Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm not near as cool as Collin thinks I am

I didn't escape Collin tonight after church. I rarely ever do. I hung around in my car with the window down instead of driving off like I usually do though.

His first thing tonight was that I needed a new car. That my car was old. My car may be 9 years old, but it is paid for. And there's no need to get another one if it A) ain't broken and B) sits around most of the time. Until earlier today, I hadn't even driven it anywhere since Sunday when he walked me to my car.

He goes on to tell me how interesting I am. How I always do fun things. About how I should make a movie. About how many followers I have on Twitter and You Tube. How awesome my blog is. I have no idea why Collin thinks I am so fun and do such fun things.

My life is really so very boring. Seriously. A movie about me would put the audience to sleep. Trying to figure out what to blog about the past week has been a stretch. I'm sure you've noticed.

At least I have a fan. Everyone needs a fan.

He'll be so proud this blog is about him.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bring on fall. Any time now.

I don't know what the deal is lately, but I've not been sleeping up until the time my alarm goes off. A couple of weeks ago, I could barely wake myself up when the alarm went off. One day I laid in bed at least 15 minutes beyond.

However, I have used my being awake to go ahead and force myself to walk before work this week. Seeing as this post is on Tuesday, that's a grand total of two days.

I've not been walking this summer since it got really hot, and the coolest part of the entire 24 hour periods the last couple of days (according to Accuweather) has been around 7 or 8 AM. But that has not been by any means cool. At least 80 with 150% humidity. OK, obviously not that humid, but very humid.

This leads me to say, "when is fall going to get here?" I'm ready for it to not be suffocating to go outside again.

Thankfully, I'll be escaping for vacation soon where the highs will be 80 and the lows will be 60. At least 20 degrees cooler. That's if Accuweather is indeed accurate.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The self-proclaimed TV event of the summer

It's that time of the week again. Time for The Bachelorette! It's part 1 of the 2 part season finale. It's so big, they had to break it into two episodes.

Chances are, it won't live up to the hype.

We start off with Chris' highlights of the season. I STILL don't get it. I don't see the appeal.

Then there's Drew. Can she ever talk about him without saying the word "sweet"? At least he is attractive.

Oh, and then there's Brooks. I don't get that either (all the way around). I'm ready for the finish line so we don't have to keep going through the stupid skipping, running, etc. analogy. She thinks it's unspoken love.

Brooks does not love you Des. Depending on how many commercials we see, you'll find that out in the next hour. At least that is my prediction.

Her first "over night" date in Antigua is with Drew. They see some sites before having a picnic on the mountain to talk about the time back home.

She's set on Drew, I can tell, so these other dates seem so disingenuous to me. More so than usual.

It rains, so they can't eat on the beach. Maybe it is just my attention span in general these days or my brain doing the Monday bounce all over the place, but I'm bored with this date.

Now, it's time for Brooks to visit with his mom and sister because he needs to talk to them before he tells Des he's either loves her or he's not in love with her and that it isn't going to work out.

He's sure not ready to propose to her. He's not to ready to say he loves her because he's not there yet. 

Before he can have the very difficult conversation with her, Des has to suck face with Chris first. They take a helicopter to discover more of the islands. Blah, blah, blah, Chris is great, he would make a good husband. Des is wonderful, I love her.

I'm still bored and surfing the net while watching. When they sit down for dinner, there are some loud noises in the background. Like a really squeaky playground. It's really distracting.

He asks her how she feels about moving to Seattle for him. She doesn't seem to excited about that even though she says in words that it doesn't matter where she lives.

Here comes ANOTHER poem. Make. It. Stop. Please. Make. It. Stop.

Finally, Des is getting ready for Brooks who she has the deepest feelings for. When she's with Brooks she CAN see her future. He needs to talk to Chris Harrison first. He just can't pinpoint exactly what it is as to why he's just not passionately in love with this girl. After he beats around the bush, Chris asks, "are you not sure or are you not in love with her?" Brooks cannot answer.

Finally, Brooks says he doesn't feel like she's the love of his life. Even with more time, he won't propose. He's not going to be in love with her. He's ready for marriage. He's ready for love. He's not ready for it with Des.

This whole conversation is taking at least twice as long as it has to on screen. This is why they are dragging this mess out over two weeks.

It's time for him to talk with Des.

Des is excited to see Brooks and says it is going to be stress free with no worries. WRONG!!!

Of course, as soon as he comes up, she knows that something is wrong. He's talking and talking and not making a lot of sense. She just knows it isn't good. She misses him when he's not there. He runs hot and cold - hot when she's there, cold when she's not.

Now, she's bawling and can't look at him. She was going to tell him that she loved him today. He was the only one that she could tell him about. Brooks asks why she hadn't said it before now. Now they both hold their heads.

"I don't care that you just broke my heart. I love you." She falls in love, but no one reciprocates.
Poor Des.

And, we could have gotten in another 20 minutes of next week's show if we just didn't watch Des cry as Brooks sits there with her.

Brooks is surprised at the love she had for him. She was hoping she was as conflicted as he was. She was conflicted because she didn't want to share her heart. She wanted to commit to Brooks.

So all of her blah, blah, blah about all the guys has been fake for weeks.

UGH. He just keeps asking questions and making it worse. She tells him to go away and just leave, but he keeps hanging out. Take a hint. Go away. You're making it worse.

Now, she walks off and he's bawling that he doesn't want to say goodbye. WHAT? You love her now that you've broken her heart?

And sniffy noises are what we hear as the episode comes to a close. Next week she talks with Chris Harrison.

There is absolutely no reason they had to spread this stupidity into two weeks. No reason.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Paul and Barney and Si

I may get kicked out of my Sunday school teaching position at some point. I just have this feeling.

This quarter, I've been teaching Kindergarten, and I've been doing good do keep us on track, much less take videos, etc.

I do have to throw in that while I still have two soon-to-be 7th graders still stalking me at church, I may have a soon-to-be 1st grader join them. I sit around different spots in the table each Sunday. I sat down next to one little boy last week who was excited about that for some reason. He scooted closer to me, then planted his feet practically right on top of mine. Aye carumba! How did I create yet another monster?

Anyway, back to me being a bad teacher.

Last week were singing, the whale did swallow Jo-jo-jonah. I did point out that the Bible said "fish", but I didn't know of a fish other than a whale (yes, I know a whale is technically a mammal) that could actually swallow a person. One very inquisitive little boy asked if Jonah was spit out or came out the blow hole. Now, that'd have to be a really big whale to have that big of a blow hole.

I picked up my Bible, read the verse from the ESV that uses the word vomit. Some giggles, but mostly "ewwwws" ensued. The boy who asked almost got sick with the word being said.

Bad Audra. Bad, bad, Audra.

As you know, I've been trying to teach the kids new songs. I faked my way through a verse of "I've Been Redeemed," and they knew it. So, every time I sing a verse of a song they have not heard before (like the 2nd and 3rd verses of "Jesus Loves the Little Children"), I am now asked if I made up the verses. Noooooooooooooooooo. It was just that one time.

Now I forever shall be questioned.

Today's class was about Paul's first missionary journey, so we talked about Barnabas. One of the kids asked if Barnabas was ever called "Barney." I can't say for sure, but I'm thinking not so much.

This is where I'm probably really going to get in trouble. "Next week we are going to talk about someone else who traveled with Paul. His name was Silas. Does anyone know someone named Silas, or maybe Si?"

Yes, I was going there.

"There's a guy named Si on show about hunting."

"My mom loves Duck Dynasty."

"Well, I can tell you one thing. This Si didn't bring his gallon of tea on his missionary journey."

Yeah, we may get side tracked next week. I admit it. And it's all my fault.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I go shopping because I need clothes, and end up with a...

I did get 100 pages of reading done last night, but instead of reading all day, I went shopping.

What I was really looking for was clothes, mainly shirts. I'm tired of wearing the same t-shirts especially all the time. I need something to take on vacation soon, but I should have been thinking about an upcoming business trip in September.

I'll think about that later.

I probably could have forgotten to look at a certain area of Belk in Waxahachie if my mom hadn't gone over to where they have some dishes. I'd thought about going over there, but I could have been distracted and not gone.

I have a few plates that I picked up for decoration a year ago, but they had some new pieces. Owls that match the plates. And I saw this mug. You know I collect mugs. I had to get him though I didn't need him.

Isn't he cute?

My mom bought me the matching cookie jar for my birthday. In November. Maybe, I'll forget she has it. Since I bought the mug, I probably won't.

Friday, July 26, 2013

My to be read pile is getting ridiculous

Between everything going on lately, I've really not read much, but my to be read pile is growing by leaps and bounds.

Now that softball and VBS are over, maybe I can get back in the groove. I've been saying I was going to read all weekend for weeks, and I haven't. Seriously, maybe this weekend.

Two on my list that I have promised to review:

The next two on my list... I even bought these.:

Plus I have a stack more. However, I have hard copies of all these books above, and I'm not taking hard copies on my vacation because I'm not going to back them. I'm taking my Kindle and while I do have some books in paperback and e-book (thanks to work!), I don't have these.

My mom took off the week that we didn't get to go on vacation because she needed to take off time anyway. In the last two weeks, she's read at least 4 books. She keeps telling me, "I finished this..." or "I finished that..." I am strangely jealous. And she sure isn't going to write reviews on anything for me to keep content up on my blog.

However, a book on my Kindle that I think I am reading while I am gone in a few weeks...

My boss Amy said that the little girl in the book made her think of me. She pictured a little me when reading. I have to read it just to see what thinks I was like as a child. I usually read in the car when I am not driving, but with Paige and Peyton in the car this time, I'm not holding my breath.

What's on your "to be read" list?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

So, you didn't miss anything on the Season Premiere of Sister Wives

I did invite people over to my house for the Sister Wives premiere last Sunday. Only one person came, but we had some good conversation time.

The others didn't miss much and the show is sure to be of before a next season. That is my prediction. That's not to say that I won't be watching every episode until it goes off the air because I probably will.

Robyn is poised to cry every time they talk to her. Every. Time.

No one wants to buy Sister Wives jewelry. Big shock. I mean, because all of us have sister wives. Not.

Janelle wants to know how they all expect to pay the bills. So do I.  So. Do. I.

Christine still doesn't like Robyn.

Kody is still the flakiest husband ever.

Merry still doesn't know whether she wants another baby, even if Robyn carries it. If it's been a year since Robyn made the offer (because they celebrate Solomon's first birthday), I am pretty sure you don't want another baby. You're 42. You're only child is about to graduate. You don't.

They still talk about leaving Utah for the sake of their family and prosecution. No one was sending anyone to jail.

They are finally building the four houses. The kids still think their parents are full of baloney about when they will get in the houses.

Since TLC likes to do crossover shows between their different programs (John and Kate Plus 8 on Say Yes to the Dress, Cake Boss on Say Yes to the Dress, 19 Kids and Counting on Say Yes to the Dress, somebody from some show somewhere was on Cake Boss, I know), maybe they will do a Sister Wives on Four Houses. Or a recreation of each wedding on Four Weddings, as long as they don't do Sister Wives on Say Yes to a Dress. They were happier (in my opinion) before Robyn came along, so we don't need to add another wife. There's not room for a 5th house on the cul de sac anyway.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Did I suddenly fill a swimming pool I didn't know about?

If it's not one thing, it's another.

The good news is with using more electricity this month, my bill was only $5 more than my previous bill since changing to TXU Energy free nights. Comparing the two bills is kind of apples and oranges because the fees are done differently, but with a hotter month and two more days in the cycle, I can say I am pleased with it only being $5 more because it easily could have been $50 more.

However, my water bill that I opened this week was double the month before. I used 5x more water than the month before (goes to show you all the base charges, etc.) That's more water than I've used the entire time I've been here.

I used the sprinkler system a few times, but not that much more than I did the month before. And I didn't dig a swimming pool this past month.


The city came out and reread the meter and said the meter wasn't spinning enough to be a leak on their end. However, in 16 days, I was over my usual usage in a month.

So, my dad and I have been the Great Water Leak Detectives today. I did what the water department suggested and put food coloring in the toilet tanks. No leaks there.

I have an outside faucet though that was leaking and evidently leaking enough to cause issues. Dad fixed that today.

He also tried to fix a drip in the bathtub that seems to have gotten worse. He said that before I had to say, "I think it's worse." That will likely be revisited.

Too bad I can't do free water after 10 PM. I'm already not washing clothes or dishes until after 10 when the electricity is free. It's easy to take a shower between 10 AM-6 PM.

Which reminds me, in 32 minutes, I need to start a load of clothes. My laundry room is piling up!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Big Year for Lily Giveaway Extravaganza!

Suzanne Woods Fisher is celebrating the release of
A Big Year for Lilybook three in the beloved
Adventures of Lily Lapp series,
with a giveaway extravaganza!


  One winner will receive:
Twelve winners will receive:
  • Special prizes specially picked by Lily (something new each day)! Suzanne will announce the winners on July 29 on her blog!
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 27th. All winners will be announced July 29th at Suzanne's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 29th to see if you won one of the fun prizes! 

(Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Book Three in the Adventures of Lily Lapp series. Co-written with Mary Kinsinger.

Lily Lapp’s family has settled into their new home in Pennsylvania, but life still holds big changes and big steps for Lily. Good changes, like once again living close to her beloved cousin and best friend, Hannah. Bad changes, like a mean girl who plays tricks on her. And no change at all where Lily would most want one–Aaron Yoder sits near her in school and relentlessly teases her. Surprises are in store for Lily as she learns, with Mama and Papa’s help, to manage the ups and downs of growing up Amish.
The third of four charming novels that chronicle the gentle way of the Amish through the eyes of a young girl, A Big Year for Lily gives children ages 8-12 a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Amish–and lots of fun and laughter along the way. It combines Mary Ann Kinsinger’s real-life stories of growing up Amish and the bestselling writing of Amish fiction and nonfiction author Suzanne Woods Fisher. With charming line drawings in each book, this series captures the hearts of readers young and old.
Learn more about the series, play games and download the coloring sheets at the Lily website.


Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Inn at Eagle Hill series, Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including “Amish Peace.” She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children’s series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She is a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. For more information, please visit and connect with her on Twitter @suzannewfisher. Get Amish proverbs delivered right to your mobile device! Download the Free App!
Find out more about Suzanne at

Monday, July 22, 2013

The claws come out on The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All!

Thank goodness we are near the end of this season because it's getting old.

Before we get to see the guys, Des gets advice from Ally, Emily and Ashley on what to tell the bad boys when they try to defend themselves on the Men Tell All.

Ally didn't think Ben was a bad boy until he said some things after he was sent home. I have to agree.

Des is not looking forward to talking Brian who had his girlfriend come and confront him. And what does James have to say? I admit, I didn't like the guy, but I don't see anything wrong with talking about what might happen in his future.

Now the guys are on. It's amazing how you forget about half of these guys in just a few weeks since they got kicked off. Of course, they haven't been memorable this season anyway.

Chris Harrison starts off by asking Jonathan what he thought he was doing with all the references to the fantasy suite. He says it was a joke gone wrong. Dude should have gotten a hint after the first couple of times you brought up the fantasy suite.

Brian was invited to come, but declined the opportunity to defend himself about the girlfriend thing. So, they are going to talk about him anyway. That's what you get loser!

Ben's turn! Here's cutie Brody again. That's the first great impression. Then, here comes sneaky Ben who takes Des off alone and lies about it. The two-on-one date where Ben goes home. He's calm until he goes psycho. And in the limo where he says all sorts of despicable things. He had been battered for 8 hours by Michael. I'd be angry too. The only thing he regrets are some of his words in the limo.

Ben says where he comes from, you pursue women pretty hard. Mikey has to speak up here saying you should be the same kind of guy around your friends as you are around your girlfriend. Good point. You are who you are.

Juan Pablo says he knew Ben was going to be trouble when he came in saying, "I'm not here to make friends." Now the guys are pulling out stuff about meeting his Brody's mom and how he didn't even try to get custody of any sort until after the show.

Now, here's the rehash of the rehash of the rehash with James. I just had to pause to get something in the kitchen and think I may just FWD through this. Oh, but before that, they had such a great date. Cut to trash talk about James from the episodes.

My biggest question about all of this up to this point is, why haven't they been mad at Mikey for being a part of this conversation?

So, their reasoning behind not being mad at Mikey are because he already saw the writing on the wall and everyone knew he was going home.

I just tweeted about this, and someone replied back to me with a good point. They were mad at Ben for being too serious (or focused) and James and Mikey for not being serious enough.

James' point was right on - it's about Des' feelings, not his. Yes, he was falling in love with her, but she might not have been with him, and he had to be realistic about that.

I just realized the creepy doctor didn't make the guys tell all show.

Now that we are finally past the James drama, the women go wild for Juan Pablo. About all we saw of him was when Des asked him to accept the rose in Spanish for several weeks. He is honestly the classiest guy on the show.

Juan Pablo for the next Bachelor!

And the spotlight is now on Zak. Mr. Exhibitionist himself. I still don't have him figured out. He sort of has multiple personalities.

Finally Des comes out, and we'll have to rehash James yet again. 

The overnight suite guy apologizes for his stupidity. They get to skip over Brian since he wasn't there.

Des calls Ben out on being insincere because of his limo exit. Ben with good reason asks Des how she can put up with someone who treated him like he did for 8 hours. Des says Michael was honest. I think he was a jerk. 

She then calls James out for manipulating her when he was talking to her outside on the steps, now that she has watched the show. She lays it on him well.

Juan Pablo asks a good question, "why didn't I ever get a one-on-one date?" She should have given him a date.

Zak has such sad puppy dog eyes. She said she thought he might have hidden behind his smile and wouldn't have been open with her. Why is he singing her another song?

The bloopers they show are pretty awesome. Minus the glass candle holders falling around Des and Bryden because of burned ropes hanging from the trees.

How shocking will next week be? It better be pretty shocking with all the teases. It's unlike anything they have seen. It will be two dramatic parts.

I think she gets ready to reject all except Brooks, and then Brooks leaves the show. Des does a-l-o-t of crying. So do the men in the preview shots.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rainy July in Texas

The past week has been crazy weather week in Texas. But I'm not complaining. Record breaking low
high-temperatures for several days. I sure didn't mind it up in my office, that's for sure.

Or at softball games, even though I got a bad sunburn that hurts days later.

And rain. Oh, how it's rained.

Last Sunday during showers, the neighbor next door was spray painting in the rain. I guess he was in a pinch and needed to paint them (whatever they were) so he wasn't worried about them being wet, but with the rain and humidity, they sure weren't going to dry.

Paige's state softball tournament has been going on the past week in Mabank. The week we were supposed to be on vacation, but that's not the point.

Her first game was supposed to be on Monday night at 9 PM. The whole day was completely rained out.

On Tuesday, she was supposed to play at 9 PM - the game they missed from the night before. Lightning like crazy by the time we got over there and it was time for the game to start.

Wednesday they had to play that game at 3 PM and another at 7 PM. It was still pretty muddy.

Thursday, their game was at 7 PM, but when we got over, it started pouring down rain, threatening games again. We got pretty wet before they were finally able to start the game. They lost out of the tournament that night.

Friday it was still not as hot thankfully. Peyton and I went to play mini golf while Paige had a party. It was much nicer than the last time Paige and I played.

Saturday the rain was back. In middle of thunder, the neighbor had the weed eater going out in the front yard.

So, in a nutshell, that was my week. Exciting, huh? (I should point out that the second came Wednesday was the most exciting part of the week - at least the last inning.) Softball season is now over for the summer. My schedule has been dictated by games for the past almost 3 months, so I am thankful for the reprieve now.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My venture to an alternate universe

The subject of Comic-Con came up this week at work. I surprised my co-workers by telling them I had been once upon a time. They asked me to do a blog post, so this ran yesterday on the Litfuse blog. As a lazy blogger, I'm stealing it.

This weekend, thousands upon thousands of people are gathering in San Diego for the largest convention of its kind. It’s where comics, movie, and science-fiction lovers come together to share their love of fantasy and toy collectors build and show off their hoards. Maybe you’ve heard of it: Comic-Con.
Medieval Fight Club
I have to admit, I’d never heard of Comic-Con until 2006. Since then, it’s gained more and more attention in the publishing trades, entertainment publications, and media. Admittedly, maybe I just didn’t pay attention until then because it’s been huge for decades. After all, I’m just not into all things the convention celebrates. That’s not to say anything good or bad—I’m just not into comics and sci-fi. I could very well be in the minority.
To put it in perspective, the only comic books I ever read featured a certain boy band that was big in 1990. They also had their own cartoon, and I was into all things related to them. The only super-hero based movies I ever watched were when I chaperoned the youth group on activities in the few years following college. At that time, the youth minister was more than a bit obsessed with the genre and wouldn’t let anyone touch his beloved, new Spidey action figure (even the teens thought this was insane). After I got back from Comic-Con, I told him where I went and his reaction was, “What were YOU doing there?”
However, in 2006, the PR company I was working for picked up a new client who was debuting a comic-book line at Comic-Con. In order to represent the new line and get a better understanding of the industry, my boss and I were told we needed to attend. We were utterly clueless as to what to expect. Completely. Everything we knew about trade shows went out the window. We were even told, “Make sure you do NOT wear your business suits.”
I’ve never seen so many storm troopers in my life. There were a lot of Darth Vaders too. I was scratching my head about the guy dressed as a deer, too. Is he carrying a chihuahua or his baby?
By the time we started our plans to go, it was pretty late in the planning game, given that some people make reservations for the next year as they check out each year. We barely found a room, somewhere on the outskirts of the city. When we drove up to the convention center, we never expected the crowds we saw. The San Diego convention center is a large convention center, but that year, they had to shut down registration and not allow anyone else in due fire codes.
Many of the attendees dress up to attend Comic-Con. It is all about fantasy after all. The first “character” I saw was a scantily clad Poison Ivy. I didn’t realize who that was. Someone had to tell me. Did I mention that I was completely out of my element?
I’d never seen so many Storm Troopers from Star Wars in my life. There were also a couple of dozen Darth Vaders, too. What I got the biggest kick out of was the guys dressed up as Ghost Busters. Maybe that was cool in 1987, but. . . . My explanation of it would be a nerdy guy’s ultimate Halloween celebration.
Ghost Busters
Who ya gonna call? Ghost Busters!
While we were at our client’s booth that first day, everyone started chanting, and a procession came through the convention center floor. I dared to ask what was happening. Stan Lee, the creator ofSpiderman, was entering the hallowed hall. Stan Lee, after all, is Comic-Con royalty. Everyone knows all of the creators, writers, and artists of all the series. Everyone except for me.
In the years following, I’ve heard of big name actors and actresses from movies like X-Men and Man of Steel being featured guests. I didn’t have any celebrity sightings, unfortunately.
There are lots and lots of people (mainly men) who dream of one day making it to Comic-Con. It certainly is an experience, but for me, it’s one for the “been there, done that, don’t need to go back” list.
What’s on your “been there, done that, don’t-need-to-go-back” list?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Colleen Coble’s “Rosemary Cottage” Nautical Summer Giveaway


Water can be calming and healing, but it can also be dangerous, as Amy Lange and Curtis Ireland both found out. Both lost their siblings to the sea, and they hope to find healing on Hope Island. But will they find it, or will their quest to find answers set them at odds with each other and with those who have secrets that need to stay hidden?

Find out in Colleen Coble’s latest book, Rosemary Cottage, which released July 9. To celebrate, Colleen is hosting a 12-day Nautical Summer Giveaway. From July 16-27, Colleen will be giving away a new nautical prize every day. She’ll announce the winners on July 29 on her website, so mark your calendars for that date to see if you were picked as a lucky winner!

Not on Facebook? Enter here.



Amy came to Rosemary Cottage to grieve, to heal, maybe even find love. But there’s a deadly undertow of secrets around Hope Island….
The charming Rosemary Cottage on the beach offers Amy Lange respite she needs to mourn her brother, Ben. She’s even thinking of moving her midwife practice to the Outer Banks community. It’s always been a refuge for her and her family. She also wants to investigate Ben’s disappearance at sea. Everyone blames a surfing accident, but Amy has reason to wonder.
Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland has lost a sibling too. His sister, Gina, was run down by a boat, leaving him to raise her infant daughter. If anyone knew who little Raine’s father was, Curtis could lose his beloved niece. Yet he can’t help being drawn to Hope Beach’s new midwife, Amy. He even agrees to help her investigate what happened to both Ben and Gina.
Can two grieving people with secrets find healing on beautiful Hope Island? Or will their quest for truth set them at odds with each other…and with those who will go to any length to keep hidden things hidden?
Colleen Coble


Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.
Find out more about Colleen at

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Enter to win an iPad Mini from Krista McGee in her “Anomaly” Giveaway!

Krista McGee is celebrating the release of Anomaly,
the first book in her new YA dystopian series,
with an iPad Mini Giveaway!


One winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • A $25 iTunes gift card (download Anomaly to the iPad!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 31st. Winner will be announced at Krista's website on August 2nd.

Spread the word about Krista and her giveaway HERE!

For more about Anomaly,

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ragged Hope | Visa Cash Card Giveaway and 8/1 Author Chat Party!

Cynthia Ruchti  is celebrating the release of
(Abingdon Press) with a $200 Visa Cash Card
"Hope" Giveaway and Facebook Party!


One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Cash Card
  • Ragged Hope by Cynthia Ruchti
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 31st. Winner will be announced at the "Ragged Hope Author Chat Part on August 1st. Connect with Cynthia for an evening of encouragement, laughter, and more! Cynthia will also share an exclusive look at her next project and give away books and other fun prizes throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Ragged Hope and join Cynthia on the evening of August 1st for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayHope to see you on the 1st!

For more about Ragged Hope,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Bride for All Seasons | Enter to win something new each day!

Four novellas, four brides,
and four stories to fall in love with. 

Enter the world of mail-order brides with four of your favorite authors: Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton, and Margaret Brownley. In A Bride for All Seasons (Thomas Nelson) each of the prospective brides is hopeful for a second chance at love—and that second chance always seems to come in an unexpected package.
The authors are celebrating with a fun 12 Days of Unexpected Packages Giveaway! Between July 12-23 visit the authors’ Facebook Page to enter to win a new giveaway each day. Winners will be announced at the Facebook Author Chat party on July 23rd! Such fun!

About the book:

It All Started with an Ad in a Mail Order Bride Catalogue…

Melvin Hitchcock of the Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalog isn’t dishonest—not exactly. If he tweaks his clients’ applications a bit, it’s because he’s looking out for their best interests.

This charming bouquet of novellas introduces four Hitching Post prospects in the year 1870, each one eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.

And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has been unlucky all her life. But who would guess she’d travel halfway across the country to meet her match . . . only to find him dead!

An Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she’s not what Matthew ordered. And what’s wrong with being a “Bible thumper” anyway? She’s determined to show him she’s tougher than she looks—and just the girl he needs.

Autumn’s Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn’t come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. The trouble is, there’s no money to send them back...

Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy
David’s convinced he’s not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he’s gone—nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?

About the authors:

Margaret Brownley is a NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author and has penned more than twenty-five historical and contemporary novels. @margaretbrownley

Robin Lee Hatcher is a Christy and RITA award-winning author. Her books often appear on bestseller lists. @robinleehatcher

Mary Connealy is a Carol Award winner, an a RITA, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist. @MaryConnealy

Debra Clopton is an award winning author of sweet, heartfelt, western romance that face life with a smile. With over 2 million books in print, Debra has her first book coming as a movie starring LeAnn Rimes. @debraclopton 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree (Bachelorette Recap)

Not sure why ABC didn't make a highlight video for this episode, but here is an awkward moment...

It's time for the hometown dates and just the previews for tonight make me understand why these guys are the way they are. Their families are 50 shades of crazy.

#1... Zak in Dallas, TX

Des cannot believe the guy who got out of the limo with his shirt off is still around. That's all you Des. You're the reason why he's still around.

She is going to get to meet 4 members of his family, but before that, he tells her about a dream. They were melting in the sand, then it started snowing. Something about a bunch of kids. I could follow it no more than she could. He runs off so that he could go get the family sno-cone truck. Oh. My. Goodness.

A bunch of children come out for sno-cones and they feed the masses. Then he runs out in a penguin suit. Remembering the first episode, I have to wonder if he was commando underneath.

Now, to meet the family, where he says his lunacy comes from. He tells his family about getting out of the limo and "will you accept these abs?" His family called him a weirdo. His mother has some roses on the table so that she can just go ahead and give Zak one.

She passes the test with the mom and sister. He brings out the guitar and sings the song he wrote for the pageant in Atlantic City, but his brother and sister sing a new version with the words change to fit coming from his family. I little creepy if you ask me.

He's ready to say "I love you" and give her a ring he bought in Atlantic City and has been carrying around the whole time.

#2... Drew in Scottsdale, AZ

Drew welcomes her with a sloppy kiss and is drunk on love. I lost track of who all is going to be there. His parents are divorced and it will be the first time his dad will go to his mom's house. (Cue Jaws music...)

They head out to pick up his severely handicapped sister. His love for his sister is really endearing. I'm not sure if she is going to fall in love with all of his family in the way he is convinced. She is going to be meeting 11 people. WOW. Overwhelming much?

Today he plans on telling his family that this is the woman he intends to spend the rest of his life with. As the youngest of 4, they are protective and don't want his heart to be broken.

While he tells his mom that he's told her about all the family warts, his dad is talking to Des. "Do you believe in angels? Have you ever met one?" Dad says that sister Melissa is one and that's what the deal behind picking her up was.

Dad gives Drew the blessing to propose and bring her into the the family. Des doesn't want to leave, and Drew confesses his love. He believes the next time he sees his family, he will be engaged. Good luck with that. I'm not so sure.

#3... Chris in McMinnville, OR

He too has fallen in love with her. There's a whole lot of fallen going on, and instead of broken hips, it will be broken hearts.

Chris played professional baseball. REALLY? See, I was just thinking during the last episode that I'd like some former pro players among my choice bachelors, but this guy does not strike me as a former baseball player. Not like any ball player I knew in college, at least. He writes poetry for Pete's sake.

They play baseball on the field that he played on as a child. She has a sketch book. I forgot about him getting down on one knee to tie his shoe on the first night. How cheezy.

His family means so much to him that Des is nervous - "they have to like me!" She has to meet the parents, three siblings and a sister-in-law.

They tell about her tweaking her back on one of their dates, so the chiropractor father takes her downstairs to adjust her and bring about clarity. He puts on his doctor's white shirt and tells her about the different things he is doing. She'd rather talk than have her butt sticking in the air while getting an adjustment.

Dad's awkward conversation... How does she take care of her body, eat, etc.? Then, Dad adjusts Chris' nose while they talk. Don't know what he just stuck up Chris' nose.

The family didn't like the last girlfriend - sister, mom, grandma - none of them. So liking Des is really important. Mom likes her a lot, but only admits after a pregnant pause when Chris says he thinks Des is the one. Des somehow gets the blessing.

#4... Brooks in Salt Lake City, UT

Now that I realize his hometown, this explains so much to me. Don't ask me to explain that to you though.

He's still trying to figure out how he feels about Des. Ohmygoodness, he's not in love! Because moments are short lived and they aren't together all the time, he kind of forgets the feelings they have when they are together. They rehash their time together.

They almost fall out of the canoe on the lake. Smooth. Now soggy, they go to meet his family. Lots of people to meet, and a group of men bear hug her. They all have name tags which is fortunate for her. She too thinks she needs approval due to the family's influence over him.

These dinner conversations are so awkward. Mom thinks there are tender "love looks." A brother asks if she could hang with him. Evidently, he's rather spontaneous or something? He has a lot of brothers. A sister gives him advice about how it should feel. The family asked hard questions, but he feels more comfortable after the day. Brooks says he's closer to feeling like he's met the right one than ever before, but I am not convinced.

Mom gives approval, for what it's worth.

Back in Los Angeles after visiting the guys, Des needs to talk to her brother. He was a psycho when he met Sean. She even says he pretty much ruined it for her. She wants to tell her brother that she does not want him around to meet the guys if he is going to act that way this time around.

Zak is adventurous, Drew is the sweetest guy you would ever meet, Chris is athletic and great at everything, and Brooks is quirky and gets her.

Brother really wants to meet the guys. I think he really just wants to mess with their heads.

Chris Harrison and Des have a sit down. Chris H. asks if she is still thinking she is in love with Brooks, even though he hasn't said it. Chris has no qualms about saying it, Drew loudly asserted it, Zak even said it. She is hopeful and can see a proposal coming... with Brooks. He ranks #4 to me.

Here comes the rose ceremony. As the guys come into the hotel, Chris Harrison welcomes each individually and walks them to an elevator. Des' brother is lurking around a corner, but doesn't jump out and say, "boo!"

Oh no, she's already in tears. Meeting the families made her rose decision so much harder.

Brooks gets the first rose. WHY? Chris gets the second rose. IF ONLY she had her the conversation between Chris and his dad. The final rose goes to Drew. Really not a surprise. She's never been that into Zak.

He makes some face contortions before she walks him out. The guys don't think Zak saw it coming. He does say he is completely shocked. She's not in the same place that he is. He's pretty speechless as he drives away. He's going back to a dark place. I'm not sure that any of these guys are in a good place emotionally. He throws the ring she gave him back out the window.

Next week is the "men tell all" episode. That should be explosive, especially bringing back the guys that the other guys really hated.

In two weeks, it will be the magic moment. I think Brooks may take himself out of the running. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Bachelorette got ripped off in my opinion

Yes, I know the last episode was 6 days ago, but I've been a busy girl. Besides, I don't think anyone is reading these posts.

Anyone else wondering how much money ABC gets from the tourism departments of foreign countries. Now, people are sure to flock to Madiera, a place they never heard of until this week.

There one-on-one dates and a two-on-one date with no roses at the dates except the two-on-one. Except this time, if you don't get it, it doesn't mean you are going home. Who will not make it to next week and not be able to show Des off to their families during the hometown dates.

Des invites some of the women from last season to help her talk out how things are with the guys. I don't remember one of these women. Des asks Catherine about Sean. Kind of an awkward moment. Sean told Catherine before she left, "give Des good advice" so he is really looking out for her (or so says Catherine). Riiiiiiight.

As she talks about the guys she doesn't say anything just wonderful about any of them. That's because they are all flaky. I really think she got ripped off.

The guys come out and the girls kind of gawk via binoculars. They think the guys are hot (maybe if you don't have to look at their faces. Sorry, but that's the truth as I see it. I just don't get what she sees in these guys. But, she had to specify what she was looking for to producers, so I guess this is what she was looking for.

The first date is with Brooks. Don't really care for him. Maybe she is into his hair. They have a conversation about code words like walk and run to describe where they are on the spectrum of falling in love. Because he is past like, on his way to love.

Des is driving a mini car around a mountain up through the clouds. They end up over the clouds when they reach the top. They proclaim while holding hands, "I'm standing on cloud 9." Cheesy. Here... let's add kinds of cheese to this description. Mozzarella cheese.

Brooks is close to his family and whoever he marries will be absorbed into the family. Absorbed. Interesting word. Then, they come back to their secret words. Stepping, Skipping, Running, Finish line. They are running, approaching the finish line.

And it wouldn't be a Bachelor/Bachelorette season without a private fireworks show. I could have lived life without Des making fireworks noises and talking with her hands about how time with him is like fireworks. She could see Brooks as her husband.

The next date goes to Chris. He wants to jump up and give a fist pump Tiger Woods style because he does not want to share his time with Des, and they have a special connection. Yeah, how do you know she feels the same?

To me, and I know my friend Jenny disagrees, Chris may be the most unattractive of the bunch, especially among who is left. As they leave, the guys watch them head off. Stalkers. They go off on a yacht.

She could also see Chris has her husband. He says their physical chemistry is pretty legit. Whatever.

The date card for the next date comes. Michael is the only one who has not had a one-on-one date, so he's all cocky and excited. Drew and Zak will have to share.

Back to Chris, he says that the Chris that Des sees is what his friends see, except he's less romantic with them. He's really nerdy when he talks about it. Oh my word. He wants them to write a poem together to put in a bottle and set it out on the ocean. ENOUGH with the poems already. Cheese so bad it comes in a spray can.

"How big of a family do you want?" Chris asks. Des says 3 or 4 would be fun. They talk about meeting his family.

He's fidgety and sweating. He's lost his train of thought. He has something to tell her, but he can not spit it out. VERY awkward moment. On this show, people say "I love you" so easily, it's hard to believe he's having a hard time. He reads her another poem. Cheeze Whiz.

Off on the date with Michael. She can see herself with him too. She thinks they would have a blast together. I've yet to see that he can be a fun guy. Obsessed, yes. Defensive, yes. Demanding, yes. Serious, yes.

"If you were on a scavenger hunt and had to find 47 qualities that make a perfect woman, Des has 48 of them." Really Michael? What an odd thing to say anyway. Colby Jack.

She goes back to talking about him having her back, but she's not so sure about him really. Because of things that happened in the past, he's a mama's boy. You know how I feel about that.

He was devastated by his last girlfriend and wondered if he could ever love again after how heart broken he was. But he is starting to have these feelings again. However, you can tell that she's not really into him at this moment.

It's time for Drew and Zak to have their dates. Drew is a pretty boy. Too pretty. And Zak looks weird sometimes. There's just something.

They are going to do some go kart racing. Zak leaves Drew in the dust. Drew's all bummed.

Des takes Zak off to talk first as the winner. He's made some drawings now that they had their artistic moment and he thinks he's Van Gogh now. He wants to meet his family, but he's not saying that he loves her today.

Drew gets his time, and he says his family is going to fall in love with her. They were as anxious to meet her as he was when he came on the show. Drew wants Des to pick up his sister with him. The sister is severely mentally handicapped, and Des is in tears.

Because he opened up to her, Drew gets the rose.

Heading into the rose ceremony, all the guys are packing, knowing it could be time to go home. Regardless, they'll actually be heading home since it is hometown date time.

Chris Harrison and Des have a sit down conversation. Drew is the most attractive guy she's ever seen. Brooks makes her smile. It's finish line with him. Can't believe we have to revisit that. She's in love with Brooks, but he hasn't said it. That's where she isn't sure. But, it's not all over. She's falling in love with Chris too.

Time to give out the roses. Drew has one, so three out of four of the others will get one. We all saw roses to Brooks and Chris coming, so it's between Zak and Michael. She hasn't really said much about either of them, so it's kind of a toss up.

Zak gets the final rose. Michael is all emotional and says he was ready to commit to her for the rest of his life. At least she was honest now before she broke his mother's heart "because no girl is going to be able to measure up to you quite frankly." The cheese that comes in hot dog franks.

"Why does this keep happening to me? I'm tired of getting rejected by women. Why do I keep getting my heart broken?" He gets in the car to leave and calls his mom who responds with a "here we go again." Yes, you needed to cut this guy loose.

Previews show that the hometowns are going to get crazy. Maybe it will be the best episode of the season because it has not been greatness thus far.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Anyone want to proof my mega scrapbook for me?

It took me a year, but I finally have my scrapbook from my last vacation put together. (The one to Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver.) However, before I print it, I need to go over it once more for typos and I am the world's worst at catching my own mistakes.

Want to take a look? You don't have to proof it if you just want to look.

Shutterfly offers exclusive photobook layouts so you can make your book just the way you want.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Some children are better actors than others Part 2

At VBS this week, I took pictures so that each child in my class could have a take home picture frame. In the first picture I took, I told the kids to smile. In the other, I told them to act scared that there was a lion right behind them. Some need some acting classes. Others, including one related to me and her cousin had no problems whatsoever.

This is the second half of the 21 kids that made it at least one night to the 3rd and 4th grade class. And a bonus... Chloe, Paige's friend who also wanted her picture made.