The Month in Review: A Parade & New Projects

Behind the Scenes

As the long hot summer drags by, I have been researching material for a new blog and book I plan to put together in the next few weeks. It is a very targeted blog, and I am excited to have Indigo Prairie publish the books that will come from this new blog. Stay tuned for more announcements!

 

If you want to save yourself the time and hassle of blogging and want me to do the heavy lifting, reach out – I would love to talk to you about how I can help you take your blog from “meh” into a work of word art!

 

What I’ve Been Reading

Sadly, with all the running around I have done this month, I have had little tome to read anything more than articles. I just finished taking a wonderful class from Ash Ambirge from The Middle Finger Project. I love her writing because it truly feels like she knows exactly how to get into my head. And even though her class modules are 2+ hours long, they seem to fly by because I have learned so much about the business of running a business!

 

On the Prairie

This week I helped a friend with a World Youth Day fundraiser at her small Catholic church. As sloppy joes and brats were served, I was lucky enough to watch a small-town parade followed by a kiddie tractor pull. I loved the parade. You would think a town of 2,500 could put on a parade that last an hour, but there were floats from locals businesses, churches, banks and automobile clubs. Everyone seemed to know everyone and called out to the folks on the floats, and even when the parade stopped, the crowd chatted even more with those marching.

Enjoy a couple photos taken from my friend’s family farm – an old barn still housing antiques and a turn-of-the-last-century farmhouse now in disrepair.

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The Month in Review: No Lazy Days of Summer!

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Indigo Prairie blazed into the summer like a hot prairie wind. I copy edited one of the most interesting books in a long time. It was such a fun experience diving deep into research on the effects media consumption has in our society; it was engaging, informative and entertaining! If your ebook is in need of one final polish, reach out – I would love to talk to you about how to give your book one more look-through to make sure the copy is excellent and something you can be proud of!

 

What I’ve Been Saying

I was featured on Carol Tice’s excellent “Make a Living Writing” blog talking about my experience finding my first freelance client. You can read it here, and though I won’t spoil all the details, let’s just say Facebook groups factored highly into it. 🙂

 

What I’ve Been Reading

The only book I had time to crack open this month was Glynis Astie’s French Twist. It is a cute little rom-com based on the author’s real life experiences of marrying a Frenchman. Our hero Sydney Bennett is a goofy, quirky young woman in California who is very gun-shy when it comes to relationships…until she meets Louis Durand, the French knight in shining armor every American woman fantasizes about. I enjoyed the character development and the snappy conversations, although I did get annoyed when Syd, a size 4, fussed over appearing bloated or not being as skinny as French women. And it also bothered me Syd never started learning French, even when she got engaged to Louis. Still, French Twist is an easy, breezy beach read, although because of Sydney’s incessant whining, I doubt I will pick up book 2 and 3 of the trilogy.

 

On the Prairie

There’s not much to report other than I was wrong to think it was hot and humid. I went to the Ozarks on vacation to see family. While I had a lovely visit, that miserable weather reminded me why I left Missouri!

The Month in Review: THE BOOK IS (finally!) DONE!

NUNBehind the Scenes

I had a blast proofreading an ebook for a new client. If your ebook is in need of one final polish, reach out – I would love to talk to you about how to give your book one more look-through to make sure the copy is excellent and something you can be proud of!

What I’ve Been Reading

The only reading I did this month was proofreading in anticipation of The Nun Diaries – Why I Was a One-Year Nun which is available now on Amazon. I consider this book my opus. The story of why I was a lousy Catholic nun took two years to write, but I am so very proud of it. Thought-provoking, irreverent and unflinching, The Nun Diaries offers a glimpse of life in a modern convent from a woman on the inside. My story highlights some of the issues that the 50,000 American nuns face today:

  • Dealing with the internal struggle that stems from vows of poverty, chastity and obedience
  • Coping with depression and anxiety in such a radical environment
  • Living with the reality of an increasingly aged population of sisters
  • Serving God in a variety of social ministries
  • Attempting to communicate with God even in the darkest of times
  • Finding humor in such a unique way of life

I feel privileged the book was mention on Dan Miller’s 48 Days podcast (the first podcast I EVER listened to!) and I hope to conduct more media interviews in the near future!

On the Prairie

They say April showers bring May flowers…so what do May showers bring?

We had flooding on one end of the state and 24” of snow with blizzards on the other side. Normally I love the rain and all, but it was a bit much, even for me!

 

The Month in Review: Pioneer Girl and a 5K

 

 

 

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5KBehind the Scenes

It has been a quiet month because I have been buried in my computer to put the finishing touches on my upcoming memoir The Nun Diaries: Why I Was a One Year Nun. Stay tuned for launch details!

Do you have a story that needs to be told for your family or your tribe? Reach out – I would love to talk to you about how I can help!

What I’ve Been Reading

As I have been talking about for months, I finally finished my copy of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Bibliography. I won’t bore you with the minutiae of the book, but here were some of my biggest takeaways:

  • Rose Wilder Lane nurtured and developed Laura Ingalls Wilder’s natural writing talent. But it came at a high price because two of Rose’s most famous novels were direct rip-offs of Laura’s undoctored manuscript.
  • I never knew the Ingalls family lived in the Big Woods more than once. They lived there, moved to Kansas, then back to Wisconsin before moving to Iowa.
  • The Ingalls family were good people, but Laura gave them the whitewash treatment for their audience. They barely lived above the poverty line and were always on the brink of financial ruin, but Pa and Ma somehow managed to make it work.
  • Pamela Smith Hill did a staggering feat by assembling photos, newspaper clippings, journals and other memorabilia to piece together the Ingalls and Wilder histories. Truth be told, I read the book twice – once for the manuscript, and a second time just to read the dense footnotes which were (I’m almost ashamed to say) more interesting than Laura’s work!

On the Prairie

It has been such a gorgeous month here. April started off with blossoms on every single tree you looked at (see sample above). The barren trees exploded almost overnight into pink and white. It was such a pleasure to go on my early morning runs and breathe in the heady but delicate cherry and apple scents.

Speaking if which, I finished my first 5K race in two years. It was an event to raise awareness for organ donation, a cause close to me because my bestie (on the right) received a kidney two years ago. My time was 47:12 which I am sure many people could walk faster, but I don’t care. My pace was steady. I never faltered or stopped. I came to finish the race, and I did.

 

The Month in Review: Time Marches On…

Behind the Scenes

This has been the busiest month ever at Indigo Prairie. The biggest project was web copy for a client (which was fun to research!) in addition to the regular editing I do.

I also got my memoir manuscript back from my editor and will be busy with the final round of edits for the bulk of April with a May or June release. Keep your eyes peeled on my Facebook page for more updates!

Does your website need some spring cleaning with some fresh copy? Want to redesign your message to your target audience but just aren’t sure how? Reach out – I would love to talk to you about how I can help!

What I’ve Been Reading

I finally, finally am delving into my copy of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Bibliography, so I will report on that next month. While waiting on that to come, I read Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome. I wanted to check it out after watching the 1993 movie with Liam Neeson and Patricia Arquette. It was a fantastic movie and the book (which I read in one sitting) was stupendous. Sparse dialogue like the bleak New England landscape and plenty of character development to drive the plot, it is a classic tale of star-crossed lovers between the stalwart Ethan Frome and his live-in help, Mattie Silver. Who happens to be his wife’s cousin. I can easily see why this is a classic novel and I’m thankful I read it by choice and loved it, rather than being forced to read it and hate it in high school à la The Grapes of Wrath.

On the Prairie

My mom, sisters and I made the trek to Kansas City this month to go to the newly opened Ikea. Now, that may not be a big deal to you, but considering Mom had never been and I hadn’t been in one in years, it was loads of fun. I got some shelves to spruce up my home office (how it takes 7 hours to hang up floating shelves, I’ll never know…) and some kitchen gear. Enjoy a couple photos of the prairie on the way home!

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The Month in Review: Blogs and Beats

blogger-meme-7Behind the Scenes

I have price packages up for my blogging services. If you own a small business and just have no time to blog, let me do the heavy lifting. Blogging is such a wonderful way to keep your website updated, engage with your customers and work your way up the Google rankings. Reach out to me if you would like a no-obligation chat about what I can do to help your business!

I finished ghostwriting a great little ebook for a fellow member of a group of women entrepreneurs that I belong to. The biggest takeaway I got from it was that if there is something I do not like in my life, I have to be the one to change it. Complaining, gossiping and doing nothing about it change nothing. If I want to break the status quo, the change must come from me & no one else!

What I’ve Been Reading

My copy of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Bibliography of Laura Ingalls Wilder is still on backorder after 10 weeks. So I picked up the first book of French poetry I have read in several years – Calligrammes by Guillaume Apollinaire. I used to use his picture poems teaching my upper-level French students, but this time out I particularly enjoyed ‘La grâce exilée.’ The text translates, ‘Go away go away my rainbow/Go away charming colors/This exile is necessary for you/Infanta of changing colors/And the rainbow is exiled/Since we exile that which has rainbow colors/But a sheet flew/On the north wind to take your place.’ I like the bittersweet juxtaposition of glorious colors and sad regret of missing out on ethereal beauty.

On the Prairie

It has been a cold February here but I have been out and running three times a week. With the blessing of my physical therapist, I am running my first 5K in 3 years this April. I can’t wait to continue training and get myself back to the shape I used to be in. By far the best thing is I run out in the bitter cold air and enjoy the star-filled sky as I run along, techno music pulsing in my ears at dawn.

 

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The Month in Review: Free at Last!

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Behind the Scenes

I have been working on a pair of ebooks covering two very different topics but both are a complete joy to research and write.

I am running several specials for the first half of February, so please visit my Special Offer! page to find out about discounts on helping with your job search or translating any documents you may need from French to English.

What I’ve Been Reading

My copy of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Bibliography of Laura Ingalls Wilder is still on backorder after 6 weeks. I continue to wait so I snapped up a copy of Sharon Ables’ Choosing the Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman’s Guide. I stumbled across Ables’ blog after listening to her podcast. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to live a gracious, simple life on a budget. Ables covers how to travel, dress, entertain and (most importantly) how to think like a chic and modern woman. It is OK to revel in solitude. It is OK to cultivate your own interests and taste in order to become the person you were meant to be. She talks about loving the simple things in everyday life. She uses great quotes and the book is gorgeously illustrated by Inslee Haynes. It is a dense read, full of inspiring encouragement and common sense. I will have this on my nightstand for months to come.

On the Prairie

I think it fitting that this January, which marks MLK Day, the biggest thing in my life, as the meme in the beginning of this post alludes to, is the fact I am now 100% debt-free. I started my journey after my aunt introduced me to Dave Ramsey seven years ago. Through multiple moves, job changes and medical issues, I was able to pay off $30,000 of debt on just one salary. A lot of people on Dave’s podcast pay off more debt and quicker, but I’ve finally finished the journey and can now concentrate on doing what I love – writing!

 

The Month in Review: Bah, Humbug, Tiny Timmy Ferriss!

Behind the Scenes

My uncle contacted me out of the blue this month and asked if I would translate a birth certificate for a relative of his. Since I didn’t have much planned for the evening, I sat down with a photocopy of the 200-year-old document and was blown away by what I discovered. This relative’s very great-grandfather was born in a French-controlled section of Germany in 1809. I was surprised because in all my years of studying and teaching French, I’ve heard every “we surrender” joke vis-à-vis France. But it seems Napoléon exerted his military muscles and extended the eastern borders of France, albeit for only 20 years. After all these years, France never ceases to amaze me!

If you have a document in French & you want it translated into English – an article, birth/marriage/death certificate in your family genealogy, or even a recipe you’ve seen on Pinterest, let me know – I can translate it for you with quick turnaround!

What I’ve Been Saying

I took a couple of my best blog posts from my old blog and put them up on medium.com. If you want to read about one of my many dating disasters (which generated the most comments from the entire blog), you can view it here. Another entry deals with taking one ex-landlord to small claims court, which was an experience last year I hope I never repeat!

What I’ve Been Reading

So many people have read Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week, I thought I would give it a try. Ferriss claims to be a Guiness World Record holder in tango, a star on a Taiwanese TV show, a human rights activist and a college dropout. But read it further, you find out he merely twirled a tango dancer on Regis & Kelly, never mentions his Taiwanese TV show, only worked at a human rights think tank (a job he admittedly hated) and dropped out of an Ivy League school for 3 semesters but still mysteriously graduated at 21 or 22.

He is a shameless self-promoter with a *very* inflated ego, and he never actually tells you how to build a business. Much less a business you can run overseas! The only real takeaway for me was that you can create systems to make your work day go more smoothly: hire virtual assistants, control your emailing habits, don’t schedule meetings if you can help it, etc. Not all bad ideas, but this was a better blog post or magazine article instead of a 300-page “I’m awesome” manifesto.

On the Prairie

Enjoy the pictures of the Christmas trees at my parents’ house and where I work. I hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season!

 

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The Month in Review: Thank You for Being a Friend

What I’ve Been Saying

I finally finished the loose narrative threads I had to tie up and with The Nun Diaries and will submit it to the editor for one final pass. My goal is to have the book ready for Lent, a little insight and levity in what is usually a somber Christian season. I am using a different editor than I did the first pass, so this will be a learning experience for me as an end consumer. If you have any questions about how I can help you with the editing process, drop me a line – I would love to discuss what I can do for your projects!

What I’ve Been Reading

I have been on a big francophile reading kick, and I snapped up my copy of At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life by Jennifer L. Scott, one of my favorite bloggers. It is an extension of her first book Lessons from Madame Chic, and this new tome delves into happy routines you can place in your day to make your life less hectic and more chic/charming at home. Now I am not a natural hostess, so I was initially apprehensive that all she would talk about would be entertaining. But Scott does not dwell on dinner parties as the title might imply; she talks about about savoring a cup of tea and some dark chocolate, a DIY mani, or specific CDs to enjoy throughout the day. That I can do! It was a fast, fun read, written in Scott’s breezy prose. Magnifique.

On the Prairie

I just spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family and here are a couple fantastic vistas I enjoyed – one of the State Capitol where I live in a blazing sunset (taken through a screen window so it’s a bit blurry – I ought to be on Instagram!) and a crescent moon at 3:00 in the afternoon. I am so grateful for the beauty around me, for my family and for you reading this blog! May this holiday season be a wonderful one for you and yours!

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The Month in Review: Nobel Prized Possession

Behind the Scenes

I edited a really cool article this month emphasizing the importance of creating a good strength base for female soccer players. This reminds me of why I need to stick with my physical therapy as I struggle to return to running again. The article I did highlighted the importance of incremental successes. Since I haven’t run in a year, it is easy for me to get frustrated with how slow the progress is, but I trust in the process and I trust I will be a better runner when this is all done!

 

What I’ve Been Reading

I can’t lie – I literally screamed when I heard Patrick Modiano won the Nobel Prize for Literature this month. He was the first 20th century French novelist I got into. What particularly affects me is how he talks in echoes – colors, gestures, places and characters come back to haunt you like something out of a memory. I dusted off my well-loved copy of Out of the Dark, from his Du plus loin de l’oubli translated by my mentor Jordan Stump. The nameless narrator tells of his first time he talked to his lost love after 15 years apart:

And the conversation would go on for hours on this terrace. Empty words, hollow sentences, as if she and I had outlived ourselves and could no longer make even the slightest allusion to the past. She was perfectly comfortable with her part. And I didn’t blame her: As I went along I too had forgotten nearly everything about my life, and each time wholes stretches of it had fallen to dust I’d felt a pleasant sensation of lightness (132).

And if you think that prose is intoxicating, you should read it in French!

Have any documents you need translated into French or Spanish? Reach out – I would love to talk to you about how I can help! I did my honors thesis under Professor Stump and he was the one who instilled in me a passion for conveying the meaning through translation.

On the Prairie

Even though the weather turns on a dime from 50 degrees one day to 80 the next, I had fun attending a local craft show – one of the first of the season. I went knock-kneed for a coffee table that was a refurb of a mid-century table, sanded down, painted with chalk paint then sealed with wax. Simply gorgeous! See here with my birthday Harry & David pears from my bestie Cat.

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KABOOM! Enjoy the explosion of autumn colors around town courtesy of Mother Nature!

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