Monday, September 19, 2011

postcard...see it, feel it, believe it...

I have officially received my postcard confirming that my submission has been in hand with someone from Chronicle Books.
The wait was almost exactly six months, which is what they had said to expect with submission, and no, I had not forgotten! ha!
So with no acceptance letter, but yet no denial letter either, I will enjoy the postcard and use it as my reminder to keep writing, and keep submitting when ready, and to always move forward with confidence in the direction of my dreams and desires.
I do believe they are not only possible, but that they are already in progress!

"If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed."-David Viscott

amy jene clark

Friday, May 13, 2011

Breakfast for dinner....

After I posted the last blog, I was summoned to cook dinner and it came to my attention that between, taking kids to school, and birthday parties, studying for my new class, folding what seems like endless laundry, working out, proofreading some stories, library time, grocery shopping, and many other things that I do during my busy day, I forgot one thing which I rarely forget about, but I forgot to plan dinner, ha! The kids were bugging me “what’s for dinner?”

And then again ‘hubby’ “what’s for dinner-did you take anything out for dinner?” Like I said it is rarely forgotten, I am usually in the kitchen from five to eight on most nights doing dinner, clean up, and lunch packing! Oh my goodness can a gal get a night off? Needless to say, a last minute dinner is easy for us women, either order out, whip up some bean burritos, and as for tonight good ole’ never fails “breakfast” for dinner! Yes, we had scrambled eggs, bagels, strawberries and yogurt, sliced oranges, and some leftover frozen ham in the freezer from Easter that I threw in the skillet! Oh what it means to be the cook in a house full of hungry people?
So that is why I decided to jump back on and type this up.
The kids were coming in and out of the kitchen to see what I was cooking, (when they get hungry it all hits at once) and while I was cracking the eggs, I announced breakfast for dinner, and Hannah said” great idea” and,” Madi yelled out “my favorite-breakfast for dinner make my eggs like ‘Mimi’ does!!” And Jason and Noah will eat anything, so everyone calmed down, and went off doing what they do, while they waited for dinner to be on the table. Ha!
I sit at the table eating quietly watching my family fill their plates, and scarf there dinner. Jason filled his mouth with a bite of ham and said “I would not have known what to make, but this is GOOD!” (He never complains!)
It got me thinking about how I have been a home cook for kids and/or a husband for more than twelve years, and how different cooking  is compared to my first times ever cooking up meals, till now. It got me smiling as I sit there in stillness while the family scraped their plates, I remembered burning my first chicken fried steak meal, and thought about how second nature it is now, and how I could never keep my eggs from turning brown on the bottom, compared to the fluffy organic-yellow goodness I make now, and how all my cakes I use to attempt were flat and dry, and how now I can make a cake without using a recipe today.
These thoughts got me thinking about my post, and again the impacting words “when you know better you do better.”
I thought it might be fun to ask all of you wifey/mommy cooks, about your first times being in your first kitchens, and about some of the first meals you ever cooked, and/or, how many catastrophes and years it took before we became the chefs they kiss goodnight?
Breakfast for dinner,

Knowing & Doing....

­Three months down and NO rejection letter.
I am back in school! I am taking evening classes to be a Health and Wellness Professional, with an emphasis on Sports Medicine, as well obtaining my Certifications in Personal Training/Fitness through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine).
NASM‘s mission is to empower individuals to live a healthy life. NASM is the leading authority in certification, continuing education, solutions, and tools for health and fitness, sports performance, and sports medicine professionals. The systematic and scientific approach to fitness continues to raise the bar as the “gold standard” in the industry. Today, NASM serves as the global authority in more than 80 countries, serving more than 100,000 members!
Yes, as those that know me well, I am extremely passionate about practicing good health, and solid physical fitness. I have always been an athlete, and have self taught myself the “in’s and out’s” of nutrition to help support my passion for cooking, and yes lets me honest eating! I have been working on this for years now. With the support of my hubby, I have had the time, and ability to transform my kitchen to a 75% organic kitchen. I have read, and researched the pro’s and con’s of the different foods and choices we have in the world today, and have fell in love with all the holistic ways to create a  healthier ‘you’ and am proud of our families transition. We have been working on the transition against affordability, accessibility, and adaptability, what I refer to as the triple A’s no-one ever claimed becoming healthier nutritionally was going to be a transition you could do over night. I have found for the average American the transition will be a slow one. First and for most learning how to create a budget friendly kitchen with growing mouths can be a challenge, and we all know some of the healthier choices are a bit more expensive. I have found baby steps are the way to go with affordability. As for having the access to our healthier choices well sometimes that can be even more of a challenge, especially with the cost of gas, again affordability. I admit that I am only able to find some things locally in the town I particularly live in, and have found myself adjusting the gas budget to make a trip or two a month to other farmers markets toward the city, as well as stores like Whole Foods Market, but there are ways, I have been doing this slowly for three years now, and am now at the point where our family doesn’t even notice the effect to the budget, or lack of accessibility. We have created a lifestyle around the triple A’s, by adding a fourth and making it an Adventure. The easiest of all for my family was adaptability. Each of us decided to try different things, and add new things to our pantry and freezer, by the middle of our transition we had one kid asking for lentils for dinner, and the other kid hoping for grilled cod! I am not exaggerating, my kids adapted very easily, and to be perfectly honest the first few changes, made the rest something to look forward to. I only write all this because of something I have heard on Oprah several times that has impacted my life, “when you know better, you do better” so I just wanted you all to know!
As for my writing, yes I am still writing, and yes, I am strongly passionate for my writing, that has always been with me, and always will, in fact I have written a children’s picture book story about Health and Wellness, and am excited to see what Simon & Schuster will say! Wish me luck!
Sneak Peak on latest submission:
A hippo-licious, food-a-licious menu—seven days a week
Making healthy choices on how we all eat
Yummy in the tummy, even with NO meat!
Hippo-licious, food-a-licious seven days a week!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Now what??

So I did it. I carried my manuscript all the way to the post office, paid for the postage, I added a SASE (well a postcard per the publisher’s request), sealed the envelope, and handed the "precious creation" (precious to me that is) to the postal worker, who than tossed it in a large bin full of mail.
Bata-boom! It is on its way to the publisher.
Now what?
Write more, re-read my query, re-read my submission, wait some more, write something fresh, but I can’t write, my mind lingers back to my submission, oh no, now what?
It is like I am in limbo now, so I ask again now what?
I am writing fewer than 500 usable words a day, and I am in need to challenge myself on redirecting a plot I have been working on, but somehow am stuck in the middle of everything I touch, so now what?  
I exclusively sent the MS to the one publisher, and I know they receive 1000 submissions a month, and my “precious creation” is within the slush pile patiently waiting its turn to be picked up, and read, and alas’ accepted to be put in print for the world to see! Well that is how I see it sitting within the slush pile.
Letting go of projects that have been released to the world can be a challenge in itself. I had worked on this project for two years everyday, I somehow thought sending it out would help me to move on from it, but I find myself still revising, and critiquing the “precious creation.” I am not neurotic, well maybe a little; however I am not hovering around the mailbox, but hope for a reply does cross my thoughts each day. The submission guidelines stated a reply within a six month period, and so I know this wait will be long, and given the statistics that 98% of MS that are submitted are rejected, well this leaves for a long limbo feeling that could lead to a stinging rejection, so I ask again, now what?
Yes, rejection is a part of the writing life, and yet optimistically 2% of the time, so is acceptance, but mostly I think a simple reply from the agent or publisher is really what writers are waiting for, I guess the wait it is on,
so now what?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Endless Inspiration...

Everyday you say to me "dank-goo!"

I know it means “thank you,” but somehow comes out “dank-goo.”

You find a crumb, and I say “bring it here and let me see.”

You run real fast over to me…
I say “thank you,” and you place it in my hand,
just a speck—no bigger than sand.

You run to play, but before you leave you always stop to say, “dank-goo.”

I know it means “thank you” but somehow comes out “dank-goo!”

I love you my little Baaboo,
Love, Mommy.

My Darling Boy-Noah Robert Clark, my inspiration is endless with you...


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Letter to Hubby...All things are possible...

Jason, name meaning ‘healer’ Amy, name meaning ‘dearly loved; beloved’
We were set up on a blind date; I finally made it to the date after standing you up two times prior to our first meeting. I was a little scared to start dating again, and was even more scared of a blind date. We were suppose to meet in February, one date I just didn’t show, and the next date I couldn’t show, so I promised to meet you this time the first weekend of March. I did show up, but three hours late, I was full of fear, and all to familiar with let down to have hope in a blind-date, however it was the start of our relationship, the beginning of our life, and from that night on we have not been apart.
That night you called me a few times, and I procrastinated and told you I was running late. You had worked all day, mowed your lawn, and even got in a wreck on the way to our date, thankfully just a fender-bender, needless to say you were patient with me, and insistent on meeting, however I think you thought I wouldn’t show, you didn’t change out of your lawn mowing clothes, luckily the meeting place “Tanners” that attire blended in, besides you had me with the “hard-working man look” little did I know the white t-shirt, and khaki shorts, and ball-cap, was all just you being lazy cause you thought I wouldn’t show up! Ha! Oh and I must not forget I almost passed out at the birken-stock sandals and orange and khaki socks, yes this is true, you really wore sandals and socks, no-one else could of pulled that off, but somehow, I found it cute! The weird thing is I can remember how surprised you were when you met me, I really think you thought I wouldn’t show, or that I would be some crazy girl who you would never see again, but the look you gave me that night, is the same way you look at me today. We instantly connected, and however cliché, it was as if no-one else was in the room. I was resistant of the relationship, but with my resistance, came your persistence. You were for real, you really loved me, and you have never stopped. You were right, we were meant to be together. I never thought I could love, or trust, or believe in someone like I do you. You have healed me of that, by one simple thing, love, it is very powerful, but I didn’t know that. You are the most patient, gentle, kind, and loving person I know, and I am blessed to be able say that, and it actually be the truth. You have never shown an evil side, you have never been harsh or unkind, and you have always loved me dearly. Yes, we had some times of chaos, and stress, and times where I was still learning to trust, but through it all you stayed true to who you are, and we got through it. Thank you for sharing these virtues, you have made me a better person, and that makes me happy. I am so proud to be your wife, the mother of your children, and I am excited to see what is next with you and me. I have prayed everyday that God would bless you, and help you with your decisions, I knew it was coming, you deserve it. You never gave up, you were never selfish, always patient, hopeful, positive, kind, and you made many sacrifices for me, and the kids, and we seen that, and so did God. This year is your year, I am proud of you! Our journey is just beginning, and we have learned so much, and gained experience from it all, and now we know with love, and patience, and perseverance, anything is possible, even in sandals and socks! I love you Jason.
Your wife, Amy

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Irish Twins...?? Did you know??

Irish Twins…Do you have an Irish twin?
Did you know??
The term “Irish twins” is used to describe two children born to the same mother within 12 months of each other or born in the same calendar year. Given that it is a somewhat derogatory term, it is generally not used in print or in polite society. As is the case with many terms with derogatory origins, some people use it without thinking about the implications of the deeper meaning. The roots of the idea behind the term are actually quite old, although no one knows when, exactly, people first began to talk about Irish twins. In both England and the United States, a massive influx of Irish immigration in the 1800s led to a negative connotation with Irish people and society. This often happens when a large immigrant group begins to settle in mass numbers in a new country. The Irish were accused of being backwards and uncultured, and it was assumed that they were uneducated, dirty, and a general pox on society. As a result, the use of the word “Irish” began to be pejorative. A number of derogatory terms incorporating stereotypes about the Irish began to emerge, including “Irish confetti” for thrown bricks and “Irish kiss” for a slap. An Irish twin fit into this vernacular, and was actually insulting on multiple levels. Firstly, the term pokes fun at the stereotypical fertility of Irish Catholic families, which traditionally do not use birth control. In addition, it implies that the Irish lack the ability to plan ahead or control themselves, having children in quick succession rather than responsibly spacing them. Finally, it suggests that the Irish do not understand the medical definition of twins, which involves two children conceived and born together.

I find all of this strange! And maybe the term and the original origin was a way to stereotype, and criticize, and insult people, but what about the children who were born in this order and ended up with a best friend? I had a very close bond with my brother “Irish Twin” and feel very lucky to have had a sibling only 11 months younger than me! This is what brought me to the actual history of the term, an American slang term, for derogatory use.

Today is my brother’s birthday, and as he turns 31, I always get a kick out of the fact we are the same age for the next month until I take a turn at the next year older! As a kid I loved being the oldest! However, learning more about the term “Irish twin”, it hit me we are not Irish, or Catholic…lol…we are just 11 months apart, and blessed.
You see I grew up with good times, and bad times, but through it all I had a best friend by my side! There are times I wish I would have been nicer, but like I said I was the oldest! HA!

One memory that always stands out to me was when my brother and I were walking from the pool after being there all day. Up the hills, and below the sun, we walked and walked and walked…living in Arkansas, the roads were especially hilly, and in the middle of summer, the long roads seemed endless. We were headed toward our family restaurant; in our young minds it seemed closer than it was.
An hour down, we still had a few more miles to go.
A car slowly pulled up next to us and asked if we wanted a ride. What should we do? Our minds raced, we hesitated at first. “Never talk to strangers, keep walking, RUN!” All the red flags were going off, but we got in the car anyway.
Tired, and dehydrated our good sense left us.
The air conditioning felt nice, and the couple seemed harmless. We both were nervous, and were hoping this would not turn out like in the movies. (We watched a lot of movies, our minds had an abundant library of the “what could happens”)
The couple, however, safely took us to the restaurant.
I know technically that we did the wrong thing and got into the car, but I guess we felt safe if we were together. I would have never got into that car alone, and in fact I doubt I would have attempted to walk to the restaurant alone either; however they were both my ideas. I was known as the brave one, ambitious, and strong, again I was the oldest; however-
I was only brave because I was never alone, thanks be to the idea of “Irish Twins!” Derogatory or Blessed? What do you think? Any ideas on what word to substitute Irish for?
……..A young reader underway……..
 The Adventures of the Irish Twins

Happy Birthday to Stephen Lee.