Tuesday, June 30, 2009
NOT A WOW EXPERIENCE
Mike Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson, often talks about making sure customers have a WOW experience. We flew to Phoenix on Friday night on Northwest/Delta and it was NOT a WOW experience. As it was, we were supposed to arrive at 11. We didn't get in until after 2. By the time we got to Kara's and got to bed, we were hitting the pillows about the time we would have gotten up in Indiana. LOL But the experience wasn't without some laughs. Our son-in-law Mark had set the alarm in case they decided to get some sleep before they came to get us in the wee hours. He forgot to reset it yesterday morning. The alarm went off at 1 am and he grabbed the PHONE and was hitting every button possible trying to shut off the alarm. He finally handed it to Kara and asked her to turn it off. She said, uh, honey this isn't the alarm! :-)
One other silver lining was that we were stuck in Minneapolis, land of Caribou Coffee. So I got to have an iced americano. But we're here now with our baby girl. Yesterday we did a little shopping and got some fabulous coffee beans from Echo Espresso, best coffee in the land. We got some new Java blend that is to die for! I'm getting some coffee beans to take home with me on Friday so it's as fresh as possible. If you love good coffee, you should try some. It's absolutely fabulous! http://www.echoespresso.com/
Today I'm meeting with some writer friends for lunch at Mimi's. Should be fun! I've just come through the worst 6 mos I can remember: 2 books in 6 mos all written during the time my father-in-law was getting more and more ill until he finally died in April. I'm SO ready for a break! I'm going to bask in the sunshine and blue skies and enjoy being with our daughter. One bad thing is I'm away from Alexa! I'm used to seeing her every week. I must call so she remembers Grammy's voice!
Labels: Caribou Coffee, Delta, echo espresso, Northwest, Wow experience
posted at 11:04 AM
Sunday, June 28, 2009
On Wednesday my family will embark on an Alaska cruise--something I've always wanted to do.
In preparation, I've dieted off a couple pounds because here's one thing I know: Cruise=Inevitable Weight Gain. Now there's a mathematical formula I understand. Unfortunately.
Dinnertime will go something like this:
"No dessert, thank you," I'll tell the attentive waiter.
"But it's free!" says the devil on my shoulder. Or maybe it's my skinny 16 year old. I'm not sure.
"Yeah, Mom, it's free!"
"It's not free," I say, "It cost 1000 calories and the receipt is the extra baggage on my thighs."
Or that's what I say in my pre-cruise fantasy. In all likelihood I'll order the triple chocolate molten lava cake and come home with extra baggage. I just hope the airline doesn't charge me extra.
Labels: alaska, cruise, dessert
posted at 10:00 PM
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Weird things happen to me.
I was at a coffee shop writing one day and the window washer guy comes over to me and asks me if I'm a writer. I tell him yes. He then wants to know what I write. I tell him Christian women's fiction/romance. Okay, here's where the weird part comes in.
He commences to tell me the significance of colors and how wearing the colors red and black are evil. I'm wondering what all this has to do with me, but I smile and listen, throwing in a "hmm," "uh-huh," in all the appropriate places.
Then it happens. I drop my pen and when I reach down to pick it up, I get a view of what I'm wearing. You guessed it. Black pants and a red top. I thank the man for sharing his opinions with me and tell him, however, that I do not share his view (obviously--my wardrobe consists of mainly red and black). He walks away telling me to beware and that's that.
This all happened a year or so ago.
Then last week I walk into a restaurant and a familiar-looking man approaches me and says, "I see you you're not lying on the beach." I'm like, "Huh?" I have no idea what that means, but figure he has me confused with someone else. I go sit with my daughter and tell her about it and she goes, "Oh, you mean the window washer man?"
I don't know what I was wearing. Probably red and black.
Is there something I'm missing? Please tell me I can keep my wardrobe. And tell me too, do you ever have weird things like this happen to you?
Labels: Red and Black, Wardrobe, Weird
posted at 9:39 PM
I wanted excitement, right?
I mean, didn't I complain how boring life in the country was?? Well, not anymore. Now that we are without a job and the house is on the market (open to realtors today) and I had a cyst/tumor/neoplasm (they're still deciding that after surgery), I've decided this still
beats life in the country. The unexpected, while not the greatest place to stay, is a fun place to visit.
However, I'm all for stability in the housing arena, and after this, I do not want to move again. I mean, peel my cold, dead body from the floor, because it's going to be very hard to get me to move again. I want my cute little Ashley Stockingdale labels, to keep ONE address. Granted, I'd like it to be this one, but God doesn't have that in the cards apparently. I remember reading a biography on Mamie Eisenhower and how she could make a house a home in a day. I've gotten pretty good at that skill, but really, I'll give it up. What is great about my life is that my friends rock and I feel so supported and prayed for, and that's what it's all about. I'll get settled so that I can be the one helping again. That's the way I hope it happens.
There are more kids to meet, I guess. More friendships to be made, but I do hope not to abandon any of the ones we've made here. This neighborhood has been awesome! I'm thankful for the short time I had here. I never tired of coming up through the canopy of trees or seeing my lovely city view (which served as a reminder that I was not in the country!) Care to tell us what you're thankful for in a less-than-idea situation?
posted at 2:59 PM
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
You've all heard me raving about my granddaughter Alexa. We adore that baby for sure. She has started squealing when she sees us now. Yesterday was her 9 month birthday. This pictures is at Lowe's shopping for flowers on Sunday. She's getting tubes in her ears any minute now, poor little thing.
I want to start building some memories with her. What is your favorite thing you did with your grandma? My grandma was less than five feet tall and nearly as big around as she was tall. She had an enormous bosom and would throw babies over her chest and rock the daylights out of them with one foot stuck out. I can see her so clearly even now. Every time I went to her house, she tried to feed me something. She peppered the daylights out of food too, which was a shock to my poor husband whose mother never used pepper. LOL But little Alexa loves hot stuff. She eats the hottest salsa and whines for more!
I think my favorite memory of my grandma is the way she liked to lay in bed with me and "tickle" my arm. She'd run her fingertips up and down my arm. Even when I was an adult with kids of my own. My daughter Kara remembers Grandma doing this as well. I might have to start that with Alexa.
So what's your favorite memory?
Labels: memories of Grandma
posted at 8:46 AM
Sunday, June 21, 2009
It's a scorching day at the Little League diamond and a little girl in a pink bathing suit passes by. I say passes, but really it's more of a sashay. She's a cute little thing, 3 or 4, prancing barefoot, carefree.
I watch her dawdle, oblivious to anyone else, caught up in her own world of play and pretend. I try to remember the last time I felt that carefree in a bathing suit--just a few short nevers ago--and wonder what happens to take us from carefree bathing beauties to self-conscious sarong-wearers.
Is it because of school yard kids pointing out our flaws? The assault of airbrushed images of impossibly beautiful women? Maybe it's the commercials convincing us we need their products to cover our hideous flaws?
Maybe it's a combination of all the above, I'm not sure, but I have a nostalgic moment watching that little girl. I long for that total lack of self-consciousness, wish there were some way to get it back, some way to reverse the cultural damage and see the world through innocent eyes. Until then, I guess I'll buy myself a nice wide sarong for the summer and maybe a cover-up to boot.
posted at 5:49 PM
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Some people say my daughter and I are joined at the hip.
We share that close mother-daughter bond thing. Talk to each other a bazillion times a day. But it's more than that. We have so many similarities in our lives, it's kind of scary. For instance:
--we have a picture in our photo album of me pregnant with our daughter. Coincidentally, twenty years later, her now husband proposed to her on the same spot (three hours from our home).
--I gave birth to her (my firstborn) when I was twenty-two years and two months old. At twenty-two years and two months old, she gave birth to her daughter (firstborn).
--I had her on October 16. She had her second daughter on October 17.
--I gave birth to our only son on June 21. She gave birth to her only son on June 21.
Crazy, huh? If I tried to write these in a story, I'm sure my editor would say it was too coincidental.
Do you have anyone like that in your life that you share unusual similarities?
posted at 8:07 AM
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I'm trying to get excited about what's next in life. Today, I sold some chairs on Craigslist, and I met the nicest lady here working for a new Republican (ie., read: real Republican governor) candidate. She was so cute, and definitely Ashley-like, so I gave her a book. Then, I went to Long's and met up with my daughter's friend's mother and had a GREAT conversation about the new Oil of Olay products. I had a deep prayer time with some local writers and I baked a turkey dinner. It was a good day. But I have to admit, every time I drive up to my house or go outside, I start to cry. I really got too attached to this house, and it's just a thing. I get that unhealthy attachments to things are nothing more than idolatry.
I always want to be able to walk away. If Jesus comes to the door and says, "Let's go." I don't want to even turn around. So I am trying to focus on what's ahead. I'm pressing on, moving forward and trying NOT to treat everyone associated with the sale of this house like the vermin they are. LOL I'm kidding. Sort of.
I can always pull a Speidi and announce my deep and loving Christian forgiveness of them publicly, right? (If you don't get that reference, never mind, it's too stupid to explain.)
Anyway, it was a really good day. Two espressos, time with my daughter, lots of money made on selling Craigslist items, and now, off with a new novel. I'm pressing on. What do you do to press on?
Note the picture: It's a blimp that you can rent out of Moffett Field. California: we can't keep the lights on, but you can't rent a blimp, sky-dive in a wind tunnel and drive a Smart Car without being laughed at. Sigh. Maybe it's time...
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
A GIRL PROBLEM
Makeup can only do so much, you know? I hate to admit it but I'm getting older I've been blessed with good genes for hair and don't have to color it yet even though I'm 57. But I've got age spots on my face that I'm always trying to cover up with makeup. But it never covers it right! So aggravating!
So though I never thought I'd say this, I've been thinking about a chemical peel or laser or something but I have no idea what works and what doesn't. Any advice for me? I want something that's fairly gentle too because I'm not fond of pain on my face. LOL But remember I live in Indiana. We're mostly country hicks and most of us know nothing about this kind of thing. LOL I'm sure I could go to a dermatologist and ask but I'd like to be prepared with a little knowledge. And is there any cream that would do it?
posted at 8:44 AM
Monday, June 15, 2009
Procrastination. What would I know about that? Just because it's Monday morning and my blog was due, uh, now, doesn't mean I was procrastinating, does it? The problem was, I didn't find inspiration until this morning. Yeah, inspiration, that was the problem.
I ran across this quote on Michael Hyatt's blog (www.michaelhyatt.com). The quote is from P. J. O'Rourke.
"Usually, writers will do anything to avoid writing. For instance, the previous sentence was written at one o’clock this afternoon. It is now a quarter to four. I have spent the past two hours and forty-five minutes sorting my neckties by width, looking up the word “paisly” in three dictionaries, attempting to find the town of that name onThe New York Times Atlas of the World map of Scotland, sorting my reference books by width, trying to get the bookcase to stop wobbling by stuffing a matchbook cover under its corner, dialing the telephone number on the matchbook cover to see if I should take computer courses at night, looking at the computer ads in the newspaper and deciding to buy a computer because writing seems to be so difficult on my old Remington, reading an interesting article on sorghum farming in Uruguay that was in the newspaper next to the computer ads, cutting that and other interesting articles out of the newspaper, sorting—by width—all the interesting articles I’ve cut out of newspapers recently, fastening them neatly together with paper clips and making a very attractive paper clip necklace and bracelet set, which I will present to my girlfriend as soon as she comes home from the three-hour low-impact aerobic workout that I made her go to so I could have some time alone to write.”
Can anyone relate? Anyone? I don't have the luxury of this kind of procrastination with my deadlines, but I admit to a more frugal helping of procrastination, usually with a side of justification.
Just five minutes of email--The Girls need my opinion!
I really to have to make that phone call--they close in, uh, five hours.
Aw, poor Daisy. You really need someone to play fetch with, doncha girl?
Must see what everyone's up to on Facebook. I'm still on the computer, technically I'm still working, right?
The writer of this post is proud to announce that she finished without once leaving her chair.
posted at 7:29 AM
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Thanks to all of you who wrote to me on email to win a copy of my book "Hometown Courtship". I've notified the winners, but if you didn't win a copy, don't despair. I just received a box of my Guideposts book, "On the Right Path," today, so I'm giving away FIVE copies of that book. I have to give away less of that book because it's hardback and costs more. :-)
Anyway, most of you know the Guideposts books are gentle reads. This book is part of the Home to Heather Creek Series, but these books can be read as stand alones, as well. Here's the blurb on the series:
"Come home to Heather Creek. Get to know Charlotte Stevenson, who is raising her grandchildren on the family farm after a tragic accident changes all of their lives forever. With the help of her husband Bob and a close-knit circle of friends, she will do whatever it takes to keep this fragile family together. See how God, who makes the sun rise and the crops grow, watches over our lives, too."
Here's the blurb on MY story:
"School's out for the summer, and Charlotte is doing her best to keep the kids occupied and out of trouble. After much prodding, Sam gets a job at a day care, but it's his part-time gig at the airport that captures his interest--and has his grandparents worried. Christopher is hard at work trying to teach an old dog new tricks, and Emily and her friend Ashley get roped into visiting an elderly woman in town who needs a little help around the house. As they clean, they uncover mementos that unravel a painful story from the woman's past, which changes everything they know about forgiveness.
Meanwhile, Charlotte and Hannah start training for a walkathon, and Bill and Anna have a secret--and the timing couldn't be worse. As the lazy days of summer settle over Heather Creek Farm, will Charlotte be able to keep them all on the right path?"
To enter the contest, email me your snail mail address at email@example.com between now and Sunday evening. I'll notify winners by Monday morning.
Thanks for your support!
posted at 1:59 PM
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
A New Perspective
My book, "Walking on Water" was supposed to be out this Fall. But I was so mentally-overloaded, that edits did not penetrate my overtaxed brain. The pacing was off, the characterization was off -- just about everything that together makes something a book, was off. But I could not see it. I tried to work it out, with so many cooks in the kitchen that we blew it up into a real, hot mess. What it needed was time. It simply wasn't done yet, and I wasn't in a place to write it, but I had to write it -- I needed to get paid, I needed to keep on top of my kids' schedule, I needed to get dinner on the table at 8 pm due to my husband's late hours. I needed, I needed.
I don't know if you've tried to speed God up, but His view of time is SLOW. You can be politically-correct and say different than mine, but my God is a big God, and I say He is SLOW!!
I took time out to write a young adult novel, which was contracted after "Walking on Water" but I needed the break. I needed to be dorky and fun, and get back to remembering why I'm a writer. Looking at a 90k abject failure, I wasn't able to do that or to see that it could be put back to rights again. The skies are clear again. God has reminded me lovingly, why I wrote this book. Not in anger or depression, which honestly is what the book sounded like -- because I was just so stinkin' overtaxed.
So everything I worried about happened. I didn't get paid. My husband lost his job. We're selling our house. The book didn't come out this year. And you know what? It's fine. I'm at complete peace. I'm enjoying writing again, glad for the time I had here in my house -- glad, even though I'll lose money that I made this place a beautiful place to be. There's pride in that, even if there won't be a financial reward. I redid EVERYTHING!
I'm not just in denial either. I'm totally in God's will, and that's a good thing. Colleen's reading the first chapter for me, so hopefully, it's working. But wow, living without balance just shuts this baby down! Since I won't say no, my body says it for me. Funny how God works things that way. He'll get you to listen, one way or the other. I had a pedicure this morning, and I feel human again. What is it about red toes that makes me feel alive?
So now, I feel like I am WALKING ON WATER. : )
Labels: edits, failure, rejection, writing
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
It's always an exciting day when one of us gets a new cover. We immediately want to get each others opinion on it and this time was even more exciting for me because this is the cover for my first historical romantic mystery. I've loved writing it. Loved the setting (1907 northern California in the redwoods) and the characters. Loved being in a lighthouse again.
What do you think? Would you pick it up? Does it depart too much from my normal "brand" look because it's lighter? Would you recognize it as a Colleen Coble book? If you've never read one of my books, would you be more apt to pick this one up because of its look? Any comments appreciated!
Labels: cover, historical novel, Lightkeeper's Daughter, romantic mystery
posted at 1:41 AM
Sunday, June 07, 2009
It's that time of year again. Diplomas, gowns, and grad parties abound and all across the country graduating seniors are wondering what they'll do with the rest of their lives. Okay, most are only thinking about college, but still.
It only seems like a few years ago that I was graduating high school, and looking back, I had no clue what I wanted. Even now I wonder, how are 18 year-olds supposed to know how they want to spend the rest of their lives? I didn't even know who I was when I was 18, much less what career I wanted.
I started as a commercial art major, changed to a secondary education major with a focus in science and communication then switched to a focus in creative writing. Sure I was a little confused, but that's okay. It may have taken a while to figure out what I wanted, but I'd say it all worked out pretty well.
So if I could give graduates any advice it's this: It's okay if you don't know what you want. Go to college, pick a broad major, get your basics and then see what you think in a couple years. Get a core education and build a set of skills that'll allow you some flexibility in the future. Then you'll be prepared to follow your dreams, whatever they may lead.
posted at 7:24 PM
Thursday, June 04, 2009
WHOOOHOOOO!!!!! It's been a year-and-a-half since my last baby arrived. My new "baby" came this week! My July release, "Hometown Courtship," with Love Inspired, that is. Here's the back cover copy:
"His matchmaking brother is sending another single gal Brad Sharp's way. Under the guise of community service! The Make a Home project--building houses for the needy--is Brad's life. He fully expects hair stylist Callie Easton to show up for "work" with a pink hammer and not even use it. Hardly a match for him!
With a heart of gold and a talent for transformation, Callie works hard. Still, Brad won't notice her. His grief over a tragic loss has hardened his heart. Well, Callie knows all about loss. And thanks to Brad, she knows even more about making a home--for them."
And here's an excerpt:
"Brad's gaze landed on her nails. He stared. And stared.
Callie's comment visibly jarred him.
"The polish." She wiggled her fingers. "You like it?"
With a blank stare, he said, "As you can see, we serve coffee and donuts here, so if you skip going to the bakery, you might actually get here on time."
Her happy day paled a bit.
"Is it the nail polish? Admittedly not a great color for me."
He said nothing.
"I'll skip my trip to the bakery in the morning," Callie said.
"So you'll be here by eight-thirty tomorrow morning, right? Noticeable edge to his voice there.
He then explained the program to her, but she didn't hear a word of it. She couldn't imagine how this rude, arrogant man was the same suave, debonair man she'd met at the bakery that morning. She couldn't believe she'd given up a perfectly good peach scone for this guy.
It wouldn't happen again.
I will send a free copy of the book to ten people who would be willing to read the book and write a review for Amazon and Christianbook.com. If you are interested, please send your snail mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll draw 10 names and if I pull your name, I will send you a confirmation email.
Thanks for your encouragement and support! You all are the greatest!
Labels: Inspirational Romance, Love Inspired
posted at 5:39 AM
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
I'm reading "The Power of the Praying Wife" by Stormie Omartian. It's a classic that's sold over ten million copies or something ridiculous like that, so I'm finally getting to it. In it, the author says something that really struck me hard. Bryed and I have been through a lot of storms these last few years. We have lost so many we loved, and jobs and made mistakes with moves. It's just been one thing after another.
Today, my husband lost his job. It was a crappy job. I mean, in terms of what it did for our family. We had no balance. He was commuting and not home until 8 or 8:30. He was leaving here at 7. He was literally a ghost and my daughter would cry for him, like her father had moved out or something.
It's hard to support a family of six in Silicon Valley, but I can honestly say, he did everything he could for this job, and it wasn't enough. So you know, at that point, you have to say C'est la vie, right
So anyway, Stormie's words. She said, "The husband is the head of the home, but the wife is the heart." And no matter how you twist things around, you're making more money, he's doing kid stuff, chores, etc. That fundamental thing should never change. Women should be the heart of their home and men should be the head. I just find so much power in that. I'm the heart! If my heart is cold and angry, the house is going to be that way. It needs to be warm and accepting and God-like, inviting people in with spirit. And was I really equipped to do that with a constant schedule of four kids and MS acting up? You know, maybe I'd grown a little chilly.
Please don't feel sorry for us. People have it a lot tougher than us financially. I'm not complaining. I feel very grateful for all we have, even if we have to give things up. They're things. But now I have this knowledge. That even if my husband is home, he'll never make it a hearth. It's not what he was equipped to do. That's my job! And I'm totally psyched about that. It's like I've been given a steering wheel, and you know, I have a lot of heart. My leadership skills leave a lot to be desired.
Labels: Stormie, The Power of a Praying Wife
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
I finally realized a dream this week. I bought a pair of red shoes! Oh my gosh, they are darling! Just darling. They're Vera Wangs and I got them for $40 on sale at Kohl's. Super comfortable. Okay, you ask, why am I going on and on about red shoes? Maybe you don't have this problem. It's been very hard for me to buy myself clothes or shoes. Only in recent years have I bought myself new clothes very often. When I have spare money, I'd much rather buy the kids something. I blame my mother for this complex. I can't even remember her buying herself anything when I was growing up. She always made sure we had what we needed but rarely did anything for herself. So I learned that at her knee. LOL
But as I've gotten a little older, I've become more interested in fashion. I blame Kristin for this. She got me a purse that's to die for and I decided I needed to live up to the image the purse portrays. LOL But really, these red shoes are milestones for me. For one thing, they aren't totally practical. You can't wear them with everything. I can wear them with MANY things because I'm a winter and I have all winter colors but they won't go with every single item in my wardrobe the way black would. So they are a symbol that it's okay not to be totally practical. They're also a little dressy even though they're flats. So that limits them a little more. So they are just because I've always wanted to have red shoes.
I haven't quite decided when I'm going to wear them. Maybe this weekend to my local ACFW meeting. Or to my next booksigning. But I'll be so proud! LOL
One more thing before I get back to writing. Thomas Nelson is giving away a FREE download of my book Distant Echoes. No kidding! The entire book. It's on my website and the code to download is echoes467. Enjoy!
Is there one thing you've always wanted that you've never been able to bring yourself to spend the money on?
Labels: red shoes, vera wang
posted at 8:17 AM