August 2015 in Review

What I Focused on in August 

1. Glorious family time! I spent almost half of the month visiting with family out-of-state
2. My writing: Getting the second draft of WLHYL finished and sending it to beta readers & studying the craft
3. Figuring out how and working on helping crisis pregnancy centers 

Birthday Challenge and Dream List Update 

1. Read 23 Non-fiction books {5}
4. Write 23 book reviews {2} (here and here
6. Walk 23 miles in one week {Completed 8-15-15}
22. Make 5 blankets for a pregnancy center (or something like that) {3}

Reading Update

Fiction: 5
Non-Ficton: 5
Reviews: 2

Nights gone: 13 
New States or Countries traveled to: None

What I’ve been Learning 

I’ve spent a lot of time recently reading about writing. As I’m faced with the task of tackling the next draft of WLHYL I’ve realized all over again how deep the well of writing is and how little I actually know about the craft. 
I’ve studied how to write proper plot lines, how to give characters unique traits, how to avoid clichés, how to use the correct grammar and what pitfalls to avoid while trying to give a character unique speech patterns. I’ve learned about character arches, distinguishing traits, reliability, how to grab the readers attention, how to engage a reader in the story, the proper way to start a book and the proper way to end a book. I’ve been studying about dialog tags, about action beats, about story structure and book synopses. 
I’ve also read several non-fiction books about missionaries recently and I’ve been challenged by their overwhelming faith and trust in God. They faced seemingly insurmountable odds and yet stood strong in God, believing that He would work through them.
In August I also studied about crisis pregnancy centers and how I can help them. I didn’t spend nearly as much time on that as I was planning on, but I did get a good overview of things I can do and have started working on that. It’s exciting to know I can make a difference in the lives of mothers and their babies especially with all the horrifying abortions that happen each day. 
This month I had fun making several meals from different countries. I really enjoy cooking foods that I’m not used to and following a recipe with spices that I’m just barely familiar with makes for an adventure in the kitchen. I hope to do more of this kind of cooking in September. 

Other Things 

The first twelve days of the month were spent with family out of state. I really enjoyed getting to hang out and play lots of games with everyone. My grandma, dad and I have a card game that we made up about four years ago and have played almost every time we see each other. Playing cards with Grandma and Dad will be a cherished life-long memory. 
I was also extremely happy to visit some of our retired missionary friends while we were gone. I am always so inspired when I sit and listen to them tell breathtaking accounts and speak with such faith and conviction. 
While we were away from home I also started my “walking 23 miles in one week” challenge. I know that doesn’t sound like much and normally it wouldn’t be, but for various reasons I hadn’t been walking a lot so it was a push to get myself back in the habit of walking each day. It was fun. 
I’ve been fighting off health issues all year long and we finally came to the conclusion that I’m allergic to our house. (We built on-to an old house and I’ve had issues in the past with new building materials because chemicals bother me a lot.) This discovery prompted an “all windows open & door closed” rule in my office, so my work space has been a very warm yet fresh air haven for me. Plus, I’ve been working on being outside of the house as much as possible. We even got my tipi set up (we took it down around the time we moved last year), so I’m now able to do my writing work out in that exciting location.  
August 23rd was the first wedding anniversary of my best friend who I was excited to be the maid-of-honor for last year. We had fun dressing up in our wedding clothes and taking some pictures, along with her new little one. 
* * * 
I would be delighted to hear what y’all did in August. 
Also, I’ve had several people contact me recently and tell me that they’ve been having trouble with commenting on my blog. I’m sorry about that! I’m not sure how to fix it, but I hope to figure that out soon… If anyone has suggestions on how to fix this problem you can contact me at: 

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