Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kamsah hamnida! (Thank you, in Korean)

Christopher finally got his next belt (white with yellow stripe) last night! Hip, hip, hurray!
Never in your life have you seen a little boy so excited. While all the other kids stood, the picture of dignification (is that a word?), Chris didn't bother to hide his delight.

He jumped up and down.

He swung his new belt over his head like a lasso.

He danced around in circles.

He assumed the "Rocky" pose (I didn't even know he knew who "Rocky" was.)

All from the back row of the class, while little lines of white soldiers stood solemnly, exchanging their old belts for new, and hanging their old belts around their necks. Finally his instructor had pity and went back to calm him down and help him with his new belt.

I am SO proud of my son!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Lenten "Re-treat": Forty Days to Home Beautiful

Okay, you are all my witnesses. For Lent this year, Heidi is going to SIMPLIFY an BEAUTIFY my home, one area at a time.

Sarah's First Communion is coming up May 1, so I have additional incentive, but the primary "push" is the simple fact that I've been feeling as though the walls are closing in on me, and it's time to do something about it! My goal is to tackle one area each week, and include "before" and "after" pictures of each. (I know, how humiliating. But it's good for me.)

Here's the schedule I have planned so far:

* Week 1: Office and taxes. Goal -- organize my office so I'm ready for the new study/work paradigm that is soon to become my life. Move futon to basement, put grandpa's old library table in its place, etc. I'm hiring two strong-backed young men to do the lifting on Saturday.

* Week 2: Bedrooms. Remove everything we no longer need or can no longer use; put in basement for next week's sorting. Remove children's toys and put them downstairs as well.

* Week 3: BASEMENT. I have my friend and professional organizer Monica Rem coming this week to go through this corner of my world, since I simply do not feel up to the challenge.

* Week 4: Kitchen/DR. Finish painting and organizing kitchen, getting rid of anything I don't always use. Replace the verticle blind slats, and install cafe curtains in my kitchen window. If time allows, tackle laundry room as well. (If my friend Katy is available, I may have her help me on Friday.)

* Week 5: Living Room and Hallway. Finish painting, and set up pictures going up the stairs. New window treatment for window (something the dog can't destroy with her watchdog antics during the day, with shade for nighttime).

* Week 6: Family Room. Paint and declutter. Hang some new pictures.

* Week 7: Holy Week. Mini-retreat in my beautiful home!

Feel free to nag me if you don't see regular reports on progress!

Monday, February 01, 2010

How to Read a Non-Fiction Book (Michael Hyatt)

Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson publishers, recently posted this great column, which anyone putting together a book proposal should study closely. Granted, he's talking about reading books -- not proposals -- but many of the same principles apply.

Years ago when I was working at Servant, our marketing/sales experts used to say that it takes seven seconds, on average, for a customer to decide whether to purchase a particular book on a store shelf. Seven seconds, on average, to study the front cover, back cover, TOC, and first couple of pages.

The same principles apply to proposals. When I was going through the slush pile, it took about that long to evaluate a proposal for possible publication: cover letter, TOC, and first three pages. If at any point it didn't grab me, I'd put it into the reject pile.

Could your query pass the seven-second test?