2012 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 13,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.


Music to Uplift You

I have to tell you guys, the last few weeks have been extremely challenging for me at work. Stress, for the most part, is the order of the day, and handling whatever comes my way is something I’m learning to do with God’s grace. One thing that really helps to lift my spirit is music that makes me feel energized and encouraged. During this past 4th of July holiday weekend, my brother gave me a CD with a few recent songs from his extensive music library, and one of the songs was from Mandisa’s newest CD titled “What If I Were Real” and the song is called “Stronger”.

I don’t watch the TV show American Idol, but I understand that Mandisa was a contestant in season 5, and she came in 9th place. She may not have won the top spot on American Idol, but she’s gone on to make a few CDs and she has several songs out now that I really like—“Good Morning” featuring Toby Mac is another great song.

If you have a minute or two, take a quick break and check out this video of her singing “Stronger”. She’s a beautiful young woman, and I plan to follow her career more closely now that I’ve discovered her music.


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I’m Back!

After a long, long, very long blogging hiatus yours truly is finally back in the blogging saddle and ready to start connecting with the world. I’m excited about hearing from you and sharing our collective experiences. For those of you who have faithfully followed my blog over the years, thank you so much for sticking with me. For everyone who is new to A Break for the Norm, welcome to my little part of the cyber world.

So…what have I missed? What have you guys been up to, and how is your summer going? As always, I continue to be extremely busy at work, and sadly I haven’t written one word or worked on my current writing projects at all.

Some of you may know that I finished my first novel, shopped it around, and received great feedback about my writing, voice, and storytelling. But unfortunately, the two agents who I most want to work with both feel that the timing and audience for the story isn’t quite right. With that realization out there, I moved on to writing book number two, but so far all I have are three or four sample chapters. My agent of choice (first choice) read my sample chapters, liked them, and asked that I send her the completed manuscript once the book is done. But guess what? That request/invitation was at least 9 months ago and I here I sit—still not writing, still not working on the book. Bad writer! Bad, bad writer!

But on a positive note, I received my first earnings as a writer. Yeeeeha! I’ve written a few articles for Suite101 (click here see the list of articles I’ve written), and last month I made a whopping $5.08. I’m rich, I’m rich!!! Okay, so maybe I’m not rich in terms of dollars, but I’m rich as far as feeling encouraged as a writer. It’s funny how life can often get in the way of pursuing a dream, but the key is to never let the dream die.

How about you, what is your life dream? What, if anything, is holding you back from seeing your dream realized? How are you working toward making your dream come true (teeny, tiny baby steps count)?


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Remember to Give Thanks

As you celebrate Thanksgiving today, take a moment to reflect on all the things you’re thankful for. Sometimes, I like to make mental lists of various blessings over the years so that I never forget all that the Lord has done for me.

I’m thankful that the Lord has allowed my husband and I to spend another holiday with my mom and dad, and I’m especially grateful that I won’t be doing all the cooking.

Speaking of cooking, what are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? I absolutely love stuffing (my husband makes the best stuffing known to man). In my book, you can’t have Turkey without homemade stuffing.

Oh…and cranberries. Okay, I’ll stop because I’m making myself hungry.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Create Your Own Customized Jigsaw Puzzle

It’s been ages since I’ve put a puzzle together, but I still remember how fun they are. In fact, the only downside I remember about jigsaw puzzles is the space they take up while working on them. Oh, and also the cardboard dust that comes from handling the pieces.

For my fellow jigsaw-puzzle lovers there is now a cool solution to the space and mess problem. Ta-da…BrainsBreaker! Since a person can do almost anything on a computer these days, it only makes since that someone thought of the idea of offering computer jigsaw puzzles. The cool thing about these puzzles is that you can use your own pictures to create the puzzle, and you can even customize the pieces into shapes you create. Also, you can share the puzzle with family and friends and keep score if you’d like.

When was the last time you put a puzzle together?



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Free eBooks at Planet eBooks

As many of you know, I have been rediscovering the classics and have enjoyed books by many of the literary legends, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Harper Lee. Since eBook popularity continues to rise, I though I’d share this great free source that I stumbled upon using, you guessed it—StumbleUpon.com.

Planet eBook is a great site that offers classic literature for download as eBooks. How cool is that? Free books! It doesn’t get any better than that. Below is a brief sample of books that are available on their site. Oh…did I mention that these books are free? Gotta love free.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Tender is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerarld

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The Hounds of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte



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Sometimes We Need Uplifting

Right now I’m going through one of life’s many storms, but I’m so grateful I can always call on the name of Jesus. No matter what happens in my life, I always know He loves me, and weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. I hope this video ministers to each of you as it did to me.



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