Shawna Atteberry

Writer, Teacher, Baker

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!

RevGals Friday Five: Social Media

It has been a really long time since I joined a Friday Five. Let the questions and fun begin!

Kathryn writes:  I had the joy of spending time with Songbird last weekend, someone I would have never met had it not been for the blogosphere. Now we keep in touch using a large variety of methods: blog (hers a lot, mine not so much lately), facebook, twitter, text messaging, chat and email. So far there has been no skype.

It got me to thinking of the pros and cons of these relatively new means of communication and interconnecting and so I ask you the following:

1) What have been the benefits for you of social networking (blog, twitter, facebook, etc…)

Meeting new people–it’s how I found the RevGals. I also love it for reconnecting with old friends from high school and college. I also use it to meet new people who might be interested in my writing, and I’m hoping to meet people who will be interested in my writing and pay me. 🙂 Mostly, I love all the new friends I have made.

2) Which medium do you use the most? Or if you use them all, for what do you use each of them?

Twitter. I’m addicted. Writing is a solitary business, and I love being able to jump on Twitter and chat with someone. It’s nice saying “Hey is anyone out there?” and there actually be an answer instead of a cat ignoring me. Oh yeah I’m @shawnaatteberry if you want to find me in TwitterLand.

3) If you could invent a networking site (with no limits on your imagination), what would it provide? What would it not provide?

I have no idea.

4) Who have you met that you would not have met if it were not for the ‘miracle’ of social networking?

Wow, there are so many people. The RevGals to start with. Then there is Havi and all of us Friday Chickeners, Fabeku, Ronna, Home Sanctuary and the Company Girls, Victoria, Liz, Mike, and one of my best friends: Lainie (we’re getting together tomorrow!). And that’s just who I can think of off the top of my head. There are many, many more.

5) Who do you secretly pray does not one day try to ‘friend/follow’ you?

My Mother.

BONUS: What was the most random/weird/unsettling/wonderful connection you made that would not have happened if it were not for the ease of which we can find each other in the computer realm?

Most wonderful connection: definitely Lainie on this one. I hadn’t been in Chicago long when we met up online, and now she’s one of my best friends, and we have seen each other through many, many different things and changes.

Being a social media whore addict is also how I scored The Hubby and I tickets to Obama’s Election Party in Grant Park. That’s probably the most random one.

Company Girl Coffee: I joined a gym edition

Hey Company Girls! Sorry I’ve missed the last couple of Fridays, but things are have been crazy busy. First I am making headway on The Career Women of the Bible Book Proposal! Which is really, really sweet. The sample chapters are coming along nicely, and I have a good feel for how many pages each chapter needs to be to do what I want to do. I’m very, very happy. I am also back to regularly posting blogs. My poor blog will no longer be neglected. A minimum of three posts will be published each week. I am happy to be making some headway on the writing front. Who knew doing what you love to do the most for a living could be so hard?

As the title say, I joined a gym this week. I decided that if I was ever going to slim my very ample backside down, I would need some motivation, and paying a gym membership is very motivating. (I hate wasting money.) And it’s so easy to get to: I go out the back door of our building across the alley, into the back door of the building behind us, and gym. So I can’t use getting there as an excuse not to go. They have a pool, and I love to swim. Plus they do not use chlorine! They use some sort of sea water filtration system to keep all the germy things at bay, so no toxic smells and red eyes. The jacuzzi is beautiful: it’s on different levels and has waterfalls. A beautiful place to relax after swimming a few laps. They also have yoga classes, and I am happy to report they are actual yoga classes and exercise classes disguised as yoga. After I finishing up blogging, I will be heading over to get my swim in.

I also got together with a friend and brainstormed some ways I could start making money and networking more to get my name out there. So that was good. Now I just need to work on my inferiority complex by taking really, small baby steps as I step out in the whole networking, getting my name out there. I will definitely be working with my stuff on this one. And I’m sure there will be a sorts of stuckification, but I will work with both and on both and make sure my first steps are really, really tiny, so I don’t freak myself out too much.

It’s been a good week, and for that I am grateful. Last week was really hard, and I am glad for a week to catch my breath and get on firm ground again. Now I need to wrap this up so I can go swimming! Don’t forget to see what the other Company Girls are up to!

Company Girl Coffee: I survived the holidays edition!

Company Girl logoIt seemed like I ran errands most of the week in the Chicago cold. My wool socks, long underwear, and down coat have gotten a lot of use. Now we are all stocked with good food that I can cook up into scrumptious meals, we have the drugs we need to stay heathly and somewhat sane, and The Cat has food and new toy that will hopefully get her moving (because The Fat Cat needs to lose weight). I also got her a new food. She didn’t seem to be losing weight on the other, and it’s been well over six months. But don’t worry too much about the putty cat, Mommy is on a diet too. My doctor told me I need to lose 10 pounds and 15 would be better. Right now I’m cutting back on the sugars and carbs and making sure I get at least 3 servings of fruit and vegetables. I have also started practicing yoga again. Baby steps…

Oh yes, I also got a much needed haircut and had a massage! Squee! Even better, when I went to see my psychiatrist, I was able to tell him that I am doing good and that I’m very happy. And it’s true. I have been very happy and content, and I’ve decided to enjoy it instead of worrying about when the other shoe is going to drop.

We’re going to have a quiet weekend. I’m going to read and write, and there’s church Sunday, but I don’t think anything after. So I plan on being surrounded by books, journals, afghans, and cups of tea for most of the weekend. All my errands are run, Christmas is put away, and the house is clean (Thank you V Maids! And thank you Fatabulous Hubby for working it into the budget!). A weekend of no guilt loafing. Gotta love it. Plus it’s cold here. Indoor activities are the best during Chicago winters.

Be sure you get around say hi to other Company Girls at Home Sanctuary!

How was your week? Any plans for the weekend?

Company Girl Coffee: Twas the Week Before Christmas

Company Girl logoHappy Friday Company Girls! The coffee is on and hot!

Dreaming in the New Year

If it wasn’t for Home Sanctuary I don’t know how neglected this poor little blog would be. But the reason I haven’t written much is that I’m thinking and dreaming and planning for the upcoming year. I’m dreaming what I want my business to become and who My Right People are and how much I want to help the people who come to me. So in the busyness of the week of getting to head out to see my family in Oklahoma, I’ve been dreaming and planning and spinning possible futures in the back of my head. What are Right People? It’s a concept Havi at The Fluent Self (shes @havi on Twitter) came up with (and I will let her explain):

Thought 2: Your stuff doesn’t have to be helpful for everyone.

It doesn’t.

It just needs to be helpful for the people who need it in that form in that moment.

Those are your Right People. The ones who need your voice.

Anyone who doesn’t find it helpful? Probably not one of your Right People. Or not ready yet.

That person can go. Be there for the ones who do need what you have to say.

That’s what I really want to focus in on this year: My Right People instead of throwing stuff all over the wall and seeing what sticks. I want to envision My Right People and help them and make this a safe place for them. So that’s whay I’ve been doing business wise. You can find out more about Right people here and here.

We Loved Our Presents!

Let me preface this section by saying that The Hubby and I always travel at Christmas to see family. This year we’re heading to Oklahoma to see mine. Before we go we have our own Christmas and open our presents. So we always open our presents from each other early. They all came in this week and were wrapped, so we opened them Wednesday. Actually the really, really cool present I got My Hubby came in that day, and I couldn’t wait to see what he thought of it! I bought him this beautiful singing bowl from Fabeku Fatunmise at Sankofa Song whom I met on Twitter (he’s @fabeku). The Hubby loved it! And the bowl sings so beautifully! Tracy really got the hang of it last night and all of these gorgeous tones were washing over me. So glad I met Fabeku and learned about his sound healing ministry! He also included his CD, which I am going to have to wrestle out of The Hubby’s hands so I can listen it. He also loved his other gifts: Buckley Balls from Think Geek, and a space-age pen that writes underwater and in zero gravity. This pen has been going up with the astronauts since 1965. I love My Geek.

I will preface my gifts with I LOVE TO COOK. When you’re a person who LOVES TO COOK, pots and pans that are on their last leg and about to give up the ghost are very depressing. So I’d dropped a hint or two about new pots and pans. You should see them Company Girls. They are beautiful: triply, with one of the triplies being stainless steel. The triply insures they heat evenly and hold the heat. They are bright and shiny; they are begging to be cooked in. I finally have a 5 quart Dutch Oven! (My previous set claimed a Dutch Oven but….um…..no.)  Squeee! I am so in love. I also adore my other gift. After we first married, Tracy would leave little red bows hidden all over the place for me to find. Mainly around coffee stuff so he knew I would find it. 🙂 But then the red bows start collecting up and you don’t know what to do with them. My Honey came up with a solution; my second gift: The Red Bow Tree. It’s a beauitful fall resin tree with a little snow on the branches. So now when red bows start appearing in expected and unexpected places I have a place to put them. I always thought I never had a sappy romantic bone in my body, then My Hubby came along. Aah, the sap that man has turned me into. But it’s okay because he buys me kitchen stuff. 🙂

Getting ready to leave

I’ve ran errands most of the week to get ready to leave: bank, Target, The UPS Store, library, etc. I need to go to the grocery store today to pick up a couple of items we’ll need over the weekend and clean house. I don’t want the cat sitter to be walking into a mess. We take off to OK next week, and I won’t have internet connection, but that’s okay because I will have a boatload of holiday baking to do. My Mom doesn’t like to bake that much, but I love to, and since we’re coming in early, I am going to do all the Christmas baking! Whoo-hoo! Then there’s all the eating, opening presents, eating, catching up with everybody, eating: you know how it goes.

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Christmas Decorations

Rachel at Home Sanctuary challenged us to get a picture of the moment this season instead of the posed pictures of Christmas. After snapping a shot of The Diva on her perch atop the couch, I decided to click a few more pictures of our decorations. Here they are:

And a Diva on the couchback.

Even our mummified skeleton gets in the spirit.

Company Girl Coffee: The I'm Still Alive Edition!

I know. I know. It’s been a long time since I blogged, but I have reasons! First there was NaNoWriMo. Then we went to visit my in-laws for Thanksgiving. November was just a crazy, crazy month. My novel is started, and I have 13,077 words. No, I did not come close to the 50,000 word goal, but that’s okay. Next time I will know that if I want to write a historical novel, a boatload of research is going to have to be done BEFORE November 1. I did get a lot of work done, but there is a lot of research and writing to go. I am absolutely loving all the research and how the characters are insinuating themselves into my brain. I have a good start, and I’m going to keep going.

Thanksgiving was great. We had a great time with my in-laws, and all of us were able to get together. That means there was a gaggle of kids (My Hubby’s siblings have 8 kids between them, ages 10 months to 16 years old. It’s marvelous birth control). I cannot believe how much some of them have grown! We ate too much, did a lot of laughing, took a lot of pictures, and then it all came to a schreeching halt Sunday when I came down with the stomach flu. Fortunately, everyone had returned to their respective homes at that time. And being the good wife that I am, who just loves to share, I passed the bug onto My Hubby. We were pretty sick campers for a couple of days. In fact, we had to delay our flight home. But the flu ran it’s short but violent course and we flew back home Wednesday.

Today’s plan is to get by Trader Joe’s for some much needed groceries and then start pulling out the Christmas decorations. I also need to crochet a couple of scarves for church. Our church is collecting scarves for our homeless people who eat breakfast at church on Saturday mornings. The sanctuary will be decorated with the scarves for Advent, and then the Sunday before Christmas, they will be handed out.

And I leave you with what has to be one of my favorite YouTube clips of all time: Silent Monks “Singing” the Halleluia Chorus. I will be watching this through the season and beyond:

For more Company Girl Coffee goodness click here.

Company Girl Coffee 10/9/09

Company Girl logoI woke up with a massive headache this morning. It has been weaned down to a dull throb by Extra Strength Excedrin. In lieu of actually thinking about my week, I am going to share some links that I discovered earlier this week that I think you will like.

Last Sunday my church had a pet blessing in honor of St. Francis of Assisi’s feast day, and The Chicago Tribune covered the event. The pictures are online here. Victoria and I are in the 4th and 6th pictures all the way to the right: She in her cat carrier and I in my funky cloak. Since you really can’t see her (due to the cat carrier), here’s a picture of us a couple of few years back:

Earlier this week I read a wonderful post a stay-at-at-home mom wrote about the tough decision between working or staying at home that every Mom, including Christian Moms, have to make. She calls herself The Goomba Wrangler, and she wants to see a more balanced discussion between Christians than the extremes of if you stay at home you’re wrong and if you go to work you’re wrong for Christian Mothers. What’s a Mom To Do? is an insightful, heartfelt, and intelligent discussion of the many options the Bible gives us as women, wives, mothers, and career women, and the tough decisions we make in negotiating all of our roles. (I’m not a Mom, but I have had plenty of friends who have made these tough decisions, and I’ve supported them no matter what their decision was. I think this is something the family has to decide for itself, and that there is no one pat answer.)

The Bible Study Connection has a post up about Jacob’s Well with pictures of the well and describing what it was like when Jesus and the Samaritan Woman had their conversation there 2,000 years ago. I always love seeing pictures of the places I read about in the Bible.

And here’s to hoping the dull thudding in my head soon diminishes all together.

Don’t miss what the other Company Girls are writing about this week.

Company Girl Coffee 10/2/09

Company Girl logoWow. Can you believe it’s October? This year has just flown by. This is my favorite month. I love Fall, and the wild weather we have. And the weather has been in full cooperation here in Chicago. It’s been chilly, stormy, and that wild wind I simply adore. We had a beautiful thunderstorm last night. I watched lightining dance along the clouds reflected in the lake and listen to the wind howl through the buildings. Most of the Halloween decorations are out too. Halloween is our favorite holiday. This is normally when I’m most creative as well, so I look forward to having a very productive writing month. I think the Fall wind blows my muse around more than normal. Things come, things flow, and I don’t bang my head up against the wall near as much.

This week was not a productive week to say the least. We wound up in the ER Monday night because The Hubby was having some intense GI pain. It turned out to be gastritis, but they kept him overnight for observation to be on the safe side. He was released Tuesday afternoon, and I crashed Wednesday. So tired. My body just did not like all the adrenaline and stress that pumped through it, and it’s having a bit of time recovering and getting back to normal. Of course the first thing it knocked out were what little circadian rythms I have, so my sleeping has been all over the place (figuratively and literally). I’m hoping to get that straightened out this weekend. I’m going to get back in my schedule which means grocery shopping and cleaning today. I’m very tempted to just write, but the house is a mess. How does that happen when your not home for a day and a half? But it is a mess. And I’ve learned this year that I just don’t operate well when the house is messy. And routine is very important in getting the body back to it’s own schedule. So cleaning and shopping it is. I plan to write and work on the book proposal tomorrow.

Make sure you go see what the Company Girls from Home Sanctuary are up too.

A Warrior at My Window

If there is one thing that I resigned myself to living in Chicago it is this: I rarely get to see the stars. We live right in Chicago, the South Loop, to be specific, and I rarely see a star. But in the wee hours of the morning I looked out to see an old fried: Orion. He was making his way down Michigan Avenue as if he were looking for something, or someone. I was so excited to see him. Orion is the first constellation that I could locate on my own. I looked up at the sky and saw the three stars that make his belt, then I looked for the shoulders, and they there were! It was Orion, my first constellation. He’s still my favorite constellation. When I look up into the night sky, I look for him first. See if he’s out. I was very disappointed at the women’s retreat I went on this summer. The last night a group of us sat around the fire, making s’mores, talking, and having a great time. It was one of those times. One of those rare windows where possiblity crackles around you and you know, with these women in my life, anything is possible. I was drinking in the night sky. I don’t get to see that many stars often, so I drink it in when I do. But my beloved didn’t show up. He must have been rising later that night.

Nope I don’t see stars much anymore. Every once in a while I’ll catch two or three hanging out, their pulses breaking through all the ambient light and pollution. But tonight I looked out of my window before going to bed, and there he was. I swear he waved. Since I’ve started typing this clouds have moved and cloaked him. That’s okay. I feel the chill in the air, and I feel the wildness in the air. A storm is coming. Who knows what battles will be fought beyond the clouds tonight with all those warriors and heroes living there? Orion is cloaked and waiting, an arrow notched in his bow. I’m sure I’ll hear the battle later on tonight.

And I am very glad that I caught a glimpse of my friend, Orion, dancing right outside my window before the wind and storm take him into battle.