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Birthdays, babies, and books, oh my!

My husband Ray and me on his 50th birthday

My husband Ray and me on his 50th birthday

There’s a lot going on in our family right now. Birthdays, babies, and books, oh my!

My husband Ray had his milestone 50th birthday this week. In the picture above, you see him wearing the “Champ” t-shirt I bought him.

I also made him breakfast (yes, this is quite a feat for me as I hate to cook!), baked him a home-made lime pie (he loves limes), and bought him the t-shirt and work socks. I’m also hosting a birthday bbq for him in August with his friends.

Our daughter Heather bought Ray a new grill and a set of grill tools- an amazing gift! Of course we had to immediately try it out, so last night our kids and grandkids (except for our grandson Jacob, who was in AR) came over for his birthday bbq. Ray grilled his infamous Cajun chicken and corn on the cob.

Heather & Ray with his new grill for his birthday

Heather & Ray with his new grill and grill tools for his birthday

For the birthday bbq, Heather and Eden made home-made, orange-cranberry cupcakes with orange-cranberry frosting and I served Ray’s lime pie. Here’s Eden frosting the cupcakes with her cool baking frosting tool.

Eden looked so pretty in her purple sundress. She’s now about 34 weeks pregnant with her little girl, Piper. We’re all excited about meeting Piper soon!

Eden frosting Ray's cupcakes

Eden frosting Ray’s cupcakes

Aren’t the cupcakes beautiful? Leah said I need to invest in this tool, because mine do NOT turn out this pretty! Eden would like to have her own bakery business one day. Eden added an orange candy slice on top and a moustache as a joke, because I don’t like Ray with moustaches or beards. 

orange-cranberry cupcakes

orange-cranberry cupcakes

Here is Ray about to try one out. He gave his stamp of approval!

Ray and his cupcake with an orange slice and a moustache

Ray and his cupcake with an orange slice and a moustache

The grill works just great. The chicken and grilled corn on the cob turned out delicious! Everyone loved it and had fun.

Ray's Cajun grilled chicken

Ray’s Cajun grilled chicken

grilled corn on the cob

grilled corn on the cob

Everyone digging in! Left to right: Leah, Heather, Heather's boyfriend Matt, Ray, & part of Eden

Everyone digging in!
Left to right:
Leah, Heather, Heather’s boyfriend Matt, Ray, & part of Eden

Our granddaughters (Heather’s girls) Violet and Annabelle and I sat at the kitchen island to eat due to table space in the dining room (above). Annabelle (pictured on the right) is a picky eater, but she loves her papa’s grilled chicken!

Violet and Annabelle at Ray's birthday family bbq

Violet and Annabelle at Ray’s birthday family bbq

Here is a great family picture of us after we ate. I love it!

Our family, Ray's 50th bday Left to right: Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

Our family, Ray’s 50th bday
Left to right:
Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

Eden is eager to have Piper, but Piper doesn’t need to come yet! Eden is supposed to be 34 weeks pregnant, but she and I both think she is further along than that. Eden has already dropped and is dilated 1 cm. Of course, you can be at 1 cm for weeks!

I’m having a baby shower for Eden in late July, but Eden and I have both had dreams that she had Piper early and we don’t think she’s going to make it to her due date in August. Eden has an “owl” theme for Piper’s crib. 

owl theme for Piper's room

owl theme for Piper’s room

owl theme

owl theme

Finally, I’m about to “birth” my new, first ever fiction book, Storm Tossed. It is launching Monday, July 13, 2015, at Amazon.

Storm Tossed

I’m so excited about this. Ray and our youngest daughter Leah have been encouraging me for YEARS to write a fiction book! I had all kind of excuses WHY I couldn’t do this: I’d never written a fiction book before, I’d never taken fiction writing classes, what does plot mean, etc.

I had to tell myself what I’ve told my writer coaching students: “Just do it! No excuses! Write!”

To my surprise, my beta reader reviewers have liked (even LOVED) the eBook, and have given me very positive feedback!

I’m having a Facebook Virtual Book Launch Celebration on July 13, 2015. You can see my video about it by clicking here

Like I said, lots going on with our family right now. Very exciting! What is new with you? Leave your comments below. 

 

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Give all, give now

“Writing is its own reward.” – Henry Miller

I love to write. I’ve been writing since I was a child. In junior high school, I wrote in my diary about the “dreamy” blue-eyed boy, Gary, who I had a crush on or the kind of “modern” house I wanted to have when I grew up, how I loved my cat Tabby and how much I wanted a horse.

My dresser

My dresser where I wrote and hid my stories

I’d write fiction short stories, then hide them in my dresser drawer. My sister Maria would sneak into my bedroom, read them, and we’d fight, even though it should have been a compliment. I’d throw her Barbie doll, she’d scratch me with her long fingernails, and we’d both get into trouble by our parents. Today she is one of my biggest fans, for which I’m grateful. 

Today I’m the author of eight books, and am writing three more. The one I’m working on currently is my first fiction book, Storm Tossed.

Storm Tossed ecover Copyright 2015 Beth Jones www.BethJones.net

Storm Tossed ecover
Copyright 2015 Beth Jones www.BethJones.net

My husband Ray has been encouraging me a long time to write fiction. Since I’ve never written one before, it’s treading new water and a little scary. But he feels it will “stretch” me as a writer. 

I believe I’ll be writing books, articles, and blogs for the rest of my life. Annie Dillard wrote, “Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.”

No, I don’t want to hoard words. I couldn’t anyway. I have to write; it’s innate, an obsession and a compulsion.

Yeah, I can break up with writing, tell it that I’m just done and so over it, but eventually I come back. It’s like word crack.

fire

fire

I believe writing is a gift God has given me, a treasure, and it’s not for me or about me. As the prophet Jeremiah said, “his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!”

Yes, a fire. At times the embers die, but when I fan them into flame, they ignite.

Words are a force and contain great power, like rocket fuel taking astronauts into an unexplored part of space like Mars-or like a 100-foot-wave tsunami that slams into a village, killing thousands. 

Sometimes the writing is powerful, stark, slices right through someone’s heart, making a deep but needed wound to impart truth that you don’t really want to hear. 

Other times, it bounces off the heart, like a neon-yellow, Wilson tennis ball. Flat. Boring. Inefficacious as wilted iceberg lettuce for a lunch salad. 

But still, I can’t imagine a life without writing. Writing is life. 

art-woman writing

art-woman writing

I’m participating in the writing contest: How Writing Has Positively Influenced My Life, hosted by Positive Writer.

Writing means freedom for me.

As I write, I learn about myself more. What I think, what I feel. What has happened in my life. And I heal more. Sometimes sharing my pain and struggles heals others, God’s grace droplets.

woman in rain

woman in rain

Writing gives me a brave, if shaking, voice when I feel so small and afraid. It empowers me to share my story. And others’ powerful stories.

Ultimately, writing is telling God’s story, through my hands. 

Use me

Use me

Hands open to receive and give life,encouragement, inspiration~and truth. Including what hurts, what angers, what violates, what seems just senseless.

Life is beautiful and sacred, but often very messy and gut-wrenching painful at times. We don’t understand it all. We can’t figure it out. 

Nor should we. That’s God’s job. Ultimately He’s in control in the driver’s seat. We have to trust Him, and know that no matter what has happened or will happen, He is good and has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11). 

woman writing on laptop in ocean

woman writing on laptop in ocean

But we as writers can write.

Writing helps us to get through life. Crying. Laughing. Coping. Overcoming. Inspiring.

Writing heals. Writing empowers.

Writing sets free. 

Writing is beautiful.

Writing is a precious gift, to be unwrapped, opened, and enjoyed by you, me, others, like a sweet red wine and a thick, juicy prime rib steak. Or like a newborn, innocent baby, whose smile just melts us. 

Don’t hoard your words. They matter too much. Give, give all, give now, as Annie Dillard wrote. 

Never stop. Keep writing. 

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Blog, Business, Ebooks, Speaking, Spiritual Gifts, Writing

3 Proven Book Writing Formulas

Speaker/Author Shelley Hitz

Speaker/Author Shelley Hitz

Want to write a book? My writing/business coach Shelley Hitz is offering a free webinar, 3 Proven Book Writing Formulas, tomorrow, May 14, 2015, at 3 p.m. Central Time. 

Shelley has written over 35 Amazon books, and has experienced great success as a speaker and author.  She really inspires me. Shelley offers amazing content with her webinars and virtual coaching trainings. I am a student in her Author Audience Academy writers’ training and have been blown away by the amount of valuable content she gives. 

To find out more or to register, simply go here: {Free Webinar} 3 Proven Book Writing Formulas.

I will see you there!

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