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Friday, April 18, 2014

Have a Blessed Easter

One of my favorite songs right now is "I Am" by Crowder. Since today is Good Friday, I thought I'd share it with you. Here's the acoustic version.

God's love never changes, and He is always here for us even when we feel alone. May you be blessed this Easter weekend!!

Any new music speaking to you lately?

(I've been unearthing some oldies from Janet Jackson and Rascal Flatts lately. Good times!)

Have a wonderful Easter!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Introducing a New Interview Series!

If there's one thing I love, it's romance novels. And coffee. And chocolate. And... Well, I love a lot of things, but romance is up there! I've been blessed to meet many of my favorite authors, and I'd like for you to get to know them too. What better way to do that than by starting a new interview series??

Starting next week, each Wednesday I'll be featuring the "Writer's Life" series. Expect an exciting line up of inspirational romance authors (historical, contemporary, and suspense), and authors of sweet romance, with an occasional wild card thrown in. 

Because I like to keep things simple, the questions will be the same. Many of the authors have graciously offered to give away a copy of their latest book! Yay!!

I hope you'll find some new-to-you authors to add to your favorites list. I know I've found many a book from online recommendations. :)

We're kicking things off on April 23, 2014 with the fabulous Katie Ganshert! Hope you'll join us!!

What have you read recently? Would you recommend it?

Have a terrific day!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring, Sports, and Sweat

Gorgeous weather in April? Yes, the weekend was marvelous, windy but warm. Birds sang, daffodils waved, and bunnies darted about in our backyard.

Since summer and *gasp* shorts are right around the corner, I added jogging to my exercise routine. I say routine lightly because it's more random than an actual schedule. It depends on the weather, the day, who needs to be where when, and if I'm exhausted or not. I power-walked and jogged twice this week. Not great, but something. :)

Last week kicked off both my kids' spring sports seasons. My daughter runs track, and the first meet was Tuesday night. At home games, I usually volunteer, and I was on stopwatch duty. Let me tell you, timing to place is a lot harder than timing a lane. It stressed me out!

I had to time the fourth place runner, which means trying to figure out the fourth person who crosses the finish line. The 100-mile dash? Horrifying! All the runners cross the line together. But the other volunteer parents made the event fun, and I got through the three hour meet with only one mistake and my lower back in knots.

My son's first baseball game was Saturday. The team we played had a big opening day ceremony for their program. They had the Toledo Mudhens mascot, Muddy, come out to throw the first pitch, someone sang the national anthem, and they introduced all of the players on each team for all four fields. We had a terrific time!

If you're a sports mom, you know the mom-jitters a new season brings. I always enjoy week two a bit more than week one, and by the last game of the season, I'm more than ready for a break. Being gone up to four nights a week and every other weekend gets hectic. Sometimes I hope for thunderstorms so we can have a normal night at home. That's terrible but it's true!

How was your weekend? Does it feel like spring where you live? Our temperatures are going to drop to the high forties, low fifties the rest of the week, so I'll be back in my sweaters. 

Have a terrific day!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Disturbing Headlines

Way to wake up to head-scratching news, right?

Two headlines bothered me today. The first was from the Washington Post, "Social Security, Treasury Target Tax-Payers for Their Parents' Decades-Old Debts," by Marc Fisher. The article describes how the United States Treasury is confiscating tax refunds to pay for alleged overpayment of social security benefits to the recipient's parents from decades before. Apparently, this has been going on for about three-years, ever since a tiny provision in the farm bill overturned the ten-year statute of limitations on old debts to the government.

According to the article, the government has no proof of these overpayments, hasn't followed its own protocol for contacting the parties involved, and there seems to be little recourse for someone who is targeted. Read the post (linked above) for a more complete overview.

Are we now a nation who holds children responsible for their parents (supposed) debts? I find this disturbing.

The other headline that sent shivers over my skin? Again, from the Washington Post, "The Heartbleed Situation Just Got a Lot Worse,"  by Brian Fung.

A massive breach of our private data? Hooray.

Let's see, I have about fifty accounts with passwords. Yesterday, I read advice urging people to change ALL their passwords and to not use the same one twice. Um, sure. I'll just create fifty unique, strong passwords. Not to mention, some of my accounts are linked, meaning if I change one password, some features automatically get disabled.

The Heartbleed situation is making my heart bleed. Ugh.

What headlines grabbed you this week?

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Signs I Need to Get Out More

When I'm working hard on a manuscript, I tend to spend too much time alone, wa-a-ay too much time alone. How do I know? There are signs.

1. My thoughts go in only three directions. Food, schedule, manuscript. Nothing else comes to mind. I couldn't have a conversation about something other than dinner, my kids, or writing, to save my life.

2. I spend less time on my appearance. Yeah, we all know vanity can be a bad thing, but when I'm wearing sweat pants, running a brush through my hair, and calling it good, guess what? It's not good. It's bad.

3. Driving three minutes to the grocery store seems like too much work. Seriously, when I'm not willing to make a lousy three minute drive, I know I've been cooped up too long!

4. Eavesdropping reveals I'm out of touch. When I haven't heard of the movie the ladies in front of me are discussing? Yikes.

I'm sure I could add twenty more things to this list!

How do you know you need to get out more? 

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rainy Days are Good Days

Last Thursday around 11am ~

Raindrops splash against the pavement, compose a drum solo against the roof of my car. I'm in the high school parking lot, waiting for my daughter to finish track practice. I've called my mom, texted a friend, and sketched out my plan for the day. Stan Getz plays mellow jazz on my stereo.

Although a dozen to-do's clamor for top billing in my head, I tune them out. There's something lovely about a wet, early spring day, and the way brown and gray branches contrast with the drippy white of the sky.

I imagine steaming mugs of coffee or tea, cozy blankets, cracks of laughter with  my sister. A fluffy cat on my lap, the latest Karen Witemeyer novel in my hand.

But I'm in a parking lot, and I don't mind. I'll spend a focused hour later to catch up on my revisions. My son will go laser-tagging with a bunch of buddies, and I'll drive my daughter to the mall. We've been cooped up all spring break, and we're eager to escape.

For now, I relax into the music, watch the rain, and breathe.

Do rainy days speak to your soul? 

Have an amazing Monday!

Friday, April 4, 2014

What's New with Jill: April Vlog

It's the April 2014 webisode of What's New with Jill!

(Spoiler Alert: not a whole lot! Ha!)

I'd love to hear what's new with you, so please leave a comment to fill me in!