Various Stages of Writer’s Block

Shannon A Thompson

Announcements: 

The latest review of Take Me Tomorrow is in!Trials of a wanna-be-publisher writer states, “Take Me Tomorrow asks a lot of questions around thorny issues in today’s society without becoming preachy in its message…As I have come to expect from Shannon, this book is well-crafted, engaging and very well-written (pretty much a given for this author). While the genre may be classed as ‘Young Adult’, don’t let that fool you; Take Me Tomorrow is an intelligent and thought-provoking piece of writing and one I highly recommend you check out.” And I highly recommend you read her entire review by clicking here

Various Stages of Writer’s Block

Oh, the dreaded writer’s block. The horror of the static pen. The silence of untapped keyboards. The banging of your forehead against the desk.

We’ve all been there – some of us more than others – and that’s why…

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For Writers: Exercise your body, exercise your brain

Shannon A Thompson

For Writers: Exercise your body, exercise your brain

Exercise. The dreaded e-word. I get it. People are busy. Between working and managing a healthy diet, finding the time to go for a run is difficult, but – ::sigh:: – it is important for many reasons. Taking care of yourself is vital to maintaining a healthy brain…and (spoiler alert) that healthy brain can be the make-it-or-break-it point for a writer on the verge of insanity. (I figured this out after I broke my sanity and had a sob fest in a public gym. Cute, I know.) You can only sit in your plush rolling chair and stare at your computer screen for so long, and getting up and out might help you surpass that writer’s block you’ve been battling for three weeks straight. So here are three, helpful tips I wish I had that I think pertain to many people (but…

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The Benefits of Homeschooling

kids doing puzzle at library

kids working outside art

The last time I blogged about homeschooling, I was only teaching my twelve-year old son. Now, I’m instructing my fourteen year old daughter who is above average, a grade ahead and sharp as a whip. She alone, keeps me on my toes. She alone, keeps me burning the midnight oil, researching, learning, reading, and printing everything I can to not only maintain her grade level but challenge her as well.

kids studying in dining room

My son is easy. Seventh grade work isn’t as challenging as tenth grade work.

He’s our class clown also. The other day he was dragging his covers to the dining room table where they do their lessons, when I stopped him in his tracks.

“Hey, where are you going with those covers, young man? It’s class time, so take that blanket back to your bedroom,” I said.

“But mom, I’m cold and I don’t feel good. I think I have a fever. Can I just stay home from school today,” he asked?

“No sir, you cannot.” I felt his head, which was perfectly normal. “You stayed up too late last night and you’re wanting to sleep in, and in case you hadn’t noticed, YOU ARE AT HOME! Homeschool, remember?”

I smiled as he drug his Dallas Cowboys fleece blanket to his room in slow motion.

There are days when I am stretched beyond my comfort zone, when I’m teaching my children things I did not learn in school as a child. It’s challenging and rewarding at the same time. I’m very grateful for this era of technology where so much information is available in so many formats. I still like taking trips to the library and checking out books, the old-fashioned way as much as I enjoy e-learning through limitless resources on the internet. I’ve taken my children on field trips to science museums, art museums, the wildlife preserve and an awesome aquarium exhibit in Oklahoma. Teaching and learning has never been more fun.

kids at science museum bubbles

oklahoma aquarium2

oklahoma aquarium3

oklahoma aquarium

But the benefits of homeschooling are so much deeper. I’ve listed a few and if you’re a homeschooling parent I’m sure you have a list of your own. If you’re not a homeschooling parent, trust me, it’s more rewarding than you can imagine.

BENEFITS:

Quality one on one time with your children
You get to select the curriculum, so you know exactly what your children are learning
YOU learn new and exciting things too
It’s FREE and/or affordable
You get to set your own hours
You get to provide delicious and nutritious meals (kids are always complaining about school lunches)
The learning environment can be inside the house, on the patio outside, at the park, the library, etc.
Learning can take place any time of the day (I quiz them during dinner, after dinner, while they’re sleep LOL)
You are free to explore your child’s individual interests and tailor lessons accordingly
The educational field trips and learning adventures are limitless
You’re able to incorporate family and religious values into the learning process
The intimate and very active part you play in your child’s education is priceless

So at the end of the day, I am grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity to share in my children’s education. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

home schooling rocks

Love,
Toni

toni beside bed2

26 Declarations of Strength!

sunrise through clouds
We all have problems in this life, but at the end of the day, how are you going to handle the challenges you MUST face? Will you allow yourself to get better or become bitter? Will you trust God or trust yourself? And ultimately, will you allow your tests to make you stronger or will you crumble under the pressure? I choose to live, learn and increase in strength. For all my sisters (and brothers) who may be going through a difficult time right now, be encouraged. And be strong! I wrote this for US today:

There is a strength inside of me that he wish he had.
There is a strength inside of me that the devil would kill me for.
There is a strength inside of me that she envies to the point of seething rage.
There is a strength inside of me that the world didn’t give me.
There is a strength inside of me that the world can’t take away.
There is a strength inside of me that takes a lickin’ but keeps on tickin’
There is a strength inside of me that only weeps in the presence of my heavenly Father.
There is a strength inside of me that declares, Show no weakness!
There is a strength inside of me that must move on. I must!
There is a strength inside of me that understands that, Only God can fix this one!
There is a strength inside of me that sings through the midst of my tears.
There is a strength inside of me that walks tall, even with a shattered heart.
There is a strength inside of me that carries my children, with broken arms. I’ll NEVER drop them!
There is a strength inside of me that stands, even when I don’t know what else to do. I stand!
There is a strength inside of me that fights victoriously, on my knees!
There is a strength inside of me that understands that, NO WEAPON . . . And again I say, NO WEAPON BABY!
There is a strength inside of me that prays in an unknown tongue. The devil don’t know everything!
There is a strength inside of me that shares secrets with God. He makes known his heart unto me.
There is a strength inside of me that will fight for mine!
There is a strength inside of me that says, “I will trust the Lord, with my whole heart.”
There is a strength inside of me that through wisdom, accepts when to let go. And let God!
There is a strength inside of me that will fulfill my destiny, and will not die one second short of it!
There is a strength inside of me that embraces all that God has for me.
There is a strength inside of me, he wish he had.
There is a strength inside of me, the devil would kill me for. But he can’t.
There is a strength inside of me and his name is Jesus!

Father, I thank you for strength today. I thank you for strength for my journey. I thank you for strength to cast all my cares upon you because you care deeply for me. I thank you for strength to finish this life course. I thank you for strength to understand that this battle is not mine, but it is your battle, Lord and you will fight for me. I thank you that when I’m weak, you are strong. You are my strength, Father. THERE IS A STRENGTH INSIDE OF ME!

toni beside bed2 Love, Toni

My 2013 Resolve (Small Changes)

My husband and I rearranged our bedroom last weekend. Man, what a chore!

After talking about it for several months, we both agreed to get out of bed and just do it. We found things we thought we’d lost, cleaned areas that couldn’t be reached before (like behind our heavy mirrored dresser) and vacuumed and sneezed from the dust, polished the furniture and sneezed some more. I have asthma, so my husband threw open the windows to give me some relief.

The move was a 6-7 hour process but when we finished, we both stood back and admired our hard work. Pleased, is an understatement. Enlightened, is more the word for what I felt.

In addition to rearranging the furniture, I went out and purchased a few simple things to add some color and elegance to our master suite. From a store called Ross’ I bought two metallic red lamp shades and two burgundy throw pillows to add to the black, white and silver pillows we already had. I found a beautiful black and white photo at Kirkland’s of an ocean cascading over giant rock pieces which now hangs above our bed. I got a black leather bedroom bench that sits at the foot of our bed atop a contemporary area rug and my husband stumbled upon two matching pictures of an ocean beach with hues of a bronze sunset echoing off the water and sand. Breathtaking!

Now it doesn’t take much to inspire me to write.

Relaxing in my comfortable chair, I reflected not only upon my day, but upon the year ending. 2014 is right around the corner and I’ve decided to look at my new year with a new heart and a new mind. I’m not making any resolutions, (I’ve never kept them anyway) but I have been inspired with a few new revelations from this year.

What I resolved in 2013:

Things may look good on the surface, but may have decay on the inside. This applies to humans as well.
To have an exterior of beauty is simply not enough.
Resolve in your heart to make small changes.
Small changes make big differences. Like my bedroom.
Don’t try to give up all your bad habits at once, instead, give them up one at a time, successfully.
Some things only God can do. And some people, only God can change.
I/We do not have the power to change another individual. Only ourselves!
Walk in integrity, even if you have to walk alone.
As Polonius, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet once said, “To thine own self, be true.” Be brutally honest with yourself, even if the self you see, is ugly.
Do not be afraid of change.
Choose to love, at whatever cost.
Pursue peace as a priceless gem, and when you find it, don’t let anything, including death, part you from it!
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” saith the Lord. I promise to never worship any thing or any one, in this lifetime or the next. ONLY GOD, will I serve!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! May 2014 be our best year ever!

BEFORE
bedroom1

AFTER (Small changes)
bedroom2

Four unique gifts to give yourself this Christmas!

Christmas tree2
Being the last minute Christmas shopper that I am (I work better under pressure), I decided to add one more name to my shopping list before December 25th. Mine!

I felt like Santa Claus, literally, when I made my list and checked it twice, then a few more times after that. I made sure I had everything within reason for my husband and children. I was even blessed to surprise my family in Oklahoma this year with small gifts and tokens of love. Then I decided to add my own name because, for all the right reasons, I needed a few important things.

The first gift to myself is a lifestyle change. I’m overweight (a little) but it’s a little too much. So, no more dieting and fooling myself with temporary changes that don’t last. I’m giving myself the present of a new mind and outlook on health that will result in better eating habits, consistent exercise and a positive attitude. I will not have high blood pressure or diabetes because of my inability to change!

My second gift to myself is a resolve of inner peace. I will be at peace within myself regardless of what others say or do around me. I’ve had enough stress in my life for a lifetime and I will no longer allow that silent killer to destroy me!

My third gift to myself is a determination to fulfill my destiny. I understand that we all have different paths and not everyone in my life is going in the same direction as I. So, no more distractions, I choose to remain focused so that I may reach my destination of success.

My final gift to myself is love. I will love myself, period. I love myself enough to rid my environment of toxic people, to say no when I really don’t want to do something, to spend time alone enjoying a golden sunrise, and to fulfill my own dreams and not feel guilty about doing so.

The gifts to myself cannot be purchased at Saks Fifth Avenue or Dillard’s or any expensive department store for they are priceless and eternal. So while you’re in the giving spirit this season, remember to give yourself something of perpetual value that will change you for a lifetime. Happy Holidays to all and Merry Christmas to myself!

Love,
Toni

Gifts for Readers and Writers

Shannon A Thompson

Today, I did an interview with Rusty’s Reading. One question was what my top three bucket list things are. I said, “Visit Japan, write a memoir, and…” You can read it here.

Minutes Before Sunset is also being featured on YA Book Deals. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a free ebook! 

I’m glad everyone enjoyed the interview I did with Andrew Vogel, an actor on Under the Dome on CBS. I really enjoyed his take on creativity and living your passion to follow your dreams. But, today, I am talking about something seasonal. Since the holidays are near, I thought it’d be fun to share gift ideas for writers and readers for everyone who has one (or multiple of them) in their life. We all know about the common e-reader, but I thought I’d add a few more:

1. Gifts for writing, of…

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