the new I think you'll find it interesting and you'll find me there too! Also, if you get the chance drop by and visit my agent's new site at


Friday, August 14, 2009

It’s important to keep putting one foot in front of the other during difficult days as well as good days so that you are consistently moving forward and not backward. If your life experience is anything like mine it’s possible that you hit a snag once in awhile. That snag may be small: you forgot your haircut appointment, or that snag could be huge: your doctor just delivered some bad news and you need surgery. Whatever the situation may be it’s imperative to surround yourself with encouragers, those people who lift you up in prayer, make you laugh when life is gloomy, and are willing to take you out to dinner and buy you a meal, or at least dessert.

Encouragement is a conscious act of sincere spirit boosting that if practiced daily will turn into a wonderful habit that others will appreciate. The smallest act of encouragement from my perspective is the smile. Yes, the smile. Ever walk past someone who says hello, flashes those pearly whites, and seems to have the world at their feet? That could be you! Encouragement is contagious, just like smiles and laughter.

So I encourage you today to take a step foreword and practice the art of the smile. Not only will the receiver be blessed but you will be blessed as well.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

This is an exciting week for me. Lots is happening and I'd love for you to stop
byRomance Writers on the Journey -
where Keli Gywn has posted an interview regarding my writing journey. It's so much fun. I hope you'll drop by and read it and possibly win a prize.

Keli has interviewed many writers and debut novelists so there is a lot of information including articles you may find very helpful.

Have a great week and stay tuned for more exciting news. :)


Friday, May 22, 2009

There's a new show coming to television on May 26th called, Mental. When I heard this I thought maybe someone finally figured out a way to depict the reality of the mental health system and bring some much needed publicity to a subject that people don't like to talk about until it effects them or their loved ones. And then most be people won't talk much because of the stigma associated with mental illness.

Typically, and too often the news focuses on the horror stories and not the day to day courageous struggles and triumphs of people coping with the challenges of invisible demons that can make life miserable. (I encourage you to visit and meet some real heros and heroines. Check out the Organized Chaos website where you can learn a lot from teens and young adults).

Monk is probably the best show I can think of that tackles the challenges of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Yet the people dealing with OCD don't always do as well as Adrian Monk. The torturous thoughts that plague some people aren't laughable, but laughter can help us feel better. More shows like Monk might make it easier to discuss other mental disorders as easily as headaches and back pain. That's one way we can help fight stigma.

The New Yorker's, Nancy Franklin, reviews 'Mental' at this link:

If she's right, then a great opportunity was missed to make a difference. If you get a chance, watch it, and see what you think. Maybe there's still hope.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

I have been writing for about ten years and studying the craft of writing a lot longer than that. But about two years into the writing of my first novel my oldest child who was then eleven was diagnosed with a non-verbal learning disability. This diagnosis does not mean that she can’t talk. It’s the way the brain perceives the world and is very similar to Asperger’s Syndrome. In other words the performance part of the brain is the non-verbal side on an I.Q. test. This disorder is also known as right hemispheric brain disorder. And that’s probably as clear as mud. It is very confusing but it has caused severe anxiety for our oldest, which bloomed into full blown obsessive-compulsive disorder. The OCD is a terrorist of sorts for our oldest daughter, and has held our entire family hostage at times. If you’re interested you can go to:

We didn’t know it at the time but this was the beginning of a very long and difficult journey for my entire family. One that we continue to battle every day. Many families have to cope with disabilities of all kinds and I’ve struggled for these past eight years to find a way to keep my dreams alive and keep my family intact. It’s not easy. I’m sure there are a lot of others in similar circumstances who have to find a way to keep working at what you love to do when major life issues become the Goliath’s in our lives.

Here are a few things that I’ve done, and I’d love for you to add to this list so all of us that can benefit from the wisdom.

• PRAY- If there’s one thing that makes you hit your knees fast it’s when a child becomes ill.
• ASK FOR HELP- when the going gets tough don’t be too proud to ask for help.
• CARVE A NICHE FOR YOURSELF- If I don’t have time for me I go a little crazy. It’s so important to find time for you, but so incredibly hard to do. My husband and I give each other time and space to do things we want, but the down side of that is finding time together.
• WRITE WHEN YOU CAN- You may have to write long hand or dictate into a microphone. Carry index cards and come up with characters you want to use while waiting in the grocery line. We don’t always have the luxury of sitting at the computer when there is too much on our plates. It’s okay.
• LISTEN TO CONFERENCE CD’S- I’ve found that conference CD’s can be an incredible motivator and gives your creative mind a chance to break away from the day to day stresses of life. You not only get a chance to learn new things but you can enjoy you own private conference at your convenience. This may be while you are driving to work, on your lunch break if you work full time like I do. It may be while you are cleaning house or doing the dishes.
• ENCOURAGE OTHER WRITERS- Brainstorm, critique, judge contests. You might not be able to do this every week, but I bet you can do it every year. And the years add up, so make them count.

Philippians 4:13 (English Standard Version) I can do all things through him who strengthens me.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I was thrilled to get the information you may read below. It was fun to enter and anticipate the outcome but I never thought I'd win. Yippee! You all may want to visit Sandy Tritt's website at

March 18, 2009

Dear Jill:

Congratulations! You have won FIRST PRIZE in the Inspiration for Writers Can’t Lose Novel Contest. We were blessed with entries from all over the United States, Canada and Great Britain, so winning first prize is quite an accomplishment. Of all entries submitted, six were selected as semi-finalists and went through another cycle of judging. The top four entries were close in total points, so we decided to offer a fourth place prize. We are now pleased to announce the winners:

First place, and winner of the prize package worth over $500, is Jill Nutter for The Ravensmoore Chronicles.

Second place, and winner of a 20% off certificate, is Jane Wells for Angel Falls.

Third place, and winner of a 20% off certificate, is Lisa Richardson for Magistrate’s Folly.

Fourth place, and winner of a 15% off certificate, is Katie Ganshert for Through the Storm.

Your main prize, of course, is the comprehensive edit and critique of up to 15,000 words for the manuscript of your choice. Please feel free to submit this at any time. We will schedule it the same way we schedule all manuscripts. Our current backlog is minimal, so you should have fast turnaround. If you want additional information about our services or how to submit, just see

We will snail mail to you an official certificate suitable for framing, as well as your packet of goodies, within the next few weeks. If you have any questions about our services, submission guidelines or anything else, please just let me know.

Inspiration for Writers offers one of the most comprehensive editing services available at a very competitive price. For just three cents per word (free for your first 15,000 words), you get the detailed edit (correction of spelling, punctuation, word choice and grammar); the content edit (correction and/or marking of passive voice, redundancies, weak dialogue, incorrect dialogue structure, incorrect paragraph construction, and much more); a detailed overview critique (an evaluation of what works in your manuscript and what needs improvement); and unlimited follow-up conversations. We believe strongly in communication before, during and after the edit, and we are here to assist you as you move through the publishing process. More information about our services can be found at

Again, congratulations. And, as always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sandy Tritt, CEO
Inspiration for Writers

Think, Pray, Hope

Monday, April 13, 2009

Well I've been neglecting my blog but taking care of family matters. My 84 year-old mother was just getting too lonely out in Pennsylvania and has come to visit for awhile. My mom's a retired nurse and she was working in ICU/CCU when I was in first grade. When I was in junior high and high school I remember evenings when she'd come home from work and put my brother Danny and I through the drills of the different parts of the body: ulna, radius, femur, etc. :) Maybe that's why I'm a counselor for nursing students now, but no way did I ever want to be a nurse. Just not me.

I'm happy with decisions that I've made in my life to become a social worker, a writer, and a Christian. Have you ever noticed that the older you get the stranger life gets? Or is it just that the longer we live the more we experience and examine? Or am I the only one that feels like that? Life has been more challenging than I ever imagined. If my life was a movie I'd call it,"Hope Floats Over The Cuckoo's Nest." :) Go figure. How about you?

Heartache Over Suicide Of Friend's Son

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Please take the time to click on this link and read the story for yourselves. Our friends grieve the loss of their son. My church, my lifegroup and my family grieve. Even as a Christian it's hard to understand. These are the times we must cling to our faith. But it's not the time to just read about such tragedies and go on. Each one of us can make a difference. So click on the second link and educate yourselves, your children, your church and your communities. Be a life saver.



Sleep Challenge

Saturday, February 28, 2009


I have posted a link to the sleep foundation below because it's so important to everyday health. You all know how much better you feel when you have enough sleep. I'm a full-time counselor for nursing students and I'm a writer, wife, and mom. If I don't get enough sleep I don't function to the best of my ability in any of these roles.

It seems that many are sleep deprived today and that's why I want to challenge you to study up on the importance of sleep and encourage you families to get enough rest.

Click on the link on this site and read up on sleep aware awareness. Then challenge youself and your family to get the right amount of sleep this week. Make it a game. Whoever comes closest to getting the necessary sleep hours in gets something special for the week, you decide what. It will be fun.

The time will be changing again soon and it can be difficult to make the adjustment. Remember, we are going to lose an hour but we get the extra daylight. This has always been a difficult leap for me and it's just one hour! So I'm going to pay attention to my sleep needs this coming week and I hope you will do the same.

I dare you to take the challenge too.

National Sleep Awareness Week® - National Sleep Foundation

National Sleep Awareness Week® - National Sleep Foundation

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Well I have to say that I'm thrilled the Steelers won tonight. When you grow up close to Pittsburgh, Pa. it's impossible not to become a fan, and that part of your life just follows you around. I've been living in Cincinnati for 29 years and I still have that Terrible Towel connection to Pittsburgh. :)

Wasn't it an incredible game? A real fight to the finish. Both sides could have done without earning some of those penalties though.

I really liked the Budweiser commercials. Just love those BIG beautiful horses. I especially enjoyed the one where Ain't No Mountain High Enough was being played. So cute.

Now as I go back to the book I'm working on I can't help but wonder how writing a novel is like a football game. Train. Practice. Prepare. Play. And finish with everything you've got.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'm rooting for the STEELERS! I grew up in Greensburg, Pa. and will always be a Steeler fan . That is unless the Bengals ever start winning again. :) I'm looking forward to those advertisements and remain in awe over how much money companies are willing to pay for air time. I think we could probably wipe out world hunger with the money spent on ads this Sunday.

Have fun and may the best team win. GO STEELERS!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Okay, I admit it. Hugh Laurie eventually won me over. I can't say that I liked him in House until I saw the episode about what happened to him. Ahh, that made all the difference. Now I can empathize with his outrageous behavior. I appreciate what he's doing to increase awareness about mental illness. After all, what's the fun in being normal? Whatever that is. :)

Share your thoughts. I can just imagine what House might say. :) Scroll down my sidebar to click on the picture of House if you want to support NAMI and buy a cool T-shirt or you can go to for more information on this very worthy cause. I wonder how many of our lives have been effected by mental illness in one way or another. Help stomp out the stigma and the labels. Make a difference.

Another Inspiring Quote

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I love Julia Cameron's work. In fact I might have to spend some time here revisiting, "The Artist's Way."
Julia Cameron said: "All of us are far richer than we imagine. None of us possess a life devoid of magic, barren of grace, divorced from power. Our inner resources, often unmined and even unknown or unacknowledged, are the treasures we carry, what I call our spiritual DNA."

One of my favorite writing quotes. Feel free to share yours.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The people in the story (characters) shall be alive, except in the case of the corpses, and the reader should be able to tell the corpses from the others. Mark Twain