Friday, December 02, 2011

Don't get Scrooged

I have such fond memories of Christmas. But I have bad ones. I'm sure you do too. What Memories dictate how you're going to spend the season?
Would you agree that what you put in the season is what you get out of it?
So, how do you see Christmas?
Do you start the holiday season filled with energy and excitement? And finish feeling breathless and zapped of strength?
Do you face Christmas with the anticipation of a child, or with trepidation? Even dread?
Maybe you find yourself hoping that you get something wonderful for Christmas, something you waited for all year. And it doesn't have to be tangible.
Thinking of Christmas' past, how did you feel when they were over? Wonderful? Drained?
Are you expecting a dismal outcome this year? Or a joyous one?
Are you allowing yourself to get Scrooged out before the glorious holiday season?
Here are a few steps we can take to make sure we don't get Scrooged.
First, you all know who Scrooge is… the beloved Dicken's character from Christmas Carol whose story has warmed our hearts through the years.  He was so kind and thoughtful. The character you love to almost hate. Kind of like the Grinch.
You can put whatever character you want in the title.
Don't get Scrooged. Don't get Grinched.
But the fact remains, while Scrooge and Grinch are characters, there are real people like them walking the streets today. People who act like their only joy in life is to steal it from others. They're rude, selfish, heart-hearted and at times downright cruel. They'd steal your Christmas Spirit if you let them.
And that Scrooge could be me. Maybe even you.
We would rarely consider ourselves Scrooges and we hope we're not in the business of stripping Christmas joy.
Perhaps we don't do it on such a grand theatrical scale. And most times no one knows we're feeling like the Grinch. But God does. Some of you may be groaning now. Believe me I know how you feel. Because if we're honest, we know we have times when we're at our worst.
There are times, though I hate to admit, especially around Christmas when I'm supposed to be wearing a face of joy and offering good cheer, that those feelings begin to strip away my happy Christmas mask.

Maybe your mask is fraying a bit too.

See if you can find yourself in any of the following.
Bubbly Christmas Spirit (you know the one you want to Strangle) dressed in colorful Christmas sweater with ornament earrings…  "Christmastime. I love Christmas. It's the greatest time of the year."
Sarcastic Modern Day Scrooge -- "Great? Yeah… well for some of us it's more like the time when the whole world is trying to thin our pocketbooks.  And our nerves are unraveling."
BCS turning up Christmas back ground music to blow my eardrums.  "Oh but Christmas is such a wonderful time. It's a time of Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men."
Modern Day Scrooge -- "Unless that person happens to cut me off on the street. I mean just the other day at the mall, someone took the parking spot I'd been waiting for. Why should I be peaceful about that. And goodwill.  Hmmph, I'll give them goodwill and a good one finger wave to go along with it."
"But think about all you've gotten for Christmas, think about how wonderful it is to give. Think about the gift God gave when he sent his son."
"Don't lecture me on giving. I am the queen of giving. For what good it's done me. I sent out lovely Christmas Cards last year, and gave wonderful, extravagant and well thought out gifts. Did anyone return the favor. Humbug. And don't get me started on charities or needy people. They're more like leeches this time of year. When is enough… enough? Besides, I have my own family to care for and things are tight this year."
BCS-- (Spraying Christmas scent about the room. Doing a few tra-la-las and twirls.) "But Christmas is a time for Joy to the World. People's hearts and lives should reflect that joy and cheerfulness. At least this time of the year."
"Excuse me? Okay so some people are joyous over Christmas, and maybe there is some cheer in the air. But quite frankly, I'm too busy to be joyful or cheerful. I'm pulled apart by rehearsals and shopping and baking and parties and and… try pulling my schedule then come back and tell me about joy and cheerfulness"
BCS-- flopping a big photo album on the table before me. "Christmas is a time for family and memories.
(Snorting) Yeah Right?  I love the hassle of those big family gatherings. The ones that nearly end up in a brawl on the front lawn.  And if it's at my house well that's more that I have to do. Everything has to be spotless and just so so. And no matter how hard I try someone will complain. Or find fault.

And if it's at someone else's house then I have to load up all the my things and spend hours in the hall traveling to get there. Where I usually end up sleeping on the floor in a room devoid of privacy. Family, Ha, by the time I've spent one day with them I've had enough memories to last a life time. Have you met my family? We're talking togetherness overload.
Christmas is a glorious time of lights and presents and traditions
Yeah well… we could talk for days about traditions (all those things we do because the family did it for years and we can't stand it.) But let's talk about lights. I tried for one of those picture perfect yards the one's that get pictured in the paper and have people driving by oohing and ahhing.
I hung the lights, on the house, across the yard. Put up some cute little lawn characters to wave at the lookey-loos. And put out a Nativity.
It was magnificent, pretty good if I have to say so myself. Then one of those stupid bulbs went out and I spent hours trying to the culprit. A few strands are dead now, someone stole a lawn ornament and a dog hiked his leg on baby Jesus.
I have more chance of a drive by shootings than a visit from seekers of light.
And how about those presents, huh? I get them wrapped and under the tree just so my children can shake them and tear off the paper before Christmas. And if  it's not the children, it's the dogs. I'd hang up a sign saying these are not fire hydrants or chew toys, but I doubt the dogs would understand ( the tree isn't even red).

Speaking of trees. I trudged through mountains of snow, through the cold, up the hill both ways, lugging a saw and hot chocolate, on what became a forgettable family outing. We looked all over and found nothing but a scrawny tree. Charlie Brown had a better one. Then I had pine needles everywhere for the next month.

But what about the love of Christmas. God loved us so much he sent his son for us. Christmas should remind us to share that love.
Well sure Christ is all loving and all caring. But he has the power to be that way. I'm only human. I've found that most people just want to use me. They act all nice. Tell me we'll can be best buds. When what they really want if for me to remember them when I send out my gifts or throw a party. They certainly don't keep in touch the rest of the year. I have hard time loving those kinds of people. They  grate on my nerves.
If you ask me… Christmas is just a farce. A time for merchandiser to make money. Maybe that rude, fat, fowl smelling excuse for a Santa who yelled at my children… is the embodiment of my Christmas.
Maybe he's the embodiment of yours…
Do you ever get so caught up trying to make Christmas come alive… you kill it?
What is Christmas? What are you really celebrating?
When you say Christmas… what comes to mind? A special gift or two? A scent? A dream? Many memories of Christmas haunt us. Some good. Some bad.
Whether we want to admit it or not… memories dictate, in some measure, how we celebrate Christmas now. Hopefully, they won't all be Scrooge moments that pull us away from the joy. Hopefully, we won't have visits from Ghosts. 'Cause I'd freak.
Hopefully our insights and memories will pull us back from Scroogedom and remind us why Christmas is a wonderful time of year and chastise us for becoming so hard-hearted.
Is there wonderment in Christmas? Do you see Christmas through the eyes of child? Or has it been distorted by life and the years?
Do you get goose-bumps when you hear that Santa is coming? Delight and excitement from staring at the gifts under the tree? Do you feel the reverence of a child in a manger?
Some of us have so many trappings, so many distorted feelings of Christmas we've lost sight of how beautiful the season is.
How simple the Christmas story and season really are.  The remedy for a hectic holiday is to remember the reason for the Season and whose birthday we're celebrating. Share the truth of Christmas. You can impact someone's life this year. Maybe even your own.
Seeking  Immanuel  Makes  Peace  Last  Eternally

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Anne Patrick -- Kill Shot

Former combat medic Kory Wagner has been in four war zones, served three tours in Iraq, survived countless firefights, RPG’s, IED’s and even a helicopter crash.  Now she’s home and out of the Army for good and someone is trying to kill her in her own backyard.  Just as disturbing is the handsome sheriff who’s on the case. 

Sheriff Sean Harding doesn’t quite know what to think of the decorated veteran that managed to outsmart an entire search party.  What bothers him more is the body of a PI, whom she hired to find her sister's killer, was found dead in a building Kory owns.  And Kory isn’t being very cooperative with helping him find the answers as to why someone would kill her sister and want her dead.  Will he be able to keep her alive along enough to discover the truth?

The steel door creaked as she pushed it open, the sound echoing throughout the metal building. "Mr. Urlik?" She waited for her eyes to adjust to the change in lighting before stepping all the way inside. A wide stream of light from the door spread out in front of her. "Mr. Urlik. Are you in here?"
Kory heard a sound a few yards in front of her. She quickly scanned the area. Three rows of huge metal shelves lined the interior. She inched forward, peering around the corner of the second row. Mr. Urlik lay on his side, facing her, clutching his chest. His eyes were opened and his mouth moved, but no sound came out. A heart attack? She ran to him, knelt down on the cement floor, and took his hand. It was wet, slimy. She looked down and saw his hand covered in blood. Her eyes shifted to his chest. A large crimson stain spread across the width of his white shirt from a small hole near the center. He was breathing erratically. Experience told her a bullet had pierced at least one lung and he didn't have much time. She immediately pressed the heel of her right hand against the wound.
"I'm sorry," he murmured.
"Where's your cell phone?" Hers was in her backpack but she didn't want to waste valuable time digging it out.
"No time. Get out."
"Who did this, Mr. Urlik?"
He grabbed her right hand and squeezed it tightly. "You were right -- no accident."
His hand went limp.
Kory felt something in the palm of her hand, looked down and saw it was a key. She shoved it into her jeans pocket. A whizzing sound buzzed past her, followed by the unmistakable clink of a bullet ricocheting off metal. She instinctively threw herself over his body as another bullet struck metal. Kory felt for a pulse. There was none. She lowered her hand to his chest and felt under both arms and along his waist. I thought all PIs carried guns. Just my luck this one didn't.
She scrambled to her feet, as more shots ricocheted around her, and dove through an opening on the first row of shelves. A piercing pain sliced through her upper arm as she took cover behind some boxes. They wouldn't shield her from the gunfire but they would conceal her presence while she figured out how she was going to get out of there. She paused long enough to grab her cell phone from her backpack, wishing she hadn't when another bullet tore through a box beside her. She ducked lower to the floor.
Kory ignored the throbbing in her arm and slithered along the floor toward the back of the building. As a child, she and her sister, Callie, had often accompanied her grandfather to the warehouse where he worked on boats as a hobby. She remembered a back exit that led to the side parking lot and nearby woods. If she could reach the door, she had a chance of getting out of this alive. She looked down at the tear in her shirt, drenched with blood.
This isn't good!

Kill Shot: Book One Wounded Heroes can be purchased at most online bookstores or from my publisher – Desert Breeze Publishing:
Anne's Bio: Anne Patrick is the author of more than a dozen novels of Romance, Mayhem & Faith, including the award-winning and best-selling Fire and Ash, Lethal Dreams and Sabotage. When she's not killing off people or falling in love with dashing heroes, you can find her surfing the web or spending time with family and friends.  Born and raised in Oklahoma, she now makes her home in Kansas.

To learn more about Anne, please visit her website: (where I have monthly giveaways) or blog: .

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Punctuations of Praise

by Tina E. Pinson

A worn and battered, cloth-bound, book lies before me on the shelf

I pull it down, turn the brittle pages carefully, and find the story of myself.

Written declarations of pain and strife, myriads of agony

 and kaleidoscopes of mistakes, glare at me from tear-stained lines

I wonder as I read the story of my life,

Is that all there is?

The thought that my story is rife with sorrow and error, overwhelms me to tears.

But turning a new page, I read on.

As my eyes begin to clear, a miracle unfolds before me.

I begin to see the glory of the tale and find beauty written between the lines.

When my life sentence was too long… You gave me periods of rest.

There were parentheses to hold and comfort me.

Brackets secured me… when my world seemed crazy.

You dotted the i's of my life with your blood and tears.

You put an apostrophe behind my name, to say that I am yours.

You gave my life meaning.

You used hyphens to hold me together when my life was such a mess.

And between the quotes you spoke to me with love and tenderness.

With your life=s blood you red-lined my pain,

You underscored my sorrow with exclamation points.

Gave me dashes for moments to think,

and ellipses upon which to hope and dream.

You alone formed the sentences that tell the story of my life.

You gave it rhyme and meter.

The blessings found on each page I read, show me you've always been there,

And remind me of how you've made my life sweeter.

But even if the lines didn't hold the sway of my life,

Even if you erased all the punctuation,

I know I'd still see you.

You'd be in the swirl of an S, in the loop of an L,

You'd be the ink that writes my life.

Most of all, I'd remember you, because you spanned eternity to cross a t and give me a future.

For these precious blessings, I am ever grateful.

What more can I say?

But thank you, thank you, Jesus.

End of sentence.
But not the end of the story.

Friday, November 11, 2011

In Their Words: Veteran's Stories

By Tricia Goyer

As early as 1940, prisoners started arriving at the small train station at Mauthausen, where nestled in the hills was a hidden concentration camp. A full two years before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, this once peaceful community was already experiencing the horrors of war. And by January 1941, the Mauthausen-Gusen camps became the only 'Category I' camps in Third Reich history, meaning "camp of no return." Prisoners were used as slave labor in quarries and munitions factories. These men and women were worked to death or killed not long after their arrival.
The estimate of the number of people killed in the Mauthausen camp system is between 120,000 and 300,000. Most who entered the large gates never exited, but in May 1945 everything changed. American troops had fought through France, Belgium, and Germany and had now crossed the Austrian border. They were headed toward the camp, though they didn’t know it yet.

The first American US GIs at the camp were the 41st Recon Squadron, 11th Armored Division, Patton's 3rd Army. The men opened the gates and brought the prisoners what they never expected—freedom—followed by food, clothes and the care of medics.

When the camp’s historian, Martha, told me about these men, I knew I wanted to meet them and to hear their stories. What was it like to grant these prisoners their freedom? How had it affected these men? When I arrived home, I researched their experiences and contacted their division’s veteran organization to ask if it would be possible to interview any of the men. I was overwhelmed with the response. The men invited me to their annual reunion in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Those I'd connected with through letters were waiting with their photos, their stories, and their tears. After all these years they had not forgotten. I talked to Arthur and Charlie first. They'd been best friends during the war and 55 years later still finished each other's sentences. Thomas, LeRoy, and Tarmo were next … each one telling me their story. Many more men, each with their own personal experiences, poured out their hearts to me. During the week they had a special ceremony to honor their friends who'd died and to remember the people they liberated. Even after all these years they knew what they did had mattered.
I’d been a Christian since I was a small child, but I had even greater faith after feeling the protection of the Lord pressing upon me. I’m still a strong Christian today because of that experience. Many people can deny the fact that God exists, but not me. I’ve felt His hand . . . and heard His whisper in the midst of war. LeRoy Petersohn

On our way to Austria, there is one thing I will never forget. The image of what I spotted from my perch on that tank still brings tears to my eyes nearly sixty years later.
“Major,” I says.“I believe the whole German Army must be down there. The road is full of people. Just a black line.”

I couldn’t distinguish what kind of people they were, but I could see that black line stretched out for miles. I said again, “The whole German Army must be down there waiting for us.”
He answered very quietly. “No, son, that’s the prisoners from Flossenberg concentration camp. The Germans wanted to clear them out before we got there.”

The prisoners reminded me of walking skeletons. Yes, from the top of that tank I’d seen it all—the battles, the barbarity of men, and the joy of liberation. From my perch I witnessed what I’ll never forget—the fight against good and evil. And I was thankful I was part of bringing in the good.” Tarmo Holma
I was just a young kid straight out of high school; a replacement for killed or injured troops. Nothing had prepared me for the sight of thin arms and legs poking out of striped uniforms, their distorted faces staring at us, reminding us we were too late. Charles Torluccio


I attended two more reunions over the years, in Buffalo and St. Louis, and interviewed hundreds of veterans. I wrote two historical novels about their experiences, From Dust and Ashes ( and Night Song (, and now Remembering You (, but it was the relationship with the men that forever changed my life. It's their stories that I will never forget.

Many people walk out of Mauthausen concentration camp with a sadness of what took place. I experienced that, but as I sought out the men who opened the gates I've found so much more.

So much more.

Tricia Goyer is a homeschooling mom of four and an acclaimed and prolific writer, publishing hundreds of articles in national magazines. She has also written books on marriage and parenting and contributed notes to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Tricia's written numerous novels inspired by World War II veterans, including her new release Remembering You. Tricia lives with her husband and four children in Arkansas. You can find out more information about Tricia at

My thanks to Tricia for sharing these insights from WWII. And a special thanks to all those who have served our country past and present.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Rotten Potatoes

I found a rotten potato today. Actually, it found me. I opened up the pantry door and it literally reached out with long green tenacles of pew and smacked my nostrils.

Ugh, gagalicious, and watch me spew.

Mushy Rotten Potatoes. Not much can compare to the way it assaults ones senses.

But being the frugal type homemaker I am. I knew I couldn't just waste that potato. Noooo
I hunted it down, cleaned it, cut it up and put it in my roast to feed to the family later. Of course with my decerning taste, I can't eat it.

AS IF...

I pulled that smelly mushy thing out of the bag by the tips of two fingers ( while I carefully plugged my nose with the other hand) and tossed it in the trash. ( and found a couple more potatoes beside it that were getting soft rotten spots and tossed those too.)

But it got me thinking about life... and how some of us actually thing we can keep the rotten potatoes around. How we try to make culinary delights out of rotten fare. Dress it up with rich flavors and think the world won't notice.

Some of us actually believe our potatoes don't stink. Our potato are a more expensive brand, so much better and they even have a hybrid brand name that keeps are potatoes from emanating any kind of smell.

And even if they do, the odor isn't that bad.  We can smell the stench and ignore it. Or can buy expensive perfumes, heavy deodorants or take a gazillion baths to conceal it. And people should and will accept our potatoes stench because those potatoes are ours.

We'll deal with our rotten potatoes. When the time comes, we'll look at our potatoes again and we'll take out the bad one. Maybe... For now, it's small, it won't hurt anything.

Funny thing is... when we go to use the potatoes, they are all rotten, just because of that one stinky, mushy potato we didn't throw away before.

But we do, using our calibrated sniffers, smell everyone elses rotten potatoes. We turn up our noses and let them know how much their rotten potatoes stink. And it's always worse than ours.

And we all have our rotten potatoes.

I remember my mother, who didn't want to throw anything out... used to use moldy bread. I understand using dry bread for croutons, stuffings, and such, but Moldy bread. She told us the green growing on the bread was just penicillin and they cut mold off cheese, so she could do the same with bread. It wouldn't hurt us, infact it could be good for us. Especially during cold and flu season. She would cut of the moldy parts, dip it in eggs and cinnamon and feed it to us as French Toast for breakfast. Breakfast and meds in one bite. YUMMM

Can I just say... all the syrup and peanut butter in the world, didn't kill the taste of mold. It lingered after every bite. The thought alone could kill you... You could almost smell it, even though the green had been cut away.

All the lysol and scented candles won't get rid of the stench of rotten potato, one has to pull it out of the potato pack and deep six it.

What rotten potatoes are you carrying around?

Friday, September 02, 2011

The Game

I constructed a game board. This may Boggle some of your minds and you may ask... why I just didn't go buy the game.

Well, for one, it's not on the market. And I want to play it. For two, building the board gave me a bit of a challenge. So being the artistic engineer (woodworking hobbyist) that I am, I set out to build the board myself. It was quite the Operation.

Some may say I'm an idiot. Perhaps I am. I've heard that about my other artistic outlets as well. Writing, chief among them.

I've heard how I'll never get my books published. (I proved the naysayers wrong.)

I've heard that I had too little talent and from others… too much talent. Huh? Whatever???

I realize I'll never please everyone. There will be people in this world who just don't get me. I just have to follow my heart and take a ride on the Reading Railroad. Which brings me back to the game.

My heart was set on playing this particular game. So I decided to make the board and soon realized that building the board was sort of like writing. Like Life even.

First, I got the concept from seeing the game. (Don't take stories verbatim though, that's plagiarism.) Then using my Cranium, I sketched my first draft of the board layout.

After I settled on the layout, I sat down and built a mock up out of Legos just kidding. Might have been fun though. Instead, I drew it up on the computer, till I got the right size and dimensions for a template. But couldn't print it out, 'cause my printer doesn't take such big sheets of paper. I had to change my Strategy.

So it was back to Start, to the drawing board... literally. This time I drew a full scale model. And when I laid it on the board, I realized my dimensions were off. I needed to measure the ends better. More cutting commenced. Saw dust flew.

Writer's have to cut back and change scales on their manuscripts, too. Of course to do so, we don't have to pull out the power tools and slice away. Although at times, it sure feels that way. And who knows it, might make cutting words more interesting.

So I had my board cut and laid out. Bare bones. I could have played the game on the unfinished board then, but it wouldn't have been the same.

I needed to do more.

Just like a writer, I needed to add the lines and fill empty spaces. I had to define the scenery of my board. Homebase. Start and Finish. I had to show the short cuts and make sure I researched and put down the rules somewhere. (So I could break them of course). Then I had to pull out the sander and buff some uneven spots.

I added more designs, drilled out holes for the playing pieces, which I still had to finish by giving them color and character. They, like characters in a book, can't look the same. No one will know who's who on the board.

I sanded and smoothed some more rough edges, filled holes that were drilled too deep my playing pieces got lost like sunken Battleships. I etched more color into the wood with a wood burner and then went to the garage to add a touch of varnish.

Then I had to find some decks of playing cards, and of course, round up players to play my game.

Writers have to add depth and design, we have to give our stories colorful interesting sheen, vivid real characters and editing polish, and we too, must find the players. ie., Readers willing to open our pages and spend the time in our book.

I won't send this game board out into the world, like I hope to do with my books, but hopefully myself and others will get to enjoy the game for years to come.

I hope my stories bring long hours of enjoyment.

While at times I'd like to pass go and collect my prize without all the investment of time, sweat and energy. I realize that a game or a story, will never touch another life if one doesn't take the time and Risk to move beyond the concept, the dreams, the imagination and construct the story. The game.

Who knows? Maybe no one will like the game. Or the book. Or the ________ ( you fill in the blank). I could be Sorry for putting myself out there, and investing so much time.

Maybe I'm just and Idiot. If so... I think I'm in good company.

So write your stories, build your game boards and invest in your dreams.

Play the game of Life. You may find that it's funner than a Barrel Full of Monkey.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Rut Part II

If you've read my previous posts, I've lamented this move from Colorado to Arizona and done a fairly good job of it. So I thought I'd tell you about the blessings about this move and where life was at when the prospect of moving to Arizona was put before us.

Everything was wonderful and awesome and... no wait... it wasn't all sunshine and lollipops...

We were losing our business of 7 years, and heading for bankruptcy. We had started another business, but the economy wasn't carrying it either. So we started another small avionics business, yep we did two different jobs and that didn't cut it either. Danny, my husband, got a call about a business in Arizona that was looking for an avionics man. We at first said no way, ARIZONA. We had plans to stay in Colorado.

So we plugged away at our businesses, going further in debt, growing further agitated that God wasn't providing like he promised and with us working so hard, when the call came again. Still, stubborn as we are, we kind of shrugged it off. God wasn't going to uproot us from our home, he would bring the business to keep us in Colorado. And we worked harder to see that happen, used up our savings, our energy, maybe even our faith a bit, but it never did.

Then the call came again, this time with a precursor that they were going to put out an ad for someone if Danny chose not to accept the call. Still uncertain, or perhaps stubborn, we decided to ask if Danny and our son could work part time back and forth, that would allow us to run our businesses in Colorado and keep our home as well. We could it for a time, it would work. After a year, we'd get caught up financially and we have our businesses going better too. We would plug away and prove to God what good stewards we were and how much we wanted to be in Colorado.

One month into the transition between jobs and states, proved that it couldn't be done. Danny and our son found a small apartment for cheap, and rotated between jobs, Danny would go to Arizona and our son would work in Colorado, they would overlap for a couple weeks in each place, sounds like a mind drain already and a drain on finances as well. And there wasn't enough time or energy to keep two businesses going and work four weeks out of state. Funny, but people like to find someone at the business every day of the week pretty much or they head off to your competitor.

So we let one business go, amazingly, God lined up buyers in the first day. And we cleaned it out in a week. We kept the small avionics business, but knew that while it did better than the tire business, we couldn't keep it forever either. We would have to let it go. And we couldn't afford to run two households.

God wanted us in Arizona. Why... remains to be seen, maybe for rest, for blessing, for more, but he choreographered every step that we took in the journey that got us here.

I do have an appreciation for this move, really I do. We were down to our last dime in savings, stubbornly hanging on with our fingertips waiting for God to move in Colorado, when he had formulated plans for our lives elsewhere.

Will we be here forever, who knows. Ask me how I feel about that right now and you could probably figure out my answer. Ask me another day and... well, who knows what tomorrow will bring?

In my last post I told you that I was relying on God's promises for me. I certainly plan to try. Plan to take hold of what's before me.

I have a new landscape for my home, my writing, my life. Yes even that dirt brown weeded yard is a new canvas on which to make my mark. And who knew Arizona was as rich in history as Colorado? I don't have to watch my husband leave for a month at a time, I get to be with him and some of my family here in Arizona.

See, I may have lamented the move and the fact that I'm living in a new and strange land, but trust me... I can see the Springs in the Desert too.

And gathering from some of the comments I received from my last post, there are some of you wishing to be out of the ruts your life has become. So I pray the same for you. May you find your springs in the deserts of your life. And my you realize that God was there all along.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Miss My Rut.

After nearly 20 years in Grand Junction, where my hubby and I planned to buy a cabin in the hills by a lake and live out our retirement in the cool hills of Colorado, my plans were thwarted.

Yes Thwarted. Smushed (if that's a word, if not, I like it) Burned. Erased.

Okay they were changed and they were changed against my wishes. (like I always have a say so.)
And now we live in sunny and HOT Arizona. Did I mention it was HOT.

I had a lovely green lush yard in Grand Junction. Okay honestly, most of the lushness of my yard came from crabgrass which I was constantly battling, because it encroached on everything and I did find it quite irritating the way it could choke out my vegetables. But I had mature trees for shade and flowering bushes to give color and ambiance. Oh and shade for the dogs on hot summer days.

Now, while several people around me, have trees and pools, I have a dirt brown yard with two sheds a half of a swing set, where I grow stickers and weeds and am trying to grow bermuda grass.
How Ironic that I'm missing my crabgrass. Even my dogs don't like to tread in the back dirt. They tiptoe along the edges.

People say that this move is a blessing. I know God's hand is in it, he orchestrated every step. I realize sometimes we all need to get out of our ruts. Frankly, I didn't look at my trailer as a rut. And I miss it.

But in all honesty, here is Arizona, I'm praying for those Springs in the Desert the Lord promises, and I am trying to look at this move as a new and awesome adventure. I believe the Lord has plans for me, Jeremiah 29: 11 isn't my favorite verse for nothing. I believe the Lord has something wonderful for me and mine, I'm just having a bit of a time seeing it.

And though I'm trying to envision how I can change this drab landscape behind my house, and everyone keeps telling me you settle in everything will be okay, I'm still prone to shed a tear for the world I left behind. I bought a couple of trees and some oleander, but rose- colored glasses don't change much when your surveying a dirt yard. I just don't want my life to become that dirt yard, I want the color, the vividness of life. I want this desert to flower.

I'm praying for all the Lord has in store for me and what he wants for me to do. I'm praying for his grace and mercy with me. I know being here will give me more outlets for my writing and since I have a new contract for three books through Desert Breeze Publishing, that is a good thing. I know my husband didn't have work in Grand Junction and moving here gave him the opportunity to continue working on planes like he loves to. Two of my children even moved here as well. Though I still miss the son I left behind, and my grandchildren too. I am settling. I think I am.

But let's be honest, when the mercury hits 117 and I feel like I'm in a sweat tent, and I have to trip out across my back dirt yard just so my dogs will take the plunge into the heat, I find I miss my home in Colorado.

I miss my rut.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blog... Blog... Blog...

Hi, I'm a LOGGER.

Okay, so maybe I should say BLOGGER, but the way I feel about now, I'm probably about as profficient at logging as I am at blogging.

I've been blogging for a couple of years now and honestly, there are still days I wonder why I even have a blog. Wonder if I've even reached anyone. Or is my blog more like my online diary.

What good is a blog? What is a blog for?

I know a blog should be a tool that is used to get information out and draw followers to my site.

I've sort of done that. Sorta. But it's a hit and miss process.

And frankly, I'm not always sure what the hits and misses are.

I hear people say to have a good blog, you should have a theme.

To have that theme, you have to know which audience you want to reach. And what you plan to use your blog for.

There are so many kinds of blogs. Some discuss writing, (as a writer I gravitate to these). Some are political in nature. Some are topical. Some are fluff. Some share poetry. Some share Jokes. Some talk taste in Music and on and on. But the best blogs have some kind of theme.

So what kind of theme do I want to write about?

Do I want to teach? Do I want be an outlet for other writers? Do I simply want to showcase myself and my thoughts?

Should I be funny? Should I delve into the more poignant thoughts of life? Should I be poetic? What kind of people do I want to bring to my site?

And once I've settled on my theme and what I plan to do with it…

I have to figure out how much time I want to spend on my blog. How many blogs do I want to post?

Then I have to consider layout, and links and how to get people to my site. Then I have come up with new and pithy things to write about so I'll keep my followers interested and they'll stop in often to see what new and awesome things I write about.


A lot goes into a blog.

But hey, today I have no worries. Today, I'm a logger.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cha... cha... cha... changes

Wow. Here I am heading for the big 50. I was certain I would hit that great mark in my life without too much fanfare or change. I was certain I would do that here in the place I call home. This place. The place I planned to live out my life with family and friends. This place where I've lived for twenty plus years. I planned to stay here and watch my family grow. I planned to tend my garden and continue writing. I planned to continue here, working toward old age and retirement.

I planned to spend my fiftieth year, right here. I would only be a year older. And perhaps a year wiser.

And life would go on as it had for a long time. I might try some new things, I might even color my hair (okay that might be a given) But I would be here. Right here, in this world I know, the world I love.

In this time, in this life as I know it.

But thanks to life, I may have to change my plans. Thanks to circumstances beyond my control, I may have to leave my home and move to a new place. A new world as far as I'm concerned.

A part of me prays nothing changes. Prays I get to stay here in my comfortable rut, working through my days in rote, since I know them so well. But I'm reminded that life hasn't always been easy here, either. What will this change bring?

Another part of me prays I'll be ready for the changes that may lie ahead. That I will realize that God will be there, cradling my life no matter where I am.

And he will. I just have to believe it.

Have to believe that blessings lie ahead, and be prepared for what God plans to show and share in my life.

Will the winds of change force me to this new place?

Who knows?

We'll see...

Friday, March 11, 2011




TOUCHED BY MERCY              GOTHIC              FAMILY                      
ERNESTINE                              TRAIN                 PHINEAS            
SAMANTHA NORTHAM            GRAHAM            ANGELINA          
MINNESOTA                             GRACE               HANNAH
BOARDINGHOUSE                   DERRICK            FAITH                          
ALLAN PRATT                           PRESTON          KAITLIN
FORGIVE                                  ORPHAN            FIRE

ELDON                                      OLGA                 RUMOR
DEVLIN CLAYBORNE               GRIMES              RACHAEL 
TRICKS                                      NUNS

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Light of the Heart by Regina Andrews

     A resident of Providence, RI, Regina Andrews grew up in nearby Barrington. After graduating from Providence College she attended the University of Delaware, eventually earning her Master’s Degree in American Civilization from Brown University. She is inspired by anything to do with nature, and she and her husband enjoy visiting nearby Cape Cod.
       Regina’s hobbies include Travel, Museums, Theater, Classical Music, Choral Singing and Gardening. She is a radio host for In-Sight, an association dedicated to providing services to the visually impaired of all ages.


By Regina Andrews

More than anything, Cascade Preston wants to forget her dark childhood in Sterling Lakes, so there’s no way she’ll agree to help refurbish that town’s church. Then she meets Dan McQuay. Will she be able to forgive the past and let the light of God’s love shine through into her heart?

Back Cover Blurb

A stained-glass artist based in Boston, Cascade Preston’s world is a kaleidoscope of color and beauty. She has overcome a dark childhood, deeply shadowed by domestic violence, in the town of Sterling Lakes. When she is approached to design new windows for a refurbished church in Sterling Lakes, she ignores the request. But when the no-nonsense Project Manager Dan McQuay appears looking for the window plans, the project takes on a whole new light. Will Cascade be able to keep the dark, protective cocoon she has built around herself intact, or will McQuay break through and shine new light into her heart? Is it possible that God’s plan for Cascade will lead her to forgive the town that ignored the situation in her family?

Excerpt - Light of the Heart

By Regina Andrews

Chapter One

The afternoon class at Tanglewood Women's Prison was a spectrum of tension, as separated and splintered as a beam of light refracted through a prism. Cascade Preston held her student's template assignment up to the light overhead, and spoke carefully on the quality of the stained glass project.

"With two lights, or openings, Brenda, I would say your idea of a church window for this one would be correct."

Sighing, the student replied, "So you think I'm making progress?"

"Of course." She tossed her honey-colored curls behind her shoulders. "Don't you?"

Brenda snorted. "Heck, no. I'm in here for domestic assault. What do I know about progress? My life is over."

This stopped Cascade in her tracks. "Look, we all make mistakes. God has told us that sinners should flock to him. What do you think? "

Brenda shrugged. "God has his own agenda. We'll see what the parole board says about mine in two weeks."

"For now, let's focus on next week's class. Bring me a flower for that one.”

"Where are we supposed to get a flower?" someone muttered.

"Draw one, stupid," Brenda answered.

"Bye, ladies. Take care."

"See you." Sad-eyed, Brenda gave her a high-five as Cascade walked past her.

Cascade's heels clicked efficiently with her every crisp step, and she made sure to shuttle as closely as possible alongside the beefy guard who escorted her from the holding room. Getting into her Corolla, she whispered a prayer. "I don't think I'm doing any good here, Lord, but I feel you telling me to stick with it. So I will. Maybe this is the kind of thing that saved my mother." She tried to block the images of her mother's bruises from her mind, but they wouldn't go away. They never did.

The drive back into Boston passed by quickly, without too much traffic. "Lean on Me" blasted from her audio system, and she sang along with all her heart. At twenty-seven, she knew it was technically an oldie, but to her, it was fresh and filled with meaning. Cascade wondered as she sang what it would feel like to have someone to lean on, because she had always been alone.

"There's only one thing that could make tonight perfect," she mused as she pulled into the parking area for her condo complex, "and that's not going to happen, for sure."

Images of her long-gone fiancé, Kevin, came into her mind and heart. Where was he this fine June evening? More importantly, why were things so much better for him without her in his life?

A form crossing her path brought her back to reality. Her eyes narrowed as she noticed someone walking towards her car. A guy -- a big guy she did not recognize.

She shaded her eyes from the late day sun. Dark hair and outdoorsy looks. Work boots. "Nope,” she murmured to herself, “I don't know him."

Hopping from her car, she said, "Can I help you?"

"If you're Cascade Preston, you sure can."

He folded his arms across his chest. With all those muscles moving, Cascade could only imagine the stress put on the seams of his light blue cotton shirt.

"And you are..."

"Dan McQuay." He extended his arm towards her. "From the site."

"Hi." Cascade pumped his strong hand, lost in his sky blue eyes. "What site?"

He tilted his head. "The construction site."

"I'm not following you."

He looked at her steadily. "I'm project manager for the retrofit on the church in Sterling Lakes. The one that you're doing the windows for."

Cascade’s heartbeat quickened. Just hearing the name of the town where she grew up made her anxious and tense. "It seems there's been a misunderstanding. No way am I working on anything in Sterling Lakes." She started to bustle past him. "Now if you'll excuse me?"

"Don't run away, Ms. Preston. There's a problem here."

His tone of voice got her attention. He sounded like he cared... about her. That was crazy. She was a total stranger to him.

She nodded. "Apparently there is a problem, you're right. I don't know what you're talking about. Like I said, I'm not doing any work in Sterling Lakes, and I never will. That's the last place in the world I ever would go."

He gave a slow whistle. "Well, that's a loaded speech if I ever heard one."

In spite of herself, she smiled. "I didn't mean to get all hot and huffy, but it is how I feel, and I have my good reasons."

He eyed her intently before he finally spoke. "Understood. The thing is, your name is on the plans that I have, and my crew is ready to get going. We haven't heard from you, and we need to have a job meeting. Mostly, we need your specs."

Cascade noticed the strong line of his jaw when he spoke, and oh, those bluer than blue eyes of his were so easy to get lost in. She swallowed.

"I don't know what to tell you. I'm not contracted for that job. Your project executive should be able to answer your questions." She toyed with the zipper on her oversized leather shoulder bag as she watched thunderclouds roll across his handsome face. "Look, why don't you give me his name? I'll check things out at my studio in the morning and get in touch with him. Maybe I can get to the bottom of this."

"Yup." He took his hands out of his pockets. "Here's my business card, and here's his. Try and remember, every day is money to me."

"Okay, I know. I'm in business, too, so I get it. I know every job I'm on, and this one is not on my list. Let me see if I can find out why I'm on the list of subcontractors... if I really am."

"You are."

"I shouldn't be, so there's a mistake. I never even sent in a bid."

"At least we found out something tonight," he said with a shrug. "Other than you being a whole lot prettier in person than in the pictures all those magazine articles and newspaper stories print about you."

Cascade’s face warmed up at his compliment. "Now you're trying to butter me up."

"Just stating the truth, plain and simple like I always do, Ms. Preston. That's my way. Thank you for your time."

"You're welcome."

He started walking over to his truck. "Talk to you tomorrow."

"Right. And there's one more thing."

He questioned her with a wondering look.

"Please call me Cascade." Her smile lingered as she watched him drive off into the Boston twilight. Too bad this job was in Sterling Lakes. It might not be that bad to do a job with Dan McQuay. Not bad at all.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Orphaned Hearts by Shawna Williams

David Langley lived through the fire that took his parent's and left him severely burned.

His Orphaned Heart wants to make sure that no other child lives through the long years alone, or the ridicule he did.

Caleb Holsheyer is an orphaned heart that no one seems to want, but David is determined to see the child settled in a good home. This a task in the best of times, but it's the Great Depression, people have little money for themselves let alone another mouth to feed, and Caleb is a cripple.

Sadie Miller, the town spinster, knows what it feels like to have a home and love. When she loses her father, she doesn't want to spend her life alone.

When the plans David have for Caleb fall through, he wonders if Sadie might be the answer to his prayer for Caleb. She has a home and she needs the companionship, but Child Welfare disagrees. They will only allow Caleb to stay with Sadie until a more suitable home can be found with a mother and a father, or he is returned to the orphanage

But when these three Orphaned Hearts join forces, they find that the answer was there all along.

I enjoyed Orphaned Hearts. I know you will too.

Monday, January 03, 2011

It's Already 2011.

Oh my goodness another year has come and gone, slipped into eternity like a whisper.

Or perhaps a bang for some.

Some of you are sad to see it go.

Others are grateful to see it pass as you wish for a happier year,

a more hopeful new year.

and you're grateful for a new beginning, for a new chance.

Wherever you find yourself, I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a

Happy and Joyous New Year.

May 2011 be the year your dreams are fulfilled.

May it be a year of blessing. A year of Growth. A year of renewal.

A year of Dreams. A year of Hope.

Happy New Year.