Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I'm off again until Monday. Time for food, fireworks, family, and blessings.

Have a wonderful turning of the calendar =)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The difference between men and women.

So I've discovered the biggest, most official difference between men and women.

Here it is, as played out in my own house this very morning...

Me, working out for the third morning in a row in our expanded closet to my new P90x dvd, muscles quivering, muttering under my breath and declaring my instructor a monster, while deciding that anyone who can do a one-legged wall squat is an alien, and literally trying not to throw up at my attempt to do a regular wall squat.

Hubby walks in the closet, yawning from just getting out of bed. He tugs on a clean sweater and jeans, and grabs his wallet. He smiles at me, and I glare back, sweat running in rivulets into my eyes.

"Have a good workout, baby." He stretches down to kiss my forehead.

I keep glaring. "Have a good greasy, sugary, syrupy, fattening, yummy breakfast at Whataburger with my dad." I add extra oomph to my next weighted leg lunge.

Apparently the glare in my eyes was enough to X the kiss, because he straightened and quickly backed toward the door. "Guess I better go now."

"Guess ya..." Gasp. Sputter. Moan. "Better."

Yep. That's the difference. He gets to enjoy a calorie laden, fat soaked, delicious breakfast and never think about it again, while I'm still trying to convince last week's Christmas cookies to quit clinging to my burning thighs.

Atleast now I'm extra motivated - motivated to get a six-pack abs just so I can point and say "nyyyah nyyahh nyaahhhh nahhhh", anyway. But whatever works!!!

Have you started your New Years resolution/goals/work-out program yet? I wanted to get a jump start on the New Year and already be immersed in reaching my goals before January 1. Somehow it seemed more motivating that way.

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Visit me!

Check out my latest Crosswalk article published today, and read about my prodigy Christmas tree =)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Palooza

Whew! What a week!
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas weekend. I know ours was busy but fun, with lots of family time, laughter, and of course, FOOD!

Here are a few fun pics of the big event!!!
Christmas Eve at my grandparents...

Christmas morning, at home then at my parent's house...

She loved her wagon, new toy vacuum cleaner and baby stroller the most!
Did Santa bring you something special?
Hubby gave me a gift card for a professional massage, woohoo! And I got much needed curtains for my living room and bathroom, and a lot of artwork to hang to finish our decorating.
Any extra fun memories to share? Please do!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

This is my last blog post for the week, as I'm sure many of you won't be around to read much anyway =)

Have a wonderful holiday season, see you guys back next Monday! Merry Christmas, and may I leave you with this profound thought I heard recently...

"There was only one Christmas - the rest are anniversaries."

So, Happy Anniversary, from my family to yours!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Quiz

It's Monday and I'm about to fight the crowds at Walmart in a bit with my 17 month old commandeering the buggy, so I needed a quickie blog today!! But this looks like fun!!

Your Holiday Personality is Outgoing

The holidays give you a chance to stay busy and have fun with your friends. You love each and every holiday activity.You are a truly social creature, and other people make the holidays special for you.Whether you're out caroling, ice skating, partying, or shopping, you love being part of a festive crowd.You are always up for holiday cheer, but you also make sure to take time to help those in need.

What is your Holiday Personality? Take the quiz HERE!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Good news!

Good news! My agent, Tamela, re-posted the article I wrote for SCRIBBLE CHICKS Wednesday on Hartline's Literary Blog. Check it out here! She's running it as a series. Part two will be up the 22nd. Hartline's blog is written by the four agents in their company and is really great for advice, encouragement, and industry news.

In other news...

My husband called me on his way home from work this morning. He said "Are you sitting down?" I said "Yes" and he proceeded to tell me that he started reading The Best of Evil by Eric Wilson (see previous blog post!) at about 7:00 in the evening.

He finished it at 3:30 in the morning. My husband! A non-reader! This is huge. And in case you didn't realize, firemen really appreciate sleep because of their crazy schedules. For him to miss sleep for the sake of a book is just, well, a Christmas miracle.

Now he's asking for the sequel. I'm so glad I was sitting down! ;)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

S is for Shocked

Last night, my husband uttered words he's never before spoken. Words that shook me to my core, words that I'd only dreamed of him saying in our seven plus years of being together...

Words that, basically, made me look like this:

"Hey, baby, why don't you go pick me out a book you'd think I'd like?"

I was wrapping a present at the time, and nearly cut myself on the scissors. My mouth dropped along with the scissors, and I stared. He looked up from where he'd been hanging his jacket. I sputtered. "A book?"


"Like, a fiction novel? Not a devotional or history book?"

"Yeah." He shrugs.

I'm still confused. "You mean, a book - like with words, not pictures?"

"YES." Now he's almost annoyed.

I'm still convinced I'm in another world, but I dutifully go and pick out two fiction novels from my personal library that I think he'd enjoy. Inside, shock is battling pure, unadulturated happiness.

Let me explain. My husband is not a reader, by any means. For example, last night he finished the third book he's ever read by choice in his entire lifetime - a devotional type story for hunters. He read my first novel, Midnight Angel, published by a small press a few years ago, but it took him forever and I think he forced himself. He hasn't read my new Love Inspired stories, and I wouldn't even ask. He is just NOT a reader.

He was dyslexic for awhile in junior high and that totally turned him off reading, understandably. He's got it beat now but he still relates reading to hard work, and when he already works two jobs, well, he's interested in relaxing - tv, video games, hunting, outside projects, flipping through magazines...not books. He reads his Bible as often as he can, but when it comes to fiction, there is just no way. It's not happening.

I'm not sure what inspired this question of his, but I wasn't about to let it pass by. I nearly panicked, thinking "so many do I choose? this is one my shot in time!" but I quickly got it together and gave him Eric Wilson's "Best of Evil" since I knew he'd like the hero, with his tattoos and secrets. Next in his pile if he makes it through Eric's novel is "Leaper" by Geoffrey Wood, which is HILARIOUS. I hope he makes it to that one too!!!!

Is your husband or significant other a reader? Or can you relate to how I felt last night? =)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blogs, blogs, blogs

I blogged today at Scribble Chicks and at Craftie Ladies of Romance. Come join me!

At Scribble Chicks, this week we have been discussing "So you've got a manuscript writen, now what?" Today's post is on you have one? Do you need one? Come check it out!

At Craftie Ladies of Romance, we've been discussing Christmas Ways & Frays - ways we celebrate, and frays that arise when things don't go as planned! Come visit us and comment on your own Christmas mishaps =)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Do you ever wish you were rich?

The Bible says the love of money is the root of all evil, and we can't serve both God and money. But He doesn't say that MONEY is the root of all evil - just when we go overboard in serving it instead of Jesus. There's a very definite line there, one that I pray I'd never cross if I were ever in the position to do so.

Today, I wish I was rich. I'm not talking about because it'd be nice to not stress about our bills for a pay period, or because I want the adorable purple purse in JCPenney or because I want to buy Little Miss a pony (I don't, I mean figuratively). I just mean I wish I had extra money to bless others with.

I think it'd be the coolest thing ever to be able to leave a waitress a $100 tip and bless her socks off that shift. Or hear of a friend needing to pay a hospital bill and saying "you know what? I got that. Don't sweat it." Or just randomly mail another friend an annonymous envelope full of cash because you felt God prompting you to do so.
We recently had some meet a big financial need for us and it still brings me to tears of gratitude and I pray one day God allows me the chance to help bless someone else in that same way.

God, so far, hasn't given me this desire of my heart, and it's sad for me today especially, because there are several friends who I wish I could help this morning...and I just can't. Friends who are good people, who have good hearts and love the Lord and are struggling to make it.

God provides for His children, He's proven that to us time and time again. I'm praying for His provision today for others. Will you?

Monday, December 14, 2009

A not-so-conservative Baptist...

Have you ever walked across the church parking lot and, through the multi-windowed-wall, seen your topless husband go jogging down the Sunday School hallway through a throng of people?

I have!

Sadly, my first thought wasn't that something was wrong, as it must be to illicit such random, borderline crude behavior, it was instead "Man, I can't take him anywhere."

(if you've met my hubby then you understand! lol)

His bicep tattoos seemed much more vivid than usual as he jogged past our associate pastor and the women's sunday school class. Oy. As I grew closer, not nearly as surprised as I probably should have been, our friend Michael, who was visiting this Sunday, held the door open for me.

"Michael, will you please explain why my husband is topless?"

Sheepish look. "I can't tell you."


Ducks head. "He told me not to tell you."


My mom voice must have been activated, because despite the good nine inches height he has on me, he quickly spilled the beans. "He turned his motorcycle over in the parking lot, and his elbow is bleeding."


Little Miss and I had taken my car to church that morning and Hubby took his motorcycle, because he was supposed to be leaving straight from sunday school to go visit his mom in Alexandria. He had said he would only go if it wasn't raining/wet, which it was, but he didn't want to take his truck because we really didn't need to spend the near $100 of gas money it would cost for a round trip. He really wanted to see his mom, and since it wasn't technically raining, he was going to go ahead and go.

The thought immediately made me nervous, because of the slick roads, so on the way to church I prayed that if he wasn't supposed to go, if something was going to happen, that God would stop him and make it clear.

Hello, flashing red light.

He'd taken the curve around by the gym and the back tire slid out, and the weight of the bike on him cut his elbow up on the pavement, even through his leather jacket. Hubby bandaged up his arm and put on a clean shirt (he'd brought one with him to change once he got there, thankfully, just so his good dress shirt wouldn't be in the elements on the ride there) He attended Sunday School with the intentions of going ahead to Alexandria and getting his arm looked at the hospital where his mom has been the last few days. I told him my prayer and what I'd asked God, and asked him to please think about it before leaving. He did, and after Sunday School, said he'd trust me and stay home. Whew. Miracle!

He went ahead and went to Quickcare after Sunday School and got 6 stitches, just to get it taken care of since the bleeding wouldn't really stop. So I was left to field all the questions and jokes in his absence.

So, our Baptist church got a show this morning, but God also showed up, so that's something. Maybe the talk will die down later...then again, maybe not since I'm now posting all the bloggy details. =)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Quiz!

Thought we'd take a break from the holiday chaos today to take a fun Christmas quiz! Here you go, post your results in the comment section!!! QUIZ!

My results were perfect for me - I LOVE this movie and collect all things Snoopy, have for as long as I can remember.

Your Christmas is Most Like:

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Each year, you really get into the spirit of Christmas.
Which is much more important to you than nifty presents.
What are your results??? =)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shop til you drop?

So its officially December 10th. Christmas is in roughly two weeks - yikes! Are you ready? Have you finished your shopping yet? I was hung up on a gift for my Pappaw for the longest time, but had a break through last night and am now very pleased with what I ordered for him! Inexpensive but meaningful - whew. I won't post what it is here just in case he reads my blog - hey, you never know. He and my grandma have all my web addresses and are quite computer savvy as of late. =)

Is there a person on your list you are kinda stuck on? Does anyone have any ideas to share for the stereoytpical "hard" people in our lives? (i.e., sometimes buying gifts for the men in our lives is difficult because their toys are too expensive, and really, how many times can you buy someone a tie or wallet before they see a pattern???)

I'm getting out in the cold later with Little Miss - gotta pick up her cough syrup, poor little bunny, and then we're running a few last minute errands for wrapping paper and stocking stuffers - then I think I might be done.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Gimpy at Christmas

My grandfather (dad's dad) has always had heart issues. He's had bypasses, chest pains, heart attacks, and I can't even count the times he's had stints put in or heart caths done. Some of my earliest memories involve sitting around the hospital waiting room, begging change for vending machine candy bars and reading in those hard vinyl chairs while we waited the latest news. He's a strong man, a former Marine, and is the type to say he's fine when he's not, or brave through pain when it would crumble most people. Anytime he's had recoveries to wait through, he hasn't been the easiet patient. He wants to get up and work and DO things...he has a servant's heart and would rather help at the church than sit in his recliner as instructed.

Thankfully my grandmother is equally stubborn, so he gets good care =)

Well, my grandfather had a routine heart cath done yesterday morning, but he had complications. I didn't even realize he was having a heart cath done in the first place, that's how common these are to us now...until I received word mid-afternoon that there were issues and he was being transported from one hospital to another that specializes in heart issues.
I couldn't go up, since Little Miss and I were both under the weather ourselves and Hubby was at the fire station, but my dad and sister camped out with my grandma and aunt and cousins, so no one was alone as we waited word. Turns out he had bled pretty badly during the procedure, and they couldn't get it to stop. Not sure still exactly what happened or what tore, but they ended up having to crack him open and go in and do a double bypass. His last bypass I believe was 1989, so it's been twenty years and was in need of a redo. But 20 years of scar tissue made it difficult, and the bypass took a solid 5 hours. We received word his heart was off the pump and beating regularly again around 9:30 p.m., but they were still concerned about the bleeding. He's on blood thinners, and since it was an emergency procedure, they didn't have time to get him off of them before having to do the surgery. They added platelets to try to thicken it, but they couldn't thicken it TOO much because of the stints. Sigh.

So he's in ICU and doing well, and will remain there for 3 days and in the hospital for a week. Hopefully he'll be able to come home in time for Christmas and sit in his designated recliner and let us wait on him as he so deserves.

I appreciate any prayers for my grandfather this holiday season! Thank you! He's the toughest man I know, and so very godly. But I'm not ready for him to go Home-Home yet!!!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A gift exchange of a different color...

Have you ever played the Dirty Santa gift exchange? There's a dozen names for this game, so odds are you have! It's where everyone brings a gift to a party and draws a number, and each person in order of their number opens a gift. When its your turn, you can either open a new gift from the pile of unopened gifts left, or steal someone else's opened gift. Usually there is a rule as to how many times a gift can be stolen before it's "dead" and safe with its current owner. The game ends when all the numbers have gone and all the gifts are opened. If no one ever steals from you, then what you opened is what you're going home with.

The game is really fun, and works great for large family gatherings or church parties.

Last night, the women's minsitry at my church played this game at our annual Women's Christmas Party and let me tell you - it gets intense. We'd have put the boys in the picture above to shame.

Forget that several of the 45 women there were minister's wives, and that we were all conservative Baptists. I can assure you when this game is played, religion is not a factor. We might smile and bring our pot luck dish, covered with a hand-embroidered Christmas towel stacked neatly atop our Bibles, but when the game starts, the gloves come off!

This year, the gifts were really great, especially considering we had a $15 limit. There truly wasn't a single item I'd have not wanted to get "stuck" with. Of course there are always the "hot commodity gifts" that seem to get stolen back and forth right away. This year's hot commodities were a cute snowman Christmas Card holder, a lemon-limeade scented candle and dangly black bracelet, a large snowman cookie platter, and a Christmas pillow. I ended up coming home with a Fritz & Floyd small snowman serving tray and Casting Crown's newest Christmas CD - score!

It cracks me up though - every year, there's always a few women who get a little too involved. There's some ladies who get loud and fiesty but you can tell its all in fun. Then there are others who truly seem to have their feelings hurt if someone steals a gift from there. It makes me want to yell "Uh, guys, everything in this room is $15. Just go buy it for yourself!" lol The competitive edge can easily take over.

Have you ever played this game? What are some of your memories if you have? We do this every year on my dad's side of the family because there are so many of us. We set a $30 limit and its really fun. Of course, its even funnier after the game is over because people start swapping under the table and bargaining with their immediate family members to switch =)

I survived the game last night, barely, and hopefully will survive the one we play Christmas night. Wish me luck!!! =)

Monday, December 07, 2009


So Saturday, I along with many others from the North Louisiana/East Texas area, gathered together at Canton Trade Days and shopped til we dropped. Literally. The temps were super cold and the booth pavillions, while covered, were open on the sides, minus the sun, so it was actually colder in the booths than in the parking lots. But it was girl's day, and we had a blast and I checked off the few remaining items on my Christmas list!

But now I'm sneezing and congested and last night I had a sore throat. That part is gone now, its all in my head at the moment. All signs point to allergies/being in the elements, I don't believe its a virus. Just annoying! To make myself feel better, I cooked a homemade chicken noodle soup, and it was spicier than I intended (probably because I couldn't smell what I was adding to the pot! lol) Well I think it worked too well, because now I'm a drippy faucet. Oh well. It was tasty!

How are you faring with the cold season? Hopefully avoiding the flu and cold viruses! I am determined to feel better ASAP, because this is a busy week of Christmas parties and get-togethers I do not want to miss!!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Bye bye, Uncertain!

Thanks for all the supportive comments yesterday, friends! My husband did receive word - he will be laid off by the end of the month...with no severence. Not sure how that's fair or even legal. I guess the city isn't required to offer anything, but you'd think they would under the circumstances.

I was joking yesteday with an old coworker that if we didn't love the Boardwalk so much, we'd boycott shopping in Bossier altogether =)

But the neat, God-thing is my husband has already been given job offers. Not necessarily fireman-related, but if we get to the point of just needing a paycheck, any paycheck, the opportunities are there. It's nice to see how everyone has rallied and cares for us!

Right now, we're in the midst of considering some transfer possibilities to other departments, which we'll know more about in the days to come. Hubby really wants to stay a fireman if the Lord wills. When he got on with Bossier almost two years ago, it was, in our minds, a life-career choice. That hasn't changed! But we'll see what doors God opens.

I posted on Facebook this morning that "there is a lot of Uncertain, but for now the house is quiet, the Christmas tree is glowing, my Bible is open, and its warm and cozy inside. Uncertain, there is simply no room for you in this picture."

And an hour later, even though my daughter is awake, the cartoons are playing, and my Bible is shut for now, nothing has changed. Bye, bye Uncertain! Hello, faith.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

And the waiting continues...

Many of you remember my posts a month or so back, when we first heard about my husband's potential lay off from the fire dept. here in town. The city had a HUGE (like 6.5 million!) deficit in their budget for 2010 and thought the only way to compensate was to let go 80 city employees, mainly firemen and policemen.

I'm still a little angry just typing that.

Since then, we've heard a zillion rumors. First, he was for sure laid off. Then he wasn't. Then it was a maybe. Then the other day, we heard that the mayor had devised a plan to draw funds from a different budget, something to do with our city's casino revenue, I believe, and that all the jobs would be saved.

Well, our city council - the same members who once looked into the TV via news camera and swore they'd do everything they could to save our firemen and policemen - voted "no, we better not, that's too risky".

So now the official word is, 80 city jobs WILL be laid off, including that of 6 policemen and 18 firemen - 8 from the line, and 10 who were in the current training academy. Yes, that's better than the initial number of firemen's jobs being cut, but to those 18 who are getting booted, its not much better at all.

My husband is going into a meeting at 9:00 to be given the details, and we're all pretty sure it's a meeting for the 8 who will be laid off. That's speculation, makes sense. We'll see. It's not his fault, he's just a victim of the "last hired, first fired" mindset which I suppose is only fair.

I would like to give a thank you to the three council members who did actually try to postpone the vote and buy more time for our men - but for the rest of you, well...I'll just stop now. You'll all realize your mistake next time there is a big city emergency and you're painfully short on manpower and our city's once-excellent, Class 1 response time rating sinks to the dirt because a station closed.

I'm really not as bitter as I might sound! I know God has a plan, and sometimes His plan includes opening doors and giving us a little shove through it. I'd much rather be led through a door I wouldn't have normally chosen and it be God's will, then choose a second door and be outside of His plan. Anyone with me?? =)

After 9 o'clock today, my husband will probably be without a job, and that's not much of a Merry Christmas gesture. BUT...I have complete faith that God will provide something else and that will be an amazing Christmas gift when it happens. God has already blessed our socks off this past week in a way only He could have done, and so I will trust His provision this week as I did last week.

I will NOT key the council member's cars...I will NOT key the council member's cars... haha. J/k.

Sort of.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Are you feeling stuck in your WIP?

Visit me at SCRIBBLE CHICKS today and read about a recent breakthrough I experienced. Maybe it'll help you have the same!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

That Certain Spark by Cathy Hake

I was recently given the chance to review (for free, as I'm now obligated to report by law!) a book by Cathy Marie Hake titled THAT CERTAIN SPARK.

Okay, I know we can't officially judge books by their cover but I LOVED this cover. Check it out. Isn't that great?

You know that cover model had fun with that one! =)

Here's the summary:

Gooding, Texas, is about to gain a double blessing--a veterinarian and a doctor. But when siblings Enoch and Taylor Bestman arrive, the discovery that the long-awaited doctor is in fact a woman has the town up in arms. Karl Van der Vort is no exception, though he becomes Taylor's first patient...against his will. Karl finds he can't deny Taylor's doctoring skills, but he also can't come to terms with her unladylike occupation. Taylor, on the other hand, wants only to prove that doctoring is her life's calling, despite the town's opposition. But when her practice--and Taylor herself--are threatened, Karl's protectiveness flares into a different emotion altogether.As Pride Meets Attraction Head-On, Sparks Begin to Fly!

Here's Cathy, who I know personally through the ACFW and is a dear, sweet woman with a talented daughter who is also an author as well. Just goes to show you writing genes run in the family =)

I'm hoping my daughter picks up on that from me one day...though she's only 16 months old right now, so...we have time to see. =)

I enjoyed this story, the characters were vivid and likable and relatable. The plot interesting and different. I don't read a ton of historicals but this one was definitely memorable.

However, I do have to say that I got a little hung up on the dialogue. A minor plot point was the banter between the hero and heroine, which is always fun to see. But because of the heroine's education and medical training, and because of the historical setting, sometimes the banter came across a little too hard to read. I found myself backtracking a lot, trying to figure out what they were really saying and even had to look up words sometimes. It was a little distracting, and stopped the flow of the story, but not a huge ordeal.

If you're looking for a unique read and enjoy historicals, I bet you'll like this one. =)

Buy your copy of this lovely novel HERE!

And read more about Cathy at her website:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Back to the real world...

So all that remains of Thanksgiving is the tight fit of our jeans and the stack of receipts in our purses from Black Friday theory, anyway. As I reported Friday, I sadly didn't overeat this year and skipped Black Friday shopping for the sake of preserving my sanity and my checkbook, but for many of you, that might be true. Were the sales worth the madness? Did you find some steals? Report in!

Today might be a little dreary for those returning to work after all the holiday fun. But keep in mind, Christmas is only four weeks away and we get to shop and eat all over again! =) Hang in there, guys!

I'm definitely feeling the Christmas spirit now that my house is clean and decorated, and my tree is up and taking command of the living room. Little Miss was confused at first as to why her Toy Corner is now Tree Corner but the fireplace hearth works just as well for a giant tub of toys. Thankfully, she adapts quickly =)

So far, she's still leaving the tree alone except for one ornament I keep catching her snatching from the tree and playing with on the kitchen floor - Hubby's firetruck ornament that lights up. It's pretty sweet so I can't get too upset. She pushes it around the floor and makes vroom-type noises. It's so cute! But, it does have a hook on the top, so it's not a good idea. I took it from her last night and heard myself say sternly "Firetrucks go on trees" which I'm sure was more confusing than anything else....LOL. Oh well.

Oh! Today is also November 30th, which I believe means the last day of the NANO writing goal. NANO'ers, report in. Did you meet your word count goal? Did you get close? Give us the details!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Recovery

Is everyone still asleep from the turkey consumption? =)

I actually didn't eat that much yesterday, which in present tense was disappointing but today, a relief. We got to my grandma's yeseterday around 10:30 and I sampled one of her new recipes - a cookie made with real candy orange slices! So yummy! I had one good paper-plateful of lunch and a few Rice Krispie treats for dessert, and then was...done. Of course, Little Miss needing attention and help with her lunch and assistance with her past-my-nap-time grumpiness was a distraction from the potential calories as well!

I was really proud of her though. For a busy holiday with her schedule all thrown off and teething, she did great. After lunch I whisked her off to the guest bedroom where we laid down with blankie and Gigi and I sang her to sleep and dozed a little bit with her. Sweet memories! She's a big girl now and goes to bed for her naps and bedtime awake, so I never get to hold her while she sleeps anymore. So that was precious.

Hubby was on call all day, and had to leave twice for the hospital but at least he got to eat with the family and play with Little Miss outside for awhile at my grandma's house.

When we got home late afternoon, I took her for a long walk in her stroller, for my benefit as much as hers, and felt like maybe I'd evened things out. Dinner was two little slices of baked pizza as we didn't take any leftovers home, and a piece of chocolate while Hubby and I watched a movie together. Great holiday!

Hope yours was as nice as mine! Now its time to decorate the house for Christmas and most importantly - turn on the All Christmas Music, All The Time radio channel =)

PS - I tried to exercise this morning, but Little Miss thought something was wrong if I layed on the floor to do crunches, and would cry. lol If I sat up, she wanted to sit in my lap with me. Oh well, a few lingering Rice Krispies and chocolate won't kill me =)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Visits

Come visit me today at SCRIBBLE CHICKS and see how I find writing to be like setting up a Christmas tree...then head over to CRAFTIE LADIES OF ROMANCE and leave your comment on your Black Friday thoughts!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Count your blessings...

In honor of the coming holiday (which, FYI, I won't be blogging Thursday as I'm sure most of you won't be reading!) I thought today I'd list ten things I'm thankful for, in no particular order. I challenge you to do the same on your blog or in the comments list here! Let's give praise to God this morning!

I'm thankful...

1. That I'm living my dream of being a stay-at-home mommy and writing "full time".

2. That my husband works his booty off to provide me the above opportunity, yet does so willingly and with a gracious heart, without a hint of bitterness or resentfulness as he could easily choose to slip into. He sees my writing and my time raising Little Miss as an investment, and that is priceless.

3. For polka dot shoes. Can anything bring a faster smile?

4. For white chocolate mochas, WITH whip.

5. For being multi-published/contracted with a top notch publisher and having an agent and editor who encourage me and push me to be better!

6. For my sweet Little Miss, who loves to snuggle with Mommy every morning and watch cartoons and eat cereal bars and enjoy time together.

7. For my family and the Christian heritage in which my parents raised me

8. For the invention of S'mores. Whoever first deducted that chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows would go well together is truly a genius.

9. For an endless "to be read" pile of mostly free books awaiting me!

10. For my friends, near and far. I have the best friends in the entire world, and even though we're literally spread across the entire world, I am blessed beyond blessed!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkey Day rapidly approacheth...

It's Thanksgiving week! Thursday is the big day - family, food, and fun. Maybe a good nap or two for the lucky ones! We're going to camp out at my grandma's house most of the day, my husband is on call but hopefully won't be so busy that he can't enjoy the inevitable feast. =)

The best part about Thanksgiving for me right now is the lack of responsibility. I know that sounds awful. But my mom and grandma still take care of all the food preparations, so all I gotta do is pack up my little family (which is no easy feat!!) and go enjoy. I can't imagine trying to prepare dinner on my own - I have zero idea how to cook a turkey. I could probably open a can of cranberry sauce easily enough. Come to think of it, I doubt I've ever made greenbean casserole before! Yikes!

Looks like I'll need practice in the years to come!! But for now, I can sleep in, watch the Macy's parade, and travel over the river and through the woods to Grandma's. =)

What are your plans this holiday?

Friday, November 20, 2009

An interview with yours truly...

Hey friends!

I was given the honor of being interviewed by Mary Lou Cheatham on her Christian Examiner website, featuring authors in her area. This is a really neat website, I know more and more people becoming Examiners for their region.

To read the interview and see more about being an Examiner, click HERE and be sure to leave a comment!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I've been duped...

by the cookie company.

That's right. My favorite brand of cookies has deceived me!

For a good two years now, I've been buying the reduced fat versions of these cookies. Trying to be good, trying to enjoy a snack without feeling guilty from it. Even Little Miss loves this kind of cookie, so she helps me eat them.

Yesterday I was at Walmart, which was a ridiculous ordeal in its own right (my list was way too long to have tackled alone with a 16 month old, and my buggy was so loaded down, I had to stuff things in the top compartment where Little Miss rode, and she hated that - kept trying to take them back out. Then I literally had strangers picking up my grociers for me as they fell out of the buggy and helping me turn corners because the buggy was heavier than my arm capacity) and in my haste, I grabbed the regular brand of cookies instead of the reduced fat. (same packaging except for a small starburst in top corner) I was a little excited because it was an innocent mistake, and these truly just taste better than than reduced, so I'd get a well-earned break from the monotony of being good.

Well, I just checked the nutrition label on the back, and...there is a 20 calorie difference.

That's right. 3 cookies of reduced is 140 calories, 3 cookies of the regular is 160.


I shall sacrifice taste no more.

And maybe eat 6 just for the heck of it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Visit me...

I posted today on SCRIBBLE CHICKS. Would love to get your feedback on my post!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Best Kind of Therapy

Today is a writing day! Well, afternoon, anyway. I'm heading to my favorite haunt in a bit to soak in the coffee and the atmosphere of beloved books and write, until time to meet my Bible-study girls for mexican food and "therapy"! Can't beat a free vent session!

In fact, I'm convinced most of the world's problems could be solved if discussed with books, coffee, and salsa within easy reach.

But no one in government asks for my opinon, which, truly, is probably for the best. =)

Have a happy Tuesday. And if you went to the midnight showing of New Moon last night, come on, fess up. I gotta tease you just a little =)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Leave the light on...

I beg you to do three things today.

1. Buy this book.
2. Read this book.
3. Read this book with other people inside your house (NOT ALONE), with every light on inside your house, with your back firmly planted against a wall, with several weapons of choice within easy reach, with a pillow to scream into if you don't want to wake a sleeping baby/child, and with freshly manicured nails, because you're bound to squeeze a pillowcase or your own hand/leg and I'd hate for you to leave claw marks on something important. Oh, and be prepared to possibly lose all desire to ever take a shower again.

I'm not kidding.

Here's the blurb:

Cole Leighton can barely believe his eyes. A woman on his bus has just been abducted—in an exact reflection of a scene from the bestselling novel he's reading. Someone is bringing the book to life…and isn't above forcing an innocent woman to follow the story to its tragic end. Using the novel as his playbook, Cole catches up with the beautiful victim—but rescuing Kenzie Jacobs doesn't keep her safe for long. The killer is writing his own ending, and none of the twists and turns lead to happily ever after.

Sounds good, huh? It IS. And scarier than I had anticipated. I read suspense, but not thrillers or horror novels. I don't love being scared, and avoid scary movies at ALL costs. This isn't a thriller or a horror novel, but it definitely had a higher amp of OH MY GOODNESS than I expected =)

It's my own fault. I saw the book on my desk in my To Be Read Pile last night. My daughter was playing contentedly, my husband was at work, and I thought, hey, I can read a few chaps while Lil Miss is enjoying her cartoons and playing, before I make our dinner. So I did, and was immediately hooked. I kept reading because I wanted to see what would happen next.

Then I kept reading because I had to finish in order to calm down. I knew I wouldn't sleep if I didn't have a happy ending in my head!!! I was literally on the edge of my chair, feet tucked under me, biting my nails, and Lil Miss at one point scared me half to death by popping up beside the ottoman when I wasn't expecting it.

Finally, halfway through the novel, I called Jenness, freaking out. "I AM SO MAD AT YOU". She wasn't very sorry, since my fear was partly her goal in writing the story. As a fellow writer, I understood this, but still had the right to be mad and threaten to call her in the middle of the night if I had a bad dream. =)

Dinner consisted of microwave chicken strips for Lil Miss and cereal for me, which I dripped all over myself because I kept reading in the chair with the bowl in my lap, dribbling milk everywhere with every unfocused bite.

I took a break for a reality check, and talked to a friend on the phone, and played with Lil Miss, and did her bath and bedtime routine. At that point I was okay, having distanced myself from the story enough to function. But I still had to finish that night. So after Lil Miss was down, I checked all the deadbelts and armed myself with a piece of cake, a Diet Coke, and my laptop, cell phone, and house phone. Somehow I felt safer surrounded by technology.

I finished the book, having only one or two minor strokes before reaching the blessed words The End. Now, in the bright light of day, I laugh at my immature behavior last night and realize I was being ridiculous. It's just a story. Right?

Well that's what the heroine in the book thought too...

Here's a little bit about Jenness. She looks so innocent, doesn't she???? Don't let her fool you! =)

Jenness Walker is a romantic suspense author for Steeple Hill. She also co-authors light-hearted stories with Tracy Bowen. Jenness lives in Florida with Jason, her beloved website-designer husband, and Hyacinth, her almost-as-beloved laptop. When she’s not writing from her magic coach, she loves to decorate or plan her next roadtrip with Jason.

Unofficially, let me add that Jenness is one of my dear friends, and as many of you know from her moving, heartfelt devotional at the 2009 ACFW conference, likes to drink water when nervous. (I won't tell you how much she drank during the devotional) =)

Buy your copy of this amazing story HERE! You won't regret it. It's an amazing tale with a happy ending, so all the adrenaline getting to the end is worth it.
And hey, if you want to know even MORE about Jenness, visit her website HERE.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Some days, the urge to disappear for a week on a desert island is quite strong.

Today is one of those days.

So, since I can't purposefully strand myself on a island (and really, would I want to without pool-side service and electricity??), I'll stick to what I do best - imagining.

But I need to pack an imaginary suitcase, so help me, will you? What TWO BOOKS (besides your Bible!) would you want to take with you if you knew you were going to be stranded and could only read those two books for the next indefinite period amount of time? (and don't start on the logic of KNOWING you're going to be stranded and packing cell phones and radios and smoke signals. lol)

I know one of mine would be The Shape of Mercy. Still pondering my second...

Thursday, November 12, 2009



I've been up since 4:50 a.m.

Yes, it was on purpose.


Today, I had to get up at 4:50, get dressed, get Little Miss up and dressed, and be at my parent's house across town at 6:15 to meet my husband, coming straight from work. From there, we left his truck and got in my car and drove almost two hours to Alexandria, where I dropped Hubby off with his mother in law's fiance, and they then proceeded to drive together to New Orleans, where he'll attend a family meeting for her new therapy center.

Little Miss and I turned right back around and drove back home. Poor Little Miss was in the car without a break from 5:45 - 9:30. Almost four hours! But she did great. Slept about thirty minutes of it, and while Hubby drove there, I sat in the back with her and supervised her breakfast. On the way home, when it was just us, I kept a bag of toys in the front seat and handed her things as she got grumpy. That took up the first 45 minutes. Then nothing kept her occupied, so I started with snacks. Between 5:45 and 9:30 she had half a cereal bar, a ton of goldfish, juice, a fruit snack stick, and is now working on a cookie. lol But we had minimal fussing, which was this caffeiene deprived mother's goal. =) I promise I saw mirages of Starbucks along the dusty, boring, flat, tree-lined highway.


Still sleepy. It's gonna be a long day, having started it before the sun, but that's okay. All for a good cause. Hubby is bringing his mother's SUV back home with him, which he will drive while his truck is in the shop for almost two weeks staring next week.

The rest of our day will consist of caffeine, cartoons, and lots of running around.

Yawn. Maybe if I squint, I can conjur up a Starbucks gift card....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Brother against brother...

There is a situation going on right now in the fiction writing industry that absolutely appalls me. A well known author has taken it upon him/herself to publicly attack a respected, well-known and very successful publishing house in the CBA (Christian market) and question their authors, their morals, their purpose, their effectiveness...

I refuse to name names, or go into the details here. Odds are you know what I'm talking about and if you don't, then even better. I refuse to give this author the satisfaction of receiving any more Google hits on this matter than he/she already is by listing the specifics,

Maybe some think that even "negative fame" or attention is better than none, but I disagree.

I just have to say that this kind of Christian author attack on other Christian authors is disgusting. It's awful to try to gain attention and fame for one's own work by openly dissing the work of others. Maybe that's not his/her goal but it comes across that way, and is heartbreaking.

Don't we all have the same goal? Aren't we ultimately as Christian authors all writing for an audience of One? I find it an honor and a reverent joy to write for the CBA market and to have books published that promote hope and joy in the Christian life, that show characters struggling with issues of faith and dark circumstances and coming out victorious in the end.

It's a sad day indeed when a Christian author stoops to this level, especially without first finding out all the facts and details involved in his/her accusations and comments.

Ignorance is plain ugly.

I want to learn from this, as upset and sad as it makes me, and find good from the situation. It seems lately that God, through various means and avenues, has been showing me the best way to behave under personal attacks (and this one feels personal even though its not), and so far that has meant to not lash back - which is another reason why I'm not naming names here publicly. I just want you all to be aware that whether its in the Christian publishing market or in your own personal daily life, be careful. Get your facts because making accusations. Really know what you're saying, and PLEASE - pray about what you say before you say it!

I don't want to ever be the person on the other side of this issue I'm referring to. I don't want to ever find myself in that kind of dark place. Therefore, I am committing to speak slowly, listen deeply, and pray before ever launching what could be viewed as an attack on a fellow brother or sister in Christ.

I hope this author sees the error of his/her ways. I hope good will come from this in the industry at the end of it and not bad.

I just really, really hate division among God's troops. =(

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A surprising story...

When I volunteered to participate in Erica's blog tour, I knew I'd be in for a good read and quality writing. Erica is a friend and the crit bud of one of MY crit buds (is that clear? lol) and I knew she was talented...

But I was NOT expecting this!! THE BARTERED BRIDE was a surprising, refreshing, intriguing story that I had trouble putting down. I haven't quite finished it yet, because, well this happened --

But I am determined to get it back and finish the last few chapters!! Time to turn on Dora, because I've got to see how this story winds up.

Here's a quick overview...


Duluth, Minnesota in 1905 boasts more millionaires than any other U.S. city. Tycoon Abraham Kennebrae intends to marry his grandsons off to three of the wealthiest heiresses in town and allow Kennebrae Shipping to gain control of Duluth Harbor.

Tempests rage, in the board room, the ball room, and on treacherous Lake Superior. Will hearts and helms survive? Will God prove Himself sovereign over wind, waves, and weddings?

Jonathan Kennebrae, oldest of the three Kennebrae brothers, finds himself backed into a corner. Marry heiress Melissa Brooke or lose his own considerable inheritance. Can he find a legitimate reason to avoid the wedding and still keep his fortune? But as the wedding day approaches, does he want to escape?

Melissa Brooke, only heir to her father’s empire, is bartered by her parents into a marriage contract to a man she’s never met. Can she trust him with her deepest secret? Can she trust him with her heart?

* * * * *

Order your copy of this great story HERE !!!!

* * * * * *

I just immediately fell for these characters and their situation. I don't read a lot of historicals, mostly because I don't have a lot of time anymore to read in general, but I think I've discovered a secret...I think what makes a historical great is when the reader doesn't feel that they are reading one.

I don't mean in regards to word style or setting. Erica did an amazing job in both of those aspects. I'm talking about story quality, where the reader gets sucked in and becomes so involved in that world that it doesn't seem like it was a long time ago. It seems like right now, and you're in petticoats and chemises right there with them! =)

Here's some of the writing you can look forward to, a beautiful phrase that jumped out at me as "wow" -

The morning sun fell through the stained glass of the upper windows, shattering rainbows on the Perisan rug.

I love that!! And that's just one of the pretty descriptions you'll read that will transfer you back in time.

Here's a little bit about Erica, and then keep reading for an interview with her!!


ERICA VETSCH is married to Peter and keeps the company books for the family lumber business. A home-school mom to Heather and James, Erica loves history, romance, and storytelling. Her ideal vacation is taking her family to out-of-the-way history museums and chatting to curators about local history. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Calvary Bible College in Secondary Education: Social Studies. You can find her on the web at

1. Tell us a little about the process for writing The Bartered Bride. The idea came to me while I was sitting in church waiting for the service to start. All of a sudden, the names and the "What if?" queston just burst into my head. I wrote The Bartered Bride in about five weeks. I was so 'high' on the story, I couldn't wait to write it and to get that first critique back to see how it read.

2. Do you see yourself putting a little bit of Erica into all your heroines, or are you totally different from each of them? My heroines are usually the way I WISH I was. They always come up with something snappy to say, or have the right words of wisdom for a situation. That being said, they share my values and as much as possible given the historical context, my views on things.

3. What is the takeaway you hope your readers will gain from reading The Bartered Bride? A couple of things. First, that God is sovereign, and that His will WILL be accomplished, no matter how much scurrying and forcing of issues we might try to do. And Second, that quite often we pray that God will change someone else, when we're the one most in need of change.

4. What is your favorite color and why? Red. Because it makes me happy.
5. What is your favorite guilty pleasure? Book buying. I buy lots of research books and novels.

6. Imagine - you just pulled open the doors to Barnes & Noble and stepped inside. What's your first thought? I wish I had a zillion dollars. :)

7. If you had your choice between a muffin, a bagel, and a donut, which would you go for? A donut. Bavarian creme filled chocolate slathered donut all the way.

8. If you had to pick only ONE theme or message of God's truth to share with the world in your books, what would it be? The message of John 3:16, That God loved us enough to send His Son to die for us, so that we could spend eternity with Him.

9. What is your favorite Thanksgiving holiday tradition? Probably that we put up all our Christmas decorations that weekend. A great family time with music, food, laughter, untangling of lights you promised yourself last year that you'd store more neatly but ended up just wadding up and stuffing into a box.

10. What is a book you recently read that has still "stayed with you" in your mind? Right now it's Montana Rose by Mary Connealy. The heroine was such a departure for Mary and she carried it off beautifully. Humor, love, danger, it's all there.

~ Thanks for reading! Hope you purchase this story for yourself, because you won't regret it!! I'm officially an Erica Vetsch fan. ~

Now to go demand my book back from Little Miss....

Monday, November 09, 2009

These are a few of my favorite words...

The End.

It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

I proudly typed those beautiful words last night 9:30 p.m., sitting in my bed, eyes glazed, shoulders hunched, yet somehow basking in the glory of a finished novel, or in this case, novella.

I'm done.

Of course, an author is rarely ever done-done. There's always last minute edits of your own choice, then those by your editor and then line edits and copy edits and...okay, I'm losing my joy.

But for now, The End is typed on the last line of my Christmas Novella, entitled The Gingerbread Season and releasing October, 2010 as part of a Steeple Hill compilation book with author Marta Perry.

What about you? Where are you on your WIPs? Is The End near, or are you at The Beginning? Do you like finishing a novella, or are you sad to see your characters go? Sometimes I'm a little nostalgic to say goodbye to my characters...but this time, I'm eager to see them launched and hopefully appreciated. This was my first novella, and it was hard. It's more difficult than you might think to condense a full story into half the typical word count. There is zero room for fluff, extra words, unnecessary gotta be sharp, and I guess I like to drone on at times =)

This was a great experience, one I really learned from and appreciated. I hope you'll all enjoy The Gingerbread Season next year.

(and if you don't, don't tell me. LOL)


Friday, November 06, 2009

Beneath the dust...

Earlier this morning, I found myself on a random, violent cleaning spree. Usually every day I do laundry and run the dishwasher and keep things straightened out, maybe take out the trash if Hubby is working. The big stuff I do sporadically, probably not nearly as much as I should. I did vacuum yesterday.

But's only 10:30, and I've done all of the above except vacuuming, PLUS dusted, cleaned both toilets, cleaned the sinks with bleach (and gagged the whole time! ugh! that's the worst, most consuming smell to me but necessary at times I suppose), wiped the counters, straightened things up, scrubbed the shower - even in between the glass door sliders, eewwww - and scrubbed/polished the stove top.

My hands are dry and smell like bleach.

But I learned a lesson.

One, I clean when frustrated, so maybe people should upset me more often =P

And two, while dusting, I found places that had been untouched for a long time. Dining room chair rungs and legs, the far side of my vanity fact, its possible those areas haven't been dusted at all since we moved in 1 and 1/2 years ago. Yikes! I'd been dusting what showed, and not the entire piece.

How many times do we polish up the outside of our lives, and ignore the dust no one immediately sees? Beneath the cracks? Underneath?

You might be like me today and need to do some serious cleaning in your home. But also consider house cleaning of another kind, and let time with God polish up your worn surfaces.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

If you're a mom, you probably know all about Elmo, Big Bird, Bert, Ernie and Abby and know this information already. Or if you have no idea who Elmo is but use your computer at all, odds are you noticed the giant Big Bird legs in the Google logo yesterday and the Cookie Monster face on the logo today.

That's right, Happy Anniversary Sesame Street! 40 years.

I remember watching the show a little as a child and not really being impressed. My mom said when I was even younger than I remember, I hated it. She was disappointed because she always liked it herself. haha. Sorry Mom! What's really funny is reading about the early shows and how shocking they would be for children to watch today - apparently, Cookie Monster smoked a pipe back in the day, kids rode bikes without helmets, etc.

But now the show is more kid friendly, of course, I watch it almost daily with my Little Miss, who has a crush on Elmo, and well, I'm a fan. I have to admit. It's fun, educational, funny. There's even a little satire for adulds to appreciate without crossing any of the adult/child humor lines that sadly, far too many "cartoons" cross these days.

So Happy Anniversary, all you furry guys at the brownstone on 123 Sesame Street. May your lives prosper and be filled with cookies, numbers of the day, and of course, sweet Mr. Noodle's crazy antics.

We'll see ya at 9:00 a.m. weekdays.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Check in...

Okay, to all my fellow author buds who attended the ACFW conference in Denver this past September, or even to those who didn't get to go but set goals for themselves, let's check in. What's new? Did you send the submissions that were requested? Did you send the email you swore you would send when you got home? Did you contact that new friend you met that you wanted to keep in touch with?

For me, I've been busy busy busy. Submissions are sent, friends are emailed, and I find myself still mulling over the lessons I learned there, especially Jim's class on marketing. He really stuck in my mind with his point of "being original, and being first". Did anyone take that class, and if so, are you implementing his ideas into your career yet?

And OH speaking of great information for writers, have you heard about this? Super cool idea by superb author Susan May Warren and respected agent Chip MacGregor, and I wish I had the money to go. If you do, don't miss it. I can guarantee the information will be invaluable...

The Masters Seminars

and this!

Marketing your Novel

Sometimes its easy to come home from conference, all fired up and passionate about writing, but let the fire fade as time passes and the real world seeps back in the cracks. Dirty diapers, dirty floors, and dirty dishes tend to steal our passion. Don't let what you learned at ACFW this past September get watered down this fast in the year! Keep the fire burning by keeping the information flowing.

Monday, November 02, 2009

And the winner is...

As promised, today is the drawing for Piece De Resistance by Sandra Byrd, the final book in her FRENCH TWIST series.

Thanks for all who read my review and signed up! Check back for more drawings.

And the winner is.


Congrats girl! Email me privately at with your mailing address and I'll get this to you hopefully this week, next for sure. (Post office trips are hectic with a 15 month old!! lol)

Hope everyone has a blessed Monday. Mine is so far consisting of cartoons, housework, and deadlines.

Friday, October 30, 2009

And the waters rose...

Yesterday was CRAZY.
All day long, we had awful rain on the weather radar, threats of "its' coming" but all day long, nothing. No rain. Just moderate clouds and mild wind. Hubby and I decided we'd had enough laying around the house waiting for a storm that wasn't coming, so he decided to go hunting, figuring the deer would be moving before the rain, and I took Little Miss to go to the store.
Little Miss and I got into town and for some reason, as I was passing the street my grandma lives on (about 6 blocks from my parents house) I had the sudden urge to stop in and say hi. I can't explain it other than God's prompting, so I made the split decision and whipped the car down her street. We went inside and said hey, and turned on the local weather channel...and all chaos broke loose. The radar was a giant neon red and orange torrent of rain, there were tornado WARNINGS - not watches, but real warnings - north of town, with "favorable conditions for more".

Little Miss and I, naturally, stayed right there and watched the weather, which they tracked more tornados out by house in the country where we'd just left, and flash flooding. I believe one part of town got almost 2 inches of rain in 10 minutes. At my grandma's house, it was barely raining, but we decided to stay put and do the store another day. Of course I couldn't reach my husband in the woods, so I texted him frantically for hours with updates, hoping he'd have enough reception to get them. I wasn't TOO worried about him, because seriously, my husband could live in the woods alone for a week with no readily available food and water and thrive. He's just that kind of man. But I still wanted to know he was safe and not up in a tree stand in all this lightning.
It finally seemed like the worst was over, so Little Miss and I left there and went to my parents house nearby to check in since my mom was worried about us, before heading home. Well we checked the weather again there and BAM - all over again, here it came. You know things are bad when the weatherman, who is supposed to stay calm in the midst of disaster, is saying things like "wow...another tornado has been can't believe this..." in a grave voice.

I finally reached Hubby, who was outside of most of the storms and wasn't really affected. My dad and sister amde it home safely from work with crazy stories. Apparently one of the tornados hit downtown, where I used to work, and where my dad and sister still work. My sister, on the 19th floor of a skyscraper downtown, felt the building actually sway. They walked down 19 floors of stairs to avoid the elevator in case of power failure. Smart. Well one of my mom's friends who works in the same tower did ride the elevator, and got stuck. Yikes. Meanwhile, after they all got home, my sister heard that the parking garage where she usually parks (two stories tall, the top deck open, no roof) was hit so that EVERY SINGLE CAR on the top floor had its windows blown out. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Also, parts of the roof of the civic center came off, and worse off all, a gorgeous, big Methodist church that sits at the top of the main thoroughfare of downtown, about three blocks from my sister's building and the building where I used to work, was hit by the tornado as well and the STEEPLE on top of the church FELL OFF and HIT A CAR at a redlight below. The man was trapped inside his car, which was a 4 door sedan but resembled a convertible, for an hour while rescue crews worked to get him out. Last I heard, he was alive and okay but only by pure miracle.
Here are pics of the wreckage in my city.

Wow. I still shudder. That's how big the steeple was.

Above is a pic of the drainage ditch a few blocks from my parents house where we were. That car obviously washed into the ditch and flooded. This was taken this morning.
Above is a townhouse fire in Bossier City, where my husband works. Hmmm. And they're wanting to lay off policemen and firemen? I'm just saying...
Last night, Hubby met me at my parents around 8 and we had to drive home. That was the scariest drive of my life. Hubby led the way in his giant 4x4, lifted Dodge Ram. I followed in my four door Sebring, Little Miss asleep in the backseat. We talked on the phone the whole time, him warning me in the rain and dark when there was water coming up, when I needed to move to the center of the road, etc. It worked pretty well until we lost reception close to home and I had to drive without his help.
The scariest part, though, was about halfway down a main street leading out to the boonies where we live, there was a policeman road block. They said that we could make it through but we had to drive super slow and stay in the oncoming lane. The gas station parking lot to the right had flooded so bad, the water was rushing sideways across the street and into the ditch by the woods. I held my breath the entire time we crossed, thinking the cop was crazy for even letting us through. I could hear the water pounding my DOOR and there were literal whitecaps in the rushing water. It was absolutely terrifying.
We made it through and home, and thankfully Little Miss slept through the entire adventure.

Above is a pic of the flooding in Bossier City. This is similar to what I had to drive through on my way home!! Ugh!!

Looking back now, I see so many metaphors to last night. I think about how God leads us through the rainy, windy places in our lives and talks us through the high water when we're scared. He alone is our lifeline. We can cling to that even if the floods rise, fires blaze, and well, steeples fall. Because He will never let us down.

PS - because I'm exhausted and because I posted this today instead, I'm announcing the winner to the Sandra Byrd book on Monday instead of today. So spread the word and sign up if you haven't!! You get one more weekend of chances!! =)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Have yourself a homemade little Christmas...

So I had just posted my Facebook status of how unmotivated I feel today after a day of intense writring yesterday, when I read my dear friend and fellow writer LORI CHALLY's facebook post, and it says she's making homemade Christmas gifts.
At 8 in the morning.

After a rude Martha Stewart comment to her, I decided to take her lead =)

I've been playing around with more homemade, personalized gift ideas this year because A. money is tighter than usual as I won't be getting my Christmas bonus from work (yay, no more work! trust me, this is fine. lol) and B. my husband is still facing a likely layoff December 31st.

Anyone want to toss around some ideas for homemade decorations or gifts? I like doing homemade gift tags, those are fun and easy to get creative with - its the actual gifts I struggle with as my artistry lies solely in writing, and not in scissors and fabric or sewing or glue.
What are you doing for the holidays this year? Storebought, homemade, or a mix of both?

PS - Speaking of holidays, check out my cover for my February release from Steeple Hill, A VALENTINE'S WISH, now posted on Amazon. Don't you love it?? =)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Visit me!

Come read my blog at SCRIBBLE CHICKS today on the power of words. I'd love your input! And you might even discover a great song you didn't know existed... =)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A great new series...

I just read a really great book.

Surprise, surprise, right? But seriously guys, this is a fun series you don't want to miss. FRENCH TWIST is the name of the series, and the books are Let Them Eat Cake, Bon Appetit, and lastly, this fun, satisfying wrap-up called Piece de Resistance.

Here's the summary:

Having earned her chef’s hat, Lexi Stuart bids au revoir to her glamorous and deliciously satisfying pastry mentorship outside of Paris and returns to her hometown of Seattle, Washington. There, she finds life unexpectedly complicated.She’s put in charge of a high-end catering bakery called Bijoux, which should be her dream job, but there’s a catch: She has to make this lavish bakery into a successful business in just a few, short months, which will require more than her ability to make an amazing wedding cake. Stir in a complicated relationship with her French beau Philippe and his daughter, Celine, then add a dash of romance with down-to-earth lawyer Dan, and life suddenly contains more ooh la la than Lexi can handle.

Sounds good right?? =)

I think Sandra Byrd is a witty, talented, inspiring author whose sweet spirit leaks through her stories like chocolate syrup on an ice cream sundae. Her honest words in these books leave me with the warm fuzzies of real-life romance and the desire to dig a little deeper into my relationship - and romance - with God, the lover of our souls. I have no doubt you'll feel the same way.

Here's a little about Sandra:

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd went on to publish more than three dozen books including her widely-acclaimed adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake and it’s sequels, and her forthcoming young adult fiction series, London Confidential.A former textbook acquisitions editor, Sandra is also an accomplished non-fiction writer and author. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications such as Radiant, Focus on the Family's Clubhouse Magazine, Christian Parenting Today, Today’s Christian Woman, Pockets, Decision, and Guideposts. During the past eight years, Sandra has mentored hundreds of students through the Christian Writer's Guild. Sandra resides in Seattle, Washington with her husband Michael, a chaplain, their two teenagers, and a circus dog named Brie.

Visit Sandra at her website or at her facebook fan site, and learn more about her wonderful novels!

And guess what???? I'm giving away a copy of this third book in her series Friday! It also comes with a great recipe card for a yummy dessert. Can't beat that!! Sign up in the comment section to be entered!

If you win and haven't read the first two books yet, do yourself a favor and find them in your local library, or better yet, on Amazon or CBD first!! If not, you would still enjoy this third novel by itself, but that'd be like eating cake without the frosting - a little something missing! =)

Sign up now!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Miraculous Monday

Today is blessed.

My mother in law is, as we speak, in transit to Touro Rehab in New Orleans to begin her therapy. This was a day we really thought we'd never see. God's timing is so great, because as of a week ago, we couldn't even get her in for an evaluation because she had to be admitted into a hospital for the rehab nurse to come check her out. We tried to get her admitted but there really was no cause and the doctor wouldn't do it, even though she had a mild UTI that wasn't going away.

Then, literally the next day, she began running what I now consider a holy fever. The fever is what got her admitted, and we called Touro. They were able to send an evalator the next day, who checked her and is really upbeat about her potential. They will keep her for two weeks at first, and set goals and see how she progresses. If she reaches goals, they'll keep her longer until she doesn't progress anymore. One of the first goals is getting rid of the traech permanently so she can attempt to talk.

FINALLY! Thank you Jesus. Even if she gets sent home earlier than we hoped, at least then we can know that we as her family did everything in our power to get her the best care and options out there. No guilt, no regrets. What a blessing.

Please keep up the prayers for her progression, that she'll be able to stay as long as possible and progress into a decent function of living. We hope to hear her voice again one day...

My personal goal for her is for her to be able to hold and read by herself my April 2010 Love Inspired release, called Rodeo Sweetheart. I dedicated it to her and I'm praying she will be ready by then. God is still in the miracle business!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Drawing for Mystery Book!

Today is the big drawing for the Mystery Book!!!
Thanks so much for your fun recipes!! I can't wait to try them out. =)

Here are the pics of my Rice Krispie adventure I blogged about earlier in the week.

Little Miss enjoyed the green frosting, as you can see by her upper lip.

Here is the Mystery Book revealed...







A hardcover copy of Francine River's REDEEMING LOVE!!!!

And here's the winner!










Congrats, girl! Email me privately at with your mailing address and I'll get this book out next week.

Happy holidays everyone! I'll be doing more giveaways and drawings soon so check back frequently. =)