Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday's Writings

Inside my head is a lot of useless knowledge. Maybe, a tenth of it comes in handy when writing my books, but probably not. The main character in my current work in progress is a farmer in 1866. I'm wondering if it would have been possible that his neighbors and he got together and put money in to a reaper or threshing machine. He and his neighbors could have shared it, especially if there was a lot of grain. So, because I had a few minutes while eating my breakfast of buttered toast and coffee, I went a-googling.

There were articles on eHow with directions on how to thresh and winnow some home grown wheat, which I thought was interesting. Maybe, someday that can be a science project? Hmm. Anyway, I happened upon a blog that I thought I'd share, in case your mind is strange and works like mine. Here's the link
It's interesting from both the literal definition of separating wheat from chaff and from the biblical point of view. I guess that since my family doesn't usually plant and harvest wheat, I just didn't know how hard it was, or what it meant. Now I do. :)

I know that in my writing I don't need to know all about a threshing machine, but I wanted to know what my character's new wife might think of it. What might she see if she paused at the kitchen window to wipe the sweat from her brow? What might she hear? What particular job might her husband have in the whole process? Neither Google, eHow nor YouTube gave me those answers, of course. lol Guess I'll have to fake it until I find the answers.

Coming up with conversation the women in the kitchen might have, now that's easy. They will talk about their husbands. :D It will be hot in the kitchen, and it will smell heavenly. I'd like to be there, in fact. Let's step in for a minute, and see what's going on.

Ok, we're flies on the wall, and we hope those ladies don't see us, because this could get interesting. There are two ladies standing over there by the cookstove, and man is it hopping with heat and boiling pots. Smells like coffee, potatoes, gravy, and are those green beans from this summer's garden? MMM! Oh, my, what is that white-haired lady rolling out on the table over there? Looks like pie crust to me. Oh! Oh, and are those apple slices in that bowl? Apple pie, yes that's it! And, there are two other women cutting corn from the cob. Will they can it today, do you think? All around us is conversation and laughter. Every now and then, a mother scolds a child for putting his or her fingers in a forbidden bowl, and there's one of the mother's from over at the stove, comforting a tot with a burned finger. Wait! Someone is opening the oven. They are pulling out a pan with...fresh bread! Oh, see how golden brown and yummy it looks? Ah, I hope we get to eat some of that. Yeah, I know we're flies, but we can sample it so fast, those women won't have time to swat us away.

On the other side of this big room is the living space with a couple of rocking chairs, a cot, a fireplace, a sewing basket filled to the brim, and an old, rag rug on the floor. There are a couple of girls who look as if they are about fifteen. They are minding the babies, each holding one. One baby is fussy, and nothing seems to be able to calm him, while the other sleeps, blissfully unaware of the bustle around her.

Oops! Buzzy, I think we've been spotted. FLY! No, no, not that way! That's not a door! yes, this way, the mosquito netting is broken around this door frame. Watch out! Fshew! That was a close call! Let's go back down to the barn, where it's quieter.

Hahaha! Can't y'all tell I've had some caffeine today?

Since it's the last day of November, the last day for National Novel Writing Month, I just want to say, that the WIP I was working on, the one that has 21k words and holding, is sitting there, waiting for inspiration. In the last two days, I have written 3k words on another WIP. Won't tell you anymore than i already have, but it's one I can't seem to get out of my head. I'm glad I didn't sign up for NaNoWriMo, but I do wish I could have written more on the sequel to "To Tame A Heart". The ideas just aren't there, though. So, I'm writing on the one that wakes me up in the middle of the night, the one that makes me think of my mamaw who past away back in February. She would have loved this type of story, a Prairie Romance complete with a mail order bride and all. :)

Well, time to get off here and print some stuff out for school. Happy Wednesday to everybody and thanks for stopping by. I'll be blogging again on Friday if not before, so y'all come back, now, ye hear? lol

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Kitchen Delight

The other evening, I was finishing another Joanne Fluke book, "Candycane Murder", when I suddenly HAD to have a cookie. Not just any old cookie, either. I wanted a chocolate sugar cookie. But, the recipe called for cream of tartar, and I am like Old Mother Hubbard who went to her cupboard to get her poor dog a bone. Just like her, when I got there, my cream of tartar shelf was bare, and so when it came to chocolate sugar cookies, i had none. However, i was not giving up so easily.

On a whim, I pulled up my sugar cookie recipe, the plain one and started mixing up ingredients. Here's what I did, how I did it and the end result.

First I preheated my oven to 375 degrees. Remember the sugar cookies I wanted to make in the post "Kitchen Nightmare"? Well, that bowl of flour and such contained 2-3/4 cups of all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. So, in a bigger bowl, I beat together 1 cup, that's 2 sticks of Land O Lakes butter that had been melted in the microwave, 3/4 cup of brown sugar and 3/4 cup of white sugar. When it was mixed well, I added one egg and beat some more. Then, I put a teensy drop of vanilla extract in there and some imitation maple flavoring and mixed. I put my beaters in the sink, after licking them a bit, and poured my flour mixture in to the butter and sugar mixture. I stirred carefully, and then put my hands in there and finished the job.

I greased my cookie sheets with olive oil and used the oil to put on my hands. Then, I rolled out the cookies and baked them at 375 for 10 minutes. Turns out 10 mins wasn't enough, so I went to 11 mins. What came out of the oven were some yummy, warm cookies that made me think of maple and brown sugar oatmeal - without the oatmeal, of course. Hmm, wonder if oats in the cookies would be good. Might have to think on that.

Maybe the idea isn't new, maybe it is, but I was tickled pink by my experiment, especially when the end result was so good. If you've been following my blog, you'll remember a couple of weeks ago, when my time in the kitchen was not as successful. The other night's success, though was like a balm to my soul. And, all because I wasn't willing to settle for plain old sugar cookies.

Today has felt like a Monday. Today has even sounded like a Monday, what with the rain dripping outside and the sighing of yawns in the house. All my girls and I want to do is laze around on the couch, but we did manage to get some things done. Faith practiced her handwriting, her reading and reciting of the Lord's Prayer. We had a Bible lesson that was taken from Luke 10:33, which talks about the man who fell among thieves and was rescued by the Good Samaritan. The girls colored pictures illustrating the story and hung them on the freezer to show their daddy. We also started a science project with beans. We took a white bean, actually 2 of them, because you can't have just one with 2 kids. We talked about how they felt and looked, then placed them in water to see what happens. Every little bit, Faith and Kierstin go check on their beans. At one point, Faith tells me it's starting to look wrinkled. I asked her if she knew what else got wrinkly in water. When I told her it was her and her sister, she wanted to know if our skin was like a bean's skin. Haha! I said that, yep, in a way, cause our skin has tiny holes in it that soak up water. :)

But, now, it's time to get off the internet and go wash up some dishes in preparation for dinner. I had planned on hamburgers, but my husband said there was a cook out at his work today, so no hamburgers, please. Hope he has another good idea, cause I'm fresh out. Deed, just bring me a chicken basket from Dairy Queen or something from the Chinese place, and I'd be happy. Thing is though, there was too much month at the end of the money, because I went Christmas shopping on Amazon, so we'll have to make due with what we got.

Before I say bye for the day, I want to congratulate Heather C for winning the contest! Always love hearing from my readers. Congrats, Heather, and hope you enjoy the book.

Until next time, y'all keep on keeping on. God is faithful. Amen?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Early Morning Thanksgiving Thoughts

Do y'all know why stores started decorating for Christmas before we even had a chance to buy the turkey for Thanksgiving? Do you know why stores are open for Christmas shopping during Thanksgiving? Do y'all know the real reason why people are encouraged to say Happy Holidays, instead of Merry Christmas? Here's my opinion, for what it's worth.

First, the season of Christmas, no matter what religion you claim is a money maker. Stores and businesses want your money, and it would seem they aren't above doing anything to get it. If they think they can put you in the Christmas present buying mood to get your money, they will. The second reason they push Christmas so early, and the biggest reason they seem to ignore Thanksgiving, is simply this: the devil uses anything he can to keep you from being thankful. Think about it. Don't the children learn in school about the Pilgrims who came to the new world so they could worship God in their own way? And, aren't we supposed to think on what we are thankful for? So, who don't want you to be thankful? Who wants you to be as miserable as you can be? Doesn't it make sense? I mean, how can you concentrate on being thankful, if you are busy shopping? How can you focus on how good God has been to you, if you're rushing around like a crazy person, just to get a better deal on a gift nobody really needs after all?

Now, about that happy holidays thing. There's nothing wrong with wishing someone a happy holiday, nothing wrong in it at all. I mean, it is easier to say that, than to say Merry Christmas, happy Thanksgiving and happy New Year. Here again, though, if the devil can use something, he will. subtly whispering in your ear, Satan says, "You don't want to offend anyone, seeing as how you are such a great Christian. Better say happy Holidays, so you won't hurt anyone's feelings." Sounds right enough, doesn't it? I mean, God don't want you to hurt anybody's feelings. It's just like when those Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door. You either hide so they won't know your home or you are so polite to them and wish them God's blessings. Am I right?

Ok, so here's the deal. When Jesus sent His disciples out two by two to preach, he told them to go in to a city and ask if anyone is worthy, which in today's terms kind of means, "Hey, anybody interested in learning more about Jesus and willing to let me come in and talk to them?" So, Jesus tells these men that if anyone is worthy, go in and abide in peace. (Shannon's interpretation) But, if the people are not worthy, those men were to shake the dust off their feet and go on. Y'all, we're not supposed to wish for God to bless a ministry that does not follow what the Bible says. If something is causing us to stray away from God, even if it is being inclusive, we're not to do it. When Jesus comes back, He ain't going to be asking if you spent your life being politically correct.

Some Jehovah's Witnesses came to my door once, and because I'm kind of mean, I told them I didn't want their booklet cause I was blind and couldn't read it. Hahaha! They came back the next week with a copy in braille so I could read it. I read most of it, just because I was nosy. When they came back, I told them what I thought and opened my Bible. They didn't stick around much after that. I did not wish them success, because I don't want them to be successful; I want them to be saved. They were such a nice couple, and it's a shame we don't have those kinds of folks ready to spread the Word. What's the matter with us "regular Christians" anyway?

Back to Merry Christmas. If my belief and trust in Jesus bothers you, get over it. If your unbelief bothers me, which it does, I'll pray for you, but I will not harass you.

I had a teacher in elementary school who was Jewish. She brought in a Dradle and taught us to play a game with it. She told us all about Hanukah. Yet, every Christmas she would take us to a local church to sing Christmas songs. she always asked me to sing "Away In A Manger". I wonder now if her heart was searching for truth. She made Christmas crafts with us, and always wished us Merry Christmas. We in turn, wished her and her family a Happy Hanukah.

Wherever you are, Shelley Kanner, I wish you a Happy Hanukah, but more than that, I pray you realize that the baby Jesus in that old Christmas song, is the one who can bring true peace to your soul.

Wherever you are today, folks, and whatever you do, take time out to be thankful. God is the one who has provided, remember to thank Him. Don't wish someone a happy turkey day, say "Happy Thanksgiving".

Something I thought was funny, one year someone told me back in October that they had already bought the turkey for Thanksgiving. It was just a 5 pounder, but that didn't matter. She had put it in her freezer and was looking forward to turkey gravy and stuffing. When the first part of November came, she said she still had that 10 pound turkey. I didn't say anything, but I was like, I thought she had a 5 pound one. lol Then, on Thanksgiving, she said something about a 20 pound turkey took a long time to cook. Hahaha! I told my husband, "I reckon that there turkey done growed in the freezer."

Now for the contest! Y'all thought I had forgot, didn't ye? Well, I haven't. Leave me a comment either on here for Facebook and tell me how you plan to spend your Thanksgiving. I'll randomly pick a winner, and that winner will receive an audio CD version of "Wild Heart". If you've forgotten what "Wild Heart" is all about, go check it out at
Contest ends Sunday, Nov. 27 at 11:59 PM. Winner will be announced on Monday. Probably not blogging until then.

Happy Thanksgiving, and don't eat too much. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011


Do y'all remember that Loretta Lynn song "One's On The Way"? Well, thankfully there isn't another one on the way, but other than that I feel like the woman in her song. My favorite part of the song says, "But, here in Topika the flies are a-buzzin', the dog is a-barkin' and the floor needs a scrubbin'. One needs a spankin' and one needs a huggin' and one's on the way." lol

Last night before going to bed, I purposed in my heart to get up at a decent time, spend some time in the Word, start at 9 A.M. sharp with a Bible lesson, a few hours of school including math, reading and some learning about the Pilgrims. I planned on cleaning up my kitchen while Faith worked in her book. I planned on cleaning my house. But, here's how it went down.

The 3 year old woke me up at 4:22 crying. She didn't want on my side of the bed; she wanted in the middle. I said no and she said no. Hahaha! I finally got her to sleep in her own bed, but by that time it was 5, so I put on some coffee and turned on my computer. I was almost finished with cup number 1, when here she comes. Hadn't even opened my Bible, yet. She's upset and will not go back to bed without a huge fight. I'm not in the mood for a fight, so I held her for an hour while listening to music on iTunes. Around 7:20 I get up off the couch where I had been sitting with her and watching Little Bear to go talk to my husband before he went to work. While in there, the phone rings. While i'm talking, my little one starts crying again. She was sad that I had left her on the couch. At 7 A.M. I was the greatest mommy ever, but by 7:20 I had turned in to the meanest. lol All morning long the girls have fought. "Mom, she won't share! Mom she hit me! Mom she won't let me sit in my favorite chair! Mom, she won't leave me alone!"

I tell y'all, sometimes I want to buy a pair of earplugs. At one point, I said if they couldn't figure out a way to share, then we were putting it away. Both of them about cried then. Deed, mommying is not easy, and yet the Bible says in Psalms 127 that children are a reward. When the girls were much smaller, I remember thinking, "A reward for what, my own bad behavior?" Hahaha! Maybe so? lol ;) Truthfully, I'm thinking that isn't too far from the mark.

Makes me wonder what goes through God's mind when we bicker and fight. Opposing ball teams pray God will let their team win, and clearly, both can't. We pray for world peace, and turn around and cut somebody off on the freeway. Some folks never even acknowledge God, and yet, they expect Him to bless them with riches untold. What does He think of all this? More to the point, what does He think of me? Do I fuss and argue about what He has given me? And, more important, do I shut my mouth and listen when He speaks?

Ouch! Hang on a sec while I pull my feet in a bit.

Admittedly, I'm not all that smart, but here's a few things I'm beginning to figure out.

1. Children will teach you just exactly what you are made of.
2. Children will make you realize just how much you are loved.
3. Children will tell everybody all your secrets.
4. Children, especially those related by blood will treat you just like you treated your mom and dad.
5. Children will bring out the best and worst in you, usually at the oddest times.
6. Children will give you a good reason to climb up out of that depression that plagues you.
And, last but not least
7. Children will be one of the greatest blessings you'll ever receive from the Lord.

As for home school, we did manage to get some math and reading done. We still have some home ec to do, though. lol

Happy Monday, y'all and be sure to come back Wednesday. Still trying to figure out when I'll do the next giveaway/contest, but it'll either be Wednesday or Friday, so be sure to come back. And, if you can't think of anyone to pray for, pray for me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kitchen Nightmare

Do y'all ever watch that show on TV? We do. In fact, we watch a lot of cooking shows, especially with Chef Gordon Ramsey in them. I get a kick out of watching people mess up real bad. I like to think I wouldn't be that stupid, but knowing me, I would. lol

Today, I am so very glad Chef Ramsey is not coming to check out my kitchen. It's not as bad s it was, but it sure isn't what it should be. Of course, I'm not cooking for anyone and making them pay for it, but still. If a chef, or anyone else for that matter would have been in my kitchen today, they would have thought I didn't know how to bake. All my cookies, except for 3 pans, stuck, badly. All except 3 pans needed put back in for an additional minute or 2 and never did feel done. As for the rest, most were ok, some got too done and others fell apart to the point we are eating them in pieces. Honestly, y'all if I had managed to goof up this bad in the beginning of my cooking days, I would wait a very long time before trying again. Luckily, I know I am a better baker than I was today. Also luckily, I like bread better than cookies. Ha! I'm better at bread, too. I have messed up my bread before, of course, but not this bad.

What did i try to make? Well, I mixed up a batch of chocolate sugar cookies, a recipe I got from one of Joanne Fluke's books. I can't remember which one. "Apple Turnover Murder" maybe? I don't know. Anyway, the first silly thing I did was tip my mixing bowl too much and splashed hot butter and chocolate on to my hand. It was a yummy mess, but it was hot where it had just come out of the microwave. And, yes, I melt my chocolate in the microwave. Sorry Chef Ramsey. :) Then, I made my dough balls too big and that first dozen didn't get done. Had to put them back in for another minute. After that, some of them stuck to the pan. My recipe didn't say whether to grease the pans or not, so I didn't. Probably should have.

The next batch of cookies was a recipe I found online somewhere. I don't know what they were called, but I call them pecan filled. When I measured out the nuts to put in the bowl, I spilled about half of them out on to the table. My 6 year old was happy to tell me I had made a mess. lol Basically, with these cookies, you make your batter, roll them in balls, press your clean thumb in them and put a pecan mixture in the thumb print. Before I had even finished rolling all the dough out, I had run out of nut mixture. Also, because the last time I made these cookies they didn't rise well, I made them bigger. Mistake. Last time my baking powder and baking soda were old. This time I had fresh, and y'all fresh works better than old. Haha! Needless to say, they spread out way too much, stuck to each other and the pan and made a mess. Tasted good, though, but had to throw a lot of them out.

I put together the flour and other dry ingredients for sugar cookies, but when I saw that last batch of pecan cookies looking that way, I put foil over that bowl, set it aside, cleaned up my mess, took out the trash, poured me some tea and gave up.

Note to self, next time you want to bake a lot like that, get more than 3 hours of sleep. I tried to sleep more, truly I did, but the baby was kicking me most of the night. She had sneaked her way in my bed without my knowing it. By the time she got there, it was too late. I was awake for good.

What's that? I should have went to bed earlier? Well, yeah I should have, but here's that story. See, I got my yarn yesterday that I had told y'all about on Wednesday. I had to work with it a bit. Made myself a pair of my wristers in pale green velvet spun, which is lovely BTW. I finished the second one around 11 and turned everything off so I could go to bed. But, before I made it to bed, I had an idea for my WIP. Knowing I would forget it, I hurried to turn the mac book back on and write. An hour later, I turned it off again, got a drink and hit the sack. So, I think I slept about 3 and a half hours.

Ok, so now a bit about that yarn. The velvet spun, like I said, it's wonderful. You have to be careful when tying it off, though, because the fibers are long and not really tight. For me, paying $5.99 a ball was worth it. I wore the wristers last night when I did my writing. Kept my hands warm, too. As for the angora marino (probably spelled wrong) well, it isn't quite what I expected. It is soft, wonderfully soft. I love the feel of it. But, where it's a real fine yarn, it takes patience to work with. Also, after balling it up and crocheting a while, I felt like I had little fuzz balls all over me. :) I think I did, cause Kierstin said something about me having fuzz balls on me. Ha! I'd say if you are allergic to animal fur, you might not want to buy it or wear it. Would I buy it again? Maybe. I crocheted a chain and one whole roe so far, so I really can't say how it works up, but I think that if one had the patience, it would make a lovely sweater, shrug, or scarf. Thinking of a scarf with this particular bunch. We'll see, though.

So, that's my Friday. How was yours? Some of you have asked for a post about baking, so there you go. Hope you got some enjoyment out of it. I will tomorrow when i can laugh about it. Today, though, I'm just tired. :) Take care and come back Monday. Also, feel free to comment. love hearing from y'all! It keeps me writing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Of Yarn, Writing and Rolls

It is one rainy Wednesday out there, y'all. Makes me want to go back to bed, but who can do that with a couple of restless rug rats in the house? lol

I did something the other day that I don't normally do. I bought some yarn online. Like I said, this just isn't usual for me. For one thing, I do not need yarn, y'all. :D I have a huge, wooden box sitting in the middle of my living room floor, absolutely full of yarn. Also, I have several balls of it back here in my computer room. I do not need yarn. The other reason I don't like buying it on the internet is that I can't feel it before buying. The very best thing about buying yarn is feeling it. Drop me off at a Michaels or A C More (probably spelled wrong) and I'm like a kid in a candy store. I walk up and down the isles, hands outstretched touching every piece of yarn I can. Each strand that passes by my fingertips gives me an idea for a project. From baby afghans to sweaters, from wrist warmers to wash cloths, I love to shop for yarn.

So, what made me buy it the other day without feeling it, first? Well, Lion Brand had a sale. :) Twenty percent off some of their luxury fibers. Now, y'all, you just can't buy some of this stuff from a craft store. The only two ways to feel it are to buy it like I did or go to the lion Brand studio in New York and feel it. Since New York is a bit too far for a quick shopping trip, I decided to splurge and get some. I ordered it Friday, and I got the email that it shipped on Monday. Y'all don't know how bad I want to go to the Post Office today to see if it's there. Haha! It's probably not, but I still want to check. I can't, though, because of all this rain. Taking the girlies out in it when they are getting over colds would not be a very good idea. I must wait.

However, in the mean time, I did get started on some Christmas gifts. I sat down yesterday, grabbed up some cotton yarn and my size G crochet hook and made a wash cloth. Actually, the finished product looks more like a doily, but oh well. It was supposed to be in the shape of a hexagon, but somewhere along the way, I made a huge mistake. It's the shape of a pentagon. Haha! At least it's different, right?

Over the weekend, I finished a pair of what I like to call wristers. It's basically a fingerless glove. Even the thumb sticks out. There are countless patterns all over the internet for these, but I just made up my own version. The first pair I made was out of some left over chenille I had laying around. It was a category 6 yarn, which for you who do not know is just real thick yarn. I used a size N hook, and it worked up really quick. Lion Brand stopped selling that lovely-feeling yarn, so I had to look for another. I didn't have a lot of money, so I bought some Michaels brand called Loops & Threads, I think. It said Charisma on it, and it feels really nice. It's warm and cozy and makes a wonderful pair of fingerless gloves that are great if you do a lot of typing.

As with most things in life, the fact I am not a millionaire keeps me buying the cheaper stuff, but even then I am very picky about what yarn I use. The biggest reason is if I'm going to hold it in my hands for hours, I want to like the way it feels. I've used Red Heart and Caron. Both are great for afghans, but Caron is my favorite of the two. I like to get those cones of cotton from Walmart for washcloths and oven mitts. I used some bernat once to make a scarf, and loved it's silkiness. It was a category 3, so I'm not sure if it was a baby yarn or not, but it made wonderful Easter sweaters for my girls. Lion Brand's BabySoft is great, too. I don't like the feel of cashmere, sorry to say. :) I don't like real fuzzy yarns, either, like that eyelash stuff. It's too hard to feel my stitches. Lion Brand's Homespun is one I like, though. I felt some of Lion Brand's Velvetspun once, and that is one of the yarns I bought on Friday. Three skenes of it, actually. The other one was angora marino - I think. :) Not sure how that one feels, but I will know in a couple of days.

So, with November half way gone, how am I doing with NaNoWriMo? I've written approximately 18,811 words. I got about 16 thousand, and the Lord tells me to take it another direction. I'm praying, researching and thinking, but I don't know if I'll reach that 50K words by the 30th.

Oh, and next week is Thanksgiving, for those of us living in the US. Of course, it should be thanksgiving everyday, no matter where you live, but you know what I mean. :) There are some who are hoping and praying I make rolls again, but then, I think there are folks who hope I don't. Last year's roll making was a disaster. Think, bad yeast. Yeah, yeast can die, and when it does, folks, ya don't wanna be using it in your bread dough. Haha! But, this year, the yeast is good, so I might try again. Rolls should not be hard to make, and they aren't, except, my family like those rolls they used to have in school, and that recipe calls for a 5 lb bag of flour. Five pounds of flour, plus 6 to 7-1/2 cups of water can make a mess, as you can well imagine. It's so much dough that I have to use a big soup pot to mix it up in and about 4 big bowls to let the dough rise in. This year, because of the successful halloween we had, I have no big bowls. I might have had one, but I broke it this past summer when I dropped it full of banana cookie dough. For the record, those cookies weren't worth loosing my favorite bowl over. Deed, anyway. lol

Have a happy Wednesday, and come back to see me on Friday, where hopefully I'll be able to report on the yarn purchase and be able to tell you I've written thousands of words on my WIP. Don't forget, sometime soon, I'll be having another giveaway, and you won't want to miss it. Take care and keep smiling.

Monday, November 14, 2011

We Have A Winner!

I was so excited to see the response to my contest, and I am happy to announce we have a winner. Congratulations goes out to Salvatore Buttaci for winning a copy of "Wild Heart" my first published book.

Now, don't y'all go getting down in the dumps on me; I'll be doing another one in a couple of weeks, probably after Thanksgiving or maybe in honor of it. :) Not sure, so you'll have to keep coming back to find out. "Wild Heart' is available in audio and then there's the sequel "To Tame A Heart" which is in paperback and audio, as well.

Speaking of winning, I'm reminded of a verse from the Bible. Phillipians 3:14 says, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." I heard a preacher say once that Jesus is the prize, but I'm thinking the high calling is the prize. What's a high calling, though? Well, a high calling from God, I would think, would be to live according to His standards. Maybe, to be a separate people, a peculiar people?

No one in today's society wants to be different, especially kids and teens. To be different is wrong, bad, socially unacceptable. If you don't conform to the ways of your peers, nobody wants to know you or be seen with you, but being different from the rest is what God calls us to be. If we say we are His, we need to act like we are. In this Bible verse, Paul says he is pressing toward the mark for the prize. In other words, he's working hard to get the prize, which is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He is working hard to be different. He's working hard to be what God wants him to be. Paul wants to win that prize. I think he won. Do you agree?

People everywhere want to win something, especially when there is no effort involved. They pay a few dollars here and there, hoping to win that power ball. Millions would be nice. :) They spend a few dollars to enter to win stuff being raffled off. From motor cycles to concert tickets, quilts to free pictures, people work hard to win something. Ever wondered what this world would be like if we all pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? What if we all embraced our differences instead of shunning them?

Thanks to those who participated in the contest. I really appreciate it. Thanks, too for being a faithful reader. Like I said, I'll do more giveaways. Promise. Until Wednesday, take care, keep smiling, and ask the Lord what it is He wants you to do. One thing about God, He is faithful, and He is long-suffering to us-ward. Aren't you glad? :) Amen!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Calling All lurkers! Enter The Contest!

If I could name one thing I love about the internet it would be the fact I can lurk and nobody knows it but me and the Lord. In my everyday life, I couldn't lurk if you paid me. I'm loud, I make too much noise when I'm trying to be quiet, and I don't know how to do things unseen. :) But, online I can. I read a lot of blogs and rarely ever comment. Yet, I wonder why only a very few comment here. lol Maybe, y'all just like lurking, too.

Well, today, y'all might want to forget about lurking, cause I'm having a contest. In honor of those men and women who fought and are still fighting for freedom, I'm giving away an autographed, paperback copy of my first book, "Wild Heart". Interested? Just comment here or on FaceBook. Tell me in your comment why you like the internet. Contest ends Sunday Nov. 13 at 11:59 PM. I'll randomly choose from the answers I get. The winner will be contacted either through FaceBook, or your email addy, if you give it to me.

Forget what "Wild Heart" is about? No problem. Here's a synopsis and a link to the books' trailer on YouTube.

Gage Colton, ex-gunman turned Christian is searching for the man who killed his father.  After witnessing a gunfight in Tombstone, he feels God urging him to change his plans.  If he obeys the Holy Spirit, it may cost him dearly; possibly even his life.  Shewana Christy, a young Cheyenne woman, is bent on revenge, in the hope that it will finally bring peace, something she has not known in a long time.  She has already avenged her mothers death and is looking for her father's murderer, when she is kidnapped at gunpoint and forced to hit the trail in the middle of the night.  With a posse in hot pursuit behind them, unknown dangers lurking ahead, and constant friction between them, will Gage and Shewana find what they were looking for, or will they answer that still, small voice of God, leading them in another direction?  

Hey, did y'all catch that? "Unknown dangers lurking ahead" Wow, I'm good. lol Didn't even mean for that to happen. :)

Happy Friday. Happy Veteran's Day, and happy weekend to you all. Tell all your friends, so they have a chance to win, or enter for a friend. Christmas is just around the corner, and what a way to get a gift for that special someone. Don't worry, I'll have more giveaways, so you'll have a chance to win the audio copy and the sequel in paperback or audio. Y'all take care and play nice. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

When I Grow Up, I want...

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Adults ask children this question all the time. I don't know if it's just that they have no idea what to talk to the kid about, or if they really want to know, but it is a common question. Grown-ups asked me that, when I was a young'un, too.

I remember answering like any other kid. I want to be a doctor, a nurse, a lawyer, an astronaut, a writer, a teacher. The great thing about children, is they don't think about the money they will make or what type of schooling it will take to achieve that goal. They just want to be it, whatever "it" is.

When I was about 6, 7 or 8 years old, I remember wanting to grow up to be just like my mom. Funny thing, is I see that same tendency in my own 6 year old. She mimics me, patterns her style of doing things after me, and I find myself wondering if she wants to be like me when she grows up. Fshew, that's a scary thought. lol Faith and I procrastinate together, but when we finally get up and do what we're supposed to do, we often start singing together. I'll be washing dishes, while she is picking up her toys, and I'll start a song. Before too long, she's singing right along with me, and soon our chores are done. But, I digress. :)

I don't think I thought seriously about what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was around 15 or so. I thought about it a lot, but there just didn't seem to be much choice. On the one hand, folks would say I could be anything I wanted to be. On the other hand, folks would say I had to be realistic. Having dreams was one thing, but at some point I had to come down to earth and think about what I truly wanted. There were jobs that blind people just didn't do, not because they were not smart enough but because it took sight to do those jobs. I was not, I was informed, ever going to be able to be an astronaut, a doctor, a nurse, a school bus driver, and I might as well get over it while I was still young. In my mind, that left only teaching.

After graduating high school, I did go to college, intending to be a teacher for the visually impaired, but both times i started school, I quit. Then, I got married, and for a time, being a house wife was enough. I went to a local vocational school for a year and received a certificate of completion for medical transcription, but no matter how hard I tried, I never got a job doing that. I did work for a time in Romney WV, preparing braille documents for mailing. After that, I worked at Blind Industries and Services of Maryland as a sewing machine operator. Then, I went to the school of hard knocks and learned what a selfish woman I really was. Or, put more plainly, I got pregnant and became a mom. lol

Now, with my 33rd birthday fast approaching, I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. :) I want to graduate from medical school, so that I can have the know-how to diagnose my families' illnesses and do something about them. I want to go get my driver's license, so that I can give disabled folks a ride where ever they want to go. Finally, just for grins and giggles, I want to be an airplane pilot.

A couple of days ago, I took my 3 year old to the doctor. I KNEW she was sick. For a couple of nights she had had a fever. She was coughing, some and sneezing, occasionally. I didn't know for sure, but I thought it was probably an ear infection. For one, her breath smelled funny, and when my girls' breath smells like that, they need an antibiotic. Just for the record, I've only been wrong once. :) Sure enough, the doctor looked in to her ears and both were infected. She's on an antibiotic. So, am I a doctor, sort of? Maybe. What about a teacher? I only have 2 students, but I'm teaching all the time. Faith is learning about word problems by counting how many bananas we have and then figuring out how many loaves of banana bread I could make with them. lol She's learning to read, and that comes in handy when I need labels on canned foods read to me. So, am I a teacher? Why, yes I am.

As for the astronaut, lawyer and pilot, well, those will have to wait a while. lol My mom always said I'd make a good lawyer, because I like to argue. Ha! While at Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama, I learned that even if I could see, I'm too short to go in to space. As for flying, anybody out there game for taking me up in their plane?

Just for the record, people who are blind can do anything they set their mind to, even if that job requires sight. Where there's a will, there's a way. A few years ago, I read about a man who is blind graduating from medical school and earning his MD. Last year I read about a woman who is blind being a beautician. Several months ago, a man who is blind took his family for a drive around Daytona Speedway. He used technology created by the folks from the National Federation of the Blind and students from Virginia Tech, and drove around the track. They threw boxes in his way, someone even pulled out in front of him, and he and his family still live to tell the tale. I know a man who is blind, and he rides a bicycle without any sighted assistance. I have a friend who is blind, and she makes baskets and sews quilts. I have a friend on FaceBook who is blind, and she writes her impressions of WV ball games, and gets paid doing it.

Here's a couple of things I've been pondering on. First of all, have I grown up to be what I wanted to be? Yes, I have. I'm an author, a singer, a song writer, a piano player, a wife, a mom, a crocheter, a baker, but more important, I am a Christian. Except for the writing and piano, I have grown up to be what I thought my mother was at that time. Second, have I achieved all that I wanted to achieve? No, I have not. Remember that plane? I wonder if it will be as I imagine, now that I have no sight at all. I used to want to feel it lift in to the air and be able to look out and see the sky. Of course, I can't see the sky, but will it be as thrilling, anyway? Guess there's only one way to find out. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ordinary day

I don't know about you, but it seems like it's been forever since Friday. I haven't done a whole lot, not really, but a lot has gone through my mind. I have thought about my book I'm working on, I had some sad times and fun times, and I have had hours of wonderful sleep and some hours without sleep. I've laughed. I've cried. I've worried. I've prayed. And, yet, the world kept spinning. It's Monday again, and I'm still here. So are you, if you're reading this blog. :)

After posting on Friday, I made chocolate chip cookies, went to get hot dogs for lunch, visited with a friend while our kids played, went out to eat and had a good cry. On Saturday, I did laundry, wrote on my WIP (work in progress), washed dishes and took a nap. On sunday, I wrote a little, went to church, went out to eat, went to the grocery store, gabbed on the phone, went to another church, went out to eat yet again and came home and went to bed. During the night, both Saturday and Sunday, I was up holding a fevered 3 year old. So, needless to say, I'm tired today.

This morning, while trying to catch up on a little sleep, a friend calls to ask if I'm ready for breakfast. I'm like, "Um, not really."

"Well," she said, "get ready. I'll be there in fifteen with biscuits and gravy."

Y'all, I don't think I've ever showered so fast. lol In fact, I was ready, the coffee was ready and there was a path through the toys in the living room by the time she came knocking on my door. Haha! As for the breakfast, it was yummy, and I shared it, too.

For supper tonight, we're having ham that is cooking in my slow cooker. I thought it would be nice to have scalloped potatoes, but they won't be ready when the man of the house comes home, because I can't read the directions on the box. Tried to get the 6 year old to read them, but she can't find them on there. lol Oh well, I'll preheat the oven or something, and it'll be all right.

Just another day with you and me in paradise. No other way to say it, God's been good.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Got Any Dough?

I am finally baking again! :) I tell you, just to press my hands in to that warm dough, yesterday, did something for me that is hard to explain. I made some french bread to take to my local writer's group's NaNoWriMo kick off party, and today I'm thinking of baking a quick batch of cookies. I have the stuff all laid out. After I write this post, I'm going to try to whip them up. But, back to yesterday.

I began, like any busy mom, by washing up several dishes. Then, while the water was running hot, I put 2 cups of it in a bowl and sprinkled in 2 tsps of active dry yeast. I let it sit for 10 mins while washing up some more dishes and putting a few away. Then, I measured out 2 tbsps of honey and stirred it in. I had never used honey in place of sugar, so this was a first for me. I mixed in 3 cups of all purpose, unbleached flour, one cup at a time. Then, I added 2 tsps of salt. After that, I mixed in another cup of flour with the spoon, before abandoning said spoon in place of my trusty hands. The lady who taught me to make bread used an electric mixer, but I'm glad I practiced with my hands, because now I know how it is supposed to feel.

When the fifth cup of flour turned out to be not enough, I added about a half a cup more, and kept on mixing. After several seconds, I plopped the mass on to my floured board and went to kneading. I kneaded and sweated, all the while talking to my girls. They asked questions like, "What shape are you going to make it? Who will get to eat it? How much longer before we can taste it? Can I help?" :)

When my dough felt smooth and silky, I placed it in an oiled bowl, covered it and washed more dishes. Then, I took a break. lol

During my break, I drank some hot tea, played on FaceBook, and ate a slice of pizza...and did more dishes.

An hour after placing a towel over my dough to keep in the warmth, I pulled the towel off and tried to separate it in to 3 loaves, as I was taught to do. But, I'm not a good divider, so I ended up with 5 loaves. All we needed now, I remember telling my girls, was a couple of fish and we'd have a dinner like Jesus served to the folks who came to hear him teach. So, as you can imagine, while I rolled out each ball of dough in to a circle-like shape, I told them the story of the 2 fish and 5 loaves that Jesus fed to the 5,000 men plus women and children.

When the circle-like shapes were ready, I rolled them up, pinched the edges and placed them on a piece of parchment paper that was lining my bread pan. I attempted to cut small slits in them to resemble french bread, but I didn't do a very good job. :)

I reached for a bowl to crack an egg in to, but instead of one bowl coming down, 3 bowls came down. I was not prepared, and they fell on to the counter, where 2 broke. One almost in half, the other had a crack in it, but still, I had to worry about cleaning up glass shards.

When that mess was finally cleaned up, I cracked an egg in to a bowl with no cracks in it, and separated the yoke from the white. Let me say here, that Faith is a big help during this kind of separation. lol I took a fork and beat that egg white before brushing it on to my prepared loaves. By now the oven was preheating to 350. Forgot to mention that part. Sorry. :)

I baked the bread at 350 for about 20 minutes. Since my oven is old and doesn't brown things well, I like using the egg white. Folks see a golden color and they have no idea that without that egg white, my bread would be as pale as the dough it came from. Ha!

So, last night at the NaNoWriMo party, my bread went well with the yummy soup that my friend Peggy brought. The bread was crumblier than it usually is, but I do not know if that is because I used honey or if I had too much flour in the dough. Could have ben the weather, too. You wouldn't think barometric pressure, temps outside and whether the wind is blowing or not would have anything to do with bread, but it does.

As for the party, it was fun. We ate dinner together, drank some yummy sweet tea and wrote on our works in progress. I wrote only about 792 words, but I was tired. Still tired this morning and thinking about a second cup of coffee. I shouldn't, but I might anyway.

Hope y'all have a fabulous weekend, and i hope you'll come back and see me on Monday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Write The Night Away

Wow, it's November, again! Can y'all believe it? I mean, wasn't it just yesterday we were trying to breathe in all that heat in July? Now, I'm dreaming of pumpkin pie, hot tea and coffee and wearing long sleeves inside my house. Where does the time go?

If you are a serious writer at all, you'll know that November is NaNoWriMo AKA National Novel Writing Month. The basic idea is to start on Nov. 1 with no words, write everyday and keep track of your word count. Then, on Nov. 30 you are supposed to have 50 thousand words, which make up a story. I did the math and what it boils down to is if you write about 1600 to 1700 words a day, you'll reach 50k. Doesn't sound too hard, does it? Well, it isn't, if you can spend the time writing. As for me, I got a 6 year old and a 3 year old, plus a husband and house to care for. I try to write everyday, and most times I write anywhere from 500 to 2 thousand words, depending, but 50 thousand by Nov. 30? Probably not.

Ok, so I say all that, but around 1 something this morning, I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. Now, I did that on Monday night, and ended up not writing any, so today things were going to change - I'd make sure of that. I lay there, trying, at first, to go back to sleep. After all, it's 1:30 AM, and I don't have to get up until 7 or so. I have a full day ahead of me and need my sleep. Yeah, well, the brain don't listen. I start thinking about a character in my story. He has something to say. He has a story of his own, directly related to my hero. I wrote a small piece on him a month or so ago, so to keep the characters in my head happy, I crawl out of my warm bed, pull on some PJ's and go turn on the mac book. I bring up the story, start copying and pasting here and there, then I have to delete and rewrite a lot of it. But, now it's there. Where does it go, exactly? I don't know. What will be the end result? Don't ask. The getting there is the important part. As far as word count before 5 AM, I think it was 11,058, but now, I started with 9,867. Y'all can do the math. lol I'm wearing down. :)

A friend on FB challenged her friends to post each day of Nov. what they were thankful for. I forgot about it in my sleepiness yesterday, but I posted 2 of them this morning. First, of course, is my heavenly Father. Second is my husband. I have a lot to be thankful for, as do you. God has been good to us all!

How about you? Think you can find 30 things to be thankful for this month? What is your favorite part about this time of year. Do you write? Hunt? Why do you like November so much? Or, are you still thinking of those hot 100 temperature days of July? lol