Thursday, November 12, 2020

Carrot Confessions by Patti Jo Moore

“Hello, my name is Patti Jo, and at one time in my life, I was addicted to carrots.” Yes, you read that right - - carrots. Not the Bugs Bunny variety of carrots, but the tiny baby carrots—juicy, sweet, and crunchy. Easy to carry with me when I taught school years ago, or wanted a snack while driving my car in the afternoons as a busy soccer mom. I figured they were a healthy snack, right? But the more I ate, the more I wanted. It’s as though my body craved baby carrots.

That winter when I went for my usual thyroid check-up, the doctor gave me a good report, but then added his only concern was the yellowish-orange tint of my skin. I simply laughed and replied that it must be the pound bag of baby carrots I consumed daily. He appeared stunned and wouldn’t let me leave his office until the nutritionist on duty had a talk with me, strongly urging me to limit the carrots and add celery and broccoli to my snack choices. What I learned that day was concerning. The excess Vitamin A I was getting in the little orange nuggets was not only coloring my skin, but giving me headaches (which I’d thought were from teaching lively first-graders!). She informed me that taking in that much Vitamin A was toxic to my body. I was horrified.

Needless to say, I cut way back on the carrots. But to this day, when I walk past the bags of baby carrots in the grocery store, my mouth waters. Seriously. Recently I was reminded of that time in my life, and that old phrase “too much of a good thing” echoed in my thoughts. I’d honestly thought I was doing something good when I began snacking regularly on the carrots, but little did I know I gradually did harm to my body. Another phrase comes to mind: All things in moderation.

As so often happens, my carrot-related thoughts led to writing (of course). 😊 Just as too much of a certain food isn’t healthy for us, putting too much of anything in stories doesn’t help and often turns away readers. I’ve posted before about my tendency to include many eating scenes in my stories. After all, my stories are set in the South, and food is an important part of our lives, right? But I’m trying to limit the eating scenes, although it’s a challenge.

When writers attend workshops, we’re often reminded not to give too much backstory at the beginning of our story, even though we’re eager for readers to know what’s happened in our character’s past. We’re told it’s better to sprinkle in the information gradually, rather than in excess at the beginning. Some years ago, I read a story that had so much description of the setting in the very first paragraph, I had to re-read (several times!) to let it sink in. Moderation is key - - in eating, and yes, in our writing too!

If you ever read a story and learn that a character has an unusual habit of eating too many carrots, don’t assume something so strange could never happen. Hopefully the writer will use moderation, and not include too many unique habits for the characters. 😉

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading to my refrigerator to find some broccoli---not my first choice, but it’ll do.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
 Psalm 139:14 

SCROOGE'S HOLLY DAZE

Holly Sims loves Christmas and children, so when she’s asked to help plan a Christmas festival for foster children, she’s thrilled. As a newcomer to Pine Valley, North Carolina, Holly is eager to become involved in church activities and meet people. When she continues seeing a handsome but sullen man in town, she’s curious about him. Why does he appear so unhappy?

Rick Bates is fine with being an introvert. After being shifted from family to family throughout his childhood, he knows he cannot depend or trust anyone and must guard his heart. Running his small business and taking photographs of nature scenes are all he needs in his life. So why does he continue thinking about the auburn-haired woman he keeps seeing?

When Holly asks Rick to take photos at the Christmas festival, he’s ready to decline—until he learns it’s a festival for foster children. When he arrives at the event, Rick is in awe of the decorations, including countless twinkle lights. But the joy on the children’s faces stirs his heart even more. With help from a Christmas-loving lady, a friendly town, and a kitten named Taco, Rick knows the ice around his heart is melting. 



Patti Jo Moore
is a retired kindergarten teacher and lifelong Georgia girl. She loves Jesus, her family, cats, and coffee, and is blessed to be published with Forget-Me-Not Romances. When she’s not spending time with her family (including her two sweet grandbabies) or writing her “Sweet, Southern Stories” Patti Jo can be found feeding cats—her own six and local strays.

She loves connecting with readers and other writers, and can be found on Facebook at Author Patti Jo Moore or her personal blog at http://catmomscorner.blogspot.com

13 comments:

  1. I think we might be related, Patti. I have the same addiction to baby carrot and carrot chips. I go through bags each week. I was aware of the skin taking on an orange tint, but I had no idea of the toxicity potential. Eek! You're right, everything in moderation. Great post!

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    1. Oh, Jill - - a fellow carrot-lover, LOL!! ;) YES, we must be related! Thank you for letting me know I'm not the only one who finds the tasty orange nuggets delicious. That time in my life was definitely a learning experience for me, so I decided to share and apply it to writing!
      Thanks so much for stopping by, and the next time you enjoy a carrot, please think of me. :)
      Hugs, Patti Jo

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  2. OH MY, Patti Jo! I had no idea carrots could be a problem! Yes, moderation in all things is a good idea. When I read or write stories, I do love the "tea" scenes, but realize the food experiences must move the plot forward. Thanks for the reminders!

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    1. Yes, moderation is the key, Sherida! Just wish I'd thought about that as I munched my way through countless bags of the tasty baby carrots! But, now I know, LOL.
      I'm still working on limiting my eating scenes in my stories, but it's a challenge!
      Thank you for commenting and always being so kind.
      Hugs, Patti Jo

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  3. Patti Jo, thanks for this fun post filled with wisdom. Wow, I never would have guessed that eating too many carrots could be dangerous!Great point of overdoing anything - even in our writing.

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    1. I know, Dawn - - I would've never dreamed that carrots could end up being harmful to me! But I couldn't resist sharing my experience (crazy as it was, LOL) and relate it to writing.
      Thanks so much for commenting.
      Hugs, Patti Jo

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  4. In my former life, I worked as a Registered Dietitian and often counseled patients about the need for moderation. I love how this plays out in novel writing. Great analogy, Patti Jo!

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    1. That's great that you were a Registered Dietitian, Mary! I'm sure you helped lots of people make good choices.
      Thank you so much for your comment!
      Blessings, Patti Jo :)

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  5. Patti Jo, I may be in Danger of turning into an M&M! 😂 Seriously, I had no idea it was possible to eat too many carrots. Scary about the vitamin A.

    You’re so right about not flooding our books with too much of a good thing. I had an editor tell me I had my hero and heroine eating or drinking coffee too often. Now I keep an eye out for that.

    Thanks for posting! I always enjoy your posts.

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    1. Thanks, Terri, and I'm giggling at your M&M comment! I'll admit that even though I'm not a big candy-eater, M&Ms are my very favorite!
      Yes, I was shocked to learn that about the Vitamin A in carrots - - who knew? Live and learn!
      Thanks for always encouraging me, sweet friend.
      Hugs, Patti Jo

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  6. Love this, Patti Jo. What an important reminder. I do tend to go overboard with certain foods (but never carrots) and writing techniques. I also have a lot of eating scenes in my books. I tried to get my characters away from the dining table and out of the house, only to have them end up at a picnic, LOL. Thanks for the fun post!

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  7. Hi Laura!! I am laughing at your comment about getting the characters away from the dining table! LOL! But at least a picnic is in a different type of setting (even though it still involves eating!). ;) I'm way behind on my reading, but I'm eager to read your newest Texas book!
    Thanks so much for stopping by!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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  8. I learned this about carrots when my then toddler daughter wouldn't eat much else. Same thing happened when I took her to the doctor for a regular checkup and the doctor noticed she was kinda orangy!! a great illustration for moderation in certain writing habits, too

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