Shawna Atteberry

Writer, Editor, Researcher

Company Girl Coffee: It cannot be September already edition

Hey Company Girls! It’s good to be back having coffee. I missed out on the last two because two weeks ago Thursday, I had a tubal ligation. I spent last week recovering and read three books! That was so much fun. I don’t remember the last time I sat down and read three books in one week. I read Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, Ursula LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, and Princess Kasune Zulu’s Warrior Princess: Fighting for Life With Courage and Hope (Julie, I promise I will have that book review to you tomorrow! Sorry it’s taken so long!). I’m now reading Richard Wiseman’s 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot. Last week I took it easy, read, and napped when I wanted to. A friend brought by dinner for us one night, and another friend did some cleaning for me too. The Hubby took fabulous care of me.

Unfortunately the week of recovery morphed into the week of sloth. I didn’t get much done this week. I started writing my book review Monday when Laura and I wrote together, and that’s all the writing I’ve done this week. The Book Proposal, which is so close to being finished, has not been touched. It’s obvious I have not blogged. I’ve been a lump, and The Cat has not been a good influence on me. I started turning that around yesterday. I made myself get off the couch and go for a walk. We’re having gorgeous fall weather here, and I went out and enjoyed it. I also went to a reception at a gallery where a friend of mine is showing some of her work. Movement is a good thing. I feel a lot better today. I also started saying my night prayers and doing my nighttime yoga routine last night. I have to get back to my nighttime rituals: they make the next to morning so much easier.

I’m feeling a lot better today, and I will be moving today too. I need to go to Target, and I want to dust and clean up the kitchen. I also plan on doing the final edit for punctuation and grammar on Sample Chapter 2 of The Book Proposal. And I’m blogging! But I really need to start planning the posts for The Blog and creating a schedule. That’s the goal for this weekend.

That’s was my week. How was your week?

All book titles are affiliate links.

Returning to unplugging on Sundays

I used to make sure I had a computer-free day during the week to recharge after sitting in front of the computer all week. I’ve decided to return to this practice and start unplugging on Sundays.

Are there times you unplug? What do you do when on day’s you’ve decided to take a break from the computer? I’m thinking of napping and reading a book tomorrow afternoon. Well…after I get done with meetings at church.

Happy weekend everyone!

Company Girl Coffee: Where did the summer go edition

It has been a long time since I checked in with The Company Girls at Home Sanctuary! The summer is flying by for me. For new readers wondering who The Company Girls are and what is Home Sanctuary, let me introduce you. Rachel Anne Ridge has created this incredible community called Home Sanctuary. Her goal is to help us, not just clean house, but to keep a home, create a sanctuary. She does this by encouraging us to do a small thing each day. The small things are not just cleaning related, but also relationship and self-care related because creating a sanctuary takes more than the pipe dream Swifter is trying to sell you in it’s commercials. Some past small things have included: how to do a breast exam (her best post ever! Rachel wanted to write this post without actually mentioning the…uh…girls by name, so she wouldn’t be swarmed by prOn bots; her metaphor rocks!), doing something to show Your Hubby how much you love him, dust lampshades, clean your kitchen sink, or if like to read organize your summer reading list, plan a date night with Your Hubby, mop the kitchen floor, and plan meals for the week. She gives us a small thing to do Monday-Friday to help us make the places we live in our home sanctuary.

Company Girls are what Rachel calls those of us who join her sanctuary-making. And on Friday we all get together for coffee! Write a blog post about your week and then go to Rachel’s to link up and read what everyone else is doing. Don’t have a blog? No worries! If you want to join us for coffee, leave a comment on Rachel’s post.

Why haven’t I been spending time with the Company Girls? Because I have been making major progress on my book proposal! Whoo-hoo! I am over half-way done with it! The second sample chapter is almost done, then it’s editing the introduction, updating my market research and outline, and writing the query letter (which will probably be the hardest thing to do). It’s almost there girls! I can’t believe it. I’ve procrastinated on it so long, but I got help. Cairene MacDonald at Third Hand Works helps creative types like me get organized and create systems that work for our right brained wackiness. She just launched a new class called Project Front Burner. It does exactly what it says it does: Cairene shows you how to set up systems to do the things you’ve been putting off and putting off and putting off…. I’ve been in the class since the beginning of July for the express purpose of finishing the proposal. Once a week we call in and tell Cairene our goals and get support. We work for an hour then check in, get advice, get support then work for another hour. The last time we call we tell what we did and we celebrate! I did just start out only working on the proposal on Wednesday, but through two months of the class, I am now working on it 3-4 times a week. The information Cairene gives us for how to do this has been exactly what I needed to organize this project and make progress. The best part is the system I learned from her is going to work for me with blogging and other writing projects.  Thank you Cairene for helping me turn The Damn Book Proposal into the The Damned Good Book Proposal. We’re almost there. 🙂 For those of you who need help to break through a project you’ve been procrastinating on, I highly recommend Cairene’s class. Even if you don’t take the class, follow her blog.(This is not an affiliate link, and I’m not getting paid to say this: the class is just that good.)

The other reason I haven’t been around Home Sanctuary much is The 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge that The SITS Girls put on. It just finished up this week, and I still have eight days to go. 🙂 But I am blogging more regularly, and I am making a plan for this blog instead of just blogging whenever. It’s been a lot of work, and I haven’t always kept up that well (over 500 bloggers accepted the challenge). But I have set up systems (hear that Cairene!), and I fell the most purposeful I’ve felt when it comes to this space. I’ve clarified what I want to do here, and how to get it done. The SITS Girl is making the Building a Better Blog a regular feature on their BlogFrog site for those of you who are interested in joining in. Don’t worry several new people have jumped on board to begin, and there’s always us stragglers working our way through too.

This summer hasn’t been all work. I’ve enjoyed some beautiful walks, went swimming both at a friends pool, and the beach (OK I got into Lake Michigan up to my knees–the water was cold!). I went on a wonderful weekend retreat with our church’s women’s group, my in-laws visited and we went to the Printer’s Row Book Fair, and I’ve preached. I’ve also read some good books, and am ecstatic that Eureka and Warehouse 13 are back on.

So how’s you summer going? Have you made major progress on a bear of a project? Have you and your kiddos taken any adventures? Read a good book lately? Let us know in the comments.

Why I'm posting and not recovering

My tubal ligation was rescheduled yesterday afternoon. Instead of having it today (and being done with it), I now go in August 26. Hopefully a week from Thursday, it gets done.

Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments you left on why I’m not having children. You are an incredible bunch of women, and I’m so happy you found your way here. Thank you for all the love and support in the decision I have made.

Can I survive a week without reading?

I am going through The Artist’s Way, and part of week 4 is what Julia Cameron calls reading deprivation. It means that during week 4 you are not supposed to read. I did not take this seriously the first time I went through it. I thought about not taking it seriously this time around either. But I have to admit that reading is one of biggest forms of procrastination, especially when it comes to writing (there’s always more “researching” and “networking” to be done). So this week I am not reading: book, magazines, the paper, nothing. It also means no computer. At least half of my reading is done on the computer, and Twitter and Facebook are two of my favorite ways to procrastinate and not write. So I am going off the computer this week. No email, no blogs, no online “research,” and no social media. I will let you know next week how it all goes. I’ve already warned My Hubby that he may come home one night this week and find me on the floor, in the fetal position, twitching. I foresee many field trips in this week as well as our condo is jammed with books (we’re both bookaholics).

I hope everyone has a good week this week. If you want to check in and see how I’m doing, feel free to call.

Oh yeah: Pray for me. I’ve never gone this long without reading before. Eek.

Company Girl Coffee: It's My Birthday Edition!

Yes, Company Girls, you heard right! Today is my birthday!  As of 10:06 a.m., I’m 40. My Mom called and made my day. My Hubby woke me up with kisses and wishing me a Happy Birthday. The Cat just wanted to be fed. I’ve had a nice lazy morning, and I have decided I will do what I want today. What is the point of being self-employed if you can’t enjoy your birthday? Which means, instead of working on all the non-fiction stuff I’ve been working on lately–I’m going to work on fiction today! Because it’s been forever since I wrote any fiction, and I want to!

Tonight The Hubby and I are getting together with Lainie at Juicy Wine Company and celebrating with wine and all sorts of wonderful cheeses, cured meats, sauteed mushrooms, and incredible applewood smoked bacon.

My review of N. T. Wright’s After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters is up for The Ooze Viral Bloggers (thanks for the free book!). Yay!

It is a beautiful sunny day here in Chicago, and I am loving all of the sunshine pouring through my windows. The maid service came earlier this week: I have a clean house, so no housework today! (That is a birthday gift in and of itself.)

The Matisse exhibit is open at The Art Institute. I am thinking of going and looking at all the wonderful Matisse paintings and write poems or stories about them!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Company Girl Coffee: Columbia College Story Week Edition

I know it’s been at least a month since I got in on Company Girl Coffee. I was determined to play today, which means I had to do a little copy and pasting. Havi has a Friday ritual too called The Friday Chicken where we all chime in on our weeks: what was hard and what was good. So here is my week in review, The Hard and The Good:

The Hard

I have not slept most of this week due to the evil, demonic entity known as insomnia. The rest of the hard stems from that. I’m way behind reading a book I’m reviewing, I’m way behind on the sermon I will be preaching Sunday, I’m way behind on writing projects and finding paying writing gigs. I’m way behind.

The Good

Hiring the personal trainer was a really good thing. I need the accountability to take care of myself through physical exercise. Plus I was feeling like crap yesterday when I went in (see evil, demonic insomnia above), and by the time we were done, I felt great. And I felt good the rest of the day. Getting up and moving does help me feel better. Now I need to find the same sort of accountability for my writing.

Columbia College’s Story Week Festival of Writers was just tremendous. I went around and heard authors read their work and talk about the craft, and it was marvelous. David Morrell (his books include First Blood, The Brotherhood of the Rose, and The Shimmer) totally rocks, and it you ever get a chance to hear him speak go. Change whatever you have to, reschedule whatever you have to, sell the dog if you have to, if you’re a writer and get the chance: GO! His love and dedication to writing is phenomenal. He is very blunt about how hard it is, but it’s also very obvious how much he loves what he does. And he has lots of good practical advice. I’ve just ordered his book The Successful Novelist. (Sorry for no links for the books, I don’t have the time right now. I’ll try to get them in later.)

I was sent a free book to do an advance review of by one of my favorite theologians! (N. T. Wright in case anyone was wondering.) And it is a very good book, and one that the Western Protestant Christian Church needs to hear. I’m not sure how much I can say before the reviews start going up, but I’ll let you know when I post the review.

I have set the number of pages I need to write a day on The Book Proposal. Like David Morrell said yesterday, I will write them everyday, no matter how long it takes. He made the point that writing is a perishable skill, and if you don’t use it everyday, you will lose it. That my friends, is one of my problems: I write a couple of times a week and am constantly reteaching myself the basics. To move on, I am going to have to write everyday. I had never thought about it before, but he’s absolutely right. Just like playing scales on an instrument, if I’m going to be a virtuoso at what I do, I am going to have to practice everyday.

Now I have to get ready to head to yoga then on to Trader Joes. I hope everyone has a great weekend! Wait! Before I go here is the literal, photogenic view from my window:

We are having a beautiful day in Chicago, and I am going to enjoy it. It’s supposed to snow this weekend. You gotta love Midwest weather.

RevGals Friday Five: Staving off the gloom edition

Sally writes:

Candlemass is past, and Christmas is well and truly over, here in the UK February looks set to be its usual grey and cold self. Signs of spring are yet to emerge; if like me you long for them perhaps you need ways to get through these long dark days. So lets share a few tips for a cold and rainy/ snowy day….

1. Exercise, what do you do if you can’t face getting out into the cold and damp?

This is why I joined a gym, so I would get some regular exercise. The gym is in the building behind ours, so I only have to walk across the alley, and I’m there. I love swimming. Swimming has always comforted me and made me happy, so I’m very glad to have year round access to a pool now. Restorative yoga also helps.

2. Food; time to comfort eat, or time to prepare your body for the coming spring/summer?

My comfort food is macaroni and cheese and polenta, especially grilled polenta. Along with home baked bread and dairy products.

3. Brainpower; do you like me need to stave off depression, if so how do you do it?

My lightbox has been a Godde send. It has really helped me get through these dark gloomy days. Praying the Daily Office also helps me a lot.

4. How about a story that lifts your spirits, is there a book or film that you return to to stave off the gloom?

For movies anything by Hayao Miyazaki and Disney/Pixar along with Under the Tuscan Sun. For books anything by Neil Gaiman, Robin McKinley, and Little Women.

5. Looking forward, do you have a favourite spring flower/ is there something that says spring is here more than anything else?

Tulips, daffodils, and lilac.

Bonus; post a poem/ piece of music that points to the coming spring……

Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, The Spring.

Company Girl Friday: The book proposal doesn't suck so much edition

Yes, that’s right Company Girls. I made progress on Career Women of the Bible, and it doesn’t suck as much! It’s not good, but there’s not the gnashing of teeth and pulling  out hair that was normal for oh-so-long. Oh yeah, it’s a good think I have enough hair for 8 people to begin with, so I’m not bald. I spent two good afternoons working at the library this week, and it is really starting to take shape. I’m happy.

On the not so good side, I made a bad financial decision. It’s not an all bad decision, but the timing with our finances are not good, and I should’ve waited. I’m looking for freelance writing, editing, and proofing jobs for additional income. Looking for freelance work means I need to update the resume. Ugh. Hate it. All sorts of stuck and fear on this one. But yesterday I did find a resume that wasn’t to icky but did a very good job of telling what the person could do for you. Using that as a model. I also need to update my About Page on my site because it sucks. More stuck. More fear. More ugh. But I will get there. I am hoping to have both the resume updated and a new About Me page done this weekend and all bright, shiny, and new to roll out next week.

OK back to the good side:  I joined a Toastmasters Group to get better at public speaking, and expand the speaking part of My Thing. The group seems really cool, has fun, and provides good feedback. Think I’m going to like it.

My best friend, Lainie’s, birthday is today, and I’m feeding her tonight! Beef bourginon and risotto with leeks and fennel. Lainie loves cheese and honey for dessert, so dessert will be fresh baked bread, goat cheese, brie, honey, chocolate, and almonds. (Because you can’t have a celebration with chocolate.)

I was voted onto the Vestry at church, so I’ll get to see what happens behind the scenes and help make very big decisions. I’m also preaching on March 21 and leading an Adult Faith Discussion April 11 on the Women at the Resurrection.

Today’s agenda is to go to yoga class, hit Trader Joes’, and do a little cleaning.

I hope everyone has a good weekend, and make sure you go visit other Company Girls!