Saturday, March 31, 2012

A brownie of yet a different color

I found another reason I'm turning into my Nanny other than the reclusive hermit/crochet thing. I've made her brownie recipe twice in two weeks. Instead of green brownies and icing, it was orange today. Actually, the brownies were kind of red and the frosting was a beautiful shade of orange, just for Peyton. Nanny never made colored brownies though.

Paige, Peyton and I shared the afternoon playing Moon. As best as I could teach Peyton anyway. She actually did well, and Dad got into watching us, and later playing 42 without counting count to make it like Moon for 4 with partners.

I must say, I got my fill of it though.

I'd write more, but I really need to do something that I shouldn't have put off until after 9:30 tonight. What did you do today to make the weekend special?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Chocolate, Indians and a Tale

I really am thankful my mom has a hobby. She's needed one. I'm just not into her hobby anymore than she's into mine. Here's the latest genealogical discovery that she has made on my dad's side of the family.

My six times great grandmother (or something close to that) was murdered along with a few of her children by Indians in Lancaster, PA while trying to escape through a window. And scalped at that! Her husband and the rest of their children (including my 5x great grandmother) were all kidnapped.


I just sent out a message on Facebook to my author friends who write Amish fiction if they have ever written about Indian murders and scalping. I have to admit that it's not my genre of choice, so I'm not sure if any have broached the subject.


Oh, and I almost forgot. Some distant relative married a Hershey. I unfortunately am not a direct Hershey descendant.


Speaking of the Amish, the book I just finished reading had some Amish characters. I grabbed it out of my stockpile of "between other books I want to read" selections. I think I bought it for $5 when I was shopping in Branson on the most solo vacation I've ever taken with 4 other people. It was at the mall that got hit by the tornado a few weeks ago.


I picked up Operation Bonnet because I had worked with Kimberly Stuart, the author, before and knew it would at least be funny. It was funny. It's one of those "mindless reads" for lack of a better description because its heavy on lightheartedness and light on deep thought. It does have its moments of sadness as the main character Nellie reflects on the mental decline of her grandmother.

The way that Nellie narrates and makes fun of some of the Amish characters may rub people the wrong way though.


Here's the back cover copy to give you more 411 on the story:

Twenty-year-old Nellie Monroe has perfect college GPA, a job that's beneath her and a restless brilliance that makes her a bit of an odd duck. Oh, and she wants to be a private investigator, even though her tiny hometown offers no hope of clients.

Until she meets Amos Shetler, a refugee from the local Amish community who's carrying a torch for the girl he he left behind. So Nellie straps on her bonnet and goes undercover to get the dish. Literally, since she's talked her way into Amish cooking lessons.

But though she's brainy, Nellie is clueless when it comes to real life and real relationships. In short order she has alienated her best friend and angered her college professor--and appears to have botched her case. Will the boy still get the girl? Can Nellie save her career in criminal science? And more importantly, will she ever learn how to make a decent pie crust? 

Operation Bonnet is a comedy of errors, a surprising take on love, and a story of grace.


Click here to buy it on Amazon. It is currently bargain priced at $6. 



Thursday, March 29, 2012

A preview of Stand by Me

I posted my review last week, but wanted to go ahead and post the tour too. Enjoy!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Thomas Nelson (March 13, 2012) 

***Special thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers, for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

As a child growing up on the campus of a Christian school where her parents taught, Neta Jackson began creating imaginary worlds at a young age. Loving horses but not having one, she wrote stories about them instead. By the time she reached high school, she had so honed both imagination and writing skills that when her English teacher submitted one of her stories to a Scholastic magazine writing contest, it won first place. With that first win, Jackson knew beyond the shadow of a doubt she wanted to be a writer. She’s been writing ever since.

After marrying the love of her life, Dave Jackson, the couple chose to settle in the Chicago area where Neta had attended college. Throughout their marriage, the Jacksons have worked together as a team, writing a multitude of books together on topics ranging from medical ethics to stories of gang kids, sometimes sharing the task with other experts who have served as co-writers. Together, they have also penned forty historical fiction accounts of Christian heroes, called the Trailblazer Books, along with another five-volume series called Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes.

These days, both are busy penning their own works of adult fiction. Jackson began her individual effort in 2003 with the Yada Yada Prayer Group series, inspired by her real-life Bible study group, a multi-cultural gathering of dynamic women who have played an important role in her life for over fifteen years. Since publication of the first Yada Yada Prayer Group novel, the seven-book series has sold over a half-million copies and given rise to countless prayer groups across the country and the publication of a personal prayer journal for prayer group participants. In 2008, Where Do I Go?, her first book in the four-book House of Hope series, was published. The second book in the series, Who Do I Talk To?, won a Christy Award in 2010 for excellence in Christian fiction. Recently, the fourth book of the series, Who Is My Shelter?, was nominated for Best Inspirational Novel for 2011 by RT Book Reviews. Stand by Me is the first in Jackson’s new SouledOut Sisters series.

The Jacksons have been married 45 years and have raised two children plus a Cambodian foster daughter. They continue to live in urban Chicago where, together, they enjoy writing, gardening and spending time with their grandchildren.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

How does God expect us to get along with those people who are always causing us pain? Are we supposed to keep helping those who repeatedly take advantage of us? Exactly what is the key to living in peace with difficult people? These are the questions award-winning author Neta Jackson addresses in her latest novel, Stand by Me (Thomas Nelson), the first book of her newest series, SouledOut Sisters.

Inspired by her own Bible study group, Jackson began several years ago to write about a multi-cultural gathering of dynamic women in a collection of books known as the Yada Yada Prayer Group series. Since publication of the first Yada Yada Prayer Group novel in 2003, the seven-book series has sold over a half-million copies and given rise to countless prayer groups across the country. Jackson followed the Yada Yada novels with the four-book House of Hope series. Though the series is not dependent upon its predecessors for understanding, Jackson has used the individual lives of familiar characters to introduce some of the more complex issues prevalent in our modern society. By allowing her characters to lead the way, Jackson has shed light on issues like drug addiction, the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and even the racial conflicts that can so easily arise within any culturally diverse group.

In her newest work, Stand by Me, Jackson introduces her readers to Kathryn Davis, a young college student who has left her prestigious Phoenix family behind to move to Chicago after dropping out of medical school against her father’s protests. Her newfound faith in Christ helps temper the realization that she has stepped out of her family’s good graces, but does little to alleviate the pain of their rejection.

When Kat discovers the dynamic multi-cultural membership at Souled Out Community Church, she longs to be part of it. But her unconventional behavior and brash eagerness have not helped her win favor with the church members. And, much to her dismay, Avis Douglass, the one woman in the church whom she most admires and would love to know better, is the one who is the most aloof.

Kat has no idea that, after being confronted by a number of serious problems all at once, Avis and her husband, Peter, are beginning to question God’s will for their lives. Having been recently estranged from her HIV positive daughter and being worried about her welfare, Avis would like nothing more than to quietly retreat into the recesses of her faith and find the answers she seeks. Her attempts to do so, however, are thwarted at every turn by the flamboyant Kat, who has apparently decided to foist herself on their lives whether they want her to or not.




Product Details:
List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 13, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595548645
ISBN-13: 978-1595548641



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

PROLOGUE

Midwest Music Festival, Central Illinois


Kat Davies ducked into the billowing exhibition tent staked down in a large pasture in central Illinois like a grounded Goodyear blimp. She’d been at the Midwest Music Fest three days already—didn’t know it was a Christian festival until she got here—and needed a little respite from the music pulsing morning-till-night on the Jazz Stage, Gospel Stage, Alternative Stage, Rock Stage, Folk Stage, and a few more she’d forgotten.

Besides, she’d be heading back to Phoenix in two days, and sooner or later she needed to figure out how to tell her parents she’d  “given her heart to Jesus”  after the Resurrection Band concert last night. Maybe this tent had a quiet corner where she could think. Or pray. Not that she had a clue how to do that.

Kat had a good idea how they’d react. Her mother would f lutter and say something like, “Don’t  take it too seriously, Kathryn dear. Getting religion is just something everyone does for a year or two.” And her father? If he didn’t blow his stack at what he’d call “another one of your little distractions,” he’d give her a lecture about keeping her priorities straight: Finish pre-med at the University of Arizona. Go to medical school. Do her internship at a prestigious hospital. Follow in the Davies’ tradition. Make her family tree of prominent physicians proud.

Except . . . she’d walked out of her biochemistry class at UA one day and realized she didn’t want to become a doctor. She’d tutored ESL kids the summer after high school and realized she liked working with kids. (“Well, you can be a pediatrician like your Uncle Bernard, darling,” her mother had said.) And the student action group on the UA campus sponsoring workshops on “Living Green”  and “Sustainable Foods” had really gotten her blood pumping. (Another one of her “distractions,” accord- ing to her father.)

Was it too late to pursue something else? Her parents were already bragging to friends and co-workers that their Kathryn had received her letter of acceptance into medical school a few months ago. Feeling squeezed till she couldn’t breathe, she’d jumped at the chance to attend a music fest in Illinois with a carload of other students—friends of friends—just to get away from the pressure for a while.

What she hadn’t expected was to find so many teenagers and twenty-somethings excited about Jesus. Jesus! Not the go- to-church-at-Christmas-and-Easter  Jesus,  the only Jesus  she’d known growing up the daughter of a wealthy Phoenix physician and socialite mother. That Jesus, frankly, had a hard time com- peting with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

But these people talked about a Jesus who cared about poor people. A Jesus who created the world and told humans to take care of it. A Jesus who might not be blond and blue-eyed after all. A Jesus who said, “Love your neighbor”—and that neighbor might be black or brown or speak Spanish or Chinese. A Jesus who said, “All have sinned” and “You must be born again.” The Son of God, who’d died to take away the sins of the world.

That Jesus.

That’s the Jesus  she’d  asked to be Lord of her life, even though she wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. But she desper- ately longed for something—Someone—to help her figure out who she was and what she should do with her life. The guitar player in the band who’d challenged the arm-waving music fans last night to be Christ-followers had said, “Jesus came to give you life—life more abundantly! But first you must give your life to Him.”

That’s what she wanted. Abundant life! A life sold out to something she could believe in. To give herself to one hundred percent. So she’d prayed the sinner’s prayer with a woman in a denim skirt whose name she never learned, and a “peace like a river” f looded her spirit.

Last night, anyway.

But by the light of day, she was still heading in a direction—medical school—that she didn’t want to go.

Big fans circulated the air in the large tent, though mostly it just moved the stif ling July heat around. Thick, curly strands of her long, dark hair had slipped out of the clip on the back of her head and stuck in wet tendrils on her skin. Redoing the clip to get the damp hair off her neck and face, she wan- dered the aisles, idly picking up brochures about Compassion International, Habitat for Humanity, and YWAM. Huh. What if she just dropped out of pre-med and did something like this Youth With A Mission thing. Far from Phoenix and the Davies Family Tradition. Go to Haiti or India or—

“Nice boots,” giggled a female voice nearby.

Kat glanced up from the brochure. A cute brunette with a shaggy pixie cut grinned at her from behind a booth that said Find Your Calling at CCU! Kat self-consciously looked down at the Arizona-chic  cowboy boots peeking out beneath her designer jeans and f lushed. Ever since she’d arrived at the fes- tival, she felt as if she’d walked into a time-warp—girls in tank tops, peasant skirts, and pierced nostrils, guys wearing pony- tails, tattoos, shredded jeans, and T-shirts  proclaiming Jesus Freak. Kat had felt as conspicuous as a mink coat in a second- hand store.

“Thanks. I think.”

The young woman, dressed in khaki Capris and a feminine lemon-yellow tee, laughed. “This your first time to the Fest? Where’re you from?”

Kat felt strangely relieved to be talking to someone else who didn’t look like a throwback to the seventies. “Phoenix. First time.”

“Wow. You came a long way.” 

“You?”

“Detroit. But during the year I’m  a student at CCU in Chicago. I get a huge discount off my festival fee if I sit at this booth a couple hours a day during the Fest.” The girl grinned again and extended her hand across the stacks of informational literature. “I’m Brygitta Walczak.”

Kat shook her hand. “Kathryn Davies. But my friends call me Kat. With a K.”

“Like ‘kitty kat’ ? That’s cute. And . . . blue eyes with all that dark, curly hair? Bet the guys love that.”

Ignoring the remark, Kat glanced up at the banner above the booth. “What does CCU stand for?”

“Chicago Crista University. Usually we just call it Crista U. Located on the west side of Chicago. I’ll be a senior next year. Christian ed major.”

“Christian ed? What’s that?”

“You’re kidding.” Brygitta eyed her curiously. “Mm. You’re not kidding. Uh, are you a Christian?”

Kat allowed a wry smile. “For about twelve hours.”

The pixie-haired girl’s mouth dropped open, and then her amber eyes lit up. “That is so cool! Hey . . . want a Coke or something? I’ve got a cooler back here with some soft drinks. Wanna sit? I’d love some company.”

Brygitta dragged a folding chair from an unmanned booth nearby, and Kat found herself swapping life stories with her new friend. Unlike Kat, who had no siblings, Brygitta came from a large Polish family, had been raised in the Catholic church, “went Protestant” at a Youth for Christ rally in high school, planned to get a master’s degree at Crista U, and wanted to be a missionary overseas or a director of Christian education somewhere.

“Sorry I’m late, Bree,” said a male voice. “Uh-oh. Two gor- geous females. You’ve cloned yourself. I’m really in trouble now.”

Kat looked up. A young man about their same age grinned at them across the booth. He was maybe six feet, with short, sandy-brown hair combed forward over a nicely tanned face, wire-rim  sunglasses shading his eyes. No obvious tattoos or body piercings. Just cargo shorts and a T-shirt that said CCU Soccer.
Brygitta jumped up. “Oh, hi, Nick. This is Kat Davies. She’s from  the University of Arizona, first time at the Fest. Nick Taylor is my relief. He’s  a seminary student at Crista—well, headed that way, anyway.”
Nick slid off his shades and flashed a smile, hazel eyes teasing. “So, Miss Blue Eyes. Has Brygitta talked you into coming to CCU yet?”

Kat laughed and started to shake her head . . . and then stopped as her eyes caught the logo on the banner across the booth. Find Your Calling at CCU.

Transfer to Crista University? Why not?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Writer's block

I have extreme writer's block on getting anything blogged tonight because I have some ghost writing I need to do that I've sort of been stalling on. I need some ideas to talk about here.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gotta have something to look forward to

I'm kind of empty on blog topics tonight, quite frankly. That's what happens when you have only walked out to the mailbox in order to get out of the house and the only person you have talked to on the phone was a wrong number.

I must make some plans to leave the house. Something beyond "are you free the second Saturday in April for another singles get together?" Poor Rachel, aka Rebekah. She was the person who got the answer that was something like "really, I'm in a mood, and I really don't give a flying fig what theme the event has because no one is going to show up." I have a number of rants along those lines and some of the other things that came up in regards to said event that really have nothing to do with her.

All I know is that next Friday, I have seats 14 rows from the field for Opening Day for the Texas Rangers. I am ready to get out of the house and go on my annual tradition.

After that, I need something to look forward to. You have to have plans in order to keep yourself going through the same ol' same ol'.

And I don't mean a family reunion the first weekend of May. That doesn't get me going either.

Here's the door prize I'm working on for that event. The middle square and tan around it were done by my grandmother, and the rest is my handiwork since Saturday night. I did get the brown started here at the left done last night. The unfortunate thing about doing it this way instead of rows is that it of course takes longer and longer to get a color finished the further along you get. It feels like I am getting no where now.


Monday, March 26, 2012

A tour of my office

I finally finished my "project" that I've been planning to do for weeks - cover the bi-fold closet doors with all the pictures that used to hang around my old office. I started with Command strips on one panel. Those got expensive. I did the other three panels with sticky back velcro. If I ever take them off, it will peel all the paint off the doors. I've already learned that. But, the doors haven't been painted in who knows how many years - more than 10 for sure, so it will all be OK. The one blank spot on my walls had been behind the door (before I decided it needed to close now). I actually had my desk at an angle in front of the door until last week.

So anyway, if you wonder where I work all day, this is it.








Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why must everyone at church want to set you up?

Not that I ever plan to write a book, but I think I could write a book based on the things the kids in my 5th grade Sunday Bible class say.

This morning, the topic was happiness, and I must have been guilty as charged regarding getting them stirred up (yes, I was told by one of the students that it was my fault they were loud).

Before everyone arrived, we were playing a game as suggested in the materials. The first person had to say, "I would be happy if i had a lot of _____." Their item had to start with an A. The second person had to say the first person's item, then add in an item of their own with a B. The third person, A, B, and C. I played along.

As I was trying to give examples, one of the girls said, "if I was married" directing that comment toward me. I tried to get them on track because I only recall one conversation ever that might have led them to think I would want to discuss this. (Probably when I told them that when the preacher asked each Sunday night, "and who are you going to marry when you grow up?" the answer just might be "NO ONE!!!")

Anywho... the game starts. I do a lot of reminding of the list since someone came in late.

I would be happy if I had a lot of...

Angles (Yes, angles, not angels. A class joke.)

B (Why can I not remember what B was?)

Cash

Donuts

Easter Bunnies

Felafel's


At this point, the girl I mentioned before was having trouble thinking of everything and we were in a hurry, so the girl between her and I was coming up with a G, or had said her G word when I was trying to come up with an H. At this point the girl obsessed with my singleness says, "I have an H for you. A husband."

I declare this the end of game. I've had enough of this direction and decide we need to move along. Plus, that's just plain wrong of them!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

During worship service this morning, I had a rather funny private joke moment. We do sometimes get in a rut of singing the same songs at church and need to branch out. This morning, the song leader branched out.

He led "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem." Now, I don't know about other churches in other parts of the country, but I have never in my life sang this in church. And I have been to a few congregations in my lifetime with a number of song leaders.

I did actually know the tune though because a former co-worker got an Oak Ridge Boys Christmas CD after pledging to PBS or something. And with my eclectic (or strange) taste in music, I borrowed it and had it on my iPod until my old computer died and I didn't have the CD to add it back on to iTunes.

So, the whole time I'm singing this song, I'm trying to sing it to the tune that the song leader is leading it yet hearing William Golden's voice in my head the entire time. This is quite distracting and had me trying not to laugh for all three verses. I passed a note down to my mother knowing she would actually appreciate this, and I'm lucky she didn't laugh for all the church to hear.

Yes, my insanity runs deep.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stand by Me


I thought with my job transition that I would have some free time for reading. I've been crocheting instead. Probably not a smart move as I've gotten into a new job, and have some press kits that I need to write which requires some reading. Two of which I have PDFs on, and I'm not wild about reading on the computer screen. Make that three.

I've also had a couple of hard copies come in the mail for work. And a book an author graciously offered me for review. And I ordered 5 on Amazon this week. Wow. I need to not think about all the books piling up. 

Yes, I bought books. I wanted to start reading the Stephanie Plum books after watching the movie One for the Money and a couple of friends told me that they were hilarious. And the latest Charles Martin and Randy Singer books came out and I wanted those as well. And I need to quit buying books and keeping them because I already bought a new shelf last year, and there's really not anymore room on it. (No, it's not all filled with books I've gotten or bought in a year.) 

As soon as I finish one project in my office/library, I really do plan to post pictures. 

Anyway, tonight's book is one that I started working on before I left my previous job. Back in 2003, I worked with Neta on the launch of the first book in the Yada Yada Prayer Group series. We worked together for a couple of years, and the way things go, her publisher got bought out, things got changed up, other publicity companies got contracts, etc. We were so excited when we found out a few months ago that we were going to get to work together again. 

And then, well... things happen. On my last day at the old job, Neta and I shared a tear or two on the phone. At least I cried.

If you've read and loved the Yada Yada Prayer Group and House of Hope series, you'll love Stand by Me featuring Jody's principal and pal Avis. Avis doesn't necessarily have it all together on the inside as she appears. She's not too into change either, and some changes are happening in her life. When she meets her opposite in Kat Davis, she's not sure what to think of her. 

Kat is well meaning, but a little too eager for Avis. And she dumpster dives. For some reason, Avis doesn't take to that too well and almost comes unglued when Kat and her friends end up being her neighbors, seemingly invading her life from all sides. 

Below is the press release I directed and editted before I left so that you can learn more. I hope you will check it out!

Sometimes the person you most need is the one least like you

How does God expect us to get along with those people ware always causing us pain? Are we supposed to keep helping those who repeat take advantage of us? Exactly what is the key to living in peace with difficult people? These are the questions award-winning author Neta Jackson addresses in her latest novel, Stand by Me (Thomas Nelson), the first book of her newest series, SouledOut
Sisters.

Inspired by her own Bible study group, Jackson began several years ago to write about a multi-cultural gathering of dynamic women in a collection of books known as the Yada Yada Prayer Group series. Since publication of the first Yada Yada Prayer Group novel in 2003, the seven-book series has sold over a half-million copies and given rise to countless prayer groups across the country. Jackson followed the Yada Yada novels with the four-book House of Hope series. Though the series is not dependent upon its predecessors for understanding, Jackson has used the individual lives of familiar characters to introduce some of the more complex issues prevalent in our modern society. By allowing her characters to lead the way, Jackson has shed light on issues like drug addiction, the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and even the racial conflicts that can so easily arise within any culturally diverse group.  

In her newest work, Stand by Me, Jackson introduces her readers to Kathryn Davis, a young college student who has left her prestigious Phoenix family behind to move to Chicago after dropping out of medical school against her father’s protests. Her new found faith in Christ helps temper the realization that she has stepped out of her family’s good graces, but does little to alleviate the pain of their rejection.

When Kat discovers the dynamic multi-cultural membership at Souled Out Community Church, she longs to be  part of it. But her unconventional behavior and brash eagerness have not helped her win favor with the church  members. And, much to her dismay, Avis Douglass, the one woman in the church whom she most admires and would love to know better, is the one who is the most aloof.

Kat has no idea that, after being confronted by a number of serious problems all at once, Avis and her husband, Peter, are beginning to question God’s will for their lives. Having been recently estranged from her HIV positive daughter and being worried about her welfare, Avis would like nothing more than to quietly retreat into the recesses of her faith and find the answers she seeks. Her attempts to do so, however, are thwarted at every turn by the flamboyant Kat, who has apparently decided to foist herself on their lives whether they want her to or not.

With the superb skill of a master wordsmith, Jackson weaves the stories of her characters’ lives into a faith provoking reflection of how God, in His own mysterious way, uses our most difficult relationships to show us how we need each other in ways we might never expect. To paraphrase the sentiments of one of her many loyal readers, Jackson’s newest literary effort is “like a flashlight from heaven lighting those corners of the heart we didn’t know existed.”  

Stand by Me: A SouledOut Sisters Novel by Neta Jackson
Thomas Nelson/March 2012 
ISBN: 9781595548641/400 pages/paperback/$15.99 
www.ThomasNelson.com ~  www.DaveNeta.com

Friday, March 23, 2012

No, I'm just becoming the other grandmother

Last week, I wrote about how I hoped I was not turning into my mother and grandmother. I may or may not be, but one thing is for sure. I'm turning into my other grandmother.

That would be the one that sat home all of the time and crocheted her days away.

In my defense, I do work from home now even though some days I don't get in my car and leave the house. And I don't crochet all day long.

Last night, I did finish the baby blanket project I started a year and a half ago and left about 1/3 done. I was able to finish it in just a few days with it being all one pattern and set of colors. I sped through it and was even doing it in my sleep one night. I was dozing off on the love seat and crocheting at the same time.

Here's a picture of the finished project. You can't tell, but it's maroon and white (the Aggie colors though I am anti-Aggie). Definitely smaller than the "ugly blanket" is.

Don't forget... you have until midnight Saturday to enter to win the ugly blanket. Click here to go to the post from last Sunday to make your comment to enter.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Now I'm really wondering about my neighbors

For anyone who has even seen one of my status messages on Facebook, you know that my neighbors tend to annoy me. I live in one of four duplexes in a row. In the almost 9 years that I have lived here, there have been more people in and out than I can count. All four buildings share a driveway, so I do have to pay some attention to what is going on.

There's the rowdy bunch of small children next door that bang on the walls and make pictures fall off the shelves.

Then, there are the new neighbors that were partying less than 20 feet from my bedroom window at 1:45 AM on a Thursday night/Friday morning a few weeks ago.

There's also the new neighbors friends that keep parking in my area. The other day, one of their friends with a giant truck on big tires and lifts (which is so pointless) was parked parallel to my house blocking the whole area in which I usually park perpendicular to the building. When said truck left, he turned the neighborhood phone box thingy (what is it called?) to this:


Thankfully, I did not lose phone and internet service this time around (I did back last summer when another neighbor hit it). This time they have a black garbage back over part of it. Don't know when they plan to fix it, but I spent 40 minutes on hold on Sunday to report the damage. I am working from home now. I can't afford to be without phone and internet.

So, anyway, I commented on Facebook today that the carpet cleaning trucks were pulling up in front of the 'hood for the third time this week. Someone commented on Facebook that it could be a traveling meth lab, had I smelled anything funny.

Well, from what I know about the guy next door, that might not be out of the question. Interest thought.

Later, I hear an ice cream truck outside. I get up to see if it is the one that's usually around because it's not the same song I always hear (and I'm not sure what the song is). The neighbors on the other side were buying ice cream - 18-23 year old females over at the partying neighbor's house. They were evidently having a hard time choosing their ice cream because "Pop Goes the Weasel" was going on forever. Not 3 minutes after the first truck leaves, I hear the one that I hear every day (practically year round) going around the neighborhood.

I comment about both of these on Facebook. Someone else comments that their husband is a believer that the ice cream trucks sell drugs.

Do you notice this reoccurring theme today?

I don't know. I really don't want to know what my neighbors are up to.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Looking for books for your little angels?

Gabby's back ... and she's brought a Kindle Fire Giveaway with her!




Enter today - Sheila and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have put together a prize package worth over $200!




One lucky winner will receive:
  • A brand new KINDLE Fire with Wi-Fi
  • Gabby, God’s Little Angel 
  • Gabby's Stick-to-It-Day
But wait! There’s more …
The winner will be announced on the Gabby Landing page on 4/2/12. In the meantime, enter to win the Kindle Fire then head over to the Tommy Nelson site and download the Gabby coloring sheets, watch Sheila's Gabby video, sign up for news about upcoming Gabby and Thomas Nelson products, and much more.


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About the book:  Gabby's Stick-to-It-Day

Gabby is a little guardian angel with a big job to do! Watching over Sophie is hard work, but Gabby knows that God wants her to stick to it.

Gabby, God’s Little Angel, flies to the rescue as Sophie attempts to help others but has a little trouble sticking with things. Sophie tries to be helpful by washing the family dog for her mom, but she gives up when she’s the one who ends up all wet. She then tries to be kind by reading to her little brother, but he has plans of his own, which include a splash of cereal right in Sophie’s face! When Sophie is ready to quit once again, it’s up to Gabby to encourage her to keep trying and to teach her what the Bible says about perseverance: “We must not become tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NCV)


About Sheila: 

Sheila Walsh is a Bible teacher, speaker, singer, and best-selling author with more than 4 million books sold. Sheila Walsh is the creator of the award-winning Gigi, God's Little Princess® brand, which has sold over 1.5 million units and won two National Retailer's Choice Awards. As a featured speaker with Women of Faith®, Sheila has reached more than 3.5 million women by artistically combining honesty, vulnerability and humor with God's Word. She resides in Dallas with her husband Barry and son Christian.

Visit www.sheilawalsh.com for more information about Sheila, her other books or Women of Faith.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What I can tell you about showing pigs

What I can tell you about showing pigs could fill... a sentence maybe. I went to my second pig show ever tonight. After taking a year off, Paige was back at it again.

All the pigs pretty much look alike to me. Most of the pigs she and her friends raised were from the same litter(s), so there was a genetic reason for that.

But the judge does his judging on the shape of their bodies, boxy heads, square shoulders, rounded backsides and such. Now, I understand how you can raise them and fatten them up to a certain size. Walk them to become more muscular.

How you can get them to have the shape rib cage unless you bind them up in a corset, I really don't know. Or put a helmet on their little piglet head to have a good shape. You're either born with it or you're not.

This is the thought I expressed to my father, and he knows about enough about pig showing to completely a compound sentence, and he agreed.

So, in the words of Porky Pig, "that's all folks!" Have a great rest of the night.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sixty Acres and a Bride - Kindle Giveaway!

I'm going to have to see if my mom has found Regina on the family tree (she's obsessed, I tell you!). Dad will want to send her an invitation to the family reunion.


Celebrate the release of Sixty Acres and a Bride with author Regina Jennings by entering to win a Kindle Fire and coming to her Author Chat Party on 3/27!





One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/26/12. Winner will be announced at Regina's Author Chat Facebook Party on 3/27. Regina will be hosting an evening of chat, fun trivia and more! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and some beautiful silver jewerly!
So grab your copy of Sixty Acres and a Bride and join Regina and friends on the evening of March 27th for an evening of fun.



Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Hope to see you on the 27th!


About the book:


She's Finally Found a Place to Call Home... How Far Will She Go to Save It?


With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to their Texas family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have just three months to pay.


Though facing eviction, Rosa falls in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. They welcome her vivacious spirit and try to help her navigate puzzling American customs. She can't help but stand out, though, and her beauty captures attention. 


Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, Rosa must decide to what lengths she will go to save her future. 


Click here to read an excerpt!    

About Regina:


Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City with her husband and four children. Meet Regina here.


Learn more about Regina by visiting her website, www.reginajennings.com.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It is finished! Do you want it?

The ugly blanket is finished! It's about 43 inches wide by 50 inches long (it's shown sideways here). 

As promised, I'm going to hold a contest to give it away. Here's what you have to do to win.

Leave one comment per day on this post. You can post once per day every day between now and Saturday, March 24 at midnight. Then, I'll draw a name from all the entries. 

If the winner lives in Corsicana, I'll hand deliver it. If you live elsewhere in the US, I'll have to mail it to you. 

COMMENT AWAY!!!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

This is why singles activities occur once and never again

I am sitting in a corner blogging as the new and (same as its ever been) Westhill singles ministry is in full swing. Keep in mind that I am the life of the party, and I am blogging.

Timmy the Fly is trying to school everyone in shooting pool in the alpha male way men do. However, I told him I had a stick in my hand and could use it on him. I think he's resigned himself to there's no hope for the 75± year old (who once had hair the same color of the fingernails I talked about last night. He also just admitted he had a few dead brain cells. I could not look Rachel's aka "Rebekah's" way.

The purple haired lady is playing Jenny's uncle's old flame. The way she kept asking about Timmy, I think she may be interested. He's come close to leaning over her to help her make the shot.

We've had the egg salad sandwiches, my green brownies (nasty greenish brown) with green mint icing, and cool ranch Doritos, washed down with root beer.

This is why we have one activity, then give up for a few years.

Come 8 PM, I am going to convince Rachel to go stalk Jenny and the Yankee.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Please, don't let me turn out like my mother (grandmother)

This starts off as an absolutely pointless story. It actually ends that way too. 

I'm not much of a polished fingernail kind of girl. Never have been really. For the last I am not sure how long, a while now, I've ended up biting or picking my nails off. If they happened to get long, they'd also bug me typing (they may have to be dealt with soon). In the past five weeks, however, my nails have grown back out. Imagine that. Anyone I make that comment to says that it makes sense. 

Anyway, I wanted very pale purple nail polish on a whim. However, I didn't find as light as I wanted, but anyway, they are currently purple.

I am 35 years old, and I knew I was going to my parents house and almost took off the color just so my mother would not make issue of it. Yes, I seriously thought this. Just leave me alone.

So, at the end of the meal, I was talking, with my hands as I tend to do and she interrupts me.

"Oh my goodness, your nails are a color. I don't think I've ever seen your nails a color. Clear yes, color no. Let me see them!"

"NO GRANDMOTHER!!!" This I exclaim while crossing my arms and trying to finish telling my story to my father.

That shut her up very quick and made my dad crack up with, "she got you!"

You see, my grandmother is always one to look at jewelry, "I don't remember that ring." 

"I got it 10 years ago, and you've tried it on numerous times."

Or look at the length of your fingernails.

I kid you not. I think I spend most of my time around her not showing my hands or wearing new jewelry I got for Christmas at the risk of being self conscious. 

I hope I'm not that way to Paige and Peyton or their kids in 20 years. Please, oh please, let it skip a generation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In other news, I'm getting really close to having the ugly blanket finished and am trying to decide how my contest is going to go for giving it away. Details coming soon!

Day 16 was another day of untying knots only to run out of the color before I got to the end


Day 17


Day 18 - I hated this yarn. First, it gets caught with the hook in a strange way that makes it a pain to use. Second, I ran out of the blue before the end of the line. Third, I kept trying to unknot my mess - probably spent hours, then finally just cut it loose and trashed the rest.


 Day 19


Day 20


Day 21 - I started the border


Day 22


Day 23


I figure I have two more days for all the border I plan to do.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Julie Klassen Facebook Party TODAY!

Don't miss the perfect blend of Regency-era romance and mystery in The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! Grab a copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and RSVP for her Author Chat party on Facebook! Swoon.


Join Julie's Fairbourne Hall Book Chat Party on 3/15. Julie will be hosting an evening of chat, trivia and a sneak peek of her next book - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books and a Downtown Abbey Prize Pack (Seasons 1 and 2)!
 

About the book:

To escape a scheme to marry her off to a dishonorable man, Margaret Macy flees London disguised as a housemaid. If she can remain unwed until her next birthday, she will receive an inheritance, and with it, sweet independence. But she never planned on actually working as a servant. And certainly not in the home of Nathaniel and Lewis Upchurch--both former suitors.

As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, Margaret struggles to keep her identity secret when suspicions arise and prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall. Can she avoid a trap meant to force her from hiding?

About Julie:
                
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

For more information, visit www.julieklassen.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yes, I go see "kids" movies on purpose

Whatever Miss Paigey has to say in her daily email today will include me. After catching up on The Voice from this week, she and I went to see The Lorax. Very cute. Very funny. Very catchy closing song.


The great thing about being an aunt is that you have an excuse to see cute and funny movies. I had to explain less about The Lorax than I did The Muppets thank goodness. Oh, and the two of us agree to no 3D. There were moments of close to 3D without the glasses. Wow.



Here are her past two days:


Day 3:



Dear Relitives,

                     Since today we fell backwards and lost an hour of  sleep Dad and Julie were all worn out from the sencond day of the best stay at home spring break ever they just slept an hour later than usual so after the pigs got some more protien from the whole 2 raw  eggs then I filled up their water bucket for thier feed in the rain. Then we were off to big church you adults call it worship . First off the decons changed all the lights in the audatoriam even though it took them 6 hours and a lift you could acually see Sam preach. Next Gramal was supposed to give me her check to put in cummunin but she was trying to get away with giving god Bealls cupons it didn't work out to well even though I thought the whole pew was going to laugh out  loud unfortunately God's favorite store is not Bealls so Gramal didn't get away with it. Then we went to Pops and Gramals house to have Bush's while Dad and Julie went to TJ's to do the taxes. Then we went  home and tried to take a picture of my family and I but Layton was being a pest finally we got a good picture. Then siince my mom and peyton aren't leaving until Tuesday Mom and Cade picked us up and we went to our new house peyton played with Frankie I played with Cafe while courtney stayed on the couch the whole time. When they left Peyton, Sadie, and Kylie stayed the night at Kylies house while me and mom watch Jack and Jill until 12:00. Over all it was a good day.


                                                   Love,
                                                            Paigey





Day 4:



Intro
I am really sorry about all the mistake in my last update. We didn't have wifi that night so I had to do it on my moms phone it was really frustrating so I hurried through the last part of the email ( and I promise I played with Cade not Cafe)!

Dear all you people,

   Today was an excellent day.... first my mom and I got up around 8:30 had some toaster strudels and hot chocate while we watched the rest of Jack and Jill. Next Sadie, Peyton, and Kylie came over and played teacher, drank hot chocolate, and sent Devon and Micah down to ISS 3 times! Thank Goodness the HuseNet came to hook up our Wifi but the bad thing was they were supposed to be here at 10 but they called at 12:00 and sayed they were lost how do you get Highway 31 mixed up with 287 when you are coming from Palestine. While they were working on that Granna came over and we got really good hamburgers at the Aggie General and saw Travis from  Nelson Propane, the person Peyton fired. While we were eating Kylie's mom Lindsey ( our neighbor and Jeff's old girl friend and in my opinion anyone that has dated Jeff is a wierdo yep even you Melissa) so anyways the three hoodlums when with her then. When we got back home mom and I played some more softball. We then went around the block a couple times on our bikes I rode on the handle bars of mom's bike once. Mom and Peyton then packed and decided to leave at 5:00 to get Alb. NM, and not Al Alberquerce's house ( by the way that name really bothers me) So then my dad picked me up and we picked up Madison and Layton at thier GIGI's house, Then we went to Madison's All-Star practice and the 4H meeting. We last went home took care of the piggys, played pictionary on the wii, and had hot dos on bread. To let you know old white tortillas will make you gag with a winnie, You can ask Madison for proof.

                                                                                 From me,
                                                                                           Paigey

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Song of My Heart Nook Tablet Giveaway!

Win a Nook Tablet from Kim Vogel Sawyer and RSVP for her Song of My Heart Facebook Party {3/29}! Celebrate with Kim by entering to win a Nook Tablet and connecting with her at the Book Chat Party on 3/29!





One "songbird" winner will receive:
  • A Nook Tablet
  • Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/28/12. Winner will be announced at Kim's Book Chat Facebook Party on 3/29. Kim will be hosting an evening of chat, fun trivia and more! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and much more!


So grab your copy of Song of My Heart and join Kim and friends
on the evening of March 29th for an evening of fun.

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Hope to see you on the 29th!


More about Song of My Heart:

Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can’t work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Unexpectedly, she find herself singing at the opera house too. Enter Thad McKane who comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. Thad is immediately attracted to the beautiful singer who performs in Asa Baxter’s unusual opera house, but when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he begins to wonder if she’s far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes he’s come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?


More about Kim:

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the bestselling author of more than 20 novels. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. She and her husband, Don, live in central Kansas and have three daughters and nine grandchildren.



For more about Kim and her other books, please visit www.kimvogelsawyer.com