Friday, November 28, 2008
Hope your Thanksgiving was fabulous.
After an overload of turkey and all the trimmings at two different dinners, a quick 5:30 a.m. jaunt to the mall, and the out-with-the-Thanksgiving theme and furniture arrangement, I'm ready to face Christmas.
Lily and Lola didn't bust through the door barriers and snoodle all the guests.
The turkey, only the second one I've ever cooked, was delicious.
We have an abundance of cute babies in the family. It amazes me how many new and improved baby things there are out there. Sheesh. It's a wonder any of us ever survived and thrived without all the gadgets and gizmos.
Conversation was rich with sarcasm and snap and there was some depth of spirituality that has been missing in the past. One of my nephews has recently accepted Christ and I can't tell you what a blessing it is to watch him bloom right before my eyes. Lesson within, never, never, never give up on someone, think you can read them, or second guess God. He uses some amazing skills to capture peoples' hearts. This young man was always quiet and usually sat outside of the inner circle. All of a sudden, he's sharing truth and excitement over the things of God. He was just baptized last week and I cried as he shared his testimony in front of the church. I had no clue that he was even interested in God. Like I said, what a blessing!
Scott, the Settlers of Catan master still sits on his throne. Three more wins under his belt. Sigh. Which makes me a three-time loser, again!
All said, I am so grateful for my family and my God who never ceases to amaze and humble me. Thank you, Lord.
Now. I'm going to go put my absolutely bee-yo-ti-ful new comforter on my bed. Just arrived and it's way nicer than I expected.
Happy weekend. Here's hoping it's restful, blessed and full of all those leftover Turkey Day treats.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
My room is clean and organized. My CLOSETS are clean and organized. Trust me, this is huge. I can breathe, knowing that when my Thanksgiving guests arrive, that a sudden avalanche of junk will not bust down a door and come rolling out over their heads, crushing the very life out of them.
Not only that. I'm good for Christmas Eve, too. I won't have to worry about what lurks within while I think about our guests and festivities. I even, while organizing the gifts I've been collecting throughout the year and the wrapping paper and bags, wrapped some gifts.
I am now enjoying one of my all time favorite movies, Stranger than Fiction, and basking in the knowledge that my inner sanctum is in order.
Twenty-two is feeling better, too. She had a bad bug yesterday and spent some time hugging the waste basket. But she's back in fine form and ready to rumble. Her plans include doing lots of cooking and learning the art of throwing a Thanksgiving dinner party.
So far the rest of us are feeling fine.
My new bedset is even on its way. Suppose it will arrive tomorrow? Either way. I'm ready.
But this gratitude is secondary to the gratitude I feel for the blessing of hearth and home. Both current, with my peeps, and future with my secure knowledge of eternity and what has been promised to me.
Here's wishing you deep satisfaction during your holiday preparations.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I got my bed set. I gave E-Bay one more try. Probably because that was the only place I was going to find anything even close to what I wanted for what I wanted to pay.
It was my first choice, too. And I ended up getting it for $6.00 less than I was willing to pay and no shipping.
Right now, I'm a fan again. We'll see what happens next time I have a on-line shopping itch.
And now for another E-Bay moment. One of the older ladies at church, who probably does NOT have a computer, was filling me in on her granddaughters' upcoming baby. Seems this young lady is so anxious for baby that she already has the car seat installed three months before the blessed arrival.
Grandma went on to tell me that her pregnant granddaughter has purchased both boy and girl accessories and has all the nursery furniture installed and is ready to go. I inquired about the boy and girl themes. I was told that the couple doesn't want to know the sex ahead of time and they want to be ready for either gender. But that it was okay. The cost was minimal because her granddaughter bought everything on Baywatch.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
Really. So the room is a beach theme?
Friday, November 21, 2008
Christian publishing has crossed a barrier with the publication of The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips.
For starters, this story is compelling. Told through the narration of Andy Myers' son. The son he never wanted, I might add. Narration is not my favorite point of view because it tends to lack intimacy. But I connected with the characters in Death and Life. I also love crime fiction and Death and Life is full of cop/legal drama. The writing is creative and easy to read and the story is positively page turning.
I mentioned that Christian publishing has crossed a barrier with this story because the dialogue is peppered with raw language -- think PG-13. I am not super offended by language and am able to watch or read something and not get caught up in coarseness if the story is compelling enough. Death and Life is full of three, four and five letter words that will stomp on sensitive toes.
Interestingly, I've seen a lot of debate in Christian author loops that discusses this issue and the challenge of writing real and raw when the characters are limited to "Aw, shucks, Ma'am." The fact that Stephen Baldwin has opened the door is going to ease things for the storytellers who want to write real if it includes raw. The bottom line consensus in this debate seems to be that story does rule. And in this case, The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips shares a story that is worth reading.
Click here for a taste of the novel.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Just for the record.
I DIDN'T get the sweet comforter I bid on.
And I missed it by....drum roll........... Wait, let me digress for a moment.
Okay. The Wii I missed by a hundred. That I dealt with by going to a local store and actually finding one on the shelf. Take that E-Bay entrepreneurs.
The items I won were great deals. Three out of twenty and counting. But they were a bit of work. I think we could call it sweat equity. Very stressful watching to make sure someone doesn't swoop in and beat you by a few dollars.
Today was a crazy busy day. I checked once, three hours to go it looked like I still had the winning bid.
Then, I checked my e-mail. The dreaded notice. I lost it by a ....resume drum roll.... a stinking dollar!!!!!
Now I'm determined. And I'm really going to dig deep. Chocolate brown, great-priced comforters/quilts, consider yourself on notice. You are hunted and fair game. Do not make me send Josh after you.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I had never even gone to the iconic and culturally shaping empire known as E-Bay...until the search for something very specific sent me Googling and eventually to the E of the Bay. I am now no longer an E-Bay novice. I've bid, and bid and bid, watched dozens of similar products and purchased three things. I've lost even more. And not just what I was bidding on. I'm talking time, baby. This could become an issue.
On my short cut trip to home I encountered a trotting turkey. Apparently, the little fellow is brave or very, very stupid. Since he hurtled out in front of my van, I'm voting for stupid. You should have seen the drumsticks on that little bugger.
Mouth-watering? Well, that's probably because you didn't see the rest of him. Let's just say childish art work is very flattering compared to the real thing.
Now. I have to get back to E-Bay. I'm bidding on some bedding. Twenty-one hours and five minutes to go. Baby needs that chocolate brown bed-set!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Hands of Hope
These pictures aren't just intriguing photos.
These cards are true gifts that give long, long after they given.
Read about the organization by clicking on the heading above. How did it get it's start? How many children are being helped?
Read about the difference you can make as you shop for Christmas gifts this year by clicking on the photos.
How far can your holiday dollars spread? I challenge you to consider sending some of them across the globe.
I take eggs and clean water for granted. How about you?
Monday, November 17, 2008
Okay. Monday rant. Ready?
Shortcuts are all well and good. I'm a big fan of them. I take one to work nearly every day. Which brings me to my rant.
Drivers. If you are taking a route that is a shortcut for you...then play by the rules.
Said shortcut is 25 mph. Not a suggestion! Sure, you save a few minutes because there is near-zero traffic on the winding, winding road that really kind of deserves the 25 mph rating because of wildlife, and did I mention windings?
Getting pulled over by one of the delightful police officers who sometimes pull off into one of the many hiding places decreases the time saved on shortcut. As does an accident because you have your nose buried in the car-in-front-of-you's biz-ness.
For the record, that's my green van you are kissing. And as much as you HOPE the speed limit has changed overnight, let's just say that Hope is a town in Minnesota, and you are sniffing up the wrong bumper.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Bad blogger checking in. Sorry for the sporadic and light posting this week.
I'm sure none of you have lost sleep over it...but I still feel bad.
I'd like to reward you with the promise that once I get my act together I'll be back in full force. (Notice I didn't put a time frame on that!)
In the meantime. Here are some autumn scenes for your perusal.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This is the book trailer I cooked up for my friend Michelle.
It's def. not perfect. Whatcha all think? Does it make you want to read the book or throw your computer at my head?
What works, what stinks? Give me some feedback peeps.
Monday, November 10, 2008
TitleTrakk.com Blog Tour!
This week we're chatting about:
The Fantastic Fall Giveaway Contest!
Just in time for the holidays, you could win over $335 worth of books, cds and dvds!
The Grand Prize Winner will receive:
Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark
Rachel's Secret by BJ Hoff
Beach Dreams by Trish Perry
Playing God by Michelle McKinney Hammond
White Soul by Brandt Dodson
The Legend of the Firefish by George Bryan Polivka
Finding Marie by Susan Paige Davis
The Power of Praying Through the Bible by Stormie Omartian
A Man After God's Own Heart by Jim George
Evidence for Faith 101 by Bruce Bickel & Stan Jantz
Wake Up! Wake Up! by Everyday Sunday
Rock What You Got by Superchick
Sunday by Tree63
Houston We Are Go by Newsboys (Live CD/DVD)
Nothing Left To Lose by Mat Kearney
I Am Free Worship Collection
Salvation Station by Newworldson
Not Without Love by Jimmy Needham
Pages by Shane & Shane
Colors and Sounds by Article One
Love's Unfolding Dream
The Ten Commandments Animated
Between the Walls
But that's not all!
We're giving away even more!
During this blog tour (November 10th - 16th) we'll be drawing 2 winners daily from the contest entries to win an additional free book or cd!
Visit the TitleTrakk.com Contest page today to enter the contest and place yourself in the running to receive the Grand Prize, plus all the daily prizes! Deadline to enter is November 17th.
Founded in 2006 by Tracy & C.J. Darlington, TitleTrakk.com is an interactive website spotlighting Christian books, music & movies. Updated weekly, we feature author and musician interviews, album and book reviews, music videos, movie reviews and interviews, book excerpts, surveys, polls, and fun contests. Learn more: http://www.titletrakk.com/about.htm
Friday, November 07, 2008
Scroll down for a review of Out of Her Hands and a link to read the first chapter.
Thanks, Megan. It's been fun.
Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.
I love the last scene in The Family Man when Jack (Nicholas Cage) and Kate (Tea Leoni) are speaking. The audience can’t hear the dialogue as they sit in the airport coffee shop while the snow beats the windows and they lean toward one another in what could be a life-changing conversation. The director left the conclusion of the movie up to interpretation—did they resume their relationship or did they go their separate ways?
Favorite season and why?
I love, love, love summer in Colorado. The climate invites you to spend as much time outdoors as possible. I have a cozy chaise on my patio that is my summer office.
Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?
It’s a toss up between the Romantic Times review of Out of Her Hands which said, “Her realistic portrayal of the characters' lives should endear them to readers and help Christians to feel less alone in their daily trials," and a reader’s comment about Searching for Spice that said, “I closed this book with far greater respect and admiration for my own husband.” It thrills me to know that women identify with my characters and their situations.
Cleaning my Cuisinart Grind & Brew coffee maker. It gives me a quick sense of accomplishment, and then I can enjoy a really, really good cup of coffee.
Societal pet peeve…sound off.
It always annoys me when people don’t treat others with the same amount of respect they would demand themselves. Too often I’ve seen people push ahead of children or older people in lines at grocery stores or when they speak to teens with less respect than they would give other adults. Pul-eese!
What makes you feel alive?
Spending time with family and friends. That’s what it’s all about for me.
Unidentifiable antique, the scent of pipe tobacco and the drizzle of rain – make a scene.
The sound ushered Elizabeth back to an afternoon long ago. Donk, donk, donk. The steady drip of rainwater ticked its way down the maze of gutters clinging to the old building. In an instant, old memories placed her in the breakfast nook of Aunt Kathryn’s house while dinner simmered on the stove and fat raindrops danced off the lid of the metal garbage can outside the window.
But she wasn’t in that cozy kitchen chatting with her beloved auntie. She wasn’t ensconced in a home filled with love. She wasn’t enjoying that time when the world was a safe place. Instead she was in Efrem Sawyer’s office while the elderly lawyer scrutinized her through dingy eyeglasses perched on his beak of a nose, beneath shrub-like brows.
The skies wept for her loss. The chiming of a distant clock joined the sad symphony. The old man was patient with her pain. He leaned back, his ancient chair groaning with the effort, and fired up his ever-present pipe. A plume of smoke, thick and fragrant, floated toward the ceiling. Elizabeth reached out to take the object Efrem pushed across his desk toward her. How many times had she carefully dusted this in advance of one of Aunt Kathryn’s dinner parties? And here it sat in her hands, heavy and cold.
(Well that was fun! And it’s so out of genre for me!)
Use this "story starter" and give a sample of your voice: If Alex had known the body of the senator was in the bathtub, she would've taken Jim's offer for coffee.
If Alex had known the body of the senator was in the bathtub, she would've taken Jim's offer for coffee.
But no, she did the responsible thing and went into work on the morning of July 4th, when every other USA-loving American was hanging the stars and strips outside their front door and making red and blue Jell-O molds that would be punctuated with frothy whipped cream.
Her dear husband had even bribed her with breakfast at their favorite café. To think that right now she could be enjoying a walnut scone with her favorite gutsy Sumatra blend, extra hot and black. Instead, here she stood, with her back to that ghastly scene. The vision of Senator Nickel, floating in tepid water and then jerking to life when she let loose an ear-splitting shriek, threatened to forever burn into her retinas.
And the next time the senator asked her to do a favor and fax an important document, she would ring the doorbell—and he had darned well better be on a junket to a Pacific paradise (on the taxpayer’s dime) like he’d said he would be.
Megan DiMaria loves to be an encouragement to women as they live out their faith in today’s busy world. Her upbeat personality and deep appreciation for the humor in ordinary moments creates a bond with other women as they laugh and learn that life is an adventure, one not for the weak of heart.
Searching for Spice, Megan’s debut novel about a long-married woman who wants to have an affair—with her husband, released in April 2008. Her second novel, the sequel to Searching for Spice, released in October 2008. Out of Her Hands is about taking life as it comes with all its surprises and challenges. Her son’s dream girl isn’t what she had in mind. Between her family, her job, and her friends, life is moving at warp speed. How will Linda manage when she realizes it’s all out of her hands?
Megan and her husband live in suburban Denver near their adult children. They often travel back to their roots in Long Island, NY to visit family and get their fill of delicious Italian food.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
In this second novel by Megan DiMaria, Linda Revere is back and continuing to struggle with the turmoil of contemporary life. Linda has been praying for her children's future spouses since they were very small. Confident that her prayers will be answered, Linda is not prepared for the young woman her son brings home. But Linda soon learns that while everything she once controlled is out of her hands, God is still in control. Megan uses her trademark humor while dealing with issues to which her readers will relate.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Out Of Her Hands, go HERE and visit Megan's website.
Megan DiMaria hits the pavement running via the first person point of view of Linda Revere, superwoman and superagitated supermom. Linda is facing huge issues of change and crushed expectations. Even though Linda's POV is the only "voice" we hear, readers get to glimpse enough reality, grit and angst in a large group of players to feel like they are reading a multi-player piece ala Karen Kingsbury or Neta Jackson.
Nikki Arana fans need to look into DiMaria as well. Arana's As I Have Loved You reminded me of Out of Her Hands.
Any issues I have with the story are probably of the stepped on toe variety because the story and the characters are painted in varying shades of reality and it's not altogether flattering. Linda is every woman. I see her in acquaintances and I see her in myself. Nick, Amber, and Emma are all people I know a little too intimately, too. Jerry and Ross add some serious stability to the story especially when things unravel.
Out of Her Hands packs quite a story. Buckle up and prepare to hit all the emotional stops.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
No matter how big my problems seem....
No matter how out of control the world feels...
The Master of the Universe is on His throne.
Click on the cool Hubble telescope shot and you'll find nine other equally cool shots.
Sometimes it feels fabulous to be infinitely small. And to know that even a sparrow doesn't drop without His knowledge.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
A new experience of God comes one question at a time in this fun and provocative journal. Made up entirely of insightful, profound, and occasionally ridiculous questions, Me, Myself, and I AM invites you to open to any page, open yourself to God, and be the author of yourown story.
Questions range from spiritually intriguing—
You overhear God talking about you. What do hear him saying?
You are on a long car trip with a close friend who is not a Christian and the conversation turns to faith. What is your biggest fear about what your friend will ask or say?
Do you believe that all of Jesus’s followers have a responsibility to tell others about him?
to just plain fun—
If your life before you became a Christian were a movie, its title would be:
As Good as It Gets
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
It’s a Wonderful Life
Me, Myself, and I AM will entertain, inspire, and get you thinking about your spiritual life from brand new angles. Whether you use Me, Myself, and I AM as a reflective tool, a way to start conversations with friends and family, or as a spiritual time capsule to look back on years later, their own words will create a powerful journey of self-discovery.
Me, Myself and I Am is a book requiring much from the reader. Besides the clever title and some soul-searching questions and sentence starters, the book is an empty slate.
I'm not great at following through with the meme's that head around the world via the internet. If I was I'd probably love this book. It's a spiritual and personal diary digging deep into the personal journey that has shaped reader beliefs and, by default, the reader.
My 17-year-old daughter fills out every meme she runs across and would really eat this up but my 22-year-old daughter saw the book laying on the kitchen table asked for it and hid it away before her sister discovered it had entered the house.
Some of the areas and topics covered include church, formative beliefs and the history of those, likes and dislikes, personality strengths and weaknesses and prayer personality. Many pages are quick check-lists and multiple choice, others require essay answers. All require thinking.
Introspective readers should find much to like.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Things I've done on my trip to Minnesota...
Went to Minnehaha Falls which are currently turned off. Really.
Heard John Piper of Desiring God fame preach.
Shop til I dropped.
Taken pictures for a book trailer for Gallimore...(hmmm, curious?)
Eaten way too much.
Laughed even more.