What I Do When I’m Not Writing

What an honor to be invited back to Inspired Prompt. Thank you, Gail, for asking me to share how I spend my time while not writing. Though novel writing takes up a large chunk of my time and I’ve had to make sacrifices (like a clean house and flowerbeds with no weeds), there are some things that are too important to sacrifice.

One of those is time with family, namely, my husband (Marvin) of twenty-five years and our two sons. We’re a farm family from central, Illinois who loves the simple things of life, like being outdoors enjoying God’s creation.

Though our sons are fresh out of college and working full time, when we’re able, we enjoy motorcycle rides down country roads, going to St. Louis Cardinals games, visiting tractor shows, grilling out, bowling, and in the winter, watching movies and playing games with friends.

 

When it’s just the two of us, Marvin and I enjoy taking day trips to hike nature trails or ride bikes.

This past spring, we ventured to the Smoky Mountains for our twenty-fifth Anniversary. What a gorgeous place to visit. It was the farthest we’d traveled since our honeymoon, and so worth it!!

Though life can get pretty hectic in spring and fall for farm families, I love being a farmer’s wife. One of the things I love best about fall harvest is riding side-saddle in the combine with Marvin, and, on occasion, driving. Among the crops we grow (wheat, corn, and soybeans), corn is my favorite. Often the stalks are as high as the cab. Watching it feed through the head is amazing. Wheat is harvested in late June or July, so it’s generally hot and sticky in our non-air-conditioned cab. Not quite as ideal for riding, though I love watching the wheat ripen from green to golden brown.

For the past eight years, I’ve worked as a part-time elementary librarian. It’s my duty to shelve books, check books in and out to students, process new books, and assist head librarian, Kathy Phillips. We have a lot of fun together as we navigate through the various classes, reading to students and teaching them the essentials of finding their way around a library.

I’m also a gardener. With, Marvin busy in the field, the garden is pretty much my baby to tend—everything from tilling to planting to hoeing to harvesting. We grow sweet corn (my personal favorite), green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, and watermelon (Marvin’s favorite). I also enjoy having a few flowers around, especially when the Lord grows them so beautifully!

I’m also a bird enthusiast and enjoy identifying new species I haven’t seen or heard before. Each spring, we enjoy watching bluebirds nest out our sunroom window. Since I feed year round, it’s so interesting to see the various summer and winter birds at the feeders.

I’m still struggling to find the balance between writing time and life. The call to write is strong, but the Lord continually reminds me to keep my priorities in line—my relationship with Him first, then family, then writing. I consider writing my ministry, and so enjoy hearing from readers who have been touched by the words God has enabled me to write.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my world outside of writing. There’s nothing extraordinary about my life or me. But the Lord has blessed me richly with a love for what is simple and satisfying. Hopefully that comes across in my stories. Thanks so much for taking time to get to know the person behind the pen.

ClicktoTweet: “Though life can get pretty hectic in spring and fall for farm families, I love being a farmer’s wife.” What I Do When I’m Not Writing by Cynthia Roemer via Inspired Prompt @cynthiaroemer @InspiredPrompt @GailJohnson87


AUTHOR BIO:  

Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and their two college-aged sons. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Book One: Under This Same Sky (an Amazon Best-Seller) and Book Two: Under Prairie Skies. Book Three in the series, Under Moonlit Skies is due to release September 10, 2019.

Contact Info:  Cynthia Roemer can be contacted at:
Website:  http://cynthiaroemer.com/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com@cynthiaroemer  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCynthiaRoemer/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16785237.Cynthia_Roemer
Author Newsletter Sign-up: http://cynthiaroemer.com/

Purchase Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cynthia+roemer
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/under-prairie-skies-cynthia-roemer/1128471176?ean=9781945094446
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cynthia-roemer

A Day in the Life of Author Melissa Henderson

My day begins with joy in my soul. I wake, and before my feet hit the floor, I thank God for His blessings. Next, I open the front door and say, “Good Morning Lord. Thank You for this glorious day.” Then, I walk to the back door and do the same thing.

When I am not sitting at my writing desk working on another story or blog post, there are many other activities happening. Volunteering in church and community is a vital part of showing God’s love to others.

My husband and I volunteer at a shelter in a local community. We help prepare and serve a nutritious lunch. People are filled with unique life stories, and we enjoy sharing a conversation with each person.

We also volunteer with a group called Hands of Christ. This group provides new socks, underwear, pants, shirts and books for children. Each child is given the opportunity to pick out their own items. This gives the child a sense of responsibility and allows them to feel special.

Local vendor events are a fun and great way to promote my writing. I have participated in several events, and more are scheduled.

Walking on the local beach is relaxing and refreshing. Many story ideas come while viewing the wonders of the ocean. Seagulls, the ocean breeze, sand, sea creatures, and dolphins create a beautiful atmosphere. Good exercise, too.

Attending Christian music concerts is great fun. Casting Crowns and For King & Country are two of my favorites.

My very favorite activity when I am not writing is sharing time with family. My husband and I moved from Virginia to South Carolina to be near son, daughter-in-law, and first grandbaby. The grandbaby is now 19 months old and full of love and laughter. Playing with him brings many giggles and tons of joy.

Each one of these experiences creates new ideas for stories. You never know when something that happens to me will show up in a blog post or story. Our family motto is “It’s Always A Story With The Hendersons.”

ClicktoTweet: “My very favorite activity when I am not writing is sharing time with family.” ~ Melissa Henderson via Inspired Prompt @mimionlife @InspiredPrompt @GailJohnson87


Melissa Henderson and her husband Alan live in coastal South Carolina. She was taught the love of reading and writing at an early age by her parents. Melissa continues to write Christian stories and also, enjoys writing her blog.

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Wandering Around Wondering

My secret life? Hmm…what do I do when I’m not churning out chapters?

If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about it. Plotting my next scene, wondering what my heroine will do next. Occasionally, though, I love to shut down. Close the computer and go away. Find something to do that does not involve electricity or the internet.

A scene like this slows my heart rate.

Those things are best found outdoors. I’m not picky. I love to wander along the seashore, through mountains, woods, pastoral fields, whatever, whenever. I even love to wander through my neighborhood on a quiet morning. According to a younger cousin of mine, our houses are way too close together. But this is my reality and I’m content. We have wildlife in abundance, towering trees and beautiful flowers. Sections of our suburban setting are scenic and park-like.

I can’t always get outside. Sometimes, I spend my down time organizing my life. Not an easy task, believe me. I’m a closet hoarder. That means my closets tend to overflow from time to time. The best way to keep that from happening is to give them a periodic cleaning. I must be brutal and not only grab stuff but release it into the “to-go” bag. Then, before I can come up with ten excuses why not, I force myself to drive it to the nearest donation station where the kind attendant peels back my gripping fingers and accepts the bag, laughing all the while.

And then there are those times when the closet is clean, and I’ve had my walk. Now what? Well, I come from a long line of figure-it-outers. If something doesn’t work, I figure out why and fix it, or find someone who can.

I isolated this trait to the Thomason bloodline, but I suppose it could also have trickled in from the Wade side of the family. My dad and his cousin Neal could fix anything. My younger brother could disassemble and reassemble most any kitchen appliance and end up with almost all the parts back in. He nearly always had at least one leftover something which he figured must be nonessential, since the appliance worked when he finished.

So, when my ancient but beloved dishwasher sprung a leak in the arm-like do-hickey that sprays water into the upper rack, I was forced to take action. After endless reminders to hubby, I gave up and googled the thing. I found the part for $24.95 and ordered it. When it arrived, I removed the old one and installed the new one, no leftover parts involved. It works like a new washer.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to put any repairmen out of work. If it gets too technical, I’m going to call somebody. Then I wander around and wonder how much it’s  going to cost.

If you’re a writer, you know the angst of having so little time to write, yet when you do have time, your brain is fried from your day job and you have no desire to press it into action in front of an empty screen. Sometimes you want to chill and maybe experience a bit of real life in the form of…who am I kidding? I have to confess, there are times when I just sit in a chair and read a good book or watch a favorite movie.

Last, but definitely not least, I love spending time with the kids and grands or my elderly mom. I enjoy time away with my husband. Those are the real things that bind me to life and inspire me to write.

I mentioned a number of time fillers here. So, tell me, what activities do you choose when you have a few moments of down time?


Writing Prompt: You have a day completely to yourself. Alone. At home. Journal your “fantasy” solitary day.

Click to Tweet: I have to confess, there are times when I just sit in a chair and read a good book or watch a favorite movie. #downtime #FridayThoughts

Every Five Days: A Poetic Journey to Bread

By Kristy Horine

Sourdough. 

It’s been the bread of choice in my family for three generations. From Papaw, to Momma, to me. My “Secret Life” as a bread maker has waxed and waned over the years. I’ve received jars of starter, killed jars of starter, and baked hundreds of loaves of bread. Most bread I gave away. Sourdough to neighbors. Sourdough to strangers. Sourdough to bake sales for various ministries. Sourdough as communion bread. 

Over time, I’ve learned the process — feeding, waiting, kneading, waiting, baking, eating and waiting some more — is blessed with measures of faith, hope and love. The three that remain.  To honor the Lord who gave us His own body as bread, a poem:

Every fifth morning, I pull the pickle jar from the fridge.
(It used to live with Cathy Thompson,
The jar did.
She filled it with things that bubbled and soured.
Then, she gave it to me.)
I put the pickle jar on the counter.

Every fifth morning, into my two-cup glass measureFood for starters

I add:
One cup of perfect-warm water,
three, one-fourth cups sugar,
Three tablespoons potato flakes.
(The flakes look like snow.)
I stir and waterfall the warm, sweet, snow into the pickle jar.

Then,
I wait.

Every fifth night, I fetch my mixing bowl
From under the counter.
(Momma gave me a set of three at Christmas-time
One year)
I add:A measure of flour

One fourth cup sugar,
One half cup oil,
One tablespoon salt,
One cup swirled-up starter,
One and a half cups perfect-warm water
Six cups bread flour.
I stir. Turn out. Knead.

Then,
I wait.

Every sixth morning, I grease and flour my pans.
Punch down dough, turn out onto flour-dusted counter,
Twist in two places to make lumps of three.
I press and spread and roll the dough
With my fingers, floured white.
Dough pressed flat

I tuck the dough into pans, pull waxed paper covers up to their chins.

Then, I wait.

Every sixth evening, I turn the knob to start the
WHOOSH!
Of gas in my oven.
Thirty minutes in, a glance for golden brown, a thump on
Top for doneness.Sliced bread
I eat the heels
(straight away)
for they are my favorite parts:
Slathered with sweet cream salted butter,
Only half allowed to melt,
For the waiting has seemed so long.

WRITING PROMPT: You are a master baker, paid to produce the most exquisite morsels ever to be eaten. You have received an order for two plain loaves of bread to be delivered to a remote hillside. The client is willing to pay seventeen times what the bread is worth, as long as you deliver it in person at exactly three o’clock. Write about the conversation you have with the client upon delivery.


Click to Tweet: Every Five Days: A Poetic Journey to Bread via @inspiredprompt and @kristyhorine – sometimes the waiting seems long but the end product slathered with butter, totally worth it.