I can't believe I've never posted this before!

The lovely and uber-talented Natalie Whipple did me the honor of drawing a scene from my book, Jaded.  I felt like the luckiest writer around to get to see my characters come to life through her art.  So without further ado, I present (for those of you who haven't already seen this) Jade and Jet...arguing.  It's just what they do. :)

I highly suggest clicking on this to blow it up.  I absolutely love the expressions on their faces.

Here's a little blurb about the book:

In the world Jade lives in, superheroes are all about the glory.  When she agrees to take a job as an analyst with the International Bureau of Remarkable Genetic Assets (or IBRAG as she prefers to call it), she  hopes to stay working behind the scenes and not directly with the Assets (she has a nickname for them too).   But she’s smart, and her impeccable mission plans quickly get her noticed.  Before long she finds herself promoted to the coveted position of field agent, and despite her reluctance, she’s sent on a mission with a dozen of the world’s hot-headed, self-important superheroes.

Between Deja View’s constant need to tell her, her five minute future,  “The” Hawk’s efforts to perpetually paint her as a damsel in distress,  and the appearance of an old flame, Jade begins to regret ever agreeing to head up the mission to save the world.  Then she meets Jet.  Some supers wear super suits, some wear Armani, but Jet is the first one she’s met who wears faded t-shirts and threadbare jeans.  From the top of his sun-bleached head to the flip flops on his feet, Jet looks more like a surf bum than he does a super-sonic hero

Seven Things.

Kasie gave me a blog award that entails revealing seven things about yourself others may not know.  She challenged me to come up with something she didn't know about me too.  Considering she's my best friend and knows a lot, that may be hard, but I'll give it my best shot.

1.  I absolutely LOVE terrible 80's love songs.  The cheesier the better, and if they have a bad video to go along with the song I love them even more.  But probably my favorite all time eighties love song/video is actually not from the 80s. It's from the movie, Music and Lyrics.  I'll share...

2. At my grad night I made my own music video with friends to Vanilla Ice's, Ice Ice Baby.

3. I  hitchhiked in Mexico. (I don't recommend hitchhiking ever.  It was really stupid.  Aren't you glad you didn't know that before mom?)

4.  I've been stung by a scorpion.

5. I once salsa danced with a member of the Mexican mafia in Mexico City. (Okay, sorry again, mom.  But I didn't actually know he was mafia at the time.)

6. I participated in some very embarrassing fashion trends in my childhood, like the fan bangs coupled with a bad perm and the wearing of overalls half undone.  My favorite overalls were pink and purple flowers.  (I feel like I need to apologize to my mom again.)

7.  In college my fashion sense improve marginally.  Most of the time I looked like this.

But then I would end up looking like this:

Which one time led to this:
The frown on my face is not so much for the broken arm as it is for the fact that my husband had to fix my hair for eight weeks.  It was almost enough to cause a fight (I say almost because we had only been married a few months and were still blissfully unaware of each other's faults).

So there are my seven things.  I hereby pass this award along to Voidwalker and Shannon, two of my favorite new blog reads.

I recieved an award from Laurel that also has me list things about myself.  The timing is very convenient. :) Thank you for your thoughtfulness Laurel. 

A time for reaching out.

I love this Christmas picture.  It reminds me of the simple joy of Christmas children experience.  It also makes me think about how my own Christmas experience has changed throughout my life.  I love this time of year.  The smell of cinnamon pine cones fills my kitchen and a beautiful red and gold wreath greets all who enter my house.  I find that I'm focused on family and anticipating my long visit home.  I read Benjamin a little storybook about the birth of Jesus at night and we sing Christmas Carols instead of Lullabies.  It's just a warm and fuzzy month full of yummy smells and hope and joy and the people I love.  My life is blessed.

Yet, I realize that this is not a happy time for all.  My husband is often on call, and recently that means more time away from home dealing with tragedy and emergencies.  He's a psychologist and this time of year is busy season.  Why?  Because it's also the time of year that tragedies in our lives can seem overwhelming.  Stress can become almost unbearable for those who have lost jobs and are struggling to hold onto homes or just feed their families.  It's also a time when we feel the loss of  loved ones the most.  This will be my first year home without my grandparents and it's hard for me to imagine the holidays without them.  Yet, I feel fortunate because I know that there are many who will spend their first Christmas without fathers and mothers, siblings and children.  I hope that they will receive an outpouring of love and hope from those around them.  I hope that I will be one of those people to help lift the burden of my neighbor in some small way.

It seems to me that the last few years have been trying ones for many Americans.  Unemployment is at it's highest level in almost three decades.  We've experienced terrorism on our own soil and we're fighting two wars abroad.  People are hurting.  But through it all we are being refined.  On a national level,  I've watched with tears in my eyes as stories of heroism and generosity beyond what I could imagine have been displayed in the news.  I love seeing those stories.  But more than that I love seeing the little things that happen everyday and that seem even more abundant during the holidays.   I've seen the true character of so many people I love and respect emerge through their trials this year.  I've seen people I know are suffering reach out to those around them and forget themselves in service.  I've seen generosity from those who have very little.  I've seen dear friends battling sickness and loneliness with renewed faith and hope.  I am in awe of the human spirit.  I'm overcome with the capacity of men and women everywhere to love and give when times are tough. To me that is what Christmas is truly about. I believe giving to each other is a small token we can each pass along to acknowledge our gratitude for the gift of love we all received that first Christmas.

Every year I get older it seems that Christmas changes just a little bit.  The anticipation of receiving gifts gives way to the anticipation of watching a child's eyes light up.  The pleasure of holiday meals and sweets begins to pale in comparison with the gratitude for physical and mental health.  I find that my eyes wander more often to the nativity than they do the Santa countdown clock.  And the excitement of shopping and parties and Christmas skiing trips can't hold a candle to the simple joy of going home.  Perhaps the biggest change is that giving thanks has become less of reflex and more a true expression of my gratitude for life, even the difficult parts of life that refine us, bring us together, and in the end add to the depth of our ability to feel joy and love.

***I realize this is two serious posts in a row.  What can I say, I'm cyclical.  I'm sure I'll be back to nonsense in no time.