Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Here's another list of things you probably didn't know about me (and probably didn't really want to know, either. :) . The things I've done are in bold

1. Used real snow to make/eat a snow cone -- Yes, and snow ice cream as well. It was my favorite thing about living in New York

2. Slept in you car while parked at the side of the road--and in truck stop parking lots

3. Didn't go to bed until 4 in the morning on New Year's Day --actually, I do this quite often when I'm writing.

4. Dyed an Easter egg, using all the colors available

5. Catch a scent on the air that reminded you of something from your childhood (graham crackers really cause a sense of deja vu. my grandmother's pantry always smelled like that)

6. Taken a picture of the sky because it was a remarkable shade of blue that day--or because the cloud formations were really cool, or there was a rainbow, or...

7. Caught a fish and cleaned it yourself, then cooked it for dinner

8. Wished you bought two pairs of your favorite shoes -- many times. One of these days I'll learn to just go ahead and buy two or three pairs

9. Made a list like this

10. Taken art lessons

11. Taken ballet lessons

12. Driven a really scary stretch of road--Cameron Pass in Colorado back in the 70's. Oh. My. God. Sheer Terror.

13. Read a book from cover to cover in one sitting -- Oh yeah. Several times

14. Written a letter to your Congressman

15. Changed political parties

16. Made a boat yourself, and sailed in it

17. Worn mismatched shoes by accident

18. Been so happy you wanted to burst into song

19. Watched Barney, as an adult, without becoming annoyed

20. Thought you could walk to Sesame Street

22. Came up with a new recipe

23. Snorkeled or dived a coral reef

24. Been in a shark cage

25. Been told that a character in a Nora Roberts book reminded a friend of you

26. Howled in the car with your kids

27. Loved someone so much your heart hurt--every single day

28. Painted a house--more times than I want to think about.

29. Painted a picture in the style of a famous painter

30. Seen the Mona Lisa

31. Seen the Hope Diamond

32. Been the president of the PTA

33. Sat on Santa's lap...as an adult

34. Lost your spouse

35. Driven a race car--I wanted to, but dh wouldn't let me touch his hobby stock car. :(

36. Eaten fried okra--Love it!

37. Climbed Mt. Everest

38. Seen Mt. Rushmore

39. Saved a baby bird that had fallen from its nest

40. Tried a food you always thought was gross and discovered you loved it -- asparagus, avacados, tuna cassarole

41. Been to Hawaii--spent 2 weeks there. Loved it, wanted to stay.

42. Been to Africa

42. Had an "old-time" picture taken with your family, your friends or alone -

43. Made good friends via the Internet -- Most of my friends are online ones

44. Met a movie star--several. Too many to list, actually. Plus a number of country singers. Got to spend about 20 minutes backstage with Garth Brooks about 14 years ago.

45. Seen the Queen of England in person

46. Indulged in a tinsel fight while decorating the Christmas tree

47. Attended a family reunion

48. Couldn't turn out the lights for the night after reading a Stephen King nove

49. Gone on a cruise

50. Can you remember where you where the day the Challenger exploded? -- Absolutely. I was leading chapel services for a small school. Then had to deal with the shocked kids afterward.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pay it Forward

I know Christmas is the season of miracles, but today I got one that floored me. I've been fretting about how I was going to pay for groceries this week after shelling out our last $400 for a propane tank and propane. With the kids all coming home for Christmas, as well as my two young grandsons, I knew we had to have heat and hot water for showers. The dh and I can get along fine without the heat, but not the kids. They aren't used to living with the cold. But the youngest comes home today and she requires a special diet due to stomach troubles, so I needed to be able to buy things she can eat.

I've prayed and prayed the last few days. Stress made my stomach burn. Still, when I went to bed last night nothing had changed. It looked like I would be picking the youngest up at the airport and not able to buy her anything to eat on the way home.

I woke up this morning to an email from a friend, with a link to Paypal. There she had sent a Christmas gift, one that will let me buy food for the youngest plus enough to get the grownups through Christmas. And I know something else will come up by then to get us through, a concrete job or a house remodel or something.

And when we get back to having money coming in, I'll pay it forward by helping out someone else who's running short.

Thanks, friend. You know who you are. You'll always have a special place in my heart and prayers.

For everyone else, if you've been blessed this year, pay it forward and help someone else. Look at your own family, first. Do you have a brother or sister, nieces or nephews, who are struggling? What about your parents? Your kids? Even a $20 bill could buy them a tank of gas or a turkey or something to put in their kids' stockings. What about that struggling older couple down the street? Could they use a bag of groceries or a stack of firewood?

If you don't know anyone who needs help, check with your local nursing home. There are always old people or mentally handicapped people there who don't have visitors and might not get anything for Christmas. Take a bag of gifts and drop them off with a nurse for her to hand out. Pick an Angel from the Angel tree and go shopping. Read the ads on Craigslist in your area to see who is begging for toys for their kids and help them out.

There are so many ways to be a blessing. Just look around. While I haven't had much money this season, I have dug my change out to put in the buckets for Toys for Tots and Salvation Army. I've also been Freecycling like crazy--cleaning out no longer used clothing and things and passing them along--free--to whoever can make use of them. I've called people I haven't heard from in a while to check on them. I've been extra nice to the harried clerks in the stores, offering them a smile to help make their day a little brighter.

And you know what? I feel better every time I pay it forward just a little bit.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

Looking forward to a great Christmas this year. All four kids will be here, as well as our two grandsons. I had fun buying presents for everyone, did most of my shopping--stress-free--online, and I've finished decorating the tree and setting up the Christmas village on the buffet. I still have to hang the garland around the windows, wrap the stairway banister and the walkway rails with garland and lights, add the bows, and hang the mini-decorations along the banister. Then it's on to the outside. We're saving the outside for next week when temps are supposed to be back up in the 60's. (The pic is from last Christmas)

I have 2 things I'm making that have turned out to be much more work than I'd planned, so I hope I get them finished in time.

Now I just pray that the kids will get along while they're all here. :)

What do you have left to do before Christmas? Are you looking forward to the holidays, or dreading them? I have to admit, I'm looking forward to them more than usual and one of the reasons is that I'm getting a laptop for Christmas. Actually, I'm getting it next week. Dh finally decided to agree that I really, really need one, and that my writing has reached a point where publication is a real possibility, so he sees it as an investment in my future, not as a luxury. Yay!!

Oh, and did I mention that I'm going to be paying $30 a month for that laptop, probably for the next 5 years? LOL.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Well, I got my Golden Heart entry finished and sent in on time...but. The danged file on the CD wouldn't open, so I've just finished printing out a hard copy and I'm on my way to the post office to send it to RWA.

Monday I start in on the revisions. I need to add about 100 pages to bring it up to Mainstream length, though it would work for Intrigue with just about another 5000 words added--words sorely needed to fill a couple of plot holes. So I might do that first. But I think this book has real potential and I don't want to sell it short. So I'll be doing the agent query thing over the next few weeks, too. There are a couple of big contests besides RWA that I want to enter it in as well.

It feels really good to know I can write a book in the midst of all kinds of chaos, while doing backbreaking, mind-numbing labor, and I can make (barely) a deadline no matter what. I'll never again be able to tell myself I don't have time to write. The time is always there. It's just a matter of how we use it.

I also entered a photo of my dog, Blue, in a photo contest. You can rate it at http://photocontest.shutterfly.com/action/photocontest/vote?entry=167948 We could use the prize money, and the dogs could use the dog house since they got kicked outside for peeing on my rug and ruining my hardwood floors. Well, okay, they sleep in the enclosed back porch, but still. :)

We finished the house renovation as well. Hopefully the dh's uncle will be able to sell it quickly now that it's been updated and repaired. It looks like a totally different house. I'm still impressed with what all the dh can do. The tile floor looks fantastic, the kitchen looks so much better with new countertops and a new wall. The patio looks so inviting, with half walls around it just the right height to sit on or to line with plants. The termite damage to the carport area is all gone and replaced with new wood. I even mowed the yard and put mulch in the flower beds.
So I have two reasons to celebrate. Book finished, house finished.

Oh, and one more celebration coming up tomorrow. Our 34th wedding anniversary.