I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Just in case you were wondering about the MBT Ponderers

Read all the way to the bottom for details about a rockin' sweet contest! 

So, the Ponderers have been blogging for about nine months now. Our baby has grown and developed throughout these past months...and we're having a blast with the nurturing process. (Huh, probably can't stretch this analogy any further ... )

BUT, we want to make sure you - our readers and friends (or maybe just incredibly kind people who humor us) - know who it is hanging out with you on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays...well, and the occasional Tuesday and Thursday. 

So, for your reading pleasure, check out our MBT Ponderers FAQs (or questions we're pretty sure you'd ask us if we met face to face ... )

Who are you?

We’re a group of writers who met through My Book Therapy’s first year of retreats. Some of us met at the first-ever Storycrafting retreat in October 2009. Our group grew at the February 2010 Deep Thinkers retreat in Florida. Finally, after the May 2010 Pitch & Polish retreat in Seattle, we decided to bring our family to cyberspace! We love fiction, My Book Therapy, each other ... and most of all, God.

Looking back, many of us were surprised at how quickly we bonded after we first met. God blessed us in a David-Jonathan kind of way! And we’re incredibly grateful.

So ... you're writers ... ?

You betcha. Darn tootin'. Sure thing. No doubt. [Pick appropriate regional phrase or insert your own!]

We write everything from women's fiction to suspense to rom-com to Amish-vampire books. Er, well, scratch that last one. There's even a nonfiction writer lurking among us. (Shh, don't tell!)

Some of us are published. Others are on their way. Whatever point we're at in our individual writing journeys, we have a shared dedication to our craft and goal of honoring God through our writing!

Where are you from?

We are from all over the country – literally! From the warm and beautiful (and enviable!) beaches of Florida to the peaceful, sometimes smelly* rural Plains to the far reaches of the picturesque Northwest.

*All that manure, you know.

Why should I follow your blog?

Because if you do, we will send you virtual hugs.

But seriously – not that we weren’t completely serious about the virtual hug thing – we have a blast blogging about faith, fiction and friendship. From funny to serious, our posts are meant to encourage writers of all ages, from all backgrounds!

And sometimes, we have contests! :o)

Why do you call yourselves the Ponderers?

At the first MBT Storycrafting Retreat, award-winning author Susan May Warren told us never to use the phrase “he/she pondered” in our writing. And because we always obey Susie, we don’t. But we needed a way to remember said rule and thus, the name of our group.

But Ponderers is so hard to say! The whole double “er” thing ...

Yes, but it sounds so much better than the Ruminaters ... or Considerers ... or Mullers ... or Excogitaters.

Although, the Noodlers does have a certain ring to it…

Is it true one of the Ponderers once “stole” Susan May Warren's sunglasses after a retreat?

We collectively plead the fifth on that one.

Wow, the Ponderers are, like, way cool. (Whoa, thanks!) How can I find a community of writers like yours?

First of all, just by visiting our blog, you're part of this community. Leave a comment. Become a follower. If you've got your own blog, we'd love to visit.

Second, we highly suggest becoming a member of My Book Therapy. You'll come into contact with hundreds of other writers, not to mention benefit from the writing wit and wisdom of Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck.

Third, why not attend a My Book Therapy retreat? Believe us, you won't regret it! You'll learn a ton, have a bundle of fun...and best of all, build long-lasting relationships.

And no, Susan May Warren didn't pay us to plug MBT. We just love it that much!

Also, there are a lot of great writing groups out there. Check out ACFW!

Last but not least, sometimes I see ya'll use the phrase “happy danging.” What's up with that?

It all started with a typo. Someone meant to say “happy dancing,” but accidentally typed “happy danging” instead. It stuck.

We are, however, big fans of happy dancing. See video for proof.

Contest details! Okay, now that you know all about us, it's time for us to get to know you! So leave a comment telling us one fun fact about you and I'll enter you into a drawing for a $15 Amazon gift card. Amazon.com is a writer's/reader's paradise! Just leave a comment from now through Friday, March 11, for your chance to win! 

Melissa Tagg


  1. A fun fact. Hmmmm....I own more books than I own clothes? My sister and I share a small apartment. She has threatened my very existence if I bring one more book into our place. What she doesn't know is that I have my books mailed to my work. Then I sneak them home in my computer case. Shhhh. Don't tell her!

  2. Hehe, Christine, you sneaky girl, you! I love that character quirk about you. Do you plan to use it in a novel?

    A fun fact about me...my hubby and I eloped twenty-two years ago. We dated long distance since he was in the USMC. I moved to his new duty station, and then we eloped 3 weeks later. We had planned to come home and have our church wedding the following May, but I got pregnant that February, and then he had orders for our wedding weekend. We figured someday...I'm trying to talk him into renewing our vows for our 25th anniversary.

  3. Chris Potash3/9/11, 10:52 AM

    Lisa - your story is also a good one for a novel!

    Here is my fun fact: my grandmother and I share the same birthday which also happens to be the date of the Boston Tea party.


  4. Fun Fact about me: I am a brown belt in karate! (A very rusty brown belt!!) LOL
    And I'm the lurking non-fiction writer in the bunch!!
    Looking forward to more people sharing fun facts.

  5. Angela Bell3/9/11, 10:58 AM

    Thanks for sharing the Happy Dancing video, Melissa! It was great to watch that again. By the way, if you look in the far left corner you can see me dancing too--for like 2 seconds. Man, that was so much fun! :-D

    Fun fact about me, I am a devoted Jeopardy fan. I watch every day and answer the questions out loud. Okay, maybe this is a dork fact.

    Anyhoo, I love learning new things and testing my knowledge. The best part of watching Jeopardy, is when I know the answer to a question and the contestants get it wrong! Yes, I am a wee bit competitive. :-)

  6. Fun fact about me: the same elderly woman who introduced my parents, also got my husband and me together!

    Congrats on nine months on the blog! Our group misses critiquing with Beth, but we're going strong.


  7. Fun! I love getting to know blog visitors!

    Fun fact about me: So, supposedly the "wing span" of your arms is supposed to equal your height. Well, mine are two inches longer than my height. Yeah, just call me "monkey arms."

  8. p.s. Angela, have you ever tried to be a contestant on Jeopardy?!

  9. What a fun post! I, too, enjoyed the "Happy Danging" video! It brought big smiles to my face on a day where I need some. :) You guys are wonderful!

    Okay, one fun fact about me...To be honest, I can't think of many "fun" facts about me, but here's one. :) Especially when I'm reading a good book, I like to read when I'm brushing my teeth or blow drying my hair. :) With young 'uns at home, finding time satisfy my addiction for fiction is tricky to find. For some strange reason, people laugh when the see me brushing and reading....

  10. Jeanne, I've done that!

    I also love to soak in the tub while reading a good book. If it's a very good book, I end up finishing and refilling with hot water a few more times. :)

  11. Hey M-Tagg, great post! My fun fact--I've been dating the same guy for almost 13 years. Oh! Wait, that's not a fun fact...that's one of Susie's Ds(dilemma, disappointment disaster), ..or is it a Y in the road?
    Y'all come back, now.

  12. Hmmm, fun fact about me. I went through a phase where I thought pocketknives were totally cool. So cool, I was going to grow up and be a professional whittler.

    So cool, in fact, that I practiced on the bathroom cabinets and carved a name. Not my name. I'm not stupid. My brother's name. Poor kid. Fifteen years later, I fessed up. He would like the days he was grounded back, I fear.

  13. Angela Bell3/9/11, 4:21 PM

    Melissa, no I've never tried to be a contestant on Jeopardy. Being on TV in front of tons of people. *shudders* No thanks. I'll stick to playing at home. :)

  14. I don't blame you, Angela...though, someday, I totally want to be on Wheel of Fortune. Mostly 'cause I love Pat Sajak.

    Amy, that's hilarious!! And, Pat, your comment so made me laugh! :)

  15. Fun fact about me. Um, yeah, nothing comes to mind that you don't already know about me.

    I do like balloon twisting, and sometimes I would rather hug my horse than ride him. Oh and I'm a walking oxymoron.
    People person/recluse,
    class clown/ serious bible student,
    extro-introvert depending on the day.
    happy-go-lucky/completely serious (either way I do it pretty much loud so that's a constant ;) )

    Nice post MTagg

  16. Lisa - I haven't used it yet, but it's on the back burner for the right character. Your story definitely should be part of a book! Also love reading in the tub. Used to get in trouble when I was younger living at home with one bathroom and four sisters. I'd constantly let the water out and add hot so I could finish the book. I wonder if it's a writer trait??

    Ginger - I soooo relate! I am a natural introvert but no one who knows me believes that. I love watching people. They must know it because total strangers start conversations with me or stop to talk with me. My sister hates it. I often wonder why they do it.

    This weekend we went out for lunch. The place was packed so several groups were standing outside. I stood a few feet away from my sisters just because of the crowd. An older woman walks by and smiles at me on her way inside to put her name on the list. When she comes back out she says, "I gave them your name and table for one so you didn't have to go all the way in there and come back out. When they call 'Susan' that's you." I didn't know what to say! I finally stammered something about being with a group and thank you anyway. She just smiled and walked away. Now tell me that's not wacky!!

  17. Wow... we're doing fun facts? Well, unlike Aimster I did actually grow up to be a woodcarver. I carve Native American and characatures. But no, I don't carry a knife in my pocket. It's actually illegal in some states... except perhaps where I stay... The State of Confusion!

  18. Ok... another fun fact... I just can't resist. My TV dancing debut was a contest on the Aboossi YaYa Show in Atlanta Georgia. I was 7. I didn't win. Scared me for life. That's the reason I refuse... I mean REFUSE to accept all my offers to appear on Dancing With the Stars.

  19. Reba!! I had no idea you were a dancer!! You should give us all a demonstration next time we're all together...:)

  20. No wonder Reebs is the one who coined Happy Danging!!

  21. Denise Hawks3/9/11, 11:01 PM

    I love happy danging! In fact - just today I was lunching at my fav Mexican restaurant and the tunes were blaring and I asked the waitress where the dance floor was! Yeah - she backed slowly away with a nervous laugh!

  22. Christine~ My husband feels the same way as your sister! I also sneak-order books, but I don't have anywhere to send them besides our house. I just pray that the mail will come before he gets home from work, lol! ;) I love to people watch, but I used to hate talking to strangers. My husband LOVES to strike up conversations with people and I just hated it...but after 17 years of marriage, I find myself doing the same thing now. I've met some truly wonderful people doing it!

    Lisa~ Your wedding story sounds so similar to that of my mom and dad! They are celebrating 50 years in November!! And, I also read in the tub, and refill with hot water as often as necessary.

    Angela & MTagg~ I love to answer the questions on Jeopardy in my living room, but I would NEVER go on it! Every time I watch Wheel of Fortune I wonder how I can get on that show. I'm afraid I would just hit "Lose a Turn" and "Bankrupt" every spin!

    Jeanne~ I have to read all the time. I will even read every word on a cereal box if that is all I have. I read while doing my hair and occasionally, but with less success, while cooking. And, if I don't read while doing my hair, I have people in my head interacting with one another. Unfortunately, when my hair is done, I can never remember what these people did or said. Hmmmm...that last part might make me sound a little crazy.

  23. Pat!! You are so funny. I love it. Your post leads me to believe that it is not only D's and Y's, but a cliffhanger to boot!

    Reba~ I danced in public once. I was 3. While on stage in my shamrock green tutu and shiny black tap shoes, I stuck my thumbs in my nose and waved at my parents with the rest of my fingers. Needless to say...

    Fun Fact about Heidi: I am a closet Food Network Star. I love to cook! Um...you might even say I'm obsessed. I have catered several weddings (for friends), and I do a Spring Tea for 125 women and a formal Christmas Dinner for 160 women at our church. I have entered (complete with silly video) Rachel Ray's "So You Think You Can Cook" contest THREE times but God said no. I would totally own a catering business if my health issues weren't issues, and if my family would let me. Alas, they don't love catering quite as much as I do. Also, God has made it pretty clear to me that I'm supposed to write. Now if only the writing was as easy as the cooking! =)

  24. Y'all had much-too-much fun over here yesterday while I was gone. Whittlers and dancers and closet-book buyers and serial daters and horse-huggers and balloon twisters. . . Wow!! We're a fun group. We should have a MBT Ponderers Talent Show.

  25. Elizabeth Schultz3/10/11, 7:13 PM

    I don't know if this is a "fun fact" or just a quirk, but I have teeny-tiny kneecaps. My firstborn son has no kneecaps at all, which is probably the better scenario, since his aren't prone to dislocation like mine. My youngest son, oddly enough, is soooo jealous of his brother and cries every time we tell him that he has kneecaps. They'll probably all need therapy someday...

  26. Melissa, what a fun, fun post!

    I can't help but post two fun facts.

    I racewalked in the National Junior Olympics.

    And...I'm getting married in 100 days.

  27. Lisa, I used to take baths and read, kind of as my own personal therapy, but that was before kids. I'd sit in the tub till I looked like a white raisin. :)

    Heidi, I'm impressed! Attempting to read while you cook. Haven't tried that one yet. But I did try to read while driving on a deserted highway, once. A long time ago. :)

    Roxanne, I'm so happy for you, and praying for your upcoming wedding!

    You guys are great!

  28. Yay for Roxanne's wedding bells!!!

    Elizabeth, that's hilarious. Or, maybe I shouldn't laugh since this is obviously a sadness for Andrew. :)

    Denise, are you talking about El Azteca?? :)

  29. Melissa, you're brilliant. Love this! So glad you're a strongly connected part of us (& not that far away from where we all met.) Also no wonder this post got LOTS of comments. Have a fabulous productive weekend!