Girls Write Out
Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'd forgotten how much work you have to do when you're normal!

With a CA-125 of 8.4 (Whoohooo!!! God be praised!), I can't claim the cancer card these days (thank You, Lord!), so it's back to work! I started my day with the Lord and then I drove to my morning Yoga class (okay, I said that as though I go every morning, when, in fact, it's my second class in three weeks), and she stretched me like Gumby!! WOW!

My in-laws are coming for the weekend, so I went to the grocery after Yoga and then came home to finish cleaning the house, change bed clothes, vacuum, all that. Can I say "pooped" here? I'm pooped (I assume you answered yes). The good news is since I stretched myself first (Yoga), I was able to vacuum one room while dusting in another.

I'm attending a women's conference this weekend and it starts tonight. My stepmom-in-law will be going with me. I hope I can last through the sessions all day tomorrow. (Please pray for me if you think of it.)

The reason I'm rambling is this, do you notice what is missing so far from my day? You're exactly right. Writing. No writing. Not one word. Well, until this post.

Some days are just like that--full of good intentions, but it just doesn't get done. Most days it's a priority, but some days, it has to step aside.

So since we have a "cafe" type blog, I have to ask you, do your days go as planned? Are you an organizer and stick to it no matter if the cat is hanging from the ceiling fan or your toddler has crammed the entire remains of the Oreo cookie package in his mouth, or do you grab the cat and sit down on the floor with the toddler and two glasses of milk?

Diann Hunt  
posted at 11:16 AM  
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Okay, here is a better picture. The spider just did not work. I wasn't trying to scare anybody, and it's probably too late now, but here is Data, our little hero. Colleen, tell me you're not still screaming.

I did not grow up with the Munsters or the Addams Family. Honestly, I didn't. I grew up on a farm. Just because I name our spiders--really, it means nothing. I simply appreciate the fact that the spiders I name eat the bugs I hate. Charlotte the 15th is now hanging out--literally--outside our sunroom, and I get to watch her weave her beautiful, creative webs. Amazing.

Writing spiders like Charlotte in Charlotte's Web are perfectly harmless and they help us get rid of all the flying insects that enter at our door every time it opens to let a cat in or out. So I welcome our leggy neighbors.

Mel, on the other hand, hasn't quite caught on yet. After fifteen years, you'd have thought I could have convinced him. His reluctance may have something to do with the many brown recluse spiders we've found in our house. It's a good thing they're recluses, because THEY aren't harmless.

Last night, Mel mowed while I herded the cats inside and fed them and put them to bed. Our black and white kitty, Data, loves to chase and catch spiders and bugs and all kinds of creepy-crawlies. He's such a little hero. But last night he ate cat food, oblivious of the repast he could have enjoyed.

I knew it was getting dark, and though our lawn mower has headlights, I kind of hoped Mel would come in pretty soon. He doesn't do well in the dark. He's not afraid of the dark, but he tends to run into things. I didn't want him to wreck the lawn mower.

Long after the sun had set, I heard the mower shut off and the garage door lower with it's squeaky gears. Mel stepped in, eyes wide.

"Sweetheart, did you hear that little girl scream?" he asked.

"What? No! What happened?"

"No, I'm saying, did you hear the little-girl scream. From me."

"You screamed like a little girl?" And then I realized. "Charlotte got you?"

He shuddered. "Do you know how many Charlottes are out there, hanging in reach of my face?"

"Oh, honey, tell me the neighbors didn't hear you."

"They could hear me at the airport! With the jets going! I'm telling you, don't step outside the door or you'll be eaten!"

I laughed. And laughed. And then I doubled over, tears running down my face. "You screamed like a little girl at a harmless creation of God barely the size of the end of your finger?"

"The size of my hand, at least. Sweetheart, just don't go out there tonight."

I didn't. But I did laugh a few more minutes before we went to bed. Then laughed a couple of times as Mel was dozing off. I'd warned him, you know. Before he married me, he could have cut and run. He'd hiked with me several times with a huge stick held in front of us, breaking the way through the spider webs on the trail in the fall. He could have backed out. He didn't. He's stuck now.

Heheheheh... any scary stories?

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Hannah Alexander  
posted at 11:45 PM  
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My Kindle came today! Somehow I restrained myself and waited to rip into it until I had my camera set up. It's so little and light! It's a little heavier in the cover but still lighter than a book.

Things I've already noticed:

Page turns are fast.

The reading experience is fun on the Kindle. I forgot I even had my new toy in hand.

It was easy and intuitive to set up. I skipped through the majority of the first instructions.

The books I'd bought didn't show up right away but I didn't take into account that it would take a few minutes to download them. I rebooted the Kindle and there they were.

The case is really nice. It has a strap that keeps it closed.

It took me a minute to figure out where the on/off slide was. To put it to sleep you just flip that switch. You bring it out of sleep the same way.

I have a feeling I'm going to be buying MORE books now that I have a Kindle. I see my husband's wince from here. LOL At least you don't have to build more bookshelves, honey!

It's going to be perfect for travel.

The buttons were easy to use and it was simple to connect to my wireless here at the house. I bought the one without 3G since wireless is so readily available.

I have some books to read for endorsement already that I can send over to the Kindle. I'll love that feature!

So now it's your turn. If you have a Kindle, tell me the things I should know.


Colleen Coble  
posted at 10:59 AM  
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Monday, September 27, 2010
I have to wonder if reading my books has made my Dave more romantic. You tell me. Our first Christmas he bought me--a BLENDER. It was all I could do not to cry. A blender? Really? When we'd only been married 3 mos. Not lingerie? Not perfume or jewelry? A KITCHEN appliance?

To give him credit, he'd heard me say I'd like to get a blender. But the poor man had no clue a blender wasn't a suitable gift for a newlywed. Over the years he got better. But then a few years ago he started buying more romantic gifts. It strangely coincided with my publisher steering me toward more romance. Coincidence? You tell me. At this event pictured here (the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Indianapolis last weekend) he gave me a black diamond necklace. If I'd won the award I was up for, he was going to give it to me in front of everyone! That is SO not my quiet husband's usual manner. Only love would drive him to do something like that.

I hardly know what to think! But I'm sure liking it!

Now it's your turn. What is the most romantic thing your significant other has done? What do you WISH he/she would do?

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:31 PM  
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Our Big Announcement

I've got happy news! Girls Write Out authors Kristin, Colleen, Diann, and I are contracting to write a contemporary romantic novella collection for our publisher, Thomas Nelson!

The collection, entitled Smitten, features the fictional town of Smitten, Vermont. When the local economy threatens the town's survival, four friends propose the idea of making Smitten into the Romance Capitol of America. During the course of their first transitional year, each woman finds a love of her own.

As you might imagine, we're thrilled to be writing a collection together, and you can expect some aspects of our personalities to come shining through our heroines.

(A side note so you can understand the significance of this moment: Kristin, Colleen, and I did a collection together years ago, Blind Dates. On occasion, Diann has been known to moan and groan that she never got to write one with us. So now, Diann, you have no reason to whine. ;-)

Here we are, signing the contract with our (Colleen's, Diann's, and my) agent Karen Solem at the ACFW conference a week ago. A momentous occasion!
Denise Hunter  
posted at 8:08 PM  
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Colleen will kill me, because this is everything I'm not supposed to eat. But it's so good, and it's made with everyday things you have around the house, so very easy to look like a Saturday morning chef without the trouble. Kathi Lipp, author of "The Husband Project" sent it to me:

Bread Pudding


* 6 slices bread (day old is fine)
* 2 tablespoons butter, melted
* 4 eggs, beaten
* 2 cups non-fat milk
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Break bread into small pieces into an 8 x 11 inch baking pan. Drizzle melted butter over bread.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.
5. Drizzle a little caramel topping over the individual pieces before serving.
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If you're out there today, please be in prayer for Colleen and her family. They've had an accident in the family and we know few details, but it involves Dave's mom, and she is a lovely, lovely woman. Please pray!
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Duck feet are wasted on, well, ducks.

I've taken up Yoga. Scary, huh? Even with chemo brain I'm smart enough to know that if I tried a Yoga class it would not be pretty.

A lovely Christian woman in town gives private lessons, so I decided to give it a try. It can't hurt, right? Wrong. Don't let those unassuming, "gentle" poses fool you! They're affecting your body more than you think.

I can't remember what all the poses are, but I do know there are a couple of them that require the Jaws of Life to unfold me to my natural state. Another thing I noticed, I'm two inches taller after every practice. I should be 6'2" by year's end.

But the whole thing with the duck feet is this: I have trouble balancing. My feet just aren't wide enough (though I suspect they will be by the time I get through a series of classes). If I had flat duck feet, I'm thinking that would be just the ticket for not falling over. The next best thing would probably be scuba gear--doesn't that include flipper like feet?

At any rate, if you see me these days, I'm standing taller but that's only because I've been reduced to a pretzel earlier in the week.

Somehow it works. My teacher starts with Scripture and prayer and then we're off and running--no, not running--stretching, folding, breathing, all that. The truth is, I LOVE it!!

Have you ever tried Yoga or Pilates or stretching as exercise? What do you think of it? I know I need to work in some cardio and I'm thinking serious walking, but haven't done it yet. What's your exercise of choice?
Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:17 AM  
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I'm showing a picture of my husband, Mel, under this title because Mel is a true gentleman. He respects those around him, he treats me with kindness in public and private, and he treats his elders with great care and compassion. When we were dating, he always respected his own set of strict boundaries and made me feel cherished as a woman, not objectified.

I've read recently that in the South, people of both sexes are expected to respect their elders by the use of Mr., Mrs., ma'am, sir, etc. I was raised in California, so what would I know? And yet I do attempt to treat others with respect and kindness.

Do you have a story to tell about a specific time you learned the value of being a lady or a gentleman? To respect the dignity of others? My hardest lessons came in high school, when those who did not quite fit in, who looked different, who didn't have enough money for food, much less soap and shampoo and deodorant, were disrespected by others. I look back at those days now and wish I had done more to show special kindness to those who received less. How about you? Did you ever wish you had done better, treated someone else the way you would have wanted to be treated? It's difficult to be charming ALL the time.

The husband of a dear friend of mine proved himself to be a man of distinction when several of us women stayed together in a hotel suite for a few days. Our friend's husband wanted to join her for one night, and he made sure he had our permission to do so. Then he made sure the door between their room and the rest of the suite remained locked when his wife was not with us. He showed us respect, protected our privacy and made us feel safe.

Would you please share with us some qualities you believe are important in today's society? We could always stand to learn more ways to show kindness.

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Hannah Alexander  
posted at 12:13 AM  
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Friday, September 17, 2010
I'm here in Indiana with all my friends, and loving life. We have a suite that makes me not want to go home, and last night Revell (my Perfectly Dateless and Perfectly Invisible publisher) treated me to a lovely dinner at a rooftop restaurant that turns. So while looking out over the city, suspense author Jill Eileen Smith, talked about if there was a sniper in a nearby building, could he hit us? (We decided he could.) I, on the other hand, overlooking the Indiana state capital wondered if it was haunted and thought about a great gothic romance.

Eating with authors is somewhat like herding cats. We don't do what we're told, and we don't think like "normals" and most editors are normals. So I know it's work for them to be with us.

We took pics this morning, and I am so grateful because I hate this pic of me on here. I look fat. Maybe to compensate, I wore some skinny jeans today. Just maybe.

So while I didn't do anything to prepare for this conference, deciding to come only at the last minute, and I'm leaviing during the Manning Bowl on Sunday, I'm still thrilled to be here. Still happy to be among my people. ACFW is definitely an annual highlight, and I am grateful that I got to come. YAY!
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Okay, I'm starting to scare myself.

I've been told once you have chemo you develop "chemo brain." But as you know, my chemo adventure is over (thank You, Lord!) and I'm wondering just how long I can blame things on the chemo brain.

Case in point. My granddaughter's third birthday was on Monday. Now, most of you know that I am a doting Nanny. I am totally crazy about all of our grandkids. So what I'm about to confess just cuts me to the core.

I knew her birthday was on the 13th, but what I didn't realize was that MONDAY was the 13th. What with planning for the writer's conference, chemo brain, and all that, I just plain didn't realize the date. I sent a gift by mail on Monday, but I was late (she lives two hours away).

Just one question. Why is it the MEN never get in trouble for this????? It's always up to the women to come through for those kids, doggone it!!

Okay, so hubby and I talk about it and we decide we'd give her a gift card to Target so her mommy and daddy could help her pick something out. When I go to bed that night I'm telling my hubby how awful I feel about it and he says, "I told them you were sending a gift card." I jolted upright in bed.

Hubby: "What's the matter?"
Me: "I sent them a check."
Hubby: "Well, that's all right. That works."
Me: "But I also bought the gift card!"

We laughed about it but the fact that I bought the gift card on Monday, the same day I sent the check, is just, well, scary!!! Can I blame it on the conference? On Chemo? Please don't tell me it boils down to old age--oh, well, I guess you can tell me that if you want to. I'll never remember!

Do you ever have moments like these?

Diann Hunt  
posted at 9:31 AM  
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I have a friend on email who had never met a published author face to face until this summer. She was excited, of course, when she attended a book signing and purchased the author's book, looking forward to another good read.

When she found time to read it, however, she was dismayed, and she emailed me about it. The love scenes shocked her. She couldn't read them. She hadn't realized the author wrote those kinds of stories.

I should have warned her about what to expect when I looked up the author's books online and saw the word "sexy" in the description. I have learned, when judging books for the secular market, that when something is promoted as sexy, sex is exactly what the reader gets, not the gentle romances we Christian writers provide, where we allow the loving couple to close the door after a kiss or two--and only then if they're married.

The GirlsWriteOut readers, who have learned to trust us to bring them stories that won't shock them with a lot of strong language or titillate them with erotic description, may feel uncomfortable when they dip a toe into some of the secular romance novels available on most bookshelves. As I've told my friend, however, in judging some of the books for RWA, I've found, to my surprise, that even in "those kinds" of books, one can sometimes find a Christian message, and since I typically read only Christian fiction, I would never have discovered this had I not been forced to read these books to judge their quality.

I remember plowing through one book with a lot of language, a lot of violence, and yes, the sex scenes, and then being surprised when I found that the author had included a Christian character who affected the whole direction of the plot. In other words, she showed regular people--unbelievers--doing what a lot of unbelievers do, living like unbelievers, being affected by one Christian man who lived like a Christian. She included the whole gamut of a secular story, but the one Christian man, who prayed and supported and loved, must have reached some readers who would have turned up their noses at one of our Christian novels.

I imagine you have some strong feelings on the subject. I know the Apostle Paul wrote that he wished to become all things to all people so that some may be saved. Though I know the story world I create will never have a full-blown sex scene in it, and very little problematic language, I have to admire those who put their professions on the line in order to see that the Christian message is shared in places it may never otherwise be shown.

What do you think?

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Hannah Alexander  
posted at 8:56 AM  
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Did you hear that scream this morning? That was me leaping out of bed to pack. Two days. TWO DAYS! Then the five of us will be together at the ACFW conference. This is the highlight of our year. Amber Zimmerman, Di's daughter, is a fabulous photographer. If you click on her name, you'll be taken to her website. Anyway, she's going to take some fun pics of the five of us this week. If you listen closely, you'll be able to hear us laughing starting on Thursday.

I'm taking gluten free chocolate chip cookies (made with almond flour) and some fabulous candy for snacks. We're going to see our fabulous agent, Karen Solem, as well. I haven't seen Karen in a year and can't wait to hug her. She was laughing yesterday when we talked and wasn't sure she'd recognize me. I told her she'e recognize my loud voice. LOL My darling Ami McConnell will be there. I just saw her at Thomas Nelson two weeks ago, but it will be fun to be all together again. Natalie Hanemann and Allen Arnold are both coming from Thomas Nelson too, so all of my peeps will be in one place. That just NEVER happens so to say I'm excited this week is an understatement. :-)

I'm looking forward to my mentoring appts too. I'm chatting with ten gals about their careers and I adore talking about writing.

All in all, there will be too much coffee, too much laughing, too much chocolate (Debrand truffles) and too much camaraderie to stand it. Oh wait, is that even possible? :-) Oh and MAJOR news! I'll get to see The Lightkeeper's Bride for the first time!!!! It is shipping to stores this week.

What about you? How is your week going. Need us to pray for you or have something you want to share we can rejoice with you about?

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:45 AM  
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Monday, September 13, 2010

I have two recipe books--one for meal food, one for desserts. I recently pulled out my books to find something to make for a family get together. When I set them both on the table, I couldn't help but notice the difference.

One is thin, neat, and looks brand new--nary a spill to be seen. The other is fat to the point of being stuffed, scarred, and covered with splotches.

I'm not oblivious to the clues. Hey, I'm Colleen's critique partner. I know how to find and follow clues. And these tell me I do way too little cooking and way too much baking. Of course, you could've just asked my family. Exhibit A, the Tollhouse Cookies in the photo--or what's left of them. Baking is just more fun than cooking. I cook to keep my family alive, but I bake for the joy of it, what can I say?

And just in case you were wondering . . . I made brownies for the family get together.

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Denise Hunter  
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Thursday, September 09, 2010

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010
I have long been a major fan of the television show, Monk, which recently completed its final season. Since Mel and I chose not to have cable television many years ago, we have rented our television DVDs through the mail, so we carefully select what we watch. I'm always looking for new, clean, intelligent television shows to order on Netflix, and we love Monk. It doesn't give me nightmares, which is always a good thing. It is also funny at times, heart-touching at times, and the characters keep it a whole lot cleaner than most shows we've seen lately. Monk's tragic-funny personality has revealed some of the struggles, pain and trials of those affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder. No, it doesn't go far enough to show the deepest parts of this tragic malady, but then it wouldn't be funny, it would just be heartbreaking.

Two things I have to watch out for are sex and violence on TV--not just shoot 'em-up violence, but detective shows, like NCIS--which we also love, by the way--which reveal far too much graphic detail for me. Mel, of course, can watch anything he wants, and he doesn't think he has nightmares. Since he doesn't remember his dreams, I don't know how he can tell. But since he deals with blood and gore and death and the underbelly of life at work, I guess he either has to shut it all off or go crazy. Since Monk is not a medical show, Mel is less vociferous about whether or not they've gotten the details right--never watch a true medical show with someone who works in the field. Crystal can attest to this, I know.

For me, the crux of a good show is the characterization, not necessarily the plot, although both are important. I don't care how well-detailed a plot is for a show, however, if I don't like the characters, I could not care less what happens to them. Like Colleen, I'm a Trekkie, and we've watched almost every Star Trek episode and movie available. Long live Spock! Data's a favorite, as well as Bones, Kirk, Captain Picard...and on and on. I remember actually having a crush on Chekov when I was a young teen. THAT is how long Star Trek has been popular.

As I said, NCIS is also a favorite because of the characters. Granted, I have to watch it with Mel's guidance because I close my eyes during the gory parts, and he has to tell me when I can look again. That's what I call a good marriage.

Despite some harsh--sometimes very harsh--language in two of our favorite shows, the older Becker, and House, make me laugh and nod my head. Both shows, because of the irascible main characters, are able to address many Christian themes without a great deal of harassment from viewers, because the main characters are outspoken about their lack of belief. I love how they do that. I'm looking forward to seeing if House continues to have those startling "aha" moments it has had in past seasons. We're still waiting on Season 6 to come out.

Any suggestions? I'm always looking for a new series to order and watch, something clean and funny without offending my intelligence or my values. Do you have any favorites?

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Hannah Alexander  
posted at 11:52 PM  
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First off, today is Kristin's birthday!!! Happy birthday, friend!

I just got back from Nashville last night. We had the best time with the Thomas Nelson folks then spent the weekend with my fabulous editor, Ami McConnell and her kids. She has 4 little stair step girls then a big jump to Max who will be 15 this coming weekend.

At Thomas Nelson headquarters on Friday we discussed upcoming books and future direction. I just LOVE it when we get to have talks like this. The Lightkeeper's Bride ships to stores in two weeks, and it's the 2nd of my Mercy Falls historical series. So many of you who read my books have had a chance to read The Lightkeeper's Daughter, and I'd love to get your opinion here.

If you had your choice, would you prefer to get one historical one contemporary book a year from me? Or if I'm writing a historical series, would you rather see the books come out one after another with no contemporary in the middle of them? I love to dream about future things, but what fun would it be without your input? :-) So what do you think?

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:23 AM  
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Monday, September 06, 2010

Happy Labor Day!

If you're like me, Labor Day seems like a good reason to take the day off and do something fun as a family. But the holiday was started as a day to celebrate laborers of all trades.

With a national unemployment rate of 9.6, it's likely most who read this posts is either unemployed or knows someone who is.

While there's no dissolving tablet to fix the problem, there is something we can all do. Today, in celebration of the holiday, feel free to post the name of that someone (or someones) in your life. We can pray together that God will provide the right job soon.


Denise Hunter  
posted at 7:23 AM  
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Friday, September 03, 2010

Do you know that book? (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day) Mine wasn't that bad, just a series of humiliations that sort of added up to 54 (my IQ points for the day!)

First off, I'm going to Indiana for the ACFW Writers' Conference in the middle of this month, so naturally, I booked my flight well in advance. Except I didn't and so today, the airfare was $570! I'm not going to ITALY people. That's INDIANA. But on a happy note, I had almost enough Visa points because I haven't really figured that system out. Today I figured it out.

After fourteen or so loads of laundry, I went to the mall with a purpose. And you know, you can never find anything when you're looking. I'm ready for my Fall handbag. I said I would not buy one until the Fall. Even my kids are impressed. I wanted either a deep slate blue, navy or eggplant one. I was dressed like a slob. You can't go to the mall and get help when you're dressed like a snob. Except at Nordstrom. Thank you Nordy's. But I had khaki shorts on, unironed and they were covered with green flecks of the yarn from my knitting project (a hat, that is currently sort of sad, but I'm hoping my knitting group at the coffee shop can help me tomorrow.) I looked so bad, that even the guy in the center of the mall hawking the steamer iron -- didn't even bother.

Since I don't wear eye shadow, and Colleen is always nagging me about eye shadow when we dress up, I dropped into a store and looked at some colors. I found one that matched my gown and asked if I could try it on. (My first mistake.) They send me over the "representative" who I did not see until it was too late. I don't know why it is, and if this is racist forgive me for stereotyping, but Asian women really know how to use eye shadow. However, this one apparently missed the memo. Which is not a good thing because she is coming at me with a brush full of sparkle.

Instinctively, I back away. My brain running through excuses. My dog ate my homework...oh, was that my cell phone I just heard?? But it's too late. By the time I'm done, I look like the rainbow fish was in my neighborhood and left a glittery fin. So let me give you this beautiful image of me in wrinkly khaki shorts, covered with green yard bits and now sporting blue eyeshadow circa 1970. Um, I remember this the first time, and it wasn't good then, lady.

So now I'm having this inner turmoil. Do I buy this ugly stuff that makes me look like a streetwalker, who is not going to get much? Or do I stand up for myself and say, um, thank you but no...

I wimp out. I am the proud owner of two ugly eyeshadows (not the FOUR she tried to sell me, so there is that.) This all started because my best friend told me to go to Mac and get the guy to put on eye shadow and draw me a picture. But I went into that store and felt old, and promptly walked out.

So the happy news is that I realized later I bought it at Nordstrom's, and I can take it back. I WILL take it back. I have a three day weekend to do so, and another few weeks to remind Colleen why I don't wear eye shadow. It's not meant to be.

I ended up with no handbag (since I quickly dashed to my car to spit-wipe off my eyes), disco makeup and thank goodness, a Lush bath bomb for myself. I'll need it because I'm doing a devotional with four fabulous, humorous women. (Debby Mayne, Sandra Bricker, Diann Hunt and Trish Perry) and came home to see my overzealous self imitating Cyndi Lauper. The results weren't fantastic after the day I've had.And Elle accidentally broke my toe this week, so I don't know that I am going to be able to wear heels with my gown anyway. I definitely got up on the wrong side of the bed today. But I think God had a good laugh on my account today.
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Thursday, September 02, 2010
I itch.

Yesterday, I finished my third round of Avastin. The side effects up to now have been minimal--only one. Hives.

No biggie, I'm getting through it, but I itch.

Last night I was standing in the bedroom, scratching my back. Hubby came to me and took over, scratching in just the right spot. It felt so good, my foot thumped wildly on the floor.

There's nothing like getting that itch scratched, is there? This time, I was armed and ready. Remember last week's post about the nails? Well, I put those babies to work. They claw those hives like nobody's business.

How do you like this picture on my post? No, it's not me, yet it does bear a close resemblance. Bald head, minimal hair. Still, I flat out refuse to accept those feet. Yes, I have cracked heels, but I cannot curl my toes like that. It's a lost art, I'm sure.

Anyway, all hives aside, I DO have my eyebrows back AND eyelashes. Get this. I even shaved my legs yesterday--we don't have men on our blog, right? If we do, I have totally scared them away by now.

Have a blessed day everyone! May your day be filled with pleasant scratching for the itches of your life!

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Diann Hunt  
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Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Tonight I stepped into a funeral home for the visitation of my former brother-in-law. It was a crowded parlor, because my brother-in-law was well-loved by townsfolk, and I could overhear old farmers and grizzled men in plaid talking about his life and work in our community.

But when I saw my stepsons and their mother in one of the front rows, I burst into tears. I'm getting more sentimental as I get older. I sure do love those boys, and that funeral parlor carries a huge chunk of our history together. Most people wouldn't consider them to be my stepsons now, since we're no longer legally related, but most people wouldn't understand the power of our bond. I'm so glad Mel understands and enthusiastically encourages it.

I sat down behind my stepsons and their mother when I reached the front of the parlor tonight, and recalled old times and tried to catch up with their lives. So much water has flowed beneath the bridge in the seventeen years since I was legally, and unwillingly, disconnected from those beloved boys, and I seem to miss them more with each passing year.

Their mother--whom I affectionately call my ex-sister-outlaw--has been generous about sharing them with me. Mel and I have attended a graduation, weddings, everything we're invited to attend in order to see these wonderful young men. I've flown halfway across the country twice in order to spend time with them. When their mother and I can get together for lunch, we do so. She gets a kick out of seeing the expressions of some of our local citizens who know us and know our history. They think we, being ex-wives of the same man, would naturally hate each other. But she's a kind and generous person no one could hate, and she has proven it.

Twenty-five years ago, her eighteen-year-old daughter--only twelve years younger than I--was involved in an auto accident. Our lives imploded when we were called in the middle of the night about the wreck. I arrived in Neuro ICU to find my stepdaughter swollen past recognition, hooked to life support, with her mother and father standing across the bed from each other. I was stunned beyond feeling, and could not imagine how her parents could even be functioning.

When a nurse stepped in and saw three of us standing at the bedside, she said, "Only parents are allowed in here. Someone will have to leave."

As I turned to step from the cubicle, the mother of my stepdaughter--whom I barely knew, and with whom I'd had very little connection during my seven-years of marriage to her ex-husband--took me by the arm. "No," she said. "You need to be here. You're her mommy, too."

Those words transformed a non-relationship into a friendship that has withstood the test of time. We planned a funeral together. My stepdaughter was disconnected from life support on my thirtieth birthday. We had the funeral visitation in that very same funeral home where I saw my stepsons tonight.

The mother of my stepchildren stood beside me through the divorce, encouraged me, reassured me. All these years later, she still calls me when she knows they're going to be in town for an event, making sure I can see the boys if I want to. I always want to. We've spent Thanksgiving together, and have met together at far too many funerals. She has forgiven me for many things over all these years--from painting the boys with indelible green food coloring for Halloween, to teaching the kids how to throw water balloons at passing cars cruising town on a Saturday night. I was so young then...

She keeps me informed about the boys and their lives and their beautiful wives. She has shown grace to me countless times when I, with no children of my own, would have been childless. But I'm not, because of one woman's selfless generosity.

What a difference her kindness has made in my life. She has taught me to think outside the typical box, and has shown me the concept of grace in a very powerful way.

Think about it. What can you do to share grace today?

Hannah Alexander  
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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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