• reviews,  writing

    Taming the Dragon – Tips for Dragon Naturally Speaking

    I use Grammarly for proofreading because my wrist is broken and sometimes Dragon Naturally Speaking listens as well as a four year-old boy.


    Whether you are using Dragon Naturally Speaking out of choice, or due to circumstances, there are a few simple steps you can take to make your experience better.

    1. Take time for training. Under audio, you will find a section called, “read text to improve accuracy.” The selections me feel long, but over time the improvement in Dragon’s ability to dictate your words is worth the investment. Take time each day to read one of the selections. When you complete the reading, Dragon will make changes to your profile. This takes some time, but the patient.

    The alternative to training could be sentences like this: Where is the mother this little one Russian Mark are they running some kind of Dickerson in here?

    I have no idea what I was really trying to say.

    2. Create a list of your commonly used command. Learning Dragon is similar to learning another dialect. I want to say, “strike that,” but what I need to say is, “scratch that.” I can’t tell you how many times I saw strike that, strike that, strike that, typed across the page. Here’s a link to common commands.


    3. Start with one paragraph at a time. You’re most likely going to end up with a few sentences like my example above. If you wait too long, you won’t have a clue what your original thought was. I know this isn’t the best way to write, but if you take the time now, eventually you’ll be freed, and you’ll be able to go for a page at a time without checking Dragon’s dictation. Be patient, time now will save you from much hair-pulling later.


    After a couple of weeks using Dragon Naturally Speaking, I assure you, the program is another valuable tool for writers. It’s just not an instant solution to being one-handed.


    Any other suggestions? Are you using Dragon? Have you considered starting?

  • ramble,  reviews

    Where Wildflowers Bloom

    When I picked up Ann Shorey’s newest book, Where Wildflowers Bloom, I wasn’t expecting to relate to the main character on such a personal level. Faith Lindberg lives just after the Civil War. She’s a single woman running the family mercantile. I’m a modern day farm girl who homeschools, chases the schedules of her four kids and tries to keep her head just above the water. I’m not much for numbers, so managing a store wouldn’t be my best job, but I do love words.


    Here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter at which point in history we flash on the scene, we all have to deal with disappointment and decide where that will take us.


    For quite a few years now I’ve wished to move, to leave behind the place where I grew up and start fresh with only my immediate family around me. I’ve tossed this idea around for years, but the time has never been right. While my grandmother was alive, I couldn’t leave. Living without her would have been like leaving part of my heart behind. Yes, that sounds corny, but it’s true. Still, even since her death we’ve remained planted in the same soil.


    As I read Faith’s story, her need to leave behind her home, the place where she felt the pain of loss sharply, I understood her struggle. Do we brush the dust from our shoes and start over somewhere new, or are we to endure and look for blessings in the place we’ve been planted?


    I won’t tell you what Faith chose, but I can say for now we remain here. And thanks to Ann, my perspective is a bit different.


    As with all of Ann’s books, I highly recommend Where Wildflowers Bloom.

  • ramble,  reviews

    Friend’s Thanksgiving

    On a recent Sunday, we marked the ninth annual Friend’s Thanksgiving dinner. What a blessing to have 61 of my closest friends all together, squeezed in really, in my home. We cooked two turkeys, one smoked and one roasted. Friends came bearing ham, potatoes, pumpkin pie and all the other Thanksgiving treats including Kristin’s fabulous Sweet Potato Surprise.
    I find myself thinking about these relationships often this time of year. The base of the group formed in college. I lived at Azalea House, a co-op on the campus of Oregon State University with about fifty other women. My husband lived next door at Avery Lodge with a bunch of guys. As time went by, we Azalea girls found ourselves marrying the boys next door, literally. After graduation, we went our separate ways but over the years many of us have returned home to Corvallis were we live near each other, raise and in many cases homeschool our children together, and attend church together. We are a family.
    More friends have come into the group, some through marriage and some through acquaintance. Yes, a few of us actually married outside the original herd and I am so grateful. As I write this, I find myself grinning. If you know Lisa, you probably understand why.
    I have just finished Uncharted by Angela Hunt. A group of friends from college are reunited after many years of lost contact only to find themselves stranded on an uncharted island. Let me tell you, I am so thankful that my life didn’t follow that course. If you’re looking for a good read, pick this one up. I found myself convicted but strengthened by the story. Oh, and if you do read the book I assure you that none of my friends share the same secret as Mark.
    I think.
    I pray that you will all have a blessed Thanksgiving.