Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Indiana (And to me!)

Here's a story about a little girl born in Indiana on the anniversary day that Indiana became a state, December 11th.

The day started out as a blizzard, that day on December 11th, Indiana's birthday. Her dad was a long haul trucker and had to work. He was "on the road." Her mom had to make it to the hospital slip-sliding on treacherous roads in Noblesville, Indiana, but she made it in time. The snow stopped.

The doc went outside to hunt rabbits while the young mother, who had lost 5 previous babies, labored and worried. The doctor told the nurse to "hollar out the window" when it was time. The state, Indiana, was celebrating its birthday, too.

The dad finally made it home, came to the hospital, and the baby was already there. The mom, drugged by some drug called "twilight" (awake, but feeling little pain by that point,) cried and said, "I'm sorry, it's a giiiiiiirrrrrl."

The dad grinned and said, "We'll keep her, anyway."

Missing both of them on my birthday, and yes, I'm still a Hoosier Girl.



Wow, that's fascinating
Fascinating Fingers in Indiana



Crystal around 4 years old Noblesville house
Back in the "old" days since the camera mom had didn't have a flash, photos had to be taken outside. Yes, it was cold! It was December in Indiana, c'mon.


Crystal at 5
5th Birthday in Noblesville, Indiana (note the milk box behind the little brother)
Hey, You! This is my doll.
Hey, you!
Chickens are almost too close
I still look like this in the morning!
 



_MG_3926_edited-1
Crystal, still in Indiana on her birthday (and yes, it's cold and snowy)

Happy Birthday, Indiana!
December 11, 1816
(And no, I'm not telling you what year I was born.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Paperdoll

As you can see, I have spent time as a paperdoll

I want to admit some things as I'm aging fast this week (I'll go up a whole year in one day!)

  • I've been a paperdoll. True that. I wanted nothing more than to lie flat and look good forever. Oh, yeah, and to have a fabulous paper wardrobe with matching purses and earrings.
  • Real life made me get off the paper and scrape my shins and bleed, and sometimes I cry too much.
  • Four boys in my life made me worry to the point of graying my hair and wrinkling that skin between my eyeballs.
  • I have been more than angry on occasions. What is it when you go beyond being angry? (The boys call it "Momma-Meltdown.")
  • I hate sweating, but it comes even more with age, I found out.
  • My mouth gets me into trouble when I take it out of the smile-mode. Pasting on a smile sometimes is a good thing.
  • Sometimes all I want to hear from you is, "I'm sorry. You're right."
  • Dogs can be the best things in my world. (Except when they pee and poop on my floor and nearly knock me out.) 
  • Cats are the next best thing except they get hair all over the place. I'm not sure I could stomach a bald cat, though.
  • It's time to focus and find regular times to write since I'm not getting any younger. (Are you with me?)
Peace Out,
Crystal

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The Best Christmas Pageant EverThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


When my boys were young, I read this book to them and fell in love with the story. It's one of my favorite stories EVER. I read it to my boys every year until they simply got too old to sit night-after-night approaching Christmas to sit and listen (Four boys are quite busy.) I hope that we all can approach the Christmas story with the fresh eyes of someone hearing the story for the first time.Robinson captures it perfectly with endearing characters and humor.

If you haven't read this story, no matter if you have children in your life or not, you must read it, is my advice.




View all my reviews


Crystal Laine Miller

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Spring Girl: Sarah Sumpolec

Author Sarah Sumpolec
Going back to the color issues, I have a poster girl for spring, I think. What do you think? That strawberry blonde hair and youthful outlook is so Sarah. She has this great series for teens and was a wonderful Kid interview on my blog, When I Was Just a Kid.

Even her web sites go with her "spring" vibe. She's a writer with a dark past who came to the true light of Christ. Do check out her Becoming Beka books and blog and various other hang outs like Twitter and Facebook and her blog, Girls, God and the Good Life.

It's hard to find springs but they are clear, light and warm. If you think you're a spring, try looking at Lora Alexander's Pretty Your World.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Break 'Em All

You know that old saying if you don't aim at anything, you won't hit anything? (Something like that.) I really understand this as I used to compete in trapshooting. Making analogies between shooting and writing became so easy for me.


Let me tell you just a little about trapshooting. In trapshooting it is tricky because a clay target is thrown out of a traphouse by this machine that only has so many angles, but you never know which way it will come out. You stand on one of five stations, and each time you change stations, the picture changes. There are things like wind, heat (that gun can get hot!) and distance to contend with your shot.

A shooter looks down the sight of her shotgun, and even the recoil can mess with your shot. (Especially if it hits you in the face and you begin to "flinch" when you shoot. Kind of like getting bad reviews or rejections.)You get someone beside you or even behind you saying or doing something annoying, and that can also play with your shot (and play with your mind.)

So many things. You pull the gun in tight, place your face against the stock, and look into an area above your gun. You call for the target, and expect to see it rise up above your gun. Once it comes into your sight ("touching" the end of your gun in the sight) you pull the trigger. If you are behind the target, it's a miss. ("Loss!") If it has gotten out too far before you pull the trigger, you miss. Sometimes you shoot too quick. Sometimes you shoot too slow. (Just like reading the market!)

Over the years everything I do seems to come down to what I learned in shooting. I found I could apply the lessons I learned from my coach, Kay Ohye (an amazing mens' champion) to most of my life. I could hear his voice in my head as I would shoot. ("Don't get too quick! Patience!"--My biggest problem was shooting too fast.) No matter how I shot on one trap, I had hope when I moved to the next station. The point was to move on. You didn't quit just because you missed every target on the first station. (Five shots, but if you hit the rest of them, you get a 95!)You didn't let down and relax just because you hit 99 straight shots and just had "one more." (There are a 100 shots/targets total--4 traps/25 shots per trap/5 shots per station.)

So over the course of writing this blog, I'll probably refer to trapshooting now. If you just "throw" the end of your gun toward the target, you will not hit your target. Focus. Focus on the target. This is the word I wrote down in my "goals" folder I started.

Think about what kinds of goals you have. Here's a template I use. You might want to try it.

Words for the Year: Crystal: Look/Focus/Act


Spiritual Goals:

* Read the English Standard Version of the Bible
* Continue study with the Messianic Jews on the Torah
* Pray specifically for someone other than my immediate family or self each day.

Personal Goals:
(I've actually met some of these so far this year, so I'm adjusting these.)

Overall Professional Goals:



Professional Goals for the Year:




(This is me in Savannah, GA competing in a Southern regional shoot.)


Those of us in shooting have a saying to encourage our fellow shooters--"Break 'em all!"

Let me know some of your goals and I'd love to hear what your current "word" is that will help you with your goals. 

~Crystal Laine Miller

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's Your Best Colors to Wear? Winter

Sometimes I have gone shopping with friends to find a special outfit for an event. They want to look their best. They ask for my input on something that is important to them. I take that role seriously if someone asks me. Some of my best memories are shopping with my mother for school clothes and it brings a bit of warmth to me to remember that, so if I'm asked to help someone pick out clothes, I like to do that. I am not so good at shopping for myself. Maybe I keep expecting my mom to swoop in and find just the right cut and color for my clothes?

I have a past in art and know that certain colors convey certain "messages" to those who see them. For example, most of you have heard of the red "power" tie. Red is a bold color, but it can be blue red or orange red. It can be dark red, clear red or light red. Can you successfully wear red? Specialists in color theory say yes--if it's the right red. I like a cherry red, but usually only in accessories. It's not usually a color I choose for a sweater or sweatshirt--even though it's my alma mater's color--Cardinal Red! (Ball State University.)

That's just one color example. Tell me the color you most likely will pick to wear in say, a blouse, sweater, sweatshirt? I do think that is a bit telling about you. Many times we're drawn to colors that do suit us. For example, as I type this, I'm wearing a periwinkle blue sweatshirt. I also have a purple sweatshirt that I never fail to get compliments on even though I bought it probably 20 years ago in Seattle! I adore another sweatshirt that is a yellow green moss color that I go to when I need comfort. (It's from Mackinac.) There are times that I will throw one outfit after another into a pile and it just seems so wasteful! If I can't decide what to wear, I pick black to appear neutral and fade into the wall. I wish to pick colors that just make me look slimmer and healthier. :)

Let's Look at Winter

N.J. Lindquist, an author and writing teacher, is someone I've known online for years. She always looks so put-together at events and on her web page, but I've never met her in person. When I look at her photos, to me, it seems obvious that she is a winter. Her writing even seems to go with her coloring and how she presents herself. (She writes novels--mystery.) I interviewed her on When I Was Just a Kid and you can see that here. Even her web site reflects her best colors and she just looks so polished. If you are a professional speaker, teacher, writer like she is, you can see how her audience will trust her in giving information or telling stories because she knows who she is.
Author N.J. Lindquist looks stunning in black--a color for winters
Another author friend (right here in Indiana) who is a winter is Colleen Coble. Colleen is CEO of the American Christian Fiction Writers and also writes award-winning romantic suspense and historical romantic suspense for Thomas Nelson. She has a mentoring and warm personality, never meeting a stranger. Recently she lost some weight and while I never have seen her look frumpy but always polished, she really shines now with the health and vibrancy of feeling good. Her smile glows and she has a lot of confidence. Can you see how well winter colors would work on her?

Colleen Coble looks beautiful and brilliant in her winter's red

Finally, another author friend who also teaches at conferences, writes articles as well as books, and does editing is Candy Neely Arrington. Candy has leadership roles, as well as speaking and appearing on TV for her articles and books on dealing in the aftermath of suicide and also caring for your parents, and music performances. She always looks beautiful in her winter palette for her clothing.


Candy is bold and beautiful in her blue that sparkles on winters

You can see how wearing the right colors can enhance the message you are bringing. Even though each of these women are writers, they need to make public appearances often. They need to be perceived as approachable, but also authoritative in their field. Your accessories and earrings, even your shoes and purse can pull your look together--but what colors should you be wearing?

Are you a winter? Go to my poll and check what you think your season might be or check the links below first to determine your best colors. And be sure to stop by Lora Alexander's web site to take her quiz if you're not sure. If you still are not sure, you can always purchase Lora's book or ask her to do an evaluation that she offers for purchase on the site. Lora breaks the four seasons into more refined palettes, which helps to narrow down your best colors, even within your season. She has Cool Winter, Clear Winter and Deep Winter.  I appreciate her art work (all the drawings are her own) to give you a better idea of the coloring of each season.

What's your favorite color to wear? What color that you wear gives you the most compliments or even gives you comments of "you look great!" What color do you wear that you always get an "are you feeling ok?"

One more comment for writers--if you are describing your heroine or hero in the story, be sure you look over the eye color/hair color and the signature color that person wears. Even if you put that character in a hideous color for her, it can be important to your story. Can you imagine any of these authors in mustard yellow? (I don't think so. And they'd probably tell you they wouldn't be caught in that color, too.)