Saturday, March 29, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Saturday Musings Whilst I Wait

I'm going to a baby shower today. My family and extended network of people seem to be raining babies. Today we celebrate number three in the last seven months. This little soon-to-be-born-one is a male (I've seen the evidence -- ultrasounds are pretty cool.)What a miracle babies are, and what a sign of hope.

So while I wait for a very sleepy teen to crawl out of bed (yes, it is 12:39 p.m. as I type this and she is still in bed) and for adult working daughter to get off of work, I thought I'd share some random thoughts.

Wednesday night was a college age post-church gathering. (I have no idea why I was there...maybe they think something might rub off on me. ) Our interim youth pastor, the only male present, played on the putting green for awhile then joined the females for the food. The brownies turned out a little different than usual because they were baked in a convection oven. My daughter-in-law is an appliance expert so she explained the difference between convection and traditional ovens. The youth pastor listened, added a few words and then grew silent.

As the conversation moved on he leaned forward. "Hey, you know if you stand to close to a convection oven you'll feel guilty?"

All eyes turned toward him. "Huh?"

He smiled. "Oh, no, that's a conviction oven." Then he laughed.

I think I like this guy.

As we draw closer to tax day I'm finding it a little harder to embrace reality with joy and contentment. After shedding a few tears in a mini-meltdown last night, I've decided I need to focus on today, one day at a time.

So, today, I know the sun is shining behind the clouds. I know that God is in control and that He loves me. I know that He has solutions and plans that my mind can't even begin to ponder. Even though several things like foundering businesses and lack of steady money and big tax bills due are hanging over our heads, I'm trusting that God will provide. He has been for three months. Every bill we have has been paid even though we are lacking at least a third of our usual income. Trust me, this is a miracle.

Thanks, God, for the miracles You are providing, and thank You that you will see us through this thing that seems so huge but is in reality, compared to you, nothing. Thank you for laughter and for babies and for hope.

I hope you experience God's abundant blessings this weekend.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Family Squeeze

Though I'm not quite sandwiched between teens and ailing parents, I laughed and cried my way through this book.

One reviewer recommended it to anyone between the ages of forty and sixty. I think I'd extend it another half a decade on each end. (Click on the book cover if you want to find out more about Family Squeeze and here for
Phil Callaway.)

Book Blurb:

You’re in the “Middle Ages”
–sandwiched between the “greatest generation” and the “gimme” generations, busily juggling both with no relief in sight. Children are driving, and parents are not. Money is tight and so are your favorite jeans. And things that never ached before are beginning to give you trouble! For every baby boomer who wonders if it’s possible to navigate the Middle Ages with grace and style, Phil Callaway offers plenty of hope and a little hilarity, too. Because there’s nothing like a smile to make wrinkles less noticeable.

My Review:

Phil Callaway has been called "the Dave Barry with a message." The label fits.

Humor, some tongue-in-cheek, some outright roll-your-eyes corny, some hysterical, blended with self-depreciation, or sadness, or loss fills chapter after chapter of a poignant read. Chicken soup flavored short segments with more humor and more hope, even for those not facing the exact situation of teens and adult parent squeeze that hits many mid-lifers.

Callaway met my expectations. Each story works as a stand alone and together paint a picture of a loving, nutty, respectful family. As a whole I'd describe Family Squeeze as less side-splitting hilarity and more humor that stops the reader and causes self-inspection, a flood of memories or a tiny fragment of hope.

Callaway honestly paints his life, not sparing himself from the harsh light of truth where his own flaws are concerned. The he whips around to a lesson that penetrates reader thoughts and attitudes.

Entertaining and uplifting words that stick. Family Squeeze is a book for caregivers, or those who need to laugh, or those who care to live a life that makes a difference.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Short Term uh, um Memory Issues...

It's not like my brain holds huge life altering information.

Definitely not worldwide altering.

I suppose forgetting things could make a difference on a local level. When I instruct my patients..."Take a normal breath in and out. Now a deep breath in and hold it." I suppose I could neglect to say "Okay." and really impact one poor person's life. They'd notice I forgot a detail as they turn blue, purple, and then pass out onto my cold linoleum floor.

But I'm talking about the information that flies in one eye, ear, nostril and out the other. I often have fleeting thoughts..."I should"...but by the time I get past the I should, I've already forgotten what goes with it.

Yikes. I even use my little purse notebooks. I have two now. What's next, wearing one around my neck on a chain like those cute little reading glass holders? That's bound to get a little crowded.

Okay. So now onto my post. Uh. Hmmm. Uhhh. Yeah. Have a great day.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Serials and Scenarios- Camy, Trish and Only Uni

Hi! I’m Trish Sakai. Kelly asked me to guest blog today because she knows my friend Camy Tang. Camy says I’m only a fictional character, but don’t listen to her, she’s nuts.

Anyway, I love memes and thought I’d do a meme for my guest blog post today!

3 things that scare me:

1. Not fitting into my $500 Bebe dress
2. Making Grandma mad
3. Making my cousin Venus mad (I’m not sure which is worse, Grandma or Venus. I think Grandma.)

3 (groups of) people who make me laugh:

1. My cousins, Lex, Venus, and Jenn.
2. The old ladies at Katsu Towers—they’re hilarious when you can get them away from the K-dramas on TV
3. My coworker Spenser (sometimes. Other times, he’s a royal pain in the butt)

3 things I love:

1. Reading historical romance novels
2. Shopping
3. Taking classes at the local community college

3 things I hate:

1. Cleaning
2. Exercise (it’s a love/hate thing)
3. My roommate Marnie (she’s gone completely whacko! I don’t know what to do)

3 things I do not understand:

1. My roommate Marnie
2. My coworker Spenser
3. Grandma (why can’t she just leave my love life alone?!)

3 absolute favorite foods:

1. Coffee! And lots of it.
2. Cherries Garcia ice cream
3. My cousin Jenn’s homemade chocolate truffles

3 things I am doing right now:

1. Blogging
2. Trying to motivate myself to go running sometime today
3. Needing to go to the bathroom (darn all that coffee)

3 things I want to do before I die:

1. Travel to Japan! I know Japanese pretty well.
2. Regain my chastity and become completely focused on God (I’m pretty sure my three Corinthian Rules are going to work, despite what Jenn says)
3. Go on a shopping spree in New York (yeah, when I win a million dollars ...)

3 things I can do:

1. Speak Japanese almost fluently
2. Sing (sort of—I like to sing, but I’m not that great at it)
3. Play with kids

3 ways to describe my personality.

1. Fun
2. Positive
3. Fearless

3 things I can't do:

1. Stand up to Grandma the way Lex and Venus do
2. Stop looking at guys! No, I should be more positive—my three Corinthian Rules are GOING TO WORK!
3. Pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time

3 beverages I drink regularly:

1. Coffee
2. Coffee
3. Coffee

3 things I really want to do:

1. Be a better Christian
2. Prove myself to my cousins
3. Get Grandma off my back

Thanks for letting me be here, Kelly!



Despite what Trish says, she really is a fictional character in the head of Camy Tang, the loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick lit. She (Camy, not Trish) used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at Camy for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away five boxes of books and 25 copies of her latest release, ONLY UNI.

Kelly's Review of Only Uni:

Camy Tang has risen to a challenge and conquered.
Trish is one of the quad of "oldest single cousins" in a family run by an iron fisted/velvet gloved grandma. Camy's challenge? To make Trish a lovable character.

I'll admit, the first couple of chapters didn't win me over. The poor girl is her own worst enemy. I struggled with her faith walk that sure didn't include a whole lot of walking the talk. Trish is a lot like a huge crowd of Christians, the ones who feast on cheap grace and anything the world serves up as long as it looks really tasty.

But, by the end of the book I quit wanting to slap Trish and started wanting to hug her. I even teared up.

Now I can't wait for book three. The first chapter is included at the end of Only Uni and the focus will be "tell it like it is" Venus. I love this crazy family. Don't forget to read the glossary, Camy even makes a cultural study fun. A blast for chick-lit lovers. Also a good one for those who have messed up on Christianity so many times they don't even know if they want to keep trying. Full of grace, forgiveness, sweetness and laughs.
Warning to parents: this book, though Christian, covers some heavy duty themes. Read it first or at least read more reviews before letting your daughters loose with it. There are consequences to actions, but some of the actions are pretty edgy if you are used to "gentler" Christian fiction.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Crushed Chocolate Bunny?

Christianity seems as fragile as a hollow Easter Bunny sometimes.

Why would an intelligent human being base their life on a religion started 2,000 years ago? A religion focused on the life and death of a man...a man who claimed to be God. And resurrection? Really?

Who can actually believe the stories in the Bible? A God who promises a horrifying eternity for those who won't accept His Son? A God who allowed Satan to ruin Job's life, just because Job was faithful and God had confidence that Job would remain that way.

What are those of us who believe in the Bible and in Jesus thinking? Are we thinking at all? Maybe we're the post-Easter clearance bunnies that finally sell at 90% off because we are missing two eyes, an ear and have a hole where our body should be.

Or maybe we know something non-believers don't.

I can only speak for myself. My experiences with Jesus are as personal and unique as my relationship with my husband.

Several years ago I was a nominal Christian, if that's possible, like being a little pregnant, I suppose. I believed, but only because I hoped...if that makes sense. I hoped it was true like a child hopes the Easter Bunny and friends are the real deal. An immature, lingering hunger for the slim chance of the reality of magic and miracles. Mostly because the reality that I saw and experienced every day wasn't at all magical or miraculous.

I wanted to believe that the chocolate bunnies were solid. And that money grew on trees and good people came out on top and bad people got theirs.
Finally, after life had left me (and by life I mean my choices and consequences as much as random acts of yuck) crushed I finally held my hands up in surrender. I had to make a choice, either blaming others and embracing cynicism, or giving God one last chance to give me reason to hope. I came to Him, just a pile of jagged chocolate slivers with two crooked googly eyes, and begged Him to help me.

The bizarre way He helped reminds me of His response to a broken Job. He asked me a question. No cynical ones, He didn't manifest in a cloud of smoke. A question that would never have come out of my thoughts swirled around in my head, and I knew. I knew that He would help me find the answer. Simple as that.

Then He began to rebuild me, using the truth in His words, His ancient and current promises, His love and His sacrifices for me. As each piece of chocolate melded to the next in His hands, with His tenderness, I began to feel whole. I didn't want to be hollow and fragile anymore. I wanted to have the inner strength that only comes from Him. Do I believe in God, His Bible and His Son? With every sliver, with every breath, I do. He has proven Himself to me. He doesn't work for me. I don't rub His head for good luck or kiss His feet for blessings. I know His plans toward me are good. Even if my circumstances aren't.

I used to struggle with trusting Him. I know how often I let people down. I also bear the scars of being let down. I have too much experience with the inner dark blot in each of us. I know what I'm capable of doing and what I've done, therefore, I know that every other person on this planet has that same capability to destroy. I didn't realize I believed that to be true about God as well. Until I read James 1:17. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

He's pure. He's honest. He doesn't play mind games. I don't always like what He says, but He's right.

So maybe my evidence and belief seems like shattered chocolate dregs to you. So ask Him to show you your tailor made evidence. As for me, His promises and blessings make me want to do the Bunny to join me?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - A Widget....Explained

The media likes to paint a pretty dismal picture of our future. Woe, woe, woe -- it is in the hands of today's teens. Sure. There are Brittanys and Lindsays...but haven't there always been young people who set out to self-destruct?

I've seen and heard some of the "other" kids who are growing into adults and will be voting, serving our country and parenting yet another generation.

At the Iowa caucus I attended I was shocked at the number of late teens and twenty-somethings who turned out in droves to support their candidates.

My children floor me almost daily with their mature choices and selfless behavior. Our son will teach high school in a few short months after putting himself through college, our daughter is in church leadership, our youngest volunteers at a hospital.

Iraq is full of young men and women are willing to give up their lives for a cause they believe in....freedom.

So I'm not willing to buy the hopeless message.

The Do the Hard Thing widget (panel left and above) will take you to a website that will introduce you to two other very impressive teens. A friend, Callie, and I will be back in a few weeks to talk about their book, but go check it out now...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles - Anyway

Here's another song. Apparently I haven't vented my music spleen enough yet. (Ooh, phrase origins...I love looking into the history of common phrases. I imagine that spleen venting has a horrid beginning. I'll let you know what I find.)

On one level this song carries the feel good lightweight "aw sweet" feeling of an e-mail forward. I hate it when forwards bring a tear to my eye... I feel worked over and make it a point to put on cynicism when reading one.

I'm not a big fan of country music either. But these words almost define the act of living. How many times have you struggled with doing the right thing especially when it seems no one cares? My thoughts and hopes can't be summed up in a simple song, but sometimes I need a simple reminder of the example I follow. Jesus, His attitude and heart laid out there in simple words set to music.

Difficult times? Hang on anyway. Faith, hope and love -- anyway.

You can spend your whole life building something from nothing

One storm can come and blow it all away

Build it anyway

You can chase a dream that seems so out of reach and you know it might not ever come your way

Dream it anyway


God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good

And when I pray it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should

But I do it anyway, I do it anyway

This world’s gone crazy and it’s hard to believe that tomorrow will be better than today

Believe it anyway

You can love someone with all your heart, for all the right reasons, and in a moment they can choose to walk away

Love ‘em anyway

You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in that tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang

Sing it anyway, sing it anyway

I sing, I dream, I love, anyway

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - So I've Been Thinking....

Don't know why but I've really been aware of song lyrics lately.

It might be because I've seen one too many musicals in the past few weeks.

Now, if you are a musical fan, don't start booing and hissing. Even rabid fans have to admit that not all songs from musicals are "Dream the Impossible Dream." Right?

Some are just really lame dialogue set to music.

On the flip side, simplistic thoughts can become profound when set to the right music.

Coldplay's The a poem it works, simple thoughts, some truth to chew on, but set to the music the words almost haunt. One of my favorites, Peter Gabriel's "The Book of Love" too true, and so simple.

Digging even deeper...I wonder about my own use of words. The more I say, the more I muddy the water. The more flowery and profound I try to be in my writing the more layers I add and the more basic truth I cover with fluff and smoke.

Good ending spot, eh what?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Top O' the Birthday


...a quarter of a century

...a dozen eggs plus a baker's dozen donuts son

...the number of zoos we've probably visited in his lifetime

...the number of hours I was in labor (okay, not actual labor....but close)

...percent of my hair is gray (8 percent attributed to him)

...reasons I love him

...reasons I'm proud of him, inside jokes and laughs involving him that sneak up on me and bring me a smile.


Happy Birthday son of mine. First born male who rode the wave of his parent's dysfunction and survived. Dad and I are so proud of the young man you've become.

You've added color, sound and fragrance (mixed blessing) to our lives. Thank you for being such an incredible guinea pig and all around fabulous first child.

"May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you In the palm of his hand."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - How to Get Your Husband to Listen

I told ya'll that this was a big book week. Whoee. And I did it. Don't even ask me about the state of my laundry room. : ).

I kind of get into the marriage and family books, so when I was offered a chance to read this over, I jumped on it. I didn't expect to find so many takeaways.

You can read a bit more about the authors at Novel Journey (3-14-08) if you'd like.

My Review:
Do you struggle in your marriage? Maybe your husband makes no sense whatsoever to you, almost like he not only speaks a different language but he also doesn't speak any known tongue. Not only that, what you say meets with a large wall or a huge glistening iceberg, no way over it, under it or around it so you are forced to fire up the wrecking ball and go through it, just to get your point across. If this sounds even remotely like your marriage AND if you want to fix it, make it better or change it, then get this book.

Ladies, this book will step on your toes and go against your survival instincts. But, if you are willing to make some changes, you could have the marriage you've always wanted but have given up on.

Cobb and Grigsby deliver hard-hitting advice and facts that go against all the fairytale drama we've come to embrace as reality. But what they offer is a set of blueprints to real love and communication to counteract the shadow of romantic notion and mountains of frustration. The authors have lived where their readers reside. They've struggled and learned and are willing to pass along the keys to communication and a healthy marriage.

The only women who should not read this book are those who embrace the philosophy that others must change and bow to her will or a relationship isn't even worth her time. That's a lonely road. My Way or the Highway is a lonely road, and if you are on it, then don't even crack the cover because the advice and wisdom within will be nonsense to you. If you think the Bible or God is a bunch of dusty, old-fashioned hogwash, ditto, don't even go there because this book will do nothing but frustrate you.

But, if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired in the most valuable and important relationship on the earth...if you are open to making changes because your marriage is worth it...if you are willing to put selfishness aside and do what's best for your marriage, then invest the $14.95 in this book. For just a little more than the cost of a movie and fast food dinner for one and you might find the key that will help you continue to be part of a duo til death do you part.

Or if you are looking for Mr. Right or engaged, check it out. The authors tell the truth about the most intimate and challenging of relationships. What you learn now may save your future marriage before it starts to stink.

I don't know if I would have been open to the wisdom from Cobb and Grigsby during my dark days of marriage. When I gave up wanting to manipulate and play the same games...when I was sick and tired of myself and the way I treated my husband and the way he treated me, this book would have given me much of the truth I needed that I ended up learning the hard way.

Question: Do you know a definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Question: Is the same old, same old in your marriage insane because it's not going to change until you do? And do you want to remain there? If not, borrow or buy this book.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Sweet Caroline

Rachel Hauck has been here before. Click here to read it.

My review:

Sweet read.

Hauck is an honest and engaging author who creates living, breathing blemished characters and who is quickly moving up on my favorite author list.

Chick-lit lovers, low country fans and quirky character collectors should find much to love in Caroline's journey throughout the pages of this novel.

I do hope that Sweet Caroline is just the beginning of a long, long series. There is another book in Caroline, at least one in Hazel and who knows how many in Elle.

Keep 'em coming, Rachel.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - The Perfect Life

Click on the book cover to visit the Amazon page for more info and more reviews of The Perfect Life. Robin Lee Hatcher has visited the Dregs before. Click here for her interview.

My Review:

The Perfect Life is a drama involving a woman's crash into the reality of the fallen world. Even more difficult is the fact that she faces the brutal truth that Christianity is not a promise of the sweet life. Her struggle to survive, accept and overcome her rude awakening, winds through the novel and is told through both first person and supporting third-person characters.

The drama unfolds a lot like the story of Job with much inner soul-searching and lamenting on the part of Katherine.

Those who avoid novels with a lot of introspection may struggle with the slower moving format of a woman devastated and her plunge into self-preservation.

However, sticking with the story and following the heart-breaking progress from broken dreams to hope is very much worth the trip.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - The Next Level

Click on the book cover to visit the Amazon page for more information and reviews.
Book Description:

Business degree in hand, Logan enters the immense Universal Systems building and is hired as an organizational analyst — a trouble-shooter. His job: evaluate the company’s five divisions, each on a separate level and each operating on startlingly unique principles. Which set of principles is successful? Why is most of the company’s profit generated by one tiny division? What is real profit, anyway? And who is the enigmatic executive that Logan ends up reporting to?

Logan engages in a life-changing pursuit for The Next Level–a fascinating parable that will help you answer some of life’s most perplexing and vital questions. Joining Logan in evaluating each level’s approach, you’ll be inspired to consider the big picture of your own life from an entirely different perspective — one that holds the key to life’s ultimate purpose. No matter where you are now, get ready to embark on your own passionate pursuit of The Next Level.


I haven't read David Gregory's previous books, but I got the set for Christmas. After reading The Next Level, I'm looking forward to reading Dinner with a Perfect Stranger.

The Next Level is an allegory/parable set in the corporate world. In simple story-telling third person voice Gregory takes the reader through the ranks of a large corporation. Each level contains it's own surprises and lessons learned.

The Next Level is a very quick read so it would be great for shorter attention spans. The lesson/moral drives the story but the author makes the message low-key enough that the story can be enjoyed without a the sensation of having survived a power preaching session. Both thought-provoking and entertaining, fans of Gregory should enjoy this short novel. Others who might enjoy it, those facing life changes, graduations, job shifts and spiritual crossroads.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles - Top o' the Monday to You.

Iowa is oozing Spring.

Gross imagery, but true. The air is heavy with humidity and the ground, swamplike.

Lest you think my taste leans to the Shrek, let me continue my thoughts.

Today, the sky produced monochromatic shades of Robin's egg blue and the sun shone. So much so that the cats called a truce and shared the four p.m. stripe on the living room carpet.

So, I've decided that today is as good a day as any to embrace the adventure that God is providing.

Have I mentioned that He has been bestowing much attention on our previous prayers for growth, change and health? If you know God well, you know He doesn't work in any prescribed format. Nor does He provide a suggestion box. Oh, I know He listens to me, but asking Him to get involved in my life is akin to praying for patience. I'm going to get the opportunity to stretch some muscles.

Today, I'm working on thanking the Lord for the IRS. This may take awhile, and it may be the reason my entire neighborhood was swathed with the hint of spring...because Kelly's inner Pollyanna really could use a blast of awesome nature to begin to warm to the idea of embracing taxes.

If nothing else, this week I'll have the opportunity to at least avoid thinking about taxes for a bit since I have two books to read and three to review this week.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Smokin'

My aunt and nephew/cousin dropped by for a visit last night. After laughing at the ping-pong dogs we settled in for a chat.

Rob arrived shortly after that and with him came some serious campfire scent. N/C questioned the smell. Apparently, (I must confess that I only long as he's not spurting blood, I don't take work mishaps too seriously since there's hardly a day without one) the wood burning unit in the shop decided to back up and pump smoke into the building. Blah. Blah. He got it all taken care of and the only lasting consequence was the odor.

When people come over to sit a spell ya gotta offer them food. I had a partial bag of Valentine triple chocolate yum kisses I'd been hoarding, so in classic Martha Stewart hostess mode I tossed the opened bag on the table and told them to help themselves. (In defense of my hospitality skills, I did get my aunt water -- with ice.)

There was more chatter about fires and smoke. My aunt probably told the story about Scar Pie. (I was editing my N/C's work in progress.) Scar Pie, for the curious, was coined a couple of decades ago during a trip to Colorado. While we were enjoying a meal in a nice restaurant, a man at the next table lit up a cigar. Known the world over for our strong family trait of sarcasm, one aunt leaned toward the other and asked if she was enjoying her Cigar Pie. However, in the clinking of glasses and conversation, all that was heard was Scar Pie.

As the fire/food talk died down last night, my aunt, who's very polite and always shares chocolate and coffee, leaned over and offered a candy to Rob. "You want a smokin kiss?"

Now, I tell you, I've never had a woman ask my husband that while I was sitting right next to him. And my own aunt at that!

In some families, a person who made a verbal faux pas would blush and flee. Nope, in mine we will refer to it again and possibly even blog about it. You never know.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Julie Carobini's Truffles by the Sea

Mixing it up at the Dregs. The Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is touring Truffles by the Sea.

I haven't gotten my copy of this book yet. But I'll bet Kim has a review. Hang on a minute, I'll give you her link. Yep. I knew it. Here it is.

And here is a link to another review, too.

But, Julie did answer a few Dregs questions. And she has a sweet offer for all who visit it her site.
"To celebrate my upcoming CFBA tour March 5-7, I'll be giving away a copy of Truffles by the Sea AND and a 1/2 lb. box of yummy truffles to three of your readers. All they need to do is drop by my blog Waves of Grace during the tour and leave a comment and a way to contact them if they win!" You can click on Julie's cute face and get there, too.

Here are Julie's A's to the Dreg's Q's.

Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?

I’m Lucy from While You Were Sleeping. She put her foot in her mouth and it stayed there a looong time. That’s so me.

If you could change something in any novel, what would you change about it and why?

I’d take that weird fire ritual out of The Secret Garden. It’s such a beautiful story that it’s a shame that one scene dissuades some from reading it. Just love the doxology scene!

Pick one…..Pink iguana, purple cow, periwinkle giraffe. Which one and why? Can be negative or positive.

I’d have to say the periwinkle giraffe…yeah, vibrant blue with one big ol’ long neck, the kind that just can’t hide from trouble ;)

Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie:

“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to … love her.” That one, from Notting Hill, just popped into my head. Seriously. It’s a sickness.

If you were assured of writing a best-seller, what genre would it be? Give us a sliver of information, a characteristic or glimpse of a scene.

Romantic Comedy: A wide swath of beach, a hunky Frisbee playing surfer, his long lost love from Mrs. Prono’s 4th grade class tanning on a nearby blanket, an errant throw…you get the picture.

What makes you feel alive?

Holding my hubby’s hand as we walk the beach. Sappy, maybe, but oh so true!

How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?

Humor that also reveals truth. Those elements are in the stories I like to read—and I’m trying to write that way too.

Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.

Italy! I’m married to an Italiano, and we’d both love to see where his “papa” or “grandfather” once lived. Besides, I’ve heard the food is bellisimo!

Favorite season and why?

Summer. It’s flip flops and long days and nightly grilling. Just love it.

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

People have told me they’ve laughed out loud when reading my books. Hm…I think they meant that as a compliment. Haha. They’ve also said that my main characters feel like their best friends—I love hearing that.

What criticism has cut the deepest and why?

Oooh, you’re really going to make me go back and read what I’ve tried to forget? Okay, here’s the thing. Some don’t like my work, and that’s life. I don’t like everything out there either, even some books that have gotten rave reviews. What I look for is consistency. If everyone makes the same negative comment, I’d be silly not to take note of that. So far, though, that’s not been the case (yay).

What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?

Move to an ocean front apartment with my entire family, and watch the sunset every night. And eat pizza. And chocolate mousse. With whipped cream. Yeah, that’s what I’d do.

Super power you'd love to borrow for awhile?

To be able to read people’s minds—wait, scratch that.

Favorite chore

Hahahaha…hoohoohoo…heeheehee…oh…you’re serious?

Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.

Why IN THE WORLD are so many people afraid of the word “me”??? It’s not a sin to use “me”, people! J

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

Close talkers. When someone stands that close to talk, I get this overwhelming urge to go find a mint. Gimme a little space!


Pick any of the following and have fun with it.
Pick a Genre - Describe a kiss….

(Okay, I might hate myself in the morning but here’s what I can do at the last minute…:0)

Firm hands wrap around my waist, and cinch me closer to his chest until we’re breathing in the same ragged rhythm. I tip my head up, and my lips find his chin, its coarseness filling me with a taste for more of him. Those same hands find the back of my neck, bury themselves roughly in my hair, and if I didn’t know better, my knees just might give way to an old fashioned swoon. Instead, he gently lifts my chin until our mouths are just a whisper apart, and with admirable restraint lowers his lips to mine until I’m quite sure my feet no longer touch the earth.

Thanks, Julie.

Don't forget to visit her blog to sign up for a chance at truffles!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Ha, Ha, Ah

Today must be fun with words day. I have gotten several really great jokes via e-mail.

Or I may just be in a bubbly kind of mood. Either way, I really love to laugh.

Sometimes it seems really callous to laugh and enjoy life when the economy is tenuous, when people are sick and dying, when endangered species are losing ground.

You know, all those things really bother me.

But I've spent a long time trying to right wrongs and fix people's brokenness. And I've learned that I can't fix people, nor can I truly right a wrong. Unless it's one I committed, but even then I'm limited.
I can offer arms to hug, fingers to wipe away tears, ears to listen, a heart to ache, and prayers. But I can't undo or restore anything.

I can rest and refresh in God. Receive joy in knowing the King of kings will give me an audience and listen to my needs and concerns.

Celestial artwork arrayed in the heavens delights my soul. God's creativity and sovereignty humble me and inspire me. I can offer what I have and who I am to those who need a touch from heaven. I can point to the God of the universe as their protector, strength and salvation.

I can delight in life's quirks and in people who are the epitome of quirk. I can laugh out loud and suck in life. I can dream and delight and savor. Part of me thinks that this is what I was created to do. Not walk a careful line, shaking my head at the wrongs in the world, but embracing with enthusiasm the rights.

I hope today brings you joy and a smile if not an outright har, har, har.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles - Cave Dwelling

The theme of the trip to Minnesota seems to be caves. So that's what I'll focus on today.

First, I must say that the cave tour and swing dance event was pretty fabulous. If you are ever in St. Paul and are dying to get a fix of ganster lore there's the link.

The first order of cave business is to report that no one was injured at swing night. Nor did we see any ghostly gangsters. The legend claims four men were yelling minutes before an eyewitness entered the room and saw three Tommy-Gunned messes and one holding the smoking gun. However, once the police got involved, all was cleaned up and the shooter and shootees didn't exit the cave. Rumor has it that the shooter likely got out eventually, but the shootees remained behind, buried in the sand.

After the tour, we took lessons. The girls in our gaggle out-numbered the males so they danced with other gentlemen.

A couple of the guys were labeled creepy.

I think I'll cover what makes a guy creepy to a young lady sometime in the near future. Because there were far less attractive men who danced all night, while the ones with the creep labels were looking for partners. So if you are a guy looking for a great girl and they run from you, come back and we'll see if we can't help you figure out how not to send out creep vibes.
And speaking of creepiness...we did not see a bat in the cave.
Until dinner the next night. New to we Iowans was a phrase uttered in annoyed sibling in Minnesotan - "Eww! You have a bat in the cave." Followed by the mother's comment, "Go get a Kleenex."
Very creative and guaranteed to be overused here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Rob Speaks

My hubby Rob is sitting next to me and staring over my shoulder as I check my long weekend's worth of communication.
Since I'm still a little punchy from the trip and late/early (whatever you consider two a.m. to be) homecoming, I'm going to let him heckle me and share it with you.

First, he doesn't like the name Scrambled Dregs. I turn and shoot him one dagger (he can't see both eyes) and say. "Hello! It fits me. You know my randomness, lack of focus and easy distractibility?"

"No, I think it should be named 'Sunshiny Day with a Chance of Angry Eyes'."

This is in reference to our fun with threats. We refer to angry eyes and bodily harm often. It's kind of a sick game. One of my favorite things is to get a healthy set of angry eyebrows from one of my family members. Though always in jest, my peeps can each pull off a very crabby countenance.

To picture what this might look like...think big wrinkle in between the eyes and the inner eyebrows nearly meeting while sloping downward. Usually the focus is intense and somewhat beady, and there is likely an exaggerated pout. Angry eyes usually come about when one is bested in a battle of wits or humorous insult.

I suppose this quest for angry eyes comes from my family of origin wherein we love a good pratfall. Couldn't be genetic in Rob, though. His is learned behavior as his family is kind and gentle and asks, "Are you OKAY? Can I get you some ice?" when someone falls. My family gets to that eventually, after all the hooting and giggling dies down to that popcorn hiccup aftershock you get when you've been laughing real hard.

Okay, things have just gone to a different and disgusting level. Youngest daughter heard her father and I laughing so she just joined us with her flatulence machine. Which has inspired Rob to particpate in PETA unapproved cat teasing. Wonder if he'll be sporting any new wounds in the very, very near future?
Hope your Monday is a gas.