GYHS Welcomes Susan Hollaway!
It is my joy and pleasure to introduce a good friend of mine. I met her through the American Christian Fiction Writers, a writing group that we both belong to. Not only is she a wonderful writer, but she's also been homeschooling for years! I'd like you to welcome our first guest, Susan Hollaway.
I can’t believe my daughter’s in her second year of high school already. Aaaack! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun!
I love to talk about homeschooling. I’m just going to share some thoughts I have and hope that a tidbit tucked in among them might encourage or bless someone.
I’m so glad that we were called to home school. I can’t imagine missing even one experience over the last ten years of home educating our daughter. In case you’re wondering – no, they’ve not all been perfect, but I have learned from every single experience. If you’re reading this and thinking about homeschooling and wondering if you can do it —let me just say—why yes, yes you can. If you feel led to home school, there’s a good reason. The Lord never asks you to go somewhere without Him. You can do it!
There are as many ways to home school as there are homeschoolers. That’s one of the many advantages of home education. Some school year round with breaks throughout the year, while others do the traditional school year. Some may have their school hours in the mornings and afternoons, while others who have a dad working second shift, might school in the afternoons and evenings so they can spend more time with him.
The rules are the ones you set for your family. Most importantly, do what works for you. Just because you’re doing it differently than someone else doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. For me, some structure is important. But on the other hand, don’t be so set that you can’t recognize the unexpected “teachable moments” that pop up, because life is the best classroom of all. So, it doesn’t really matter what the calendar says or where you happen to be, learning never truly ceases. Whether you’re super-structured or a relaxed homeschooler, what matters is how your children learn best and it’s up to you and the Lord to determine how to make it all work.
Got curriculum? There’s a plethora of choices out there. We are eclectic. I don’t use a boxed or canned curriculum. I know there are some great ones out there, but we’ve always preferred to choose each subject curriculum individually according to the learning style of our daughter and how we think it’ll work best for our family. We use a lot of living (whole) books and we love it. But you certainly need to choose what works best for your child(ren).
Whew! Ten years of homeschooling under my belt. I think I’m supposed to be one of those veteran homeschoolers now. Believe me, you’ll always have questions. I still do. That’s what makes homeschool groups, co-ops, and blogs like this so invaluable. It’s sort of like being a Titus 2 woman and for everything there is a season. They’ll be someone to mentor you, and someday it’ll be your turn to mentor or at least a chance to bless someone else. And often, you don’t even know you’re doing the blessing. It’s just a small conversation or comment that leaves a lasting impression. That’s so cool and so God!
Last year when I uttered the words “my daughter is starting high school”, I was momentarily speechless. A rarity for me, I must admit. Memories flit through my brain of sitting snuggled on the couch reading books from FIVE-IN-A-ROW and doing the super cool activities that go along with that literature-based unit study. I remember we built a light house and then went into the bathroom with a flashlight to light it up. That rocked!
My daughter remembers so many books, lessons, and special memories from those times, and it warms my heart that we re-share them together through precious discussions. Not long ago, she told me that she loves homeschooling and that I’ve been a great teacher. Aw. While I must most certainly admit, if there’s anything good in me – it’s Jesus Christ, it still made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But for the grace of God I am able to complete the tasks He sets before me.
Now that I’ve survived the 4-H County Fair, it’s time to get geared up for the new year. So as another summer begins to come to an end and the start of a new school year is about to begin, excitement builds. We get out the new stuff we purchased. I plan, organize, and then we shop for any last minute needed supplies. I feel almost giddy.
My thoughts were to share a little about our homeschooling, but mostly to show you that everyone does homeschooling a little differently. Instill a love of learning in your child and the possibilities are endless. Make it interesting and fun when you can, and when the lessons come that are boring or tedious (and you will eventually have some of those)….well, that’s a life lesson. There’s times in life that we all have to do things that aren’t always fun. If you have your child’s best interest at heart, it’ll all work out. Maybe not always in the way you expect, but some of the biggest blessings are unexpected.
I could go on, but I’m supposed to keep it at around 500 words. I guess I need to wrap this up as I’m at 899. That’s not too bad, I told you I LOVE to talk about homeschooling.
I am a Christian, wife, homeschooling mom, and writer. I live in Kansas with my husband, teenage daughter, and my daughter's two dogs. I love people, but come to think of it, I’ve rarely met a carbohydrate that I didn’t like either. I write inspirational romance and freelance. You can visit me at my blog at http://susanhollaway.blogspot.com.
From Growing Your Homeschool http://growingyourhomeschool.blogspot.com/2011/08/gyhs-welcomes-susan-hollaway.html#disqus_thread
(Reposted with permission.)
Celebrating with Susan Hollaway: Sale of Her First Short Story!
Susan Hollaway writes inspirational romance, devotionals, and whatever else God lays on her heart. She’s been busy working on her romance novel writing along with writing short stories—and selling her first one. (Yay, Susie!)
Susan met her personal hero on a blind date, and they married eight months later. Her romantic hubby remembers their anniversaries, both the day they met and the day they wed. They live in Kansas with their teenage daughter and their daughter’s two dogs, a rat terrier named Buddy and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Katy.
When not writing, Susan is busy being the keeper of her home, homeschooling her daughter, and helping with their 4-H club and her daughter’s many activities. Susan’s hobbies and interests include reading, spending time with her family, visiting with friends, reading, crocheting when cold weather comes around, and reading.
* * *We’re often encouraged to break into print by writing magazine articles or short stories, which can be easier to sell than a novel-length story. Susan, whom I interviewed in September 2009, has done just that. Her first romantic fiction short story sold to Woman’s World magazine. It’s scheduled to appear in the April 21, 2011 issue.
Susan will be able to use this sale in the author bio of her query letters when she’s ready to send her novel out on submission. Not only that, but she gives friends like me an “I know this writer” opportunity when her story appears in the magazine and I proudly show it to the cashier at my local super market when I buy that issue.
Following is Susan’s account of the sale of her first short story, which appeared on her blog Susan Hollaway: Journeys of Love . . . Inspired by Faith, and is used with permission.
Reposted with permission.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Meet Writer Susan Hollaway
Susan Hollaway writes inspirational romance, devotionals, and whatever else God lays on her heart. She’s currently working on her first novel-length romance.
Susan met her personal hero on a blind date, and they married eight months later. Her romantic hubby remembers their anniversaries, both the day they met and the day they wed. They will be married 20 years this year. They live in Kansas with their teenage daughter and their daughter’s two dogs, a rat terrier named Buddy and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Katy.
When not writing, Susan is busy being the keeper of her home, homeschooling her daughter, and helping with their 4-H club and her daughter’s many activities. Susan’s hobbies and interests include reading, spending time with her family, visiting with friends, reading, crocheting when cold weather comes around and reading. She would like to enjoy knitting, but she thinks the knitting gene must have skipped her generation, going directly to her daughter.
Join me as we learn about more about Susan and her writing journey.
(Look at the bottom of the post for multiple drawing prizes offered.)
Susan’s Journey Begins
•Like so many, you dreamed of being a writer for many years. When did you decide to turn your dream into reality, and what motivated you to do so?
Not quite a year ago, the desire became so strong I couldn’t get away from it. My daughter advised me, “You can’t fail if you don’t try, but you can’t succeed if you don’t try either.” Ouch! She threw my own words back at me. So, I began to pray about it. I asked God to show me in no uncertain terms what to do. If it was not in His will for me to write, then to completely take the desire from me; if it was in His will for me, then please show me the billboard effect (in my face).
Well, He sure did. I knew at that point, writing was something I had to do. (Don’t worry, I won’t tell an agent or editor that. ) I went, a bit nervously, to my hubby and daughter and said I felt God was asking me to write for Him. “We know!” they said. “What took you so long to figure it out?” Needless to say, I have their full support.
My desire is to write Christian inspirational romance glorifying to God. I want to write stories Christians and non-Christians alike can read that will entertain as well as share the message of God’s love and how it can make a difference in one’s life.
•You worked on your local community’s newspaper when taking high school journalism and enjoyed seeing your name in print. What did your experience as a journalism student teach you that has helped you as a writer today?
•You’re hard at work on your first inspirational romance. Where did you get the idea for the story? Has it been tumbling around in the back of your mind for years, or did you receive a sudden flash of inspiration and run to your keyboard to capture the creative flow?Once I decided to write, an idea came to me. So, I think more of a sudden inspiration with a lot of tweaking along the way. Romance novels typically always have a “happily ever after” ending, which is why we love to read them. But I would also like to include real life issues and struggles in my stories. We all have them; my hope is I can show that, but also show how God can change hearts and minds when we follow Him.
Susan’s High Points
•You’re in the early stages of your journey and have yet to type The End. Even so, I’m sure there have been times when the thrill of pouring forth your first story tasted so sweet. What have been the biggest blessings you’ve experienced so far?I would have to say it really blesses me when God teaches me (or reminds me) of a lesson I need to learn through the very story I’m writing. He has blessed me so much since I accepted that I “need” to write. It has given me peace.
One of my biggest blessings is the gift of the people God has placed in my life since I started writing. It has been absolutely amazing! He has put some of the most incredible writers and new friends in my path, and the blessings have spilled forth … pressed down, shaken together and running over. Another blessing is receiving support from old friends who don’t seem shocked when I tell them I’m writing. To old and new friends – you all know who you are – I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a blessing indeed!
Finally, I have to say that it’s SO exciting and a blessing when an idea seems to flow, I get a lot accomplished, and my story seems to be going in the direction I want. I think those “woo-hoo!” moments are special blessings God gives us just when we need them most.
Susan’s Low Spots
I remember the early days working on my first story. I’d get swept away in the joy of creation, but all of a sudden, a wave of doubt would wash over me. How do you deal with those days when the words won’t come or you’re feeling discouraged and wonder why you embarked on this journey?I’ve certainly had some of those. Someone asked me not too long ago, “How’s your writing going?” My response was, “Well, it depends on which day you ask.” I have days where it goes great and others where I wonder what makes me think I can write at all. Then I remember God prompted me on this journey and gave me the much-needed kick in the pants to get started. I need to stay with it, even when it’s difficult. During those times, I’ll take a break and usually talk to God about it. Occasionally, I’ll instant message or call one of those wonderful writer friends I was telling you about, and they usually set me straight. Usually, God teaches me a lesson (whether it has to do with writing or not).
If I can’t get away from the feelings of discouragement, I’ll write about how I’m feeling. And can you believe it – on occasion, a blog entry or a devotional will come out of it. That’s probably because I end up digging in God’s Word to figure out what’s up with me. Am I too tired? Worked for too long at it? Do I have a bad attitude? And then there are days it just won’t flow and I don’t know why. When that happens, I step away and take a breather.
Susan’s Partners on the Journey
•Writing is often a solitary endeavor, but you were wise and joined a writers’ group soon after you began writing. How did you come to be involved in American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and KS Writers Inc. (KWI), and what aspects of the groups have you found to be the most helpful?It was another of those blessings through people I talked about earlier. I felt strongly led to share my “secret of wanting to be a writer” with a friend from the YMCA. Once I shared with her, she introduced me to her writer daughter who has become a dear friend. Not long after, she introduced me to KWI.
Due mostly to scheduling conflicts, I had a hard time making it to meetings. But I’ve finally got that worked out and have been able to attend more regularly. KWI is an eclectic group of writers; we receive advice, comments, and experiences from writers from many different genres and walks of life. There are both non-published writers and published authors in the group. There’s generally a program at each meeting, which helps us improve the craft of writing. I’m very grateful for this group and to those who have offered their wisdom, advice, and encouragement to me.
More recently, a new friend who is a member of ACFW introduced me to the group. She invited me to their regional meeting. I went and was hooked! It has been a huge blessing to me. Everyone is so encouraging and helpful! It’s something I look forward to with anticipation every month. I have been encouraged, prayed for, and mentored in so many ways. I am SO blessed to be a part of this group, and I praise God for it.
There’s an ACFW conference every year as well, which I hear is incredible, but I’ve not had the opportunity to attend yet. Someday perhaps, Lord willing. Our regional group meets monthly, but I also receive the wisdom of thousands of writers over the organization’s main e-loop. The member’s willingness to encourage, pray, and offer their knowledge to others is amazing. I have gained true friends, not just fellow writers.
Susan’s Journey Continues
•What are your plans once you finish your first story? Will you enter the manuscript in contests or dive right into a second story?Hmm. Good question. I’ll probably seek the advice of others. I’ve already been thinking about the story line of my next book. It would be the second of three books set in the same town with new characters introduced.
But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. Entering book one in a contest would be a good place to start, but I’ve got to reach “the end” first, don’t I? I guess I’ll just see when I get there. Suggestions, anyone?
Five Fun Facts About Susan, the Writer
.~ I have to try and get my housework done before I start writing, because if I don’t – the housework or writing might not get done as it should. I feel more at ease and write better if I have my “ducks in a row” first.
~ Once I start writing – if it’s going well – I lose track of time and am not aware of the world around me.
~ I enjoy learning about the craft of writing.
~ I can get SO lost in a good book – fiction or non-fiction – that I don’t even realize sometimes when someone else has come into the room. They may have been there for a while, and then when I seem surprised that they’re there … well, I usually get the eye roll thing and a chuckle.
~I don’t get how football could be more interesting that writing, reading a good book, or even watching a romantic movie. I have to say that the whole football thing – people knocking each other down and crashing into one another over a silly ball – completely eludes me.
Fun Facts About Susan, the Person
.~ I am a bit of a klutz. Sort of an accident waiting to happen, one might say. I usually spill or drop something – and if it’s food or drink, usually on myself.
~ I love a good romantic movie – old and new alike. Hallmark movies are some of my faves.
~ I snort when I laugh. I don’t mean to – it just sort of happens. And I love a good chat with a friend. Well, okay, I don’t even have to know them that well. I can have a perfectly good chat with a total stranger.
~ I love being a stay-at-home wife/mom and homeschooling our precious daughter. It’s a calling from the Lord as well as my joy, privilege, and honor.
~ I love autumn! Even though I’m supposed to act like an adult now, I still think it’s cool to pile up the fallen leaves and run and jump in them. I love going for a walk and hearing the leaves crunch under my feet. And the colors! Enough said.
Susan’s Question for You
•I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Susan. Thanks for your great answers to my questions. Now it’s your turn to ask a question of your visitors, so fire away.
What is it about reading an inspirational romance novel that you like the most? What keeps you coming back for more?