About Me

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Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fresh Air Fund - Follow Up

The Fresh Air Fund had nearly 8,000 children enjoying their best summers yet. They put together a video montage of images from the summer and some other fun stuff.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow

Abingdon Press (September 2009)

by

Joyce Magnin



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joyce Magnin is the author of short fiction and personal experience articles. She co-authored the book, Linked to Someone in Pain. She has been published in such magazines as Relief Journal, Parents Express, Sunday Digest, and Highlights for Children.

Joyce attended Bryn Mawr College and is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Fellowship. She is a frequent workshop leader at various writer’s conferences and women’s church groups.

She has three children, Rebekah, Emily, and Adam; one grandson, Lemuel Earnest; one son-in-law, Joshua, and a neurotic parakeet who can’t seem to keep a name. Joyce leads a small fiction group called StoryCrafters. She enjoys baseball, football, cream soda, and needle arts but not elevators. She currently lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania.

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is her first published novel.


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is the story of an unusual woman, Agnes Sparrow. No longer able or willing to leave her home, where she is cared for by her long-suffering sister Griselda, Agnes has committed her life to the one thing she can do-besides eat. Agnes Sparrow prays and when Agnes prays things happen, including major miracles of the cancer, ulcer-healing variety along with various minor miracles not the least of which is the recovery of lost objects and a prize-winning pumpkin.

The rural residents of Bright's Pond are so enamored with Agnes they plan to have a sign erected on the interstate that reads, "Welcome to Bright's Pond, Home of Agnes Sparrow." This is something Agnes doesn't want and sends Griselda to fight city hall.

Griselda's petitions are shot down and the sign plans press forward until a stranger comes to town looking for his miracle from Agnes. The truth of Agnes's odd motivation comes out when the town reels after a shocking event. How could Agnes allow such evil in their midst? Didn't she know?

Well, the prayers of Agnes Sparrow have more to do with Agnes than God. Agnes has been praying to atone for a sin committed when she was a child. After some tense days, the townsfolk, Griselda, and Agnes decide they all need to find their way back to the true source of the miracles-God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, go HERE

My Review:

Solid, engaging writing and strong characters bring added readability to one of the more unique story lines I've read this year. A seven-hundred pound woman prays for her town. It's all she can do since she is housebound due to her size and medical conditions. The townspeople benefit from those prayers -- several healings take place and Agnes becomes a hero and a vending machine for blessings. Her neighbors bring a never ending supply of food and Agnes eats and prays and eats and prays.

But underneath the safety of her layers of insulation lies a secret that changes everything.

This story is thought-provoking. Many Christians and religious folks have a tendency to idolize servants rather than the God who gives power and bestows blessings. We also tend toward judging those who are different or have experiences different from ours. And then the biggest question of all...how can a woman so grossly entrenched in the sin of gluttony be a woman whose prayers are answered so abundantly?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Super Cinema Saturday A Little Late ~ All About Steve


My Review:

People Magazine gave this a 1/2 star out of 5. It truly wasn't that bad.

Here are my thoughts.

Sandra Bullock's character is awkward and that is an understatement. This still-at-home-with-mom-and-dad crossword-puzzle-creator is an unique blend of Cliff Clavin (Cheers) Napoleon Dynamite and Pippi Longstocking. I struggled with whether to like Mary and cheer her on or to just be annoyed and laugh at her when she fell into the big hole. I ended up doing both.

Basic plot: Mary, due to outside pressures, thinks she needs to take her one last shot of normalcy by embracing (understatement) a blind date. When he comes to pick her up and turns out to be "hot" she does this creepy silent stare thing and runs back upstairs to put some sexy on. A truly awkward scene follows when she jumps Steve (Bradley Cooper), not after an okay date but before they even pull away from her folks' house. At first Steve is dazzled by the skin and enthusiasm but then he begins to think she might be crazy so he invents an excuse...a phone call sending him away. While he's attempting to get her out of the van before she truly goes crazy he mentions wishing she could go with him. More circumstances make that a possibility. Some may call it stalking, Mary calls it many, many other things in long paragraphs and polysyllabic words.

Mary is not just a person who talks all the time -- she's a walking encyclopedia of random facts -- and she ends up alienating loads of people on her quest to find Steve. Then she becomes a hero, accidentally, of course. Thomas Haden Church plays the annoying, selfish anchorman wanna-be and he eggs Mary on. Though I wasn't sure what his motivation was exactly his encouragement got Mary to relentlessly pursue Steve. Most of the characters are oddly eccentric, almost cartoonish, from Mary's parents to Haden Church's nemesis. It was almost as if the movie was an attempt to tell a quirky feel good story blended with a parody. It's one of the stranger films I've seen.

Content warnings. The groping scene in the beginning 20 minutes of so of the movie goes on too long and it should be screened before child/young teen viewing. That probably won't be an issue though since most children will likely get bored. Several sexual references are scattered throughout the film. One news story that Steve chases down involves a fight over amputating a baby girl's third leg and there are a few obvious body part innuendo/references. Some language. Some skin, mostly cleavage.

There are several amusing one-liners and descriptives and a pretty sweet tornado besides some great physical comedy and pratfalls. A few scenes are laugh-out-loud funny. Many, many more are shake-the-head shrug inspiring. I'll give it a 3 and I'll probably watch it again when it hits DVD, if for no other reason, to see if I understand it a little better. Maybe it will have that Napoleon Dynamite magic. I didn't like it the first time I watched it either.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ Wisdom Hunter ~ Randall Arthur

Another book on the "to read pile".... I'll add a review later.


Wisdom Hunter
by Randall Arthur

Genre: Fiction/General/Contemporary –
Releases 9/15/09 –
ISBN 978-1-59052-259-2


No One Has the Answers He Needs

This novel presents the hypocrisy of Christian legalism and a man's search for the only surviving member of his family.

In Wisdom Hunter, Pastor Jason Faircloth knows what he believes. His clear faith, in fact, is why he is one of the most prominent pastors in Atlanta. He relies on it to discipline his daughter, his wife, his church. He prays daily that others would come to see God’s ways as he does.

And it is about to cost him everything.

Groping for answers in the face of tragedy, Jason begins a search for the only family he has left: the granddaughter kept hidden from him. Soon he finds himself on an international adventure that will take him straight into the depths of his soul. He is determined not to fail again.

A fast-paced suspense novel rich in spiritual depth, with over 125,000 copies sold, Wisdom Hunter explores what it means to break free of Christian legalism—and discover why grace can mean the difference between life and death.


About the Author

The author of Jordan’s Crossing and Brotherhood of Betrayal, Randall Arthur has served as a missionary to Europe for over thirty years. From 1976 till 1998, he lived in Norway and Germany as a church planter. Since 2000, he has taken teams from the United States on mission trips all over Europe. Arthur is also the founder of the AOK (Acts of Kindness) Bikers’ Fellowship, a group of men who enjoy the sport of motorcycling. He and his family live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ If God is Good ~ Randy Alcorn



Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.


KIM'S THOUGHTS:

The twenty-first century is filled with suffering. Diseases of every kind ravage our bodies and minds, and our health-care systems struggle underneath the load. War rages all over the globe and genocide has destroyed millions. What role, if any, does God play in human suffering? God is love, right? God is good, right? Why doesn’t He just stop all of the evil in the world?

Randy Alcorn has realized a great need among people today – the need to know God’s purpose in suffering. Randy has written If God Is Good in response to this need, and I have to say it is an impressive work. Randy’s teaching/writing style is personal and direct, and he discusses difficult topics plainly and succinctly relating everything back to the Bible and God’s diving purpose for every event we encounter in life. He uses true and often heartbreaking stories to illustrate God’s purpose in situations that the human heart alone cannot grasp. However, through Christ’s death on the cross, through His grace and wisdom, we are able to recognize God’s handprint throughout time – literally from creation to eternity.

Randy patiently and systematically guides the reader through Scripture answering the question of suffering from every imaginable perspective. His love of God’s word and the obvious way God has moved throughout his life are evident in his writing, and he lovingly shares truth upon every page. Quite honestly, as a believer, I found much of this book to be full of hope and a great encouragement. For anyone looking for answers in the face of life’s trials, a more timely book has never been written! Truly, I was awestruck by the amount of information presented in this volume and the Biblical truth that resonated throughout the work.

If God Is Good will be a strengthening teaching tool for believers and a go-to source for those seeking answers. I know that there is much, much more to be gleaned from this book than my first reading has allowed, so I know a re-read is in order. Mining the truths in this volume will be an on-going pleasure, and I feel certain it will provide me with a great resource to share with friends and family facing difficult circumstances. This is a fabulous volume and I highly recommend this to everyone!

And mine:

I haven't finished If God is Good. However, I can tell you that Alcorn has thoroughly covered nearly every aspect of suffering, evil and pain. He's covered the age old questions that grow within the garden of suffering with grace and love-laced truth. He doesn't hesitate to go to the toughest questions and deal with what evil and suffering may or may not say about God or even His very existence.

Those in the midst of suffering may find balm and hope in this volume. Those who have decided that there is no God, or if there is He's not one they will follow, could find reasons to rethink their stand.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ Homer's Odyssey - Gwen Cooper


I haven't read this book, YET. I wasn't going to post this entire interview that the publicist supplied to me, either. But after reading it, I just had to. Talk about a rich story.


About the book:


Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper - Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.


Author Interview:


Tell us about Homer. Is he really and truly eyeless?

Yes, he really and truly has no eyes at all. Although he gets around so well that my husband, Laurence, swears he’s faking!

How did he get that way?

Homer was found wandering around alone on the streets of Miami when he was only a couple of weeks old. Even though he was so young, he had what was clearly a very advanced eye infection. The couple who found him brought him to my veterinarian for treatment, but after she examined him she determined that the only way to save his life would be to remove his eyes altogether.

At that point, the people who’d brought him in pretty much begged her to euthanize him, thinking he couldn’t possibly have a decent life. But my vet was convinced that a kitten that young with an eye infection that serious had never been able to see, since kittens are born with their eyes closed and don’t open them for their first week or so. Her feeling was that he wouldn’t miss what he’d never known. So she performed the surgery pro bono and then set about finding a home for him.


How did you end up adopting him?

Well, Patti, my vet, had a pretty hard time trying to find a home for this kitten. I think I was the last person she thought to call because it wasn’t the greatest time in my life. I had just gone through this really bad breakup, I was staying in a friend’s spare bedroom, and I already had two cats—and no roof of my own to put over our heads. To be honest, I was close to saying no also. But she sounded so desperate, so I agreed to meet him.

It was love at first sight. Homer was all personality and charisma, even back then! There was something about it that was so completely disarming, and almost awe-inspiring. I remember thinking that I didn’t have as much courage at twenty-four as this kitten did at only four weeks.


Your book covers more than a decade or your and Homer’s life together—was it difficult to turn your story into a book?

There was something my husband said early in the process that really clicked for me. He said that Homer’s and my story was a classic “boy and his dog” story. Even though I’m a girl and Homer’s a cat, I understood exactly what he meant. He meant that it was like Old Yeller or ET (who was also, technically, not a dog!) in terms of the journeys those stories take their characters on from childhood into maturity, with all the adventures in between.


I wasn’t sure how to construct a book-length narrative about Homer that would be more than a loose collection of anecdotes, but at the time I was in the process of planning my wedding, and I realized that I had adopted Homer right after my last serious relationship—serious in the sense that we had been living together for a couple of years, and our eventual marriage had been taken for granted—had ended twelve years earlier. It just sort of clicked that this should be a book that began with a breakup and ended with a wedding. The idea that would unite the stories throughout the book would be all of the moves, breakups, career changes, adventures, ups-and-downs, et cetera, that had taken us from that place twelve years earlier to where we were now in our lives.

How does Homer get around? Does he bump into things?

Homer has this unbelievable spatial sense, so it’s unusual for him to bump into anything at all. He pays a lot of attention to what his whiskers tell him, and even when he’s in a new place for the first time you can see him walk around a room once or twice kind of hugging the walls, then he’ll walk through the room itself for a bit to figure out where the furniture is, and after that you’d never guess he was blind to see him navigate around things.

We help him out, of course, by always keeping his food and litter in the same place, and by not leaving a lot of clutter on the floor or moving the furniture around more than necessary. After a major round of house cleaning we’re careful to put everything back exactly where it was. Even, for example, moving the couch an inch from where it was before will seem like a major difference to Homer. Although Homer’s sense of balance is phenomenal; even if he jumps and doesn’t land precisely where or how he meant to, it takes him only a fraction of a second to recover and right himself again.

What about his senses of hearing and smell? Are they more developed than other cats’?

I haven’t conducted a scientific study or anything, but they’re certainly much stronger than Scarlett or Vashti’s, my other two cats. Just this afternoon I got a tuna sub for lunch and I left it—still wrapped up—sitting on the kitchen table for a minute. Homer, who was sound asleep three rooms away, came wandering in, half-asleep with his nose in the air, and went right for it.

He can also catch flies in mid-air, which always astonishes me. It even freaks out my other two cats a little bit! It’s like in The Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi catches the fly with his chopsticks.

How does Homer get along with your other cats?

He’s a typical annoying little brother. He’s a lot more rambunctious than they are—when they’re bored, they can look out a window and watch the world go by. When Homer’s bored, there’s no other outlet for him than action, so he tends to be very active and very playful. He’s always trying to sneak up on them, but of course Homer thinks that “soundless” and “invisible” are the same thing, so he’s rarely successful.

Tell us about Homer’s character. How can a blind cat be so fearless and mischievous?

Most people, myself included, initially thought Homer would be more timid than other cats because of his blindness. The opposite has turned out to be the case. I think to a certain extent it’s because he can’t see how potentially dangerous some of the things he undertakes are, so danger is an idea that literally doesn’t occur to him. It’s like in the Daredevil comics where occasionally Daredevil briefly regains his vision, and even though he retains his superpowers he suddenly can’t or won’t perform all the feats he does when he’s blind. His attitude is basically: Are you crazy—I’m not jumping off of that! Look at how high it is! Sometimes it’s easier to be brave when you have no idea what you’re getting into.

But I think a lot of it is also just Homer’s innate personality. He’s always been a very happy, high-spirited little cat. And it goes without saying that he’s a survivor. If he weren’t, he wouldn’t be here in the first place.

Is it true that Homer once chased a burglar out of your apartment?

That was probably Homer’s finest hour. It happened while we were still living on South Beach. I woke up at about four in the morning to the sound of Homer growling—a sound I’d literally never heard before—and when I flipped on the bedside lamp, I realized there was a strange man standing at the foot of my bed. It was terrifying.


As soon as Homer felt me tense up, he became very aggressive. I reached for the phone to call 911, and the burglar said, “Don’t do that.” Once Homer heard his voice and could tell exactly where he was standing, he went right for the man’s face with his claws. At that point the burglar turned and ran, and Homer leapt from the bed and chased after him! So I, of course, had to throw down the phone and chase after Homer, so now both of us are running after this burglar, when all I’d wanted in the first place was for him to leave! Fortunately, I caught Homer before he caught the burglar, and the police were there thirty seconds later.


I always say that once upon a time I saved Homer’s life, but that was the night when he saved mine.



HOMER’S ODYSSEY is your story as much as Homer’s. How has your life changed since you first adopted him?


It’s almost impossible for me to recognize now the person I was then and the life I was living. Homer entered my life at such a transitional moment. I was up in the air about everything—my career, my relationships, my entire outlook on things. I remember being absolutely convinced that there was no point in trying to get exactly what I wanted, and I wanted really basic things like my own home, a career I enjoyed, and a good, healthy relationship. All those things seemed so far out of reach. And here I am now, living in the city I always wanted to live in, doing what I always wanted to do, and married to the single greatest man I’ve ever met.


Homer truly was my role model in a lot of ways for trying to attain some of those things that it seemed like I could never realistically get. I couldn’t let myself be less courageous, less willing to take risks, or less of a survivor than he was.


Love, whether on four paws or two feet, is a big theme in HOMER’S ODYSSEY. How has Homer changed your attitude and feelings about love?

I think mostly in the sense that I learned that sometimes the greatest loves in your life are the most unexpected. Before I adopted Homer, I was very sure that I didn’t want a third cat. Now, I can’t begin to imagine my life without Homer in it.

My husband and I were actually very close friends for several years before we were romantically involved. When I first realized I had developed stronger feelings for Laurence, I was terrified of telling him how I felt. When I finally picked up the phone to tell Laurence how I felt, I was very conscious that I was initiating a single conversation that could potentially change my life forever. I honestly don’t know if I would have had the courage to do it if it weren’t for Homer. I kept coming back to this idea that sometimes you just have to take a blind leap into the unknown, and that if you never did that you would end up living a life as limiting and fenced in by fear as the life so many people had first predicted for Homer when he was a kitten.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~Tricks No Treats


Dog Week = Dog Treats (for want of a better word).

Last week I mentioned a very awkward moment whilst walking the dogs. If you've seen the commercial series regarding embarrassing moments you may have seen the one where the gal runs into a friend and while they are talking Friend A realizes she's swinging a bag of dog poo around. Ours is a touch worse.

Lily has this amusing habit of grabbing mouthfuls of grass while we walk. We didn't think she was getting much, more that she was mouthing the fun fox-tail type of weeds. Turns out she was apparently getting more fiber than she knew what to do with. We discovered this when she took her "daily constitutional" in the strip of grass along the trail.

We had picked a fairly busy time to walk with cars whizzing by on their way home from work or headed out to dinner. Usually the "daily moments" don't take long and the evidence is bagged neatly before any passersby can lose the appetite.

But not at that moment.

Seems like the weed fiber decided to make a statement or take a stand if you can follow my drift. Just then, as Lily danced around trying to figure out what was going on down south, and 22 attempted to "help" things along with the plastic bag, a co-worker of 22's pulled up on her bike.

Yes. This was an awkward moment. What do you say? The situation is pretty self-explanatory. If you ride into a moment like this, do you offer to "help?" Small talk it pretty limited, let me tell you.

You'll be happy to know that all ended well.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ Stray Affections ~ Charlene Ann Baumbich



Yo folks. This book is sitting in a pile in my bedroom. What can I say? I can't read em quick enough. But the blog tour is this week...National Dog Week and Nora has read it and, well, I'm hijacking her review. (Actually, I believe borrowing is the best PC term.)

So, here's the book review and details. Thanks, Nora.



Stray Affections
By Charlene Ann Baumbich
Published by WaterBrook Press
ISBN#978-0-307-44471-4
308 Pages

Back Cover: Cassandra Higgins, daycare provider and mother to four little boys, is at a Collectors’ Convention when she’s utterly charmed by a one-of-a-kind snow globe containing figures of three dogs and a little with hair the color of her own.

She can’t resist buying the beautiful globe, and it begins to spark long-dormant memories for Cassandra, of her beloved grandpa, the stray she rescued as a child, and the painful roots strangling her relationship with her mother,” Bad Betty” Kamrowski. When a strange—flurrious, as Cassandra deems it—moment happens with the remarkable snow globe, Cassandra and the people she loves are swirling into a tumultuous yet grace-filled journey. Stray Affections invites you to experience the laughter and the healing of second chances.

REVIEW: ….”Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness. Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice,” Charlene starts her book out quoting Psalm 51:6-8 and begins to bring some of that scripture to life inside the pages of this book.

This story is nestled in the middle of a quaint town where you discover friends and their families you’ll just adore. I loved how Carlene shows the funny, honest and serious side of family relationships and how they can work together. I believe it’s only by the grace of God that we can bloom and grow where we are planted. It takes courage to face your fears and let God have his way in your life, and in the lives of the people you are in relationship with.

The main character Cassandra heads out to a Collectors’ Convention alone. Her best friend Margaret cancels at the last minute. Her husband Ken encourages her to go anyway. He’s got the kids, she needs take a break from lifes routine; go out and have fun. Little did she know how that little trip would change her life? Are we ever ready for when God intercedes on our behalf to put us on the path He would have us be on? Letting go and letting God be in control is not something any of us feel comfortable doing. Cassandra soon learns this on her trip.

Will Ken and Cassandra trust God to work all things out for His glory and their good? You’ll want to read this story and join in the mystery and fun as the author weaves a tale of healing, unconditional love, and second chances. You’ll want to read Charlene Ann Baumbich’s Dearest Dorothy series, with quirky, close-knot Midwestern small-town feel characters you’ll grow fond of just like the ones in this book.

Nora St. Laurent... Finding Hope Through Fiction

Book Club Servant Leader

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ A Million Miles in a Thousand Years


If you are a big Donald Miller fan you are probably in for a treat. Here is my review of: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life.


Review:

Donald Miller writes about what he knows. And what he knows best are his experiences, his thoughts and his life.

What makes Miller's thoughts, experiences and life out of the ordinary and compelling enough to plunk down the plastic or click "add to cart" is the way that Miller shapes and shares those thoughts, experiences and life.

Every one of us has had rough stuff happen, or been able to say "No fair!" or thrown our own pity party. Right? Miller takes it a step beyond and puts his tough things through his thought digestive system and analyzes what he finds like a scientist might catalog cell details. And what Miller's data reveals is, at worst, thought-provoking and at best life shaping. With simplistic language, self-deprecating anecdotes and brutal honesty, Miller lays out his struggles, his beliefs, even his neuroses for all to learn from, critique and even mock. In my opinion, this makes him a bit of a hero. Most of us spend our lives trying to cover up who we fear we might actually be under the layers of make-up, education, designer clothing or even scathing wit.

I have not completely read Blue Like Jazz. I've read portions and based on what I did read purchased copies of his works and given them away, so I can't compare Blue to Million Miles. I can tell you that there is an up and down faith struggle portrayed on the pages of Million Miles and Miller's father issues play a part in the unfolding drama, both familiar territory. But I believe the virgin landscape for Miller might be the refining struggles caused by the success of Blue and the expectations that came from becoming a New York Times Bestseller. Miller shares his struggle and the subsequent growth in a series of mini-stories that shaped him into a very different man.

Writers will discover that this book will help put Robert McKee's epic "Story" into easy to grasp segments, and at times Million Miles almost reads like a writing how-to. Very conservative or fault-finding Christians will probably be able to find a few statements that rattle the God-box and possibly cause them to make strong statements. Strugglers who are looking for hope and who are sick and tired of being sick and tired may find something of value to grasp onto and to use as inspiration to write a better story for themselves. I will be buying several copies of this title for many people who will benefit from Miller's experiences and unique ability to digest and regurgitate profound and simplistic truth.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Argh! What Shall I Post


Hmm. It's Friday. My brain is a little crusty after a long day at work. I feel a touch lazy and not at all creative. What shall I post? ARGH! The pressure. Argh.

No! WAIT! I've got it.

Tomorrow is national talk like a pirate day!

Now, I suffer from a bit of tongue over-exuberance and/or loafing. This can make for some creative words and sounds. This seems like a bad problem to have when attempting to talk pirate. Let me demonstrate with a little skit.

Black Forehead: (The first cousin to Blue Beard. Black Forehead began his career as a galley rat and learned the art of barbecuing the hard way. Never, never, never have open flames on roiling seas.) "ARGH, Missy! I'll take a keg of grog on the double or into the sea with ye!" (Followed by the sound of his large spoon arm replacement whacking the poop deck rail.) (The spoon arm was earned during the veggie garnishing lesson well learned. Never, never, never carve a swan during a squall.)

ME: inhale/swallow/gulp...cough. cough. cough. cough, which when forced through an unhappy windpipe sounds like "ARgh! Argh! Argh! Stuff it!" to a pirate with a powerful thirst.

This scenario ends with poor me at the wrong end of pirate implements and very wet.

Save yourself some embarrassment and possibly even limbs.

Alternative Pirate Celebration Styles:

1) Mute pirate. Simply respond with appropriate facial expressions backed with enthusiasm. Does the situation call for arghing and growling, pull out the mean pirate face. If all else fails carry a thermos of grog.

2) Shadow pirate. Lurk. Hide and respond only as the other, braver land-lubbers respond. Eventually you'll be invited to go on a raid. Pirates love yes men.

3) Drunken pirate. You may want to stay off the grog but you can still pretend to be under the influence. The worst thing that will happen, should you inadvertently offend a pirate friend, is a toss in the drink. Just make sure you can swim before employing this technique.

Happy National Talk Like a Pirate Day. I'm hoping this public service announcement will save at least an eye or two. ARGH!

If you want a hilarious "parenting" book, check out the link via the book cover.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Commercial Re-enactment.


Commercials are teeny-tiny movies. When I feel particularly distracted, commercials are kind of "it" for me and all my attention span will embrace. Most leave me feeling blah and bored and send me scurrying out of the room. But then there are the classic ones that stick with me. Usually those are the ones that make me laugh.

I don't always remember the sponsor or the product behind the commercial which may completely make the whole endeavor a moot thang. But, oh well.

That said. I used to tear up at Folgers and Hallmark commercials. You know where the college kid arrived home and woke his mama up with a pot of coffee...that got me. And, well, the Hallmark don't really need further expounding.

A recent commercial series shows awkward moments. A person leaning over a fence and picking a flower just as the gardener stands up and catches the perp. My favorite is the two women who meet up and hug and chat, and then both come to the realization that one of them holds a bag of dog poop.

Ha.

Well, that one hit a bit close to home yesterday. Or it went way beyond. But I'm going to save it. Next week is national "I Love Dogs" or somesuch week. So, to be continued.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~Nuts to You...

I've never seen a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you here and now...
I'd rather see one than an albino squirrel.

Yeah, so it doesn't rhyme. What do you expect at 6:18 a.m. sans coffee?


A blogger acquaintance is having a contest. You could blip over, CLICK HERE , play her albino squirrel game and win a can of nuts and a $15 Amazon gift card. Click the squirrel if that's more fun for you.

Hey, there are way dumsel (dedicated to EER - hopefully you just spewed that high-calorie food/drink...or even better shot it out your nose...don't thank me...it's what I do.)ways to spend your computer time, right?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Note to Bargain Shoppers


Note to self: (and any others who may benefit).

Sometimes items that are in the dollar bin are there for, shall I be blunt, hmmm, the lack of quality of said item.

i.e. (forgive me X-ta, this is a granddog post)some plastic bags are superior to others.

Plastic bags are a necessary part of walking the dogs. For the more delicate readers and those who may be eating, this is because dogs who walk sometimes relax enough to do their business along the trail. If one chose not to clean up that business and everyone else refused to do so, too, then the trail walk would no longer be pleasant. Trust me.

So yesterday on our walk, as per usual, 22 grabbed her plastic bags. This time she grabbed the bags from the dollar bin.

And as per usual, the dogs did their business. I have the enviable position of watching over the dogs while she scoops. (her dogs, her business) During the first swoop and scoop she muttered and then growled. "Yuck!!! I got some on me." And then as she scooped the second business byproduct she shrieked and held up the bag that had become kind of a funnel. The whole bottom had ripped out in the scoop attempt and she grabbed the stuff with her bare hand.

Repeat after me....Ewww!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ Michelle Sutton Danger at the Door

Michelle Sutton has been pounding away at her computer keys. She has two books releasing this month. Read her Dregs interview here.


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Danger At The Door

(Desert Breeze September, 2009)

by

Michelle Sutton



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michelle Sutton, otherwise known as the Edgy Inspirational Author, is Editor-in-chief of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, a member of ACFW, a social worker by trade, and a prolific reader/book reviewer/blogger the rest of the time.

She lives in Arizona with her husband of nineteen years and her two teenaged sons. Michelle is also the author of It's Not about Me (2008) and It's Not About Him (Sheaf House 2009). She has nine other titles releasing over the next three years.






ABOUT THE BOOK


Upon her fiancé's death, Laney became a recluse who only left her home for emergencies. She managed to survive - barely - on food delivery service and her work-at-home job. When she tries to move on from her grief, the commemorative meal she orders is ruined. However, it leads to an unlikely friendship with an attractive man, Bojan, who speaks little English.

As he befriends Laney he continually says the wrong things, but he doesn't give up trying to win her trust. Meanwhile, she has this strange feeling of being watched and wonders if she's losing her mind.

Complicating things further, every time she leaves her house something bad happens, confirming that she is safer at home. Can Bojan convince Laney she'll be safe with him, or will his presence put her in further danger? Will he be able to protect the woman he loves before it's too late?


If you would like to read the Prologue and first Chapter of Danger At The Door, go HERE

My Review:


Michelle Sutton has tried her hand at a grown-up romantic suspense with success. Basic plot - nearly agoraphobic heroine meets charmingly bumbling foreigner at her front door. Unknown to them a psycho stalker is just beyond that same door waiting for his chance to pounce.

Sutton is heavy on the romance for those who want a heart flutter in nearly every scene. I was charmed by Bojan "Bob" and his grasp or lack thereof of the English language. Those who want their heroes to be a great blend of Antonio and Gilligan should find much to like in the interactions.

I also found the bad guy to be sufficiently creepy.

Overall, the fast pace kept me turning "pages" or clicking through them actually. Sutton has proven that she knows her romance and can write for young and slightly more mature romance lovers.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Gimme A Piece of That.


Chocolate...free chocolate...

Every Friday through September, register to receive your free Mars candy bar here. You can request 4 per household and the coupons arrive quickly.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Serials and Scenarios - Jenny B. Jones's Just Between You and Me.

I haven't read this little gem, yet. But Jenny B. Jones (I love saying/typing her name) visited Dregs a while ago. Here's her interview. And go here and here for a couple of reviews of Just Between You and Me.


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Just Between You And Me

Thomas Nelson (September 1, 2009)

by

Jenny B. Jones



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I write Christian fiction with a few giggles, quite a bit of sass, and lots of crazy. My novels include the Katie Parker Production series and So Not Happening. I would also like to take credit for Twilight , but somewhere I think I read you’re not supposed to lie.

When I’m not typing my heart out (or checking email), I teach at a super-sized high school in Arkansas.

My students are constantly telling me how my teaching changes their lives and turned them away from drugs, gangs, and C-SPAN.

Okay, that’s not exactly true.

Since my current job leaves me with very little free time, I believe in spending my spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits such as:

-watching E!
-updating my status on Facebook
-catching Will Ferrell on YouTube and
-writing my name in the dust on my furniture

I’d love to hear about you, so drop me a note. Or check me out on Facebook.




ABOUT THE BOOK

The only thing scarier than living on the edge is stepping off it.
Maggie Montgomery lives a life of adventure. Her job as a cinematographer takes her from one exotic locale to the next. When Maggie's not working, she loves to rappel off cliffs or go skydiving. Nothing frightens her.

Nothing, that is, except Ivy, Texas, where a family emergency pulls her back home to a town full of bad memories, painful secrets, and people Maggie left far behind . . . for a reason.

Forced to stay longer than she intended, Maggie finds her family a complete mess, including the niece her sister has abandoned. Ten-year-old Riley is struggling in school and out of control at home. The only person who can really handle the pint-sized troublemaker is Conner, the local vet and Ivy's most eligible bachelor. But Conner and Maggie keep butting heads--he's suspicious of her and, well, she doesn't rely on anyone but herself.

As Maggie humorously fumbles her way from one mishap to another, she realizes she's going to need to ask for help from the one person who scares her the most.

To save one little girl--and herself--can Maggie let go of her fears and just trust God?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Just Between You And Me, go HERE

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Toast-Making


Why am I drawn to simple toast-making moments?

You know, the scenes in movies or books that are so ordinary that they'd be B-O-R-I-N-G save for the conversation or thoughts or interactions of the moment.

I am absolutely drawn to the things that connect with my senses. Not necessarily the stench of the dead possum that languishes at the side of our walking path...I pull my T-shirt over my nose for that particular sense tickler. But the walk itself and the other discoveries feed my soul as my senses soak the moments up. And somehow being involved in a parallel activity or connecting while doing makes everything feel richer.

22 and I seem to have deep discussions about life as we walk the dogs. Of course, those discussions are always punctuated with pauses to scoop poop (I recommend the arrangement we have, her dogs = her drudgery and responsibility and I get to babysit/enjoy)("they" say that this is the essence and joy in grandparenting...k sounds good) and the behavior corrections, or the exciting discovery of a rabbit bolting from a hiding place or a biker sneaking up behind us. But we seem to have the same vein of conversation each and every time we walk together. Faith and relationships. Always. I don't know that it gets better than that.

We've also somehow developed the habit of reading books out loud. Much of our down time together involves one of us doing some necessary chore while the other reads out loud. It started with the book club we attend. Instead of leaving a communal book lying around with two or three bookmarks we decided to read it together. And the next thing I know, we'd begun another book. In the last three months I believe we've gone through five books that way. Reading them while we complete tasks makes life feel a little like a series of toast-making adventures. Moments of transcending the drudgery and embracing the life within it.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Hair Chopping for the Brave.



I'm a do-it-yourself hair chopper. My worst experience were two extreme bang snips...one perpetrated myself when I was 16, and the second was when 22 was 12 and I let her cut my bangs. Bad idea, both. Hair does indeed shrink up when it dries. However, IT DOES grow back. So hardly deterred, we have kept experimenting.

22 just discovered a great way to chop her hair and it looks fabulous. Keep in mind that this will be a cho
ppy look, almost like you'd get with a razor cut.

First, she pulled strands, like the size you'd use for french braiding (all the hair on your head separated into eight sections). She twisted the hair several times and then cut downward at an angle.

If you are going to try this, experiment on the ends first. She started right above her ears and went all the way down. She chopped about eight different chunks. It thins the hair out and leaves the choppy look that looks so cute on most chicks.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ I Just Can't Pass This One Up...

If you ever feel a little bit stupid, just dig this up and read it again; your confidence will be restored! It helps. Trust me. Once again. An e-mail forward of dubious fact and origin...but funny just the same.



On September 17, 1994, Alabama's Heather Whitestone was selected as Miss America 1995.
Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?
Answer: 'I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever,'
-- Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest .


'Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.'
--Mariah Carey




'Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life,'
-- Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign .


'I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body,'
-- Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward .



'Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,'
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC


'That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it,'
--A congressional candidate in Texas


'Half this game is ninety percent mental.'
--Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark


'I love California . I practically grew up in Phoenix .'
-- Dan Quayle

'We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need ?'
--Lee Iacocca


'The word 'genius' isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.'

--Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback & sports analyst.




'We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people.'
-- Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instructor .


'Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away.. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances.'
--Department of Social Services, Greenville , South Carolina


'Traditionally, most of Australia 's imports come from overseas..'
--Keppel Enderbery


'If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed, and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record.'
--Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~Share Your Love of Books.









Check this out, book lovers. Click and post what book or books helped you develop your love of reading. Then pick your favorite state to win 50K books. A friend from Nebraska forwarded it to me...and Nebraska is in 3rd place, so feel free to vote for them.


Go to it.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~Local Scenes






Rob, Toadboy, his lovely wife, and I spent a great Sunday afternoon at Lauritzen Gardens.

I took a few flower pictures. But, with my texture obsession, these were some of my favorite sights/sites.