02 October 2011


Jeff Goins wrote a brilliant piece on the cost of compassion. I invite you to join the conversation.    http://goinswriter.com/cost-of-compassion/

For three years I had a position at church where I served people on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis that had needs. It was rewarding and heart-wrenching. I had days when I cried and was down on my knees, and days I rejoiced for the progress they made. Then two years into this service came a day when my mother’s cancer, my step-father’s cancer, my step-mother’s death and my oldest son leaving for a two year mission all came crashing in at once and I had to reach out to those I had been helping and supporting for their strength. Often the one serving is the one who in the end is raised up. I spent another year in this position. Now I’m serving the people in my church (and by extension the larger community) in another capacity. My mother and step-father are better. My son is thriving on his mission in Brazil and will be home in February. 

Most often when people think about extending compassion they think of big things- serving weekly in a shelter or going to a foreign country and working with people in dire straits, but for most people this is not possible. What is possible is extending compassion on a daily basis and in seemingly small ways. Taking a few moments to visit with an elderly neighbor, driving the speed limit and being courteous to the others on the road, turning off the music, or other distraction, and talking with, not to, your child, bringing a meal to a friend- just because. You never know the ripple effect these ‘small’ acts of compassion can have in a life, to a family, to a community. 

I would encourage you though to make the conscience choice to structure your life and set the goal to serve deeper and harder. It may mean working less, or giving up a favorite hobby, or not having a vacation, or forgoing a conference, or restructuring retirement so you have the time and money to be in the difficult places.  

Please- share your thoughts and experiences with compassion. Compassion you've been able to extend or compassion extended to you. 

24 September 2011

Interconnectivity or Invasive?

I’m on my Android phone and I click on the AP news feed and it wants permission to access the GPS to know my location. Google+ and Twitter request the same as well as the Connect’Em game I played the other day. No, no and NO! The world does NOT need to know my every move...

16 September 2011

Summer Harvest

There are many ways to grow and many things to harvest. From strawberries, to tomatoes, wild berries and family memories, new achievements and steadily working toward a long term goal.

12 August 2011

Write Your Query NOW!

I sent my manuscript, the main one I’ve been working on for the last year, off to my writing group today. Huge relief washed over me, I’ve gotten so that I felt (gasp!) sick just thinking about Sophia, Ryan, and the rest of the cast of STARS BRIGHT. I shut off the computer and took a deep breath knowing I wouldn’t have to look at that thing until the fabulous ladies of the Moonwriting Chapter of the American Night Writers Association get back to me.

An hour later (I swear either I’m insane or I like torturing myself) the writer in me kicked back into gear and I started churning out ideas for another story I’ve been working on. Not only were scenes developing but I mentally started to work on the query. Crazy, I only have 2,217 words down on paper.  Elana Johnson in a video chat she held a few months ago said she stops and writes her query letter when she gets to about page fifty. This thought has stuck with me. I didn’t write my query letter for STARS BRIGHT until I was deep into revisions. Tonight I hammered out a very rough and very ugly query for SKIES BLUE. Yeah, it needs work, but I now have focus and clarity. 

More importantly I’m falling in love with SKIES BLUE and Chas and Mel. I’m glad to be back at the familiar fields of Cascade View Farm and am looking forward to exploring the wide open spaces of the Double M Ranch.  

When do you like to start working on your query?

Are you up to the challenge of stopping your WIP and writing your query now?


09 August 2011

26 July 2011

Winnie-the-Pooh and Shortcomings

I love Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne. He has a big heart, great patience for other’s shortcomings, and is quick with forgiveness. Every person has things they stumble and struggle with. It is our reactions to these quirks, disabilities, or faults that give us a measure of who we are.

25 July 2011

Guilty Pleasures

I’ve been revising (and revising) Stars Bright and thinking about the little details that make Sophia (main character) who she is. At one point she confesses to a secret, guilty pleasure which is in juxtaposition to her character.

18 July 2011

Deana Barnhart Query Contest

(updated July 20)
Here's the final version of the query that I can tweak to fit each agents personal tastes. Thanks for the help and feedback everyone. And those fresh from the garden, virtual strawberries I promised- here you go:

Being rescued by a movie star is the last thing widow Sophia Hunt expects when her car breaks down along the California coast. A straight-laced mother of two teenage sons who loves the calm country life on her organic farm is hardly what could be called a perfect match for reformed Hollywood bad-boy Ryan Daniels, yet she can’t resist his persistent charms.

With threats from one of Ryan’s crazed fans endangering her farm, a saboteur trying to destroy Ryan’s rebuilt career, and a bully set on revenge Sophia wonders if stepping into Ryan's sleek silver sports car that bright spring day was such a good idea. After two “accidental” dates with hometown veterinarian Bill Gordon she finds herself torn between the comfort of life familiar and the zest of life unknown.

Sweet like chocolate, tangy like citrus, with a hint of spice, STARS BRIGHT is a 90,000-word contemporary romance about what happens when the flowering hills of Cascade View Farm and the bright lights of Hollywood collide.

As requested on your submission guidelines, I'm pasting below X pages. I hope you'll enjoy it. If you need more pages or any more information, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

To read the rest of the original post click "more"

09 July 2011

Learning Curve 10 facts and 3 new words

It’s been an interesting (stressful, scary) week where I’ve been introduced to many new things. 

30 June 2011

Generational Choices

When it came time for ALW to start studying a foreign language he chose Italian. For a few days I tried to convince him to study Spanish. Spanish is close to Italian and immensely more practical. He stood firm. See what you get when you give a child a choice!

A few days after our discussion I received a book from my mom about her father’s, father Michael  written by her cousin Tom. Micheal lived in northern Italy. Around 1885 he stowaway on a boat bound for America.

23 June 2011

Little Changes

I’m one of those rare people who actually like to do laundry. I like the sorting into orderly defined piles. I like the swish, swish as the clothes tumble around in the washer. I have a front loader. It is mesmerizing to watch the material, water and soap scramble and tumble around each other. I love the scent of laundry drying so much that my daughter gave me bubble bath called fresh cotton. I even like to iron. This is a good thing because I’ve started washing and ironing all of Mr. W’s dress shirts.

20 June 2011

Earn Your Degree in Home Education

Studying the works and methods of other home educators is a great way to get started or to bolster your own home education efforts. When you add in your final project (getting a child successfully to the education level you planned, for me that is to college), write up your final report (in the form of an ongoing journal, diary or blog posts), and give back to your community (helping other families get started with home education) you have earned the equivalent of a bachelors or masters degree.

18 June 2011

Best Pizza Dough

We make our pizza's from scratch (as much as we can, I do buy the pepperoni and cheese). One reasons we do this is they taste SO much better than just about any restaurant. I like Round Table (Maui Zaui with their zesty red sauce) but my kids insist mine are the best (so sweet). I think I like Round Table because I don't have to clean up after cooking (I don't mind cooking but the clean up after...yeck). I've been making pizzas for 20 years. This is the recipe that I've developed.

16 June 2011

Self-reliance, an introduction


 “the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the necessities of life for self and family”

13 June 2011

Look to the Possiblities

Recently, several challenges have presented themselves to Mr. W and I. Dealing with all this “stuff” can be daunting. These aren’t issues we are taking lightly, we’ve talked of them, prayed about them, meditated over the course to take and we can’t, at this moment, see a clear way through but I have hope solutions will be reached.

11 June 2011

Love Scene Contest

The AMAZING Gabriela Lessa (http://aspiringwriterworld.blogspot.com/2011/06/love-all-year-long-contest-with-prizes.html) is hosting a Love Scene contest in honor of Brazil's Valentine's Day. I have a soft spot in my heart for Brazil as my oldest son has been serving a mission in the Sao Paulo area for the past 15 months.

08 June 2011


I yesterday had a conversation with someone who’s been in a12 step program for a year. He said, “For many years I thought I was a generous and caring person. Now I understand most of what I did was motivated from selfishness.”

06 June 2011

It's been a while, what I've been doing....

I’ve been coming to a deeper understanding of grief. My father, Randy Lee Teach, passed away April 19.

11 April 2011


The cloth of righteous societies is woven from the golden threads of charity. -H. David Burton

Charity- the pure love of Christ
Charity- never fails
Charity- endures forever

Charity can take many forms. The highest forms of charity help you to grow and become more.

08 April 2011

04 April 2011

31 March 2011

Of Gifts, TP and Tires

Gifts, presents, things-actual items wrapped and handed to you either on a special day or for no reason what-so-ever.  We don’t like to talk about gifts, so materialistic, but really who doesn’t like to receive a present?

 A few days ago a friend brought me a funny and useful gift.

29 March 2011

Comma Confusion part 2

Comma confused? This post will help. Another, "this is a football" / "respect your editor" post

26 March 2011


TRANSFORMATION - change, grow, develop
We all do this and we want our characters to do this.

24 March 2011

Comma Confusion part 1

Another post in the “this is a football”/ “respect your editor” line of thought:

Comma’s- tricky, squiggly little tadpole-ish things. I know I use them wrong much of the time.
One of the biggest mistakes is making a “comma splice”.

18 March 2011

Baby Steps

My youngest son is joining the middle school track team. He’s been looking forward to this for years. His older brother, now 20, ran track. His sister is on the high school track team, his 14 year old brother is also on the mid school track team. The youngest has wanted to do field events for years. Discus like his sister, long jump like his oldest brother. He doesn’t want to run but the middle school requires all athletes to run one event.

16 March 2011

What Would Sophia Do?

I think about my characters a lot, sometimes more than my children. Today, while helping my almost twelve year old make a banana cream pie for his grandfather, I carefully separated the eggs, yolks in one bowl, whites in another and I thought what would Sophia do?

14 March 2011

This is a Football (1)

“The story is told that the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi had a ritual he performed on the first day of training. He would hold up a football, show it to the athletes who had been playing the sport for many years, and say, 'Gentlemen, … this is a football!' He talked about its size and shape, how it can be kicked, carried, or passed. He took the team out onto the empty field and said, “This is a football field.” He walked them around, describing the dimensions, the shape, the rules, and how the game is played.

10 March 2011

Hike Through the Woods

Sara (name changed) sat in a secluded corner of the YA section of our local library.  She was a small woman made even smaller by circumstance, choices and disposition. Fragile self esteem, unusual health issues, unemployed for the better part of seven years, and fleeing an abusive ex-husband. A man she later came to find was on the sex offenders list, a man bad to the core. “Who would’ve though you needed to run a background check on your husband,” Sara had said in an earlier conversation. She wore a scarf around her head and penciled on brows. Her skin a smooth alabaster with the sheen of silk, devoid of all hair. Cancer a stranger would surmise but no among other things she has Alopecia Universalis and her own immune system was attacking her hair follicles.