Monthly Archives: April 2013

When toddlers share


I’m glad my daughter loves to share. She’ll share her toys and her food with me or whomever. She’ll walk up to me and say ‘Ah’, to get me to open my mouth. When I do, she’ll put something in my mouth and I’m thankful that it isn’t gooey, already chewed up, or ridden with dirt from the floor. It’s actually fresh and straight from the bowl from when I first poured whatever it is that I had given her.

I am glad that my daughter doesn’t mind sharing and I love her for that. She even shares with her toys, sometimes putting them into her bowl of whatever she’s eating, especially if it’s cereal.

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These are toy gorillas in her bowl of cereal

 

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Sharing the cover of my children’s book


As some of you may know, I have written a children’s book and sent it to a publisher last June. It was accepted to be published. I have been sharing on my blog here, the steps I have gone through in getting published, working with an illustrator, working with my editor, and also what I have heard from my publisher. It has been an exciting time and quite the learning experience.

Friday, I had checked my mail and found that they had sent me a ‘final proof’ of my book. Though the illustrator had emailed me, telling me that he sent me one. It took a whole day of waiting for it to get to me. 🙂

The computer could not do the illustrations justice. I thumb through the pages and I could see more detail in the drawings than I could on the computer. I LOVE it! It’s brightly colorful…if that is a thing. My daughter was just as excited to see it too, having read it at least four times….though she’s three, she mostly told the story as how she sees it, rather than reading the words off of the page (she cannot read…yet).

I shared the cover of my little book with everyone on my author page on facebook. Receiving nothing but positive comments and a lot of excited sharing from my close family members and friends.

I’m still waiting to receive a release date as I keep sending my book back for corrections. But without further ado, I shall share with you the cover art of my first published book. And if you happen to have a facebook, please go check out my author page. 🙂 Wishing everyone a blessed weekend!

If you click on the picture, it’ll take you to my author page on Facebook.

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A Typical Friday Morning


I walk through the door on the the cafe side of Hastings in Benton. It has become my usual place to be on Friday mornings.

I sit at one of the tables that are situated between the magazines and the Hardback Coffee Cafe. Immediately I begin pulling out my notebook, pen, and the current manuscript I’m working on and begin to work.

My other writing places are at home, Pulaski Tech’s library, and the Bryant public library. The change of scenery seems to help my creative mind. This is how I have learned to break my writer’s block.

I love it here, being surrounded by books. It’s just like being at the library, but it has a different atmosphere. The aroma of coffee, my favorite smell, teases my nose. Its alluring magic overwhelms my sense of want like an imaginary hand, pulling my attention towards the coffee counter. I get up and place my order, Chai tea frappe.

I watch the tall blonde young woman make my order. Her hair pulled up in a short pony tail. She has a colorful tattoo on her arm that I cannot quite make out and a bracelet that looks to be made out of blue plastic beads. She sets my cup down in front of me and tells me how much it is. I hand her exact change and return to my seat.

I slowly drink my frappe and the cold taste hits my taste buds; a wonderful mixture of vanilla and creme, sweetness and cold. It hits the spot and the imaginary hand soon disappears.

I finally begin to write. The words just pour out onto the page. Customers come in and out through the door behind me, ordering their drinks. I never stop to look up to watch them, though I can see them in my peripheral view. Some sit and tap on their laptops, or browse through the magazines before moving into the other part of the store.

A lady sitting at the table next to mine taps away at her laptop. She’s been here every Friday like me, though she arrives before I do. I listen unintentionally to her long fake nails clicking on the keyboards. They make a rhythmic, yet annoying sound, but only last for a few minutes as she packs her laptop into its bag and leaves.

The employees behind the register rotate out. The young blonde woman is replaced by a tall, dark haired young man with a beard. He turns the music on, playing it low on the speakers overhead. Immediately he begins to sing along. First it’s Adele, followed by Christina Aguilera. i smile, still staring down at my notebook. Soon I find myself humming along. I don’t seem to mind listening to him sing as he isn’t bad.

He walks around the small cafe, wiping the table tops. I look up and my eyes wonder to the magazines. Famous places, cars, faces, and movie stars stare back at me. It’s time for a mental break. I pack my things into my bag and head back towards the books.

After a few minutes of walking through the aisles at a snail’s pace, my phone rings. My sister wants to meet up for lunch. Pizza. My stomach helps me answer yes. I didn’t realize the time, it was almost 1 PM. I had been here for three and a half hours. Time had surely flown, but yet I made great use of that time. I’m looking forward to next Friday morning and begin, what seems like a routine, all over again.

You know you’re a mom when…


You know you’re a mom when you get excited hearing for the first time, ‘Mommy, I have to go potty!’

My eyes got wide and I smiled the biggest smile and said, “Yay! Let’s go potty!”

We run to the bathroom where she pulled her pants down and sits on the potty. I sit on the tub a few feet away, looking off into space, giving her privacy. 

A few minutes passes and she decides to stand and pull her pants up. False alarm. 

“It’s okay baby,” I tell her. “We’ll try again in a few minutes.” We calmly walk back into the kitchen where I continued preparing breakfast. Pancakes.

This continued several times through out the day. Still no success, but we still continue to try. 

I did it, it’s done!


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I have finally added the finishing touches to the second rough draft version of my Young Adult manuscript, polishing it to the best of my abilities. I have finally made it to, a hair over, 41K words. I feel excited and yet, very accomplished. I set a goal for myself and have reached it. I made it to the minimum word count.

I printed out my manuscript and handed it over to the one who is editing it for me. I told her to be very critical, as it is expected from real editors, agents, and publishers these days. I have two weeks left of school and will be spending it wrapped up in completing last minute essays and studying for finals.

As soon as I’m done with this semester i’m going to be working on my query letter and searching for agents. Quite a few people have asked me, “What about the using the publisher you already have?” I used them for my children’s book, due out next month. They are a Christian based company and probably won’t accept my manuscript as it is Fantasy-Fiction. I will ask them though.

It took me three years to write this novel, but I had many road bumps that prevented me from completing it sooner. I cannot wait to read my edits and get to work on them already. Since it is book one I’m already feeling itchy to begin working on book two.

I have at least fifteen chapters of written out in notes on how the book will be written and at least seven of those chapters have already been written. Yes, I’ve started this one long ago as well, when book one was a rough draft of a rough draft. I did not know how I wanted the story to end in book one. I then changed it many times, until I finally found the ending that worked best.

I’ll keep everyone posted on what I’m working on and my progress. Cross your fingers that I do find the right agent for me.

Wishing everyone a blessed day!

Native American Traditions


In the 1800’s, the government forcible removed all Native American children. They were made to cut their hair and made them wear white people’s clothes. They were even given white people names. They were told to only speak English and to forget about their religion and traditions. There was strict discipline, verbal abuse, and military. The US Government thought they could save the Indian children, but it was mostly a culture shock, killing their self-respect, spirit, and dignity which resulted to suicide. Majority of the schools were hit by disease, such as tuberculosis, measles, and influenza, killing many of the children.

Out of the 300 federal reservation in the US, over 50% leave to find better employment. Most of the Native Americans that leave the reservation join the military. The way to learn about culture, religion, and tradition is mostly from the elders or from Indian Centers. Major cities have built ‘Indian Centers’ to help Native Americans continue with their culture and traditions, teaching arts and crafts, language classes, dances, and powwows. The Indian Centers also help out with job employment, job counseling, or drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

The word ‘Powwow’ means, “A healing ceremony of spiritual leaders”. Today powwows are a way to maintain Native American history through song and dance. Today it is more of a social gathering of song and dance. Song and dance is the way they maintain their history, it has a connection with their past. The American Indians almost suffered extinction, but today they continue to sing and dance in powwows, that is more like a battle of champions.

Sun Dance and Ghost dance are just a few of the traditional dances. The Ghost Dance began in the 1860’s; created by a Northern Paiute Indian named Wodziwab.  He and his son Wovoka were the first Ghost Dance prophets. They both foresaw that all Indian ancestors will return and that all the whites would die, the Native American’s will be saved and the Great Spirit will return to Earth and live among them.

The Sun Dance has been one of the most sacred ceremonies for thousands of years and is still practiced today by the Lakota, Shoshone, Arapaho, Crow, and Cheyenne tribes. A Sun Dance actually lasts 28 days, but preparation is a yearlong process. The Sun Dance is performed in the summer, starting on a full moon; usually the hottest week of the year. The performer begins his preparation meditating, praying, and spends time in the sweat lodge.

The performers will then sing and dance around the center pole, clockwise, for the first two days. On the third day those that choose to pierce their skin will be pierced and sing and dance for the final two days.

The Sun Dance requires the warrior to dance around a pole they are attached to by a rope. On the end of the rope were wooden skewers that pierced under their chest muscles. They would dance while pulling the rope, causing the wooden skewers to cut and pull on their pierced skin and muscle.

On the fourth and final day the dancers must dance until their skin has been ripped, this completes the sacrifice and the performers become reborn. The performers will then finish the ceremony by sitting in the sweat lodge in prayer.

A sweat lodge is a place some Native American cultures use to help cleanse their spirit, mind, body, and heart, and receive answers or guidance from the ancestors, totem helpers, or Mother Earth. Before entering the sweat lodge, you must smoke a peace pipe. Then they offer tobacco to the sacred fire, say a prayer or ask a question, then the leader smudges them with sage and wafts smoke from sweet grass over them. They will then enter into the sweat lodge, clockwise, followed by the leader. The leader will ask a person that is not in the sweat lodge to bring in the hot stones, then close the door. The leader will begin singing in prayer. A sweat lodge ceremony can last from three to eight hours, depending on each person’s tolerance of the heat that is endured during a sweat lodge ceremony. 

Tobacco is a sacred plant, along with sage, but unlike sage, tobacco has a special meaning. When tobacco is burned, the fire represents the center of the earth. The ashes and smoke carry the message to the Creator, distributing it among the four winds.

Native American church is a mixture of Christianity and Native American traditions. Peyote is used for Native American church ceremonies or recreation by the Great Plains Native Americans. It is a small, hallucinogenic cactus that can be found in south Texas and northern Mexico. When chewing peyote it can cause vomiting, but the person will experience a feeling of great joy, but is not addicting. During the ceremonies is singing, praying and playing drums.

A few other Native American traditions are, Why do Native Americans have long hair? It is a symbol of spiritual health and spiritual strength. It is a symbol of power and a source of pride. In some tribes, to cut ones hair means they are in mourning. Animal totems are spirit guides that usually stay with us for life, depending on which direction we take. They help us choose our path in life. Medicine wheels are a sacred hoop that represents harmony, connecting us with all living things on earth.

Update on my children’s book…


Earlier this week I received an email from my publisher. He had sent me an entire copy of my children’s book, wanting me to scan through it carefully for any corrections that need to be made. So far I’ve only caught one misspelled word, but I asked for two minor changes to be made on an illustration.

I cannot tell you in words just how excited I am to be able to see my book in it’s entirety. It really pleases me to see my work finished. I hope to be sharing a picture of the cover with everyone very soon, but I am told by my publisher to wait until all the corrections have been made and will be on it’s way to the printer.

I should learn next week if the corrections I requested to be made will be approved, if they are, then they will work on them. Then I will receive my first copy through the mail (snail mail).

I’ll continue to keep everyone posted. If you have facebook, please click on the link below and ‘like’ my author page so that you can be kept posted straight away as I tend to wait awhile before I blog about it.

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferNAdams?ref=hl

The Sandlot turns 20


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The movie Sandlot turns twenty and suddenly I feel old. I was fourteen when the movie came out in 1993. I can pretty much remember the whole movie, as well as quote a few famous lines, such as ‘You’re killing me smalls’.

The Sandlot represented a youth very much like mine growing up, a love for smores, baseball, and Babe Ruth. Since it turned twenty, it has been re-released on an anniversary DVD. If you would like to read the interview with a few of the actors and the writer go to this link…  http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/sandlot-turns-20-stories-cast-film-20th-anniversary-212016264–mlb.html