Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Housing Development - Update December

Well, Winter is in full swing here in Meeker.

A winter like I've never known. And guess what?

I'm loving it!

This is our back yard and that's Scott's utility trailer filled to the brim!

Many who've moved here from warmer climates tell me they, too loved their first winter. And even the second. But by the third, their love morphed into something quite different. So knowing that is a possibility. I have decided to love this winter with a child-like quality and take in all this winter-wonderland has to offer. Scott and I have explored many of the areas around town and I'm amazed at how differently things look covered in snow! We got a close-up of this bald eagle the other day. What a treat.
Our house continues to progress, albiet too slowly for me. But that's just me wanting to be in my own home. I don't think I'll be able to truly feel like I belong here until then.

Here are a few pictures of the lastest developments.
Yes that's snow INSIDE the house! In what will one day be my kitchen and pantry.

TA DA! A roof!

We had a wonderful Christmas--WHITE Christmas. The day was quiet and we spent time just being a family. We did miss Scotty and Barbara, but we're hoping next year to spend time with them. I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas and spent time in quiet reflection for all God has done to enrich your life. He has been good to us...and we thank Him.

From our family to yours: Have a wonderful New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Like Mary

Dec 25 2007

It's early Christmas morning, six a.m. and I sit and listen to the quiet of this blessed morning. Outside the window, snow droplets continue to fall as they've done most of the night. The landscape has donned a white coverlet. An answer to a small prayer. A smile automatically spreads my lips each time I glance out the window.

On my lap sits my Bible opened to the chapter of Luke. What else on this morning? But Luke 2 is not what captures my heart today, instead Luke 1:45 jumps from the page and wrestles me in. Makes me read it again and again.

"Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" (Luke 1:45 NIV)

On these words, it's my turn to ponder and hold them in my heart. Not only did Mary have to hear the Angel of the Lord, she had to believe the message. Believe that what God said would truly come to pass.
What incredible faith.
Unwavering faith when all logic and reason of her circumstances would push her to say, "No, this can't be true. It's not possible." But not Mary she simply said, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." She really believed that with God all things were possible.

This year—.

I want to hear clearer.

I want to believe deeper.

I want to be more…

Like Mary.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Understand or Amazement?

This time of year usually leads to reflective thought more than other times. And as I contemplate the amazing miracle of the birth of Christ, I wonder how God could have sacrificed that awesome Son for sinners like me.

And as I try to imagine what He was thinking and feeling, I come to understand that I never will understand.

And that's okay.

If I understood what God was thinking or feeling, I would lose the ability to look at His miracles with awe and amazement.

In things of God, sometimes I would much rather be amazed than understand…

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Housing Update - 12/09/07

Last week we picked out our windows, siding, roofing, and stone. I thought it would be great and so easy, but the task was harder than I anticipated. So many choices!!!

We finally made our choices and settled on the colors and types. Hopefully the house will look halfway decent. But the funny thing about building--You never know what it will look like until it's finished. Which we're all ready to see...

Next week the daunting task of deciding on which appliances to choose.

Christmas Tree Shopping

This year our tree shopping took on a different tone. I simply purchased a permit from the National Forest Department then we trekked into the permitted areas and found a tree.

Of course, this sounds much easier than reality would prove…

First, we drove into the White River National Forest as far as our four-wheel drive truck could go. We soon discovered the roads were closed only allowing snow mobile traffic.

After we found a stand of suitable trees, our next step was to reach them.

We trekked up the path toward the stand and soon discovered the ridge was much steeper than it looked and the snow was much deeper.

Scott and Hope braved the climb to find the perfect, well almost perfect, tree.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Giant Step Closer to The End

National Novel Writing Month officially ended November 30th at midnight and I skated in on the 29th with 50,140 words. Yay!! Although not quite finished my novel, participating in NaNoWriMo was an amazing time of writing and discipline. I'm thankful that I took the challenge. It taught me several things.

1. I can write when I don't "feel" like writing.
2. I'm able to work under a deadline.
3. Even if the words are not pure perfection, write anyway.
4. I can ignore the words that are not pure perfection and press on. Until the edit phase…
5. Amazing things happen when you let go and let the characters have their way. {grin}

Steps that helped me accomplish this feat.

1. Created daily achievable goals.
a. Decided on number of words – 50,000
b. Decided how many days of the month for writing. In my case, I used weekdays only.
c. Divided the number of days into the amount of words and came up with a daily word
d. I created a spreadsheet with my daily cumulative goals and documented the numbers. Each morning I loaded the spreadsheet at the same time I loaded my manuscript. At any time, I could use the spreadsheet to quickly calculate how many words I needed to reach that day's goal.

2. Prayed
Each morning before I started writing, I prayed for God's words to flow from my fingers. Asked for His blessing on the writing.

3. Commitment
Committing each day to writing a specific number of words, helped me stay in the story and press through the "low" spots. Also committing to "finishing the race…"

4. Community
Knowing others were working as hard and under many of the same issues, made the journey easier.

5. Writing anyway—
Even when I knew the words were not the absolute best, when the dialogue lacked a little something, when I didn't feel like being creative, when I would have liked to do something else (like clean the bathroom), I learned to press on to meet the goals I'd set.

In other words, I gave myself permission to write.

To just write.

To open that vein and pour out the words. Sent my internal editor on an extended vacation where there were no communication lines! Let the story unfold. There's plenty of time later to bring the editor home and add or delete as needed.

To all of you who participated this year and met the 50K mark – A hearty Congratulations!!!

To those who didn't quite reach the mark -- Congratulations you've added to your story!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Housing Development - Update - Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Our Sleepy Little Town

Of course, today we remember all the blessings we've received and all the reasons we have to be thankful. If we said them all in prayer before our meal, our food would surely be cold before we've had a chance to name a small portion!

Here are more pictures of our new house.

Basement garage.

Peak facing the east.

Southern View

My Loft and peak facing the west!

Another shot of the northern part of Meeker. This is the southern view
from our lot.

I hope all of you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you continue to find at least one thing to be thankful for each morning. See if you can come up with ten. It will change the course of your day!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Prayer for Kristy Dykes

How often do we get to witness God's amazing power and strength?

That's what I've seen as I've followed the recent journey of a fellow ACFW member.

Her name is Kristy Dykes and she's a Christian writer. Her current story will bring you to tears.

Please, would you pray with me for a miracle for her?

See her blog for the complete story--A story of enduring love, unwavering faith, and complete trust.

Scroll down to November 7th for the beginning of the story.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NaNoWriMo - Update

Well, we're past the half-way mark and I've been able to keep my writing goals so far.

My current word count is 30,805. The Goal is 50,000 by the end of the month.

It's been a great experience and I'm glad I made the commitment to do this. I pray that I can continue at the pace I've been able to work!

I'll keep you posted...

Housing Development - Update

Things are moving forward in our house-building. The Lord has blessed us with amazing weather and our builder took advantage of a couple of those days.

The slab was poured a couple of weeks ago and I was able to add something to our foundation.

Within the center of our foundation, I was able to place a Bible opened to Jeremiah 29:11.

Jeremiah 29:11 (King James Version) King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain
11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

We've also been adding scripture within the walls.
God has blessed us beyond measure with his provision and we give Him the glory!

Sunset over Meeker...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


For those of you unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it is the National Novel Writing Month.

Novemeber each year is the month. Beginning tomorrow I will be participating in this encouraging endeavour.

The goal = To write a complete novel of 50,000 words during the month of November.

My goal = To add 50,000 words to my current work-in-progress, The Moon Has No Light.

Can I do this?

We shall see. Stay posted for weekly updates on word count.

Oh, yea, I'm open to any kind of encouragement, prayers, etc. You name it. I'll need all the help I can get to press through and DO IT!

The fun begins tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Snowfall on Meeker

We were blanketed with snow on Sunday morning. Here are a few


Our snow covered home!

Housing Development


Here are the latest pictures of our house.
Well, soon to be house...
The basement walls are up! Yay!

Stay tuned for more housing developments as they happen.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Writer Motivation - Aspens in Autumn

We got our first snowfall here on Saturday night. The night of Meeker High's Homecoming Dance.

Last Sunday, my daughter and I drove to Trapper's Lake to view the colors of the changing trees. Here are a few of the pictures I took.


Recently, this fella, along with two of his equally endowed buddies, came into town and grazed on our neighbor's lawn.

Along the Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway. My Favorite drive...well, one of my favorite.

Keep Writing. God has called YOU for "such a time as this."

Writer Motivation - A Writer's Conference

I've spent the past week polishing my proposal for Legacy of Grace to send to agents and editors I met at the ACFW Conference.

It's been a productive week, I've finished a Novella, White Christmas and will spend next week working to type THE END on a cozy mystery I started over a year ago.

There' something about attending a writer's conference that gets those creative juices flowing to complete those unfinished projects.

Once the cozy is complete, I'll return to my women's fiction work in progress, The Moon Has No Light.

Here are a few more pictures from the conference.

This is the awesome Mentor Group 4. I've been blessed to be part of this group for the past 3 years. I attribute much of my growth as a writer to these wonderful writers.

Me, Mary Davis (Our Marvelous Mentor), and Jan Warren

This year a sweet generous lady asked me to room with her. I'd met her at last year's conference and immediately loved her. She's pictured below on the right, Carrie Turansky.

Also in the picture is another writer I had the privlege to meet this year, Vickie McDonough.

Vickie McDonough and Carrie Turansky

My dear friend, who always makes me feel so special--Rebecca Yauger. I even got to meet her hubby!

Here's me and Becky at the awards banquet.

Deborah Vogts and I met a couple of years ago, but this year we were able to spent some time together. I thank God that we did. I got to see what a sweetheart she really is and how she has such a passion for her writing.

Deb and I at the awards banquet.

Here I am with my sweet friend Heather Diane Tiption. Seems retreats and writer's conference are the only time we see each other, but amazingly, we always pick up right where we left off.

I'm glad to see she's coming into her own. Way to Go, Heather.

I had such a wonderful time in fellowship with great writer friends. Although tired, I came home thankful that God has placed me on this incredible journey...Had he not, I wouldn't have met the terrific people He's placed in my path!

ACFW Conference

Recently, I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Dallas, TX.
Spending three days with over 400 writers was both exhausting and exhilarating!

I managed to attend a few workshops and picked up a great new writing tips and techniques. But the fellowship with writer friends was priceless.

Saturday evening's award banquet was as exciting as promised. I enjoyed watching my friend and critique partner receive the Mentor of the Year award and another critique partner win 1st place in the Contemporary Category of the Genesis Contest!

Congratulations Linda Kozar – Mentor of the Year (on the Right)

Congratulations Jennifer Griffith (on left)–First Place Contemporary Fiction for Gumbo Ya Ya.

Here's a complete list of winners:

Contemporary Romance (includes romantic comedy)

3rd place: Jennifer Hudson Taylor, By His Plan

2nd place: Jennifer Lynn Cary, On The Court

1st place: Audra Harders, Rough Ride

Historical Romance

3rd place: Audra Harders, Precious Possessions

2nd place: Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Promised Blessings

1st place: Pam Hillman, Stealing Jake's Heart

Romantic Suspense

3rd place: Suzan Robertson, The Circle Game

2nd place: Dineen Miller, Manna Reign

1st place: Marci J. Burke, Shadow of Doubt


3rd place: Rebecca Grabill, Out of Darkness

2nd place: Chris Mikesell, Revival

1st place: Sally A. Apokedak, The Kisses of an Enemy

Historical Fiction

3rd place: Marcia Gruver, Love Never Fails AND Yvonne Anderson, Mom's Mirror

2nd place: Tina Helmuth, Hidden Snares

1st place: Carla Stewart, A Dandelion Day

Young Adult

3rd place: Sally Apokedak, Prisoners of the Throne

2nd place: Linda Fulkerson, The Rod of Schmazel

1st place: Rachael Phillips, Song of the Orphan Train

Contemporary Fiction

3rd place: Myra Johnson, Pearl of Great Price

2nd place: Angie Poole, Gravehopping With Myrna

1st place: Jennifer Griffith, Gumbo Ya Ya

Women's Fiction

3rd place: Kathleen Sprout, The Choice

2nd place: Ane Mulligan, When the Wind Blows

1st place: Kristine Pratt, Identity Theft


3rd place: Janet Rubin, Beneath the Steeple

2nd place: Gina Holmes, Deception Burning

1st place: Jane Robertson, Curst Be the Tie

Chick/Mom/Hen/Lady Lit

3rd place: Jenness Walker and Tracy Bowen, Bliss

2nd place: Georgiana Daniels, Honey Do Inc.

1st place: Carrie Padgett, Oh Shop It

Congratulations to all the Winners!!!

A special note to those that entered and did not win: You are winners also. It takes courage to send your words for someone else to judge. I hope you've reviewed the critiques and found amazing ways to improve your work.

Keep pressing for improvement. God calls us to give Him our best. From there He takes care of the rest...

Friday, September 07, 2007

More from Meeker, CO

Good Morning from Meeker!

Although this is a small town I haven't met a whole lot of people, probably because I've been holed up in our house working on my synopsis and honing the first three chapters of my latest WIP (work in progress) The Moon Has No Light . It's the story of a women whose child is abducted and after twenty years she still grieves his disappearance. Image her shock when he walks into a restaurant where she's having dinner! I'm planning to pitch this story, as well as, my other completed work, Legacy of Grace, at the upcoming ACFW writer's conference in Dallas. To all my writer friends—looking forward to seeing you there!

Here are more pictures of the beautiful scenery in and around Meeker. Enjoy!

This week is the Meeker Sheepdog Championship Trials

This is an international championship and teams from Canada, Switzerland, South Africa, and Scotland venture to the small town of Meeker to compete. Sheep are brought into town from the high mountain pastures to be led by the various team's dog. Interesting to watch.
I'll be volunteering tomorrow, so I'll have pictures for you soon.

Here's the lot where our new house will be built. Groundbreaking started last week and lasted for a short time before the backhoe broke. I keep trying to remember if I prayed for patience at some time…

This will be our view from our deck!

Until next time - Keep writing, keep praying, and keep reaching out.