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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

This Blog Has Moved

Please go to www.KarenGoltz.com to see the archives from this blog and all new posts.  Thank you!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I'm Moving!

No, not to my 36th residence (well, OK, yeah, that's happening too, but that's not the subject of this post).  After nearly two years on Blogger, I'm moving over to Wordpress.

I've also got a fancy new domain name, one that I think will make it simpler for people to find me.  See, when I started this blog in June 2011 (pretty much on a whim), I foolishly chose a long name for my blog and went with the free blogspot domain name.  That resulted in my URL being karen-lifetheuniverseandeverything.blogspot.com, which I think you'll agree is pretty awkward.  I also had no idea what I wanted this blog to be.

In the nearly two years of writing this blog, I've begun to figure out who I am as a writer.  Perhaps the greatest discovery I've made is that I am a writer, not just someone who likes to write.  So I haven't published a book yet.  So my publishing credentials consist of a couple dozen sermons at www.DesperatePreacher.com and a single newspaper article that made it out of my journalism class and into the town paper back in high school.  I have this blog.  I have my independent publishing house Quiet Publications, where I'll begin publishing inspirational daily devotions on Sunday, May 19.  That's also where I'll make available some bible studies I've written, and I have a number of longer writing projects I'm working on for that, both nonfiction and fiction.  I'm also getting ready to launch another blog that will focus entirely on homeschooling, since that seems to be taking up a great deal of my time and attention these days, and I'm just at the very beginning of that journey!

But I also have opinions on politics and religion.  I'd like to share some of my observations about what I see going on around me.  I'd like to talk about the process of writing.  I'd like a place where I can just be me and write whatever strikes my fancy, whether it's a profound insight on the human condition or a silly meme.  As I continue to find my place as a religious writer, homeschool blogger, and novelist, I'd like to have one place to tie all that together.

So that's why I'd like you to bookmark and/or subscribe to the new home of Karen's Take on Life, the Universe, and Everything at www.KarenGoltz.com.  (Creative, huh?)

I have ported all my archives (though not the comments--sorry!), and from now on, all future posts will be at www.KarenGoltz.com.  I truly hope to see you over there!

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Boston

I woke up this morning to a scene from a Bruce Willis movie.  There was a robbery, an MIT police officer shot and killed, a carjacking, police chase, shoot-outs, even grenades!  The entire city of Boston and some of its surrounding communities were on lock-down.  With the images of bombed-out Back Bay still fresh in my mind, this insomniac regretted the inability to go back to sleep and escape from the nightmare unfolding.

Of course, I'm watching all of this on my computer 42 miles away from the chaos.  My community isn't on lock-down.  Police aren't warning me to stay away from my windows.  But the very first blog post I ever wrote talked about where I'm from, and I proudly answered the question by saying, "I'm from Boston."  I might currently live in New Hampshire, but I'm from Boston.  I find a reason to visit my city at least once a month, sometimes more.  My kids can recognize the Boston skyline, and they get really excited whenever they see it.  They've been asking me all winter when we can go back and have another picnic in Boston and ride on the swan boats again.  Spencer plans to attend MIT when he gets older, and Naomi has her heart set on Harvard.  (I didn't program them to say this; they came up with it on their own!)

Back Bay is one of my favorite areas of Boston, and it was attacked on Monday.  Its media profile has been one of chaos and carnage.  I drive through Cambridge nearly every time I go in town, and now that's being associated with the terrorists as well.  And Watertown?  Watertown is currently experiencing a door to door search by police, with residents being warned to only open the door for uniformed police officers.  When I lived in Arlington, Watertown was home to one of my favorite restaurants.  It was also the home of a boy I had a serious crush on in high school, and it was where my mother's best friend bought her first house.  Now it has SWAT teams and a tank.  Those are the images being broadcast to the world.

But that's not my Watertown.  This isn't my Boston.  I understand that events have happened which are outside of our control and that we must respond to them.  I understand that many people's lives have been forever changed by what has happened and is happening this week, and in many ways they will never be the same.  In some ways Boston will never be the same; we will always know that it can happen here.  But we can incorporate that knowledge without it redefining us.

I've lived in the greater Boston area for more than three quarters of my life.  I have lots of memories of the areas that have been affected this week.  And I choose to keep my memories unsullied.  I won't deny what happened, and I won't forget, but I won't let the events of this week replace everything I know of Boston.  I expect Back Bay to be restored.  I'm sure it will include some memorial to the victims, as it should, but that memorial will be incorporated into Back Bay.  It won't replace Back Bay.  Watertown will see the departure of the SWAT teams, guns, and tanks, and go back to being Watertown, with the memory of today slipping into the overall consciousness of the town but eventually losing its power.  The T will run again, businesses will reopen, and Boston will again be Boston.  We'll continue our fierce rivalry with New York, exchanging boasts and insults as we always have, but knowing that when things get serious we've got each other's back.

As soon as the weather's nice enough I'm going to take my kids to the Boston Public Gardens so we can have a picnic like we did last year, and ride on the swan boats again.  I'm going to drive past MIT and Harvard, and listen to my kids talk about their futures.  ("Does M-I-T spell MIT?"  Hey, he's only four!)  We'll go back to the Children's Museum, the Science Museum, and I think it's time I introduce them to the Museum of Fine Arts.  We'll probably go back to Symphony Hall for Cartoon Fest next October.  Because all of that is MY BOSTON, and I'm not going to give it up that easily.

The world is looking at Boston and calling it terror and chaos.  And right now it is.  But that's only temporary.  I know what Boston really is, and I'm looking forward to seeing it again.




Monday, April 15, 2013

The Liebster Award






So about two weeks ago I was nominated by Jenn Flynn-Shon over at Random Lunacy for the Liebster Award, which is an award for bloggers with smaller (less than 200) followers.  Thanks Jenn!  From the research I’ve done, it appears that the Liebster Award is a pay-it-forward kind of thing, and to accept it I must follow a few rules.  Which is what I’m doing in this post.

Rule #1:  Post the award on your blog.

Rule #2:  Thank the blogger who nominated you for the award and display a link back to his/her blog.

Rule #3:  Post 11 random facts about yourself.

Rule #4:  Answer 11 questions that the presenter of the award asked you.

Rule #5:  Nominate 11 more bloggers with less than 200 followers that you want to pass the award on to.

Rule #6:  Ask your nominees 11 questions.


So the award has been posted, Jenn has been thanked, and a link has been provided back to her blog.  (Though a link to Jenn’s blog resides permanently on my sidebar—she’s someone I’ve been following for a couple of years now!)


Now for 11 random facts about myself:

1.  I’ve burned a few suppers because I was paying more attention to writing a new blog post than monitoring the progress of the meal.

2.  I thought of my first random fact when I smelled a sudden charring along with the raisin sauce that’s currently simmering on the stove.

3.  Earlier today I coated the bottom of my oven with burned jelly when I was attempting my first ever blackberry turnovers.

4.  Despite random facts 1-3, I’m really a very good cook.

5.  I regularly bake my own bread (in a bread machine) and haven’t bought a loaf of bread since October 2011.

6.  The October 2011 loaf of bread was only purchased because we had a week-long power outage and didn’t want to run the bread machine on the generator.

7.  I don’t usually talk about food this much, but supper’s almost ready and I’m hungry.

8.  To date I’ve only written two blog posts about food.

9.  Last winter I participated in a local-ish CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where I receive about 12 pounds of organic, locally and naturally raised meat each month, and am having trouble going back to grocery store fare now that it’s over.  The CSA stuff really did taste better!

10.  I’m researching other CSAs in the area, hoping to find one that has a pick-up location closer than an hour and twenty minutes away.

11.  When I sat down to write this, I had no intention of making all eleven random facts about food!


Now to answer the 11 questions Jenn asked:

1.  What’s your earliest childhood memory?
I remember standing up in my crib and looking over the side, through my open bedroom door and across the hall at my parents’ closed bedroom door.  My room was dark, as was the hallway, but I could see light shining through the cracks around my parents’ door.  I don’t remember making any noise, but I must have, because the door opened and my mother came into my room and reached for me.  She was wearing a long black nightgown.  If I had to guess, I’d say I was probably about two years old.  I’m pretty sure I was out of the crib and in a bed by the time I was three.

2.  What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
Cocoa Puffs.  I haven’t allowed myself that luxury since I was about twelve.  These days I’m eating Trader Joe’s Bran Flakes.  Yeah, adulthood sucks, especially because I’m still shaped like I eat Cocoa Puffs for every meal.

3.  Do you remember your third grade teacher’s name without looking it up?
Miss Gnecco, I think.  (And I probably didn’t spell it right, either.)

4.  Would you rather be too hot or too cold?
Historically I’ve always said ‘too cold’ because I figure you can always put more on, but there’s only so much you can take off.  However after spending the last couple of years always being cold, I’d like to change my answer now.

5.  Have you ever traveled outside your own country?
Yes, several times.  The first time I was eighteen years old and I went to the Soviet Union (back when, you know, it was the Soviet Union).  Most recently I’ve been to Germany.  Although I got there and came home via Canada and the Netherlands, so I’m not really sure how to count that one.  I’ve been to several other places, as well, but that may turn into a blog post of its own someday.

6.  Where do you think would be the scariest place to discover a body?
Inside my home.

7.  What is your favorite book and why?
Can’t narrow this one down.  The entire Harry Potter series because of the excellent storytelling and characterization.  Stephen King’s The Stand because of the excellent storytelling and characterization.  Lord of the Rings because of the excellent…you get the picture.

8.  What is your name?
Too late to hide it now.  Karen Goltz.

9.  What is your quest?
To simultaneously be a phenomenal wife and mother and a published and respected author.

10.  What is your favorite color?
Forest green.

11.  What is the air speed and velocity of an unladen swallow?
Forty-two.


Now for my nominees.  I’m supposed to nominate eleven: I’ll do two.

(If anyone else would like to play along, grab one of my nine empty slots and have at it!  Just let me know in the comments, so I can be sure to look you up; I’d love to read your answers!)

And for anyone who does accept this nomination, here are my eleven questions for you:

1.  Why did you start blogging?
2.  How many different social media platforms do you use?  (You can name them if you want, but you don’t have to.)
3.  What book do you wish you’d never read and why?
4.  What movie do you wish you’d never seen and why?
5.  What’s your biggest pet peeve?
6.  What did you want to be when you grew up?  (I want the answer from when you really were a chronological child!)
7.  Name the one thing you really want to do before you die (be realistic!).
8.  What are you doing to make sure you accomplish #7?
9.  What was the name of your best friend in seventh grade?
10.  What was/is the name of your imaginary friend (at any age)?
11.  If money were no object, what car would you like to own?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Book Review - Cell War Notebooks

This is a follow-up post to the Blog-a-Thon I did on January 31.


On January 1, 2009, Julie Forward DeMay began her blog cell war notebooks to document her “journey to healing;” she was battling cancer.  On August 10, 2009, Julie died peacefully at home, only two days after her thirty-seventh birthday.  This book is the collection of her blog posts.

Each post is given its own chapter, separating the book into short and easy to read segments.  The book itself is short and can be read in a single sitting.  The chapters are loosely centered around themes, but mostly chronicle Julie’s thoughts on any given day.  Her writing style is casual and inviting, and the reader is drawn into the personal reflections of a young woman conscripted to fight a battle no one would ever choose for themselves, but which far too many must face nonetheless.

She begins optimistically, determined to defeat this invader in her body and resume her life.  She is surrounded by the support of family and friends, and her love for her husband and five-year-old daughter are recurring themes throughout the book.  But as treatment after treatment fails to deliver on the promise of good health, her optimism begins to turn to desperation.  Continue reading...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Literary Pursuits - April 2013

Welcome to the second installment of Literary Pursuits.  This is a monthly-ish feature of my blog intended to keep me honest about what I'm reading and writing.  I last posted on March 1, and I missed my April 1 deadline by a few days.  Oh well.

Anyway, here's where I stand with my reading:

1.  Ingathering: The Complete People Stories by Zenna Henderson:  Still slogging away on this one.  It's a decent read, but I'll be happy when it's over and I can move on to other things.  There are a lot of characters, many of whom are interrelated and not mentioned for multiple chapters at a time; it's tough to keep track when I'm only able to pick up the book for a few minutes every few days.  I'm not abandoning it, though.  I'm up to page 389 (up from 217 last month).

2.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte:  Love having the classics on my phone for those random moments!  I'm about halfway through chapter 16 (up from chapter 12 last month).

3.  The Acts of the Apostles:  I really need to get going on this one.  My self-imposed deadline for publication of my "Gospel Agendas" bible study is the end of this month, and I can't edit the fourth session until I've reread this.

4.  When "Spiritual But Not Religious" Is Not Enough by Lillian Daniel:  I plan on writing a review for this book on Quiet Publications, but it's taking longer than I'd hoped.  Not the book's fault; I've just gotten in the habit of reading my books for review on the stationary bike at the gym, and some things have gotten in the way of that lately.  I'm currently on page 139 out of 215; I hope to finish soon.

Since last month I've finished reading How the Other Half Lives by Jacob A Riis and The Gospel According to Luke.  I've decided to abandon Ethics by Dietrich Bonhoeffer for now.  I'll pick that one up again when I'm not stretched so thin (whenever that mystical day may appear!).

And here's how I've progressed with my writing:

1.  Quiet Devotions:  My May 19 re-launch is bearing down on me, and I'm trying to get as many in the vault as I possibly can.  I'm up to 85, which means I've written 27 since I last checked in.  That's not a good start, since it's been 34 days.  If I were already publishing, I'd be down 7.  That's why I want so many in the vault before I begin!

2.  Gospel Agendas Bible Study:  I have finished rereading Luke's Gospel, but I haven't done any additional editing yet.  DEADLINE APPROACHING!  DEADLINE APPROACHING!  GET TO WORK, KAREN!

3.  Novel:  I've actually made some good progress on this one, though I'm embarrassed to admit that the only way I can make time for it is by ditching the adult Sunday School at church and working on it while the kids are in their Sunday School class.  My word count is now 8,423, so I've added 2,372 words in the last month.  Stephen King advises writing at least a thousand words a day, but Stephen King never had my life.  I'll take what I can get.

4.  Memoir:  I was putting a lot of work into this for a while, but have decided to slow down a bit.  I need to let more time pass before I can even think about publishing it, so the pressure is off to get it done.  I'll still work on it a bit while the memories are fresh, but mostly I'll be prioritizing my other projects.  My current word count is 7,224, so I've added 763.

5.  Quiet Publications Misc:  Nothing active (other than the devotions) but another book review is coming soon.

6.  Blog:  I did a little better this month, with three original posts since the last Literary Pursuits.  I've got two more planned (one of them sort of a meme, the other one original), and we'll just see where it goes.

7.  Sermons:  It's pulpit supply season!  I've got two sermons due this month, and then sometime next month I'll begin covering a six-week paternity leave, so plenty more writing there.

Actually, when I add up the average length of my devotions, my novel, my memoir, and my four blog posts (including this one) my total word count since April 1 is 15,602, which averages out to 459 words per day, every day.  It's still not King's 1,000, but it's nothing to be ashamed of, either.

What have you been up to?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Savior's Love: A Poem

In the virgin light of morning
In the fields with flowers adorning
In the vibrant sun that’s setting
In the mercy of forgetting
I see my Savior’s love.

In the widow’s lonely cry
In the untimely good-bye
In regret for misspent past
In fear of death at last
I see my Savior’s love.

When my joy is made complete
When I’m bowed down in defeat
When good fortune’s sent my way
When the bill demands its pay
I see my Savior’s love.

In all things, good and bad
When we’re joyous, content, or sad,
In every time and place
We see him face to face.
Our Savior brings his love.