Altered Story Handmade Goods available at BookFinders!

| December 12, 2012

I’m excited to announce that Altered Story Handmade Goods has teamed up with another local business! BookFinders in Stevens Point, WI now offers repurposed hardcover books that have been altered into one-of-a-kind notebooks! Valuing the work of local artists and authors, BookFinders offers a wonderful selection of locally created goods, along with book accessories, candles, gifts, calendars and (of course) BOOKS! And, just like every other Altered Story purchase, 10% of profits from each sale benefits anti-trafficking organizations! So, sales help local business AND they change the world!

Altered Story notebook display at Bookfinders

Each of the notebooks are made of  incredibly unique hard cover books of all different kinds! Writers, both beginning and professional, will enjoy the lined papers found in some. Artists will appreciate the plain sketch papers found in others. Boys and girl of all ages will truly appreciate at least one of the vintage-book-turned-modern-canvas… for thoughts, dreams and ideas! Each book has divider pages, inside:  actual pages from the up-cycled book or unique retro papers, antique magazine pages or old fashioned wallpapers. No two books are alike!

Can you find the Altered Story notebooks?

What a perfect gift! Especially for creative souls who could benefit by having a journal just as lovely as the ideas put down on paper. Each book is bound with a professional grade tool that creates perfectly round and even holes through each and every paper. The wire bindings allow for wide-open page displays, making for wonderfully easy writing! What about using them for: a unique registry of that new baby’s hospital guests? that artistic/literary couple’s wedding guestbook? a child’s first journal? or even a scrapbook you’d like to remain open on your coffee table?

There they are! Right in front!

Whether it’s words or pictures that simply must be recorded, there is sure to be one Altered Story notebook that would be perfect for you or that special someone you have in mind. Make sure to get to BookFinders to check out the wonderful new selection of handmade treasures! And, remember, you can always check out Etsy for other unique Altered Story treasures!

 

 

 

A MacBook Air with an Orange Cover

| November 30, 2012

Here’s the picture I would post if only I had a MacBook Air

I’m dreaming of a MacBook Air. I dream that I bring my little laptop with me wherever I go. In my dreams, I pull it out of it’s cute case and type out all my thoughts and ideas that will make a fine novel, someday. It has an orange cover, because orange is happy and it inspires me. It is the first computer that I’ve ever owned that wasn’t a hand-me-down. It is personalized to fit my needs. It has apps (a long-standing item on my wish list!). I strongly believe in apps. I don’t get to use them, much, yet. But, someday I will. Someday I will use my twitter account and tweet to my 48 followers who have never once received a tweet from me or a hashtag or anything, yet they are still following me. (How sweet are they?!) Someday I will have apps that help me do my crafts more creatively and write my sentences more acceptably and shop at the grocery store more healthily and go places more efficiently and learn about so many things that I’m just sure I could only know about if I had apps. And, my friend Mindy would rejoice with me because she knows about this longstanding desire. When I go to bed at night and I think of those most important thoughts that have filtered down to the end of my day and I wish I could reach over to my orange covered MacBook Air and type them in, I can’t help but believe that someday my wish will come true. I’ve been praying for God to spoil me with a MacBook Air. I’ve had 2 amazing friends offer me their used non-Mac laptops, which I truly appreciate. I’m embarrassed to admit I feel very snooty about not using them because I really, super-bad am praying that my Father will bless me with what I can truly use-a MacBook Air. You see, my entire photo library and all my previous notes and documents and newsletters and flyers and everything I use for ministry and Altered Story and my blog and anything techy is Mac-related. My smart husband doesn’t think I should attempt to make a short-term change to one of those computers and then try to make it all transfer back perfectly on that special, golden day when I do get my very own MacBook Air. And, I agree with him because in my dreams I am united with my hubby in all his apple-loving bliss. We can email each other documents that don’t need to be exported. That’s how marriage should be. And, there’s the apps to consider. So, I continue to dream. Because using his MacBook Pro late at night, like this, when I’m tired from my computer-less day of writing with pen and paper and jotting down ideas that I just might definitely make something amazing out of, if only I had a MacBook Air available to me during the sane hours of my day, makes me wonder if I’m looking a bit silly to the world in this blog post.

Old Journal Entries

| October 19, 2012

Ha! I just found this journal entry written almost a year ago, when my little one had just started preschool. I think I’m getting the message!
09/13/11
“Being a writer?
I sit here in the cafe and I wonder, “Could my life really be like this? And I answer, “It is!” I have an amazing cup of coffee. I’m eating a blueberry muffin puffed way too high for good health. I’m surrounded by a spontaneous arrangement of music, sounds of chatter and laugher all around. What could be better? I’m so thankful for this year that will allow me a couple of free hours per day to pursue this possibility of a passion. I’m afraid I won’t be any good at it. I’m afraid the dream is going to be better than the actuality. I’m afraid I won’t keep trying through the hard, empty, silent moments. But, I believe that God’s destiny is greater than any of my dreams. And, I trust that if I will obey Him by moving in this direction then He will be faithful to direct my paths. I can end up in just the right spots along the way that He desires for me to be. And, I will grow and develop and mature and continue in this adventure of giving Him all of me. So, I say “Thank you, Lord for this opportunity. I’m yours. Speak through me. Develop my style. Give me content. Fill me up so I can pour it all out through these words. Make me a writer, please, Lord?”
I need to read stuff like that for motivation to really go for it!
Do you keep a journal? I encourage you to look back at what dreams have been brewing inside you for too long! It might be time to move forward.

I Am A Writer

| October 18, 2012

 

Photo taken by Cristi Schroeder at Warrens Cranberry Festival – a place of inspiration!

Dreams can be scary. That’s one reason they can take so long to come alive.
About eight years ago, I read and journaled through “The Dream Giver.”  Working through that book, three passions of mine came into focus as one dream. My lifelong love of reading, my desire to write and my desire to help adolescents combined into a focused dream to author fiction books geared at young girls. I imagined writing books filled with good morals and lessons and big purposes- all mixed inside the storyline. But, in the face of everyday responsibilities, my pursuit got sidelined. (Also, I honestly don’t think that the timing was right.)
It’s true, though, that those ambitions to be a writer have remained. I have often said, “Well, I always wanted to be a writer.” That’s way easier than saying, “I am a writer” which would lead to the question… “Oh? What have you written?” Which would then lead to a lot of self doubt and other’s judgments about my “minor works”.
Here’s that short list of writing accomplishments:
  • a children’s book in 11th grade that received high praises (from my HS teacher)
  • a bunch of A+ essays in college relating to psychological topics (graded and discarded)
  • a retreat curriculum for youth group teens based on the movie, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (a “whopping” 15 girls, participating)
  • most of the content for a quarterly church newsletter that ran for a few years (I joke that their were 5 faithful readers)
  • (not enough) posts on this blog
My biggest credit, I realize now, is that fact that I’ve been journaling since I was a child. It’s always helped me to get my thoughts and feelings onto paper. But, could all that really help me as a writer? Well, the authors at a recent writer’s workshop taught that anything that gets us writing in sentence form, pouring ideas onto the page-including journaling- will benefit our writing. As I soaked up every word at the workshop, my dream of writing seemed completely possible. And, I sense the conviction, confirmation and excitement that NOW is the time to pursue it!
No, I don’t plan to “take a year off to write my novel” or travel to France for inspiration. I’m just going to start with large amounts of the little things. Like finally blogging 3+ times a week. Writing at least 10 minutes a day with pen and paper in hand. Submitting some articles to local papers and eventually magazines. I hope to incorporate some of my Altered Story projects by writing tutorials for craft projects and seeking publication. Then, as my thoughts get fleshed out and my writing skills develop, maybe I will write that first book for young readers. Maybe, someday, I will write a bunch of books.
So, I’ve just decided to do it! I will finally, actually call myself a writer. I will face my fears and go for this dream!
Calling myself a published author? Well, hopefully that’s yet to come.
I’m curious… do you have dreams of being a writer? What would you write? Maybe we can join together in the pursuit of this dream… however scary it may be!

I Am A Reader

| October 17, 2012

Since my youngest years of elementary education, I loved to read.  I checked out books from our school library over and over again. I felt that the world within the pages was a world I could make my home. A comfortable place where I felt safe. I could laugh. I could relate. I read about people that seemed a lot like me… or who I wished I could be.
I happily discovered the misadventures of Romona Quimby and was hooked! This little girl found herself in lighthearted, funny situations. I soon discovered that the author, Beverly Cleary, had many more books I could enjoy. I loved escaping to Klickitat Street and feeling a sense of community and friendship and family.
As I grew older, I discovered Judy Blume. She wrote about silly grade school episodes that actually dealt with real feelings and frustrations (“Superfudge”, “Otherwise known as Sheila the Great”) I read every one! As I got closer to the teen years, I read “Iggie’s House” and “Are you there God, It’s me, Margaret?” I learned things from Judy Blume that I could never actually speak with others about, in real life. As I read, I felt a part of something. Something secretive, even. Nobody else knew what I was reading. It was mine. And it was beautiful.
As the years went on, “Sweet Valley High” intrigued me more than I’d care to admit, now. Learning about dating and boys and popular kids… well, at least I could read about all that!
When high school hit, I guess I stopped reading fiction and focused on text books that would help me pass tests. College continued with more of the same… and the addition of Bible reading and devotionals as I was feeding my new faith. Christian nonfiction filled my young adult years. Home Decorating Magazines were the bulk of my reading content as a newly married woman. Parent Magazines and books about the stages of human growth were food for thought as I became a new mom. That continued for many years. Country Living, Mary Engelbreits Home Companion… these magazines provided all the light reading I could fit into my busy days. It wasn’t till 2008, when I first heard about human trafficking, that my reading preferences changed from topics relating to the inside of my home to those going on around the world. Gary Haugen and Nicholas Kristof became my new author “idols”.
In recent days, memories have brought me back to those early days of reading. Hoping to recapture what I experienced back then, I’m starting to read some young adult fiction. Dreams are brewing inside me. I’ve always been a reader. But, I’m beginning to believe it’s for a greater purpose than enjoyment or education. It’s about more than me finding myself within the pages of another writer’s work.
I am a reader. But, I am discovering that I am so much more. I’ll let YOU read about that… tomorrow!
What about you? Who are your favorite authors? And, what do you enjoy reading?

How to Make a Woman

| October 11, 2012

When I saw a sign in the bookstore window advertising a writer’s workshop, I was immediately excited! I’ve never been to something like that. But, I truly desire to become a better writer. So, I signed up for the adventure that will take place tomorrow! I can’t wait!
In preparation for the workshop, one of the authors asked that we complete an at-home assignment. We were asked to write a recipe, of sorts. She gave us ideas of recipes to record, like “how to fall in love” or “how to gain fifteen pounds.” We were to write down the ingredients and steps of preparation with no commentary. That’s it.
I’m a pastor’s wife and I’m more long winded than my husband. So, here’s my best attempt at the assignment. Who knows if I got it “right”; it sure was a challenge! Most importantly, it was fun to write!
Let me know what you think? What recipe might you be inspired to share?

How to Make a Woman
Ingredients

  • Heart of Love
  • Hormones
  • Plans
  • Purposes
  • Hopes
  • Dreams
  • Faith
  • Childhood Experiences
  • Ashes of Adolescence
  • Ideologies of Youth
  • Personality
  • Wisdom
  • Talent
  • Tears
  • Laughter

Directions
Begin by placing an emotional heart of love in a clay bowl of any shape or size. Add hormones. Mix together plans, purposes, hopes and dreams. Drop in a seed of faith. Let these ingredients sit for a while.
Fold in childhood experiences, the ashes of adolescence and the ideology of young adulthood. Add more hormones. Mix in personality, growing wisdom and talent. Add more faith as needed. Strain this mixture through the colander of trials and triumphs. Discard the remaining unnecessary emotional baggage of the past. Repeat this step as needed. You should begin to see character form. Add more hormones.
Heat with the fires of hardship just until boiling point. Cool with much needed prayer and good conversation. This process will create a nice balance of sensitivity and endurance. Sprinkle with the organic tears and laughter of every day experiences. Top generously with hormones.
Serves: much more than expected or appreciated.
Note: Each creation will vary in appearance. Expect cracks to develop in the bowl throughout this process. The important thing is that you allow the inside contents to shine.
*Not always a crowd pleaser… but ALWAYS beautiful to the creator!

First Day of Kindergarten

| September 4, 2012

Since before college, I had my life planned out.
Vaguely.
I would graduate with a bachelor’s in psychology, get married to a handsome pastor, have two babies and stay at home raising them -just until the youngest went to kindergarten. THEN, I’d either go back to school for my master’s degree or begin a meaningful career. I love helping people… so counseling has always been a dream. But, I’d love to be a writer, and I thought maybe I could pursue that. Or, I would pursue a different kind of education and build on my art skills. No matter! I had lots of time to figure things out!


Life’s Check List
Marry handsome pastor – check!
Birth two beautiful kids – check!
Stay home to raise the wee ones – check!
Send off baby to first day of Kindergarten – check! (as of this morning)
Direction for what to do now – uhhhhhh?….

I don’t really have anything figured out.
My little boy is having the adventure of his life at his first full day of kindergarten. Gone from Mom. All new friends. Lots to take in and learn. I encouraged him to be brave. To have anticipation for the good in it all. To go in with a positive attitude and then just see what God can do! He has no idea what this day or this school year will bring. But, he’s pressing on and into all of it.
I’m all for God-adventures. I want the full life! I believe adventures can only be true adventures if they are a little scary, a little exciting and (at least) a little fun! I’m sure that’s what my kindergartener is experiencing on his first-day adventure.
Me? I’m at home with a lot of mixed emotions. I have a bunch of questions. I miss my boys but I’m excited for what’s to come. I have an adventure of my own to begin. Schooling & a full time career aren’t even on my radar. I’m a bit scared about life’s details, but I know I can trust God for every one.
To start, I think I’ll just take a little time to enjoy a quiet house. To rest. To seek after God’s heart and His real direction for me. To do some of the things I’ve had on the back-burner for a while. I think I’ll just give myself a teeny bit more time. I’m thankful for today and all the possibilities.
What about you? What does the start of this new school year mean for you?

Here We Go, Again!

| March 15, 2012

The Journey Continues

It’s been a long journey since my last post.
I started this blog years ago, as a journal of sorts. I posted a bunch regarding my upcoming trip to Moldova (June, 2009). I was on a mission to learn more by actually going to one of the largest source countries for victims of human trafficking. During the entire year before my trip, I researched all I could about human trafficking. I arranged for interviews with people working firsthand against it. The trip was amazing and I learned so much about modern day slavery. I intended to share all about it, here. Not surprisingly, however, it was also emotionally draining. And I returned exhausted from all I’d taken in about this terrible reality.
Real life set in and I had a lot to catch up on. Feeling a little overwhelmed, I set aside my self-imposed guilt and decided it was OK if I didn’t write about my experiences, right away. I would give myself a little time.
Well, that “break” was prolonged simply by living the busy life of a mom, pastor’s wife, and multi-tasking go-getter.  Then, I hit a period of feeling absolutely terrible as a friend and family member. I went through a very long time knowing I just needed to shut up. (Ever been there?) After that humbling season, it had already been an embarrassingly long time since my last post. So, I felt I should have something really good and meaningful to say before I posted. But, that never materialized. Then, I felt like my blog was too out-of-date to post anything new.
Thanks to much technical & design help from my hubby (and his motivation!), I’m ready to begin again! We’ve made changes, revamped and redecorated. I even edited old posts with good links and updated info.
So, here I am! It might take time to get back in the swing of this. I’m choosing to leave my old messages as a foundation for what I write in the future. It’s a growing thing. You’ll probably see some posts about that trip to Moldova. And, I’ll still be sharing about faith, family, creativity and purpose, like before.
I welcome you to this new part of the journey! Thanks for joining me!

The 3 R’s

| June 8, 2009

 

Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure

READING   As a child of the 80′s, I found great pleasure in laughing through the adventures of Ramona Quimby. I held my breath as I tried to figure out the clues that Encyclopedia Brown discovered. I joined the boxcar children in their cozy little train home that they shared without their parents. As I got older, I read straight through Judy Blume’s box set. Yes, I even remember hiding my copy of “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” from my mom, thinking she might take it away from me if she knew what I was reading. Pretty racy stuff. Those books represented a sort of invisible friend whom I shared a special part of my life with. I think they probably shaped who I became, in many ways.

WRITING   I know this sounds super nerdy, but I loved writing papers in college. Partially because I love to write. Partially because my major, Behavioral Sciences, was genuinely interesting to me. I spent way too long perfecting my essays until I was truly proud of my work. I enjoyed being a nerd. 

ARITHMETIC (or, how they add up)   As I was reading “The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkenson a few years ago, I consciously connected those two pieces of me. I began to wonder if perhaps I might use my desire to write for the benefit of pre-teen readers. Might my interest in human psychology unite with my faith to help shape young girls through fiction books? Could being a published author be a part of my future? I hope so.

Our lives are real life “Choose Your Own Adventures”.  We can use what we’ve learned as we make our decisions. What interests and talents have you discovered from the pages of your life that might help you make the most out of the rest of your story?

Come Alive

| April 27, 2009

“The glory of God is man fully alive.” -Saint Ireneaus

Sara Groves “Just Showed Up For My Own Life”Sara Groves “just showed up for my own life”

Are you really living? I can honestly say that I’ve just started to truly come alive. There’s a difference between knowing something in your head and knowing it in your heart. I finally believe, with all my heart, that Christ loves me and He has a special purpose for me, every day of my life. A growing realization of who I really am, in Christ, has been changing my life. Understanding who He made me to be is allowing me to glorify Him in new ways.

I glorify Him because of who I am. I am His creation, a unique woman who has individual interests and value aside from any of the roles I play in my life. I am also Nathan’s wife, the boys’ mommy, a writer, an artist, a photographer and an up-and-coming modern day abolitionist. I’m a Christian who thinks that living for Jesus is more about what I do in Him, rather than what I shouldn’t be doing in the world. I can say now, what I wouldn’t have said just over a year ago, “I AM a world changer.”

A part of what he’s using to glorify Himself is my realization and acceptance of who I am not: the stereotypical pastor’s wife (there isn’t a “typical pastor’s wife”, by the way), an amazing cook, the girl who other people might think I am… and most importantly, who I was yesterday. What freedom!

I pray the same for you. Seek after God. Receive His love and accept that you ARE valuable! He made you with a special purpose that only you can fulfill. I encourage you to glorify God by coming alive in Him! It’s the only way to live!