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I visited the Christy awards site to see the  recently released list of nominees for the 2012 awards. I am blessed to have been taught by some of them at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

While visiting the site, I came across the keynote  from last year’s ceremony.

I was “touched” by the moving speech by Randall Wallace, author of The Touch, a finalist for the award this year.

He is a Hollywood Screenwriter, Director, Producer and Songwriter of movies such as:


Pearl Harbor

We Were Soldiers

Man in the Iron Mask


Even with all those credits, the man is humble enough to make fun of himself.

He is not ashamed of the Gospel. He is Baptist and studied at Duke Divinity School.

He made me laugh and cry as he talked of the power of story. Well worth the time to watch:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Braveheart comes on AMC on April 28th at 8:00 pm (I have my DVR set)

Two days ago I spoke of one cash crop. Today, I speak of another one.

This one though only lives in my imagination.

I have often thought that if poison Ivy were a cash crop, I’d be rich. The woods around my house are saturated with it.

And we are highly allergic to it.

My son missed an entire week of school once because I didn’t have the heart to send him with the angry rash that caused his face to swell.

Poor Baby

Why did I take the picture?

I don’t know, but this expression was quite comical.

Why did I post the picture?

Because I used the picture to pitch my screenplay, Posion Ivy Bride, to Dr. Ted Baehr at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference in 2007(I think).

I started by showing Dr. Baehr a picture of my son in his normal state.

I believe it was this picture:

And I said, “I don’t show you his picture to brag but to show you the effects of Poison Ivy.”

You see, my story involves a woman who, days before her wedding, tangles with a poison ivy vine, and well, let’s just say the results are not pretty. And I wanted to show the plausibility of plot.

And you know, he said, “That was a good pitch.”

I was flattered, of course. And I store those compliments to replay in my mind when I feel I’m not good enough to continue in writing.

The evening after the pitch, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned (probably had too much caffeine). But during those late hours, I had somewhat of a revelation about my story.

The groom in my story loved his bride anyway, even with the rash that marred her beautiful complexion. An unconditional love.

Like the one we have in Christ.

We are his Bride (the church). And though we are marred with imperfections–some that make us unable to even love ourselves. Yet, He loves us. With an unconditional love.

In the last scene in my story, when the credits are to roll, I show a different ending to the wedding scene in the movie.

The groom lifts the veil and with his scarred hand he touches the face of his bride, and she is transformed from a thing of ugliness to one of beauty.

2 Corinthians 5:

17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Warning: Do not tell my son I posted this picture. What he does not know will not hurt him. My post wouldn’t have been the same without it. Right?

When most people think of farms they think of cows, chickens, pigs and corn.

I didn’t grow up on that kind of farm.

We had a vegetable garden for our own consumption(and for sharing with others). But we didn’t make money off of it.

No, our cash crop was . . . . tobacco.

And I hated it.

As a teenager I’d use my save-the-world speeches to try to convince my father that what he was growing was wrong. Those speeches never worked. His ancestors raised tobacco. That’s what they did. That’s what they knew to do to earn money. You do what you have to do.

But I’d still try to talk him out of it. We were Christians after all, and Christians didn’t produce things that would be detrimental to a body. We were supposed to respect our temple.

1 Corinthians 6:19
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

I had always hoped scientists would find some medicinal purpose for the plant.

And actually there just might be.

In my research of  frontal lobe epilepsy,my son’s form of the disease,  I found a genetically linked epilepsy that is lessened by Nicotine:

My son’s seizures are controlled by medication (Thank you, God!), but if they weren’t, I’d certainly try it, because, while tobacco, smoking, chewing or dipping are disgusting in my opinion, my son’s seizures were severe enough to make me want to give consent to trying nicotine as a treatment if traditional medicines did not work.

My son hasn’t been genetically tested for ADNFLE(Autosomal Dominant Nocturnal Frontal Lobe Epilepsy) so I don’t know for sure if that is his condition but his seizures are very similar to the one in this article. I know of at least one family member in the past that died of epilepsy related complications(back in the 1950’s, I think).

I suspect there may be some family members that have been self-medicating for years without realizing it.

At his next visit to the Doctor, I will see about having him tested for the gene. It is expensive, but I think it would be good to know (for his future family).

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing nicotine as  a treatment for frontal lobe seizures. It would be a last resort for my son (and fortunately, his  seizures are controlled and he is happy to take his medicine for the rest of his life). And my father is retired now so we do not grow tobacco anymore(Another Thank you, God).

Big I, Little I, What begins with I . . .

I regress back to my Dr. Seuss days.

I am a Big I.

Introvert, that is. On the Myers-Briggs scale.

It means that I need alone time to get energized.

I work in an industry that requires constant contact with people. And for me that is draining.

I LOVE being alone. It recharges me. I have to have it.

So, I choose to go to lunch alone. I choose to exercise at home, away from other people. I chose to write alone.

But–I also enjoy being around other writers. I crave it.

I want to talk about characters and plots, submissions and rejections.

And the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference is the perfect place for those interactions. I find I can actually carry on a conversation at a table of people I’ve never met before.

That happens in no other setting. It seems I become a different person.

I’d say instead of a Big I, I become a little e(extrovert).

In 2005 I attended my first writer’s conference held in Greensboro, NC.

I took vacation days before the conference to prepare my pitches. I had started many contemporary category romances and had one completed. I was naive then. And I still feel naive.

The day before I was supposed to leave for Greensboro, I got the worst migraine headache. I thought I was dying. My husband was at a work, so I called my mother and asked her to take me to urgent care because nothing was going to stop me from attending this conference.

On the way, she had to pull over so I could throw up. We also stopped at a convenience store to get me a coke. By the time I got to the Duke-run urgent care center, I was beginning to feel better(the coke started to do its job–my headaches are caffeine withdrawal induced).

Even though I was on the mend I still felt weird and didn’t feel comfortable driving, so my family took me to the conference and left me there.

The next morning, I realized I had forgotten one essential item necessary if you’re pitching to a respected agent in the industry–deodorant.

I panicked. I couldn’t make a good impression with underarm issues.

Remember, I didn’t have my car because my family dropped me off. I couldn’t just run to the drugstore. What was I to do?

My aunt is allergic to deodorant, and uses body powder instead, and it just so happened I had brought a travel-sized container of body powder that had been given to me as a part of a gift set of Eternity cologne. I’m still amazed that I had packed it, because I had never worn it before.

Problem solved. Those tense nervous moments pitching to the agent wouldn’t mean disaster.

Or so I thought.

As the day went on, I began to experience an itching sensation. I ignored it of course, because I would look ridiculous scratching like a monkey.

That evening, the rash had spread down the inside of my upper arm, making its way down to my elbow.

And yet, I think I did pretty well with my pitch. Hopefully,  I appeared cool and calm while all the while I wanted to scratch like crazy.

Sadly, the agent rejected the proposal I sent to him after the conference (did he sense something was wrong?) .

But still I plug on as I prepare for the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference coming up in May.

And you can bet that on my packing list is a BIG THING(what do you call it, I don’t know-bottle, container, stick?) of DEODORANT.

The Easter Message:

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