Girls Write Out
Friday, December 31, 2010
You can blame my wireless network for this blog being late today, but you have all weekend to read it, so I'm not going to worry. The birds in the picture have the right idea. It is a bit freaky, especially when it doesn't always work.

Mel and I watched a show last night at the suggestion of a friend of ours, and we watched it wirelessly from Netflix instant play. The show was called Dogs Decoded. It showed how dogs really make an effort to connect with us by reading our expressions. I thought I was going to have to tie Mel down to keep him watching, but he settled down after a few minutes and got interested in it, and I was able to release him and sit more comfortably.

We watched how wolves were bred to connect better and better with mankind until they "got" us, and were able to read our intentions and emotions in our faces. This does show remarkable intelligence. I had a dog named Laddy who would sit in front of me, stare into my eyes sadly when I was crying, and let me hug him.

However, as I mentioned recently, though my cats don't constantly make eye contact with me to see how I'm feeling or whether I'm going to feed them or let them outside, they read body language. When I walk toward the cabinet, they congregate for food. When I walk to the door, they race each other to get outside if it's nice. When I'm in pain, they will congregate on my lap and chest and purr until I'm feeling better. God made all kinds of creatures for all kinds of reasons.

Horses are also very intelligent. I had a horse when I was a child. His name was...wait for it...Laddy. Yes, I know, I lacked imagination back then, but I named everything, even our trees, so I was running out of names. Anyway, this horse, Laddy, knew what I wanted before I did. When I needed to get the cattle in, that horse could cut cattle without my touching the reins. One day when I was riding bareback with a friend I made the mistake of guiding Laddy up an incline. My friend slid off the back of the horse and dragged me with her. My leg fell directly beneath Laddy's hoof as it was coming down. But he didn't follow through with the step. When he realized my leg was beneath his hoof, he stumbled to keep from stepping down on it. He was one smart horse and I loved him dearly.

Of course, after the show about dogs last night, Mel and I got to talking about why dogs looked at one particular side of the human face in order to read them. This led to the discussion about the fact that someone who is lying will always look to the left. And so we started trying to lie to each other and see if the trick worked. It doesn't. Mel thinks it does, but he has a good imagination, plus he knows me too well. He thought he caught me glancing to the left a time or two, but then I learned to just look into his left eye when I was lying, and I fooled him.

I'm always fascinated by intelligence in any form. My horses, dogs, cats, over my lifetime, have had a major impact on me. I know I talk about cats a lot, but we humans do love our animals. Want to share any good animal stories?

Labels: , , , ,

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 3:46 PM  
  Comments (7)
Delicious Delicious

Thursday, December 30, 2010
Christmas 2010 has come and gone. How do you feel about that? Happy? Relieved? Sad? Tired?

I LOVE Christmas. I think most of you have picked that up by now. It flies by all too quickly for me. But I have to admit once it's over, I'm ready to take down the tree and get the house back to normal. I mean, like immediately. No lingering over the tree for me. The party's over, let it go.

Okay, that's a little harsh, but I think you know what I mean. With the tree, gifts and decorations come extra clutter, and I'm ready to put things back in order. All I'm sayin'.

What about you? Do you like to keep your Christmas things up for a week or two? Month? All year?

It's at this time of year I start to consider the merits of a tiny ceramic tree . . . .

Labels: , ,

Diann Hunt  
posted at 9:10 AM  
  Comments (11)
Delicious Delicious

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A friend sent this to me, and it couldn't sum up my feelings any better. Rough year. Friends got me through:

Friendship is…the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words. ~ George Eliot

The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. ~ Henry David Thoreau

We are all travellers in the wilderness of this world, and the best that we find in our travels is an honest friend. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Friends are not only together when they are side by side,
Even one who is far away…is still in our thoughts. ~ Ludwig Von Beethoven

The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships. ~ Abraham Lincoln
posted at 7:41 PM  
  Comments (3)
Delicious Delicious

Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I'm always interested in people, aren't you? Do you find yourself watching how people react and the things that push their hot buttons? I got a Kindle the end of September but hadn't had a chance to read it for about a month. I got both of my girls one for Christmas and so I've been reading mine with Kara as she's here for a visit.

Tonight I was looking through the lists of regular books and free ones. My fingers hovered over the Count of Monte Cristo then passed over. I wondered just WHY I didn't want to read it. Then I realized just how painful it would be for me. One of my basic traits is a desire for justice. The injustice in that story set up and through the majority of it just grieves my soul. I can't stand to see Dantes imprisoned unfairly. I can't stand that Mercedes marries that creep. It just grieves my soul. LOL I can't help it. I know it's weird but I can't stand to see people hurt by injustice. Which means I also hate Monopoly. I can't STAND to have someone fall on one of my hotels and then go bankrupt.

So what about you? What is your underlying characteristic? What is that one thread that runs through how you look at the world? And what quirk does it give you? Fess up! LOL

Labels: , ,

Colleen Coble  
posted at 6:35 AM  
  Comments (8)
Delicious Delicious

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sorry for the late post today--I know you were all waiting with bated breath. ;-) My family spent the day at the hospital, visiting our nephew Tyler, his mom and dad (Gina and Mark) and his sister Mindy.

Many of you know Tyler has leukemia and recently underwent a bone marrow transplant. He received his last chemo today and is going through some very uncomfortable and painful things, so please lift him up in prayer. Pray that his body accepts the new marrow and that he gets no infection while he has no immune system to fight it. Pray for his family also as you can imagine the stress they're going through.

We're so thankful the 24 yr old male stranger who gave his bone marrow for Tyler. God has been so good and we appreciate every prayer lifted up.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 3:45 PM  
  Comments (3)
Delicious Delicious

Friday, December 24, 2010

I can almost hear you saying it--"Not the cats again!" but just wait. I'm listing some of my Christmas blessings this year, and this one is quite unusual. Not just the presence of the cats, but their healing touch. I've posted about it before, about a year ago, when I was in pain after surgery and three of the cats jumped up on the chair with me, all of them touching me and purring. After about thirty minutes, the pain went away. Mel and I were both amazed, but you know how things tend to be forgotten over the passage of time.

Well, I hate pain, but it seems that is my gift from God this year, the pain. Fibromyalgia is not fun. It hurts. I was diagnosed with it a week ago, and though Colleen has assured me this can be taken care of without lasting effects, we're still waiting for some things to fall into place before we can begin that treatment.

So yesterday I woke up with a lot of pain again. I've noticed that the cats tend to pay more attention to me when I'm hurting--or maybe I'm just lying still long enough for them to get to me for once. Anyway, the gray-blue cat with the golden eyes, Teddy Bear, jumped up on my lap and made herself comfortable as I was lying back in the recliner. No sooner had she settled than Data, the black and white, jumped up and made himself at home on my chest. At that point I was hurting so badly I didn't care if I got cat hair all over everything. I laid that way for about thirty minutes after taking my pain medicine. Both cats purred. Yesterday it was Teddy Bear and Hobbit the fat who gave me the purr treatment.

There's supposedly something about purring that is supposed to have a soothing, healing effect on cats. I wonder if, with their special sense, they know when a human is hurting, and when it's someone they love, the want to help out by purring.

All I do know is that, in order to let the cats rest on me and purr and relax forces me to lie still and breathe deeply and enjoy the moment instead of racing toward the next moment and the next and thinking about the next chore that needs to be done.

So my gift from God this year is forcing me to slow down, and showing me some of those things I would otherwise have missed. Like purring cats who aren't as narcissistic as people seem to think they are.

Check it out. Slow down this season. Pet your pet. Take a walk in the snow for me. See if the peace of a few moments of contemplation won't give you a more peaceful heart, and then check back in and let us know how it feels.

Labels: ,

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 12:50 PM  
  Comments (6)
Delicious Delicious

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Have you ever put your trust in the wrong person? I'm embarrassed to say that I've done it over and over again. I always want to believe the best in people, and it takes a lot for me to trust someone, but once I do, it takes a LOT to make me not trust you.

People say that I'm quiet when they meet me in person. Really, I'm shy. I like to stand back and assess situations. That doesn't seem like my personality, but it is. There's a book called "The Gift of Fear" -- it's written by a top security professional in America and it outlines his story watching his mother kill his father in the home, and the instant before when he watched her face change and knew it would happen. At that point, he got his sister out of the home and fled.

Now, that tragic incident made him an expert on reading people and his main point is to get people to listen to that voice in the back of their heads that warns them. Most women ignore that voice because they want to be "nice" -- we're taught to be "nice". We're taught to avoid conflict and will often give of ourselves rather than stand up for ourselves.

So while I may stand back and assess, I don't often listen to that niggling, and that's my promise to myself this year. Not to become fearful or scared of living, but to set up some boundaries for myself and allow the truth to filter in without reacting so quickly. Have you ever ignored a warning sign? Put aside your sixth sense? How do you balance healthy trust with a good dose of careful living? The picture is of Nevada City, near my parents' house. Doesn't it look idyllic? And trustworthy? Ahem.
posted at 12:37 AM  
  Comments (4)
Delicious Delicious

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I love bread. But I can't eat gluten. I recently read an article about how celiacs became so prevalent after we all quit eating sourdough bread. The article is here:

Very interesting! And I like some sourdough bread. Any of you out there try it and find you can eat it when you can't eat regular wheat bread?

If you have a great sourdough bread recipe or a store brand you love, I'd be thrilled if you'd pass it along. I thought I might try it and see how I do. Oh if I were able to have regular buns and bread again it would be a miracle! :)

So help me out here if you can. And Merry Christmas! Our baby girl is coming to town on Thursday and I'm so excited to see her! She'd thank you for a sourdough option too because she can't eat gluten either.

Labels: ,

Colleen Coble  
posted at 10:14 AM  
  Comments (6)
Delicious Delicious

Monday, December 20, 2010

Denise's Favorite Reads of 2010

It's that time of year again. I hope you'll find something interesting on my list. These days if I can get through a story, that alone makes it a winner in my book (no pun intended). These novels kept me spellbound. As usual, to prevent this list from looking like unwinsome self promotion, I've omitted my very favorite authors, the Girls Write Out girls. :-)

Don't forget to tell me your favorite title of 2010--I have B&N gift cards I'm dying to put to good use!

In no particular order:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett--Never mind the uninspired cover and boring-sounding plot. BUY THIS BOOK! Debut novel.

Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner--She weaves the present and past for an elegantly told romantic tale.

Her Mother's Hope and Her Daughter's Dreams by Francine Rivers--A 2-book family saga that'll keep you Italicreading happily for weeks.

Summer's Child by Diane Chamberlain--A newborn baby turns up on a beach, no mother in sight. Diane Chamberlain tells a tale of romance and mystery.

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen--Another uninspired cover overcome by good storytelling. Warning, there were some disturbingly graphic scenes in this one.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah--Another story that blends past and present with style.

House Rules by Jodi Piccoult--A boy with Asperger's Syndrome becomes entangled in a legal snare.

The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano--Unusual and engrossing story of a woman in the witness protection program and the Mafia man assigned to find her. Debut novel.

Denise Hunter  
posted at 8:00 AM  
  Comments (13)
Delicious Delicious

Friday, December 17, 2010
There's something I've SO missed about Christmas. DOLLS!! I used to love to buy dolls for Kara when she was little. She so loved her babies. Last year I bought a little baby doll for Alexa but she didn't really care about it. But THIS year it's a different story. When you ask her what she wants Mimi and Poppy to buy her for Christmas, she says, "Baby dolls."

Ah, music to her Mimi's heart! The rage seems to be the American Girl dolls and my aunt Edith told me they make them for little girls. They're called Bitty Baby. So of course I had to order one. And it came today. You would have thought I'd gotten my edits or something the way I was dancing around the living room. And of course I had to open it and see it. Oh. My. Gosh. TOOO cute!

I can't wait for Christmas now. This baby has her own stuffed bear too. Punky will LOVE it!

What about you? What's your favorite gift to give at Christmas?

Labels: , ,

Colleen Coble  
posted at 10:02 AM  
  Comments (11)
Delicious Delicious

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I can't help it. I'm having the BEST Christmas ever!!!!

You all know what kind of year this has been. Something has happened inside me. It's like I'm perpetually Julia Andrews on top of the mountain, arms spread eagle, twirling and singing "The hills are alive with the Sound of Music"(though, trust me, it doesn't sound the same)!!

Where once I was leery of driving in the snow, I now venture out because I want to see it, feel it, experience (yes, I know, I'm crazy)! If you follow my Facebook page at all, you all know that my daughter and I saw Santa in the Target parking lot. He was in a car and we were in our car. Our windows were rolled up, thank goodness, because I started screaming (like Buddy the Elf--Will Farrell), "SANTA!!!! IT'S SANTA!!!! WE KNOW HIM!!!!!" Daughter and I were having such fun screaming and laughing. Then I looked in the backseat at my grandkids who were watching us. Speechless. Frightened.

I think I lost something when I lost my hair. Oh, yeah, fear!!!! I'm having a BLAST!!! Leaving random gifts, listening to music, running through the snow (with my car). I will not waste a single breath this Christmas! It's ALL good--the packaging, the hustle-bustle, the crazy people (like me), the grumps (who are just overworked, underpaid people), the cynics (who are afraid to laugh again), the crying kids (who just want a candy cane). It's ALL good!!!

This is our one shot to make a difference. Right where you are. Today. Forget your to do list and perform a random act of kindness. You'll have a blast and wonder why you waited so long!

It's okay if you're not enjoying the Christmas season, by the way. That happens sometimes. Life gets in the way. But I'm challenging you to put it behind you, if only for a couple of weeks, and soak in the Reason for this blessed season. God is so good!

Go on! Go out and spread some Christmas joy! You know you want to. WHOOHOOOO!!! Gotta go. I might just wear the singing Santa Claus hat today!!
Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:05 AM  
  Comments (9)
Delicious Delicious

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I'm not sure which of these entities is most dangerous, the bear or the bee, except I'm sure the bear will be worse once the bee stings him.

Something about this bear, however, made me think of myself at this time of year, when crazy-bad things seem to happen in direct opposition to the sentiment of Christmas--love, joy, peace. It seems this time of year seems to bring out the badness in a lot of angry people who don't want us to feel love, joy OR peace.

When unpeaceful things happen, I have discovered that I tend to talk to myself when I'm alone at home. This was brought to my attention with some embarrassment when I was walking around the house muttering to myself about what I needed to do next and how I needed to keep moving so I wouldn't ache so much and how I needed to herd the cats downstairs so they'd stop tripping me, and I realized Mel HAD NOT YET LEFT THE HOUSE! He'd heard me talking to myself! I'd thought he'd gone to the post office.

It's interesting that it wasn't until that very moment that I realized I was actually talking out LOUD to myself. Like a crazy person. And you know what really disturbs me? Mel didn't even notice because he talks to himself all the time, TOO!

Now, we talk to the cats all the time, and sometimes I rehearse the next words I'm going to write, or even vocally list things I need to get at the store so I'll remember them better. But I hadn't realized just how much I actually talked to myself. It's a little freaky.

I bet you this bear talks to himself. How could he not? He's alone most of the time, and doesn't everyone, even bears, want to hear the sound of someone's voice sometime? I'm alone a lot here at home. That's my excuse.

What's yours?

Labels: , ,

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 11:28 AM  
  Comments (9)
Delicious Delicious

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Every week I tell myself I'm not going to watch "Hoarders" and every week it tapes, and like a lemming, I fall into its trap. So last night's was very difficult. Father and son were hoarders. Father was now dead at 91 and lived in filth until his dying days. In the son's defense, he was incredibly mentally ill.

His brother came to get the house cleaned up and "help" his brother. But the brother was a slime of the worst degree. Where was his concern when daddy was dying in filth? Where was he when the mentally ill brother was caring for his father? Nowhere. He didn't come around until the million dollar estate was up for grabs. And guess what? Daddy had left the house to the mentally ill brother, which drove the "sane" brother crazy.

I think it should be LAW that if you care for your ailing parent, you get the house. Period. Have you ever cared for someone dying? It is backbreaking, painful work, and if you're not there, you don't get the house. I think inheritance is disgusting, the traits it brings out in people is the worst of humanity. Inheritance is not yours. It's just not. It's someone else's money and they can spend it any way they like. So get your dirty paws off!

In my opinion, the "mentally ill" brother on the show had a heart, he cared for his father the best way he knew how. If you had ANY feelings at all for your father, the "sane brother" would have intervened. But he was nowhere to be seen until the estate was up for grabs.

People need to work and make their own money. Some awful parents use their legacy as a way to control from the grave too. SO I'm here to say, I'm against inheritance. I'd rather have it all gone anyway -- my grandfather was 95 yesterday. Spend it Grandpa!! Spend every last cent and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
posted at 11:59 AM  
  Comments (9)
Delicious Delicious

Friday, December 10, 2010
Isn't this volcano beautiful? So majestic and powerful, bright and noticeable. I looked at this picture and I thought this is kind of what we look like when we have too much stress in our lives and are ready to spew. We're past the point of productivity and we are filled with a lot of destructive anger. We may also prove to be destructive to those in our lives whom we love--or our employers. This would not be good.

Then I saw the picture of the leaf. Oh, yeah. You can see through it. Nothing solid there. One puff and it would probably crumble. This is my brain AFTER that overload of stress. Ever feel like this leaf?

I know some tricks to keep stress from destroying me, but sometimes even those tricks don't always work, especially if I've allowed that stress to continue too long.

My doctor has told me to take a thirty minute walk in the sunshine every morning. I've tried that. The 30 degree temperatures and the 50 mph winds make me kind of hate that exercise, especially when there's no sunshine. So my alternative is to sit in from of my SAD light every morning. That, I can do. I have heat in my sun room.

Another step is to hold a GABA calm under my tongue and lie on my back every evening for thirty minutes and breath through my stomach, the way a singer does. Easy. I've always breathed that way.

So moving on, I'm supposed to find those things that relax me and do them. Hiking, of course, and walking. Eating relaxes me, but I don't think that's what she has in mind. I know we've talked about this before. I thought that perhaps someone had come up with some new ways to beat the stress in their lives. Care to share?

Labels: , ,

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 10:38 AM  
  Comments (17)
Delicious Delicious

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I read a lot of autobiographies. I read a lot of obituaries. I want to know what makes people tick, why they make the choices they make in life. It's why I prefer the "People" story to the news story. It gives me the relevant background that I prefer. Nora Epron's new book is next on my list. If you're not familiar with her, she's the genius who wrote "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle" (a romance that manages to keep the couple apart for the whole of the movie and still work!) I bow at her feet.

One thing I notice about truthful autobiographies is they tick people off. This I don't understand. It's an person's story, their truth. You may not like the person at the end of the book (I wasn't all that fond of Paula Deen at the end of hers. I thought she was too controlling of those around her), but you have to respect their right to tell their story from their perspective as they see it. It saddens me how judgmental people are of others, and that seems the root of our problems.

Eat, Pray, Love is a perfect example. I'm not really a fan of this book, but what people attack the author for is leaving "a perfectly good husband" for her journey. Okay, how do we know he was a "perfectly good husband?" Then, she's attacked in the reviews for falling into a relationship that's a rebound relationship, out-of-wedlock and generally stupid. Which she knows. It's how she tells the story. Then I did THIS stupid thing, after that first crazy thing...

The point of any good redemption story -- and maybe I should use another example since her journey is not a Christian one -- let's say Paula Deen from that standpoint. The point of the redemption is that it comes after the fall from grace. So when someone falls from grace, and rebounds and tells us, look at all these stupid things I did. I tell you so you will learn from me and not do this...WHY do reviewers feel the need to say, "She was so selfish. I hate this book because she's a sinner!" Look at how so many will still attack Amy Grant as if she hasn't paid the consequences for her mistake. As if her children haven't. As if JESUS didn't die for that very thing. Amy is redeemed. Who are we to keep pointing a finger at her?

Find me the biography on the person who isn't a sinner, and I'll find you a liar, AND an autobiography that didn't sell squat. We like to watch people get back up. That's why "Eat, Pray, Love" resonates. It's why "America's Funniest Videos" has been on for twenty plus years. It's why King David had a WHOLE heart for God because he knew what it was to fall -- and to get back up. When I read the angry reviews and judgments in some of these autobiographies, all I can think is, there but for the grace of God go I...

I think the thing that so many Christians fail to realize is NONE of us is the brother who stayed home. We are ALL the prodigal son. And if someone comes to you and tells you their truth? Show them some grace. I think that's what Jesus would do I believe He prepared them a banquet even.
posted at 2:04 AM  
  Comments (13)
Delicious Delicious

Monday, December 06, 2010

I've been reading romance ever since I became a teenager. I think the first love story I ever read was Green Mansions when I was about 13. I still remember crying as Rima fell to her death from the tree. Now we go for happy endings in romance, thank goodness! I hate sad endings.

But a friend is writing an article about how romance is growing in the Christian market and how it is different from what's available in the general market. These two pictures are a prime example of the differences, I think. In a Christian romance, it's not the physical that is emphasized. Of course it's an element, but there is no graphic sex and character is more important. The hero's physical appearance is mentioned, but the heroine grows to love the man because he possesses attractive internal attributes.

I remember reading my first Christian romance. It was Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series. Then I read Redeeming Love. All of those books let me see God and His love in the shadows of those stories. And that's one big difference for me between Christian romance and general market novels. I see Christian romance as a great way to reveal how love is a choice. When we're upset about towels left on the floor, we might be snappish, but the books can be a reminder that love overlooks the unimportant. We need the reminder when we're tired and the honeymoon was over ten years ago. :)

Christian romance is booming. I think even non Christians appreciate a great story that doesn't have graphic sex and bad language. But are there other elements? I think there are. I mentioned the difference for me but what about you?

If you read romance, WHY do you read it? Has it given you unrealistic expectations of a relationship or has it helped you be more patient, loving and kind? What is the draw for you? Escapism only? Inquiring minds want to know!

Labels: , ,

Colleen Coble  
posted at 6:17 PM  
  Comments (8)
Delicious Delicious

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Know what I'm tired of? Picking up a NYT bestselling novel, reading five chapters, and throwing it in the trash. Why do I throw away a perfectly good book, you ask? Lots of reasons.

I'll exclude the boring plot factor and even the bad writing factor because those things are somewhat subjective, and I guess someone must like the plot and writing or it wouldn't be on the NYT bestsellers list.

What I'm tired of is over-the-top obscenities, graphic sex scenes, and other vulgarities that pepper the pages of an otherwise good novel. I picked up such a novel recently. I was enjoying the story until I reached a graphic lesbian sex scene. I skipped over it thinking we'd get back to the story, but a couple chapters later, another lesbian sex scene. Into the trash it went. The book is still on the NYT list, but I never would've picked it up if I'd known what it contained--the cover copy sure didn't hint at it.

Which brings me to this question: Why aren't novels rated? Movies are; why not books? Rate the book and tell me if it's PG13 for violence, language, or sex. How can you even tell if your child/teen should be reading the book without reading it yourself? It's even more crucial in the age of digital books. You can download the first chapter for free, but you sure can't thumb through it for a quick preview of its contents.

I do enjoy Christian fiction, but I also like to be aware of what's selling in the general market, and I've come across some gems I would've missed otherwise.

What do you think? Would you like to see books rated? Would it help or hinder your book purchases?

PS This photo of my family (which has nothing to do with my blog post) was taken in California over Thanksgiving weekend.

Labels: , ,

Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:11 PM  
  Comments (13)
Delicious Delicious

Friday, December 03, 2010
Diann's post yesterday inspired me, and since Barbara, one of my fifty-five maternal first cousins, sent me some cute pictures yesterday, I thought I'd share, knowing that at least Diann would enjoy this. But first, can someone tell me if this is a fox or a coyote? I'm thinking fox because of the bushy tail.

At any rate, the minute I saw this I thought of Diann and smiled. Not that I think Diann is a fox's hind end, mind you. Not at all. Just that I can see her diving into the snow like that. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure this little animal is after a littler animal for dinner, but let's not think about that.

Yesterday, Diann got me to thinking. I don't play much in the snow anymore. I used to. My parents used to take me to the mountains when we lived in California so I could see what snow looked like. I really didn't get it, though, until we moved here to Missouri, where there are no mountains, and where there are days--sometimes even weeks--when we can step outside into all the snow we want.

I found out snow can be used for lots of things. You can build a fort, you can use it to put out a fire (our barn burned the first year we moved here) and you can make snowmen, snow angels (snow angels are a lot less work than snowmen) and you can also take a handful and sneak it inside someone's clothing and listen to them scream. (That was the year Mel first discovered what he'd gotten into when he married me.)

My favorite thing to do with snow, though, is make snowcream. I've been warned that it can be bad for you because of the contaminants in the snow, but what foods are totally free of contaminants these days? Besides, we live in a small town amongst other small towns with very little air pollution--and if you know better than me, please don't burst my bubble.

What's your favorite thing to do with snow?

Labels: , ,

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 11:18 AM  
  Comments (10)
Delicious Delicious

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I love snow. Please don't hurt me. I can't help it. It's just part of who I am. Those little bits of heaven floating gently by the window (taken from an Amy Grant song) just take my breath away. I'm like a little kid all over again. Bundle me up in woolens and boots, and I'm a happy camper. Let me make a snow angel and I'm in heaven (course, nowadays somebody has to help me get back up).

Christmas wouldn't dream of coming around here without snow. It's a prerequisite. No snow. No Christmas. Well, okay, maybe that's not true, but add snow with Christmas, and you've plunked me smack dab in the middle of a Thomas Kinkade painting. Do not take me out until spring.

There is one thing that's been bothering me lately about Christmas. I've had an artificial tree for most of my life. My parents tried a real tree once or twice, and complained about the work of keeping it watered and finally getting rid of it, that I decided not to have one.

But now with my new story, my hero owns a Christmas tree farm. The more I look into those and the tradition of it all, it sounds so, well, romantic. Now I'm wondering, real tree or fake tree?

And don't even get me started on the lights. Colored or white? It's a choice that faces me every year and no matter what I choose, I always wish I'd picked the opposite by the season's end.

So let's hear it. Do you have a real tree or an artificial one? And why? Also, colored lights, white lights or no lights?

Maybe your answers will inspire me to do something different this year (of course my tree has been up since before Thanksgiving). ;-)

Labels: , ,

Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:36 AM  
  Comments (11)
Delicious Delicious

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I think the most frustrating thing about parenting is seeing your children struggle in the same ways you've struggled. When you're pregnant with the boy genius, you think it's going to be different. Just like you dreamed of Prince Charming, you dreamed of the perfect, little children. But God says, now what fun would that be? I mean, would you play "Chutes and Ladders" if there was no risk? God must feel the same about life. If it's smooth sailing all the time, what's the point? If Judas wasn't poor and greedy, would things have been different? Like Judas came against Jesus, life comes up against you and just like in a video game, you have to learn to avoid the pitfalls. We think we can protect our children from all the bumps and bruises, but really, we can only prepare them, armor them up for the game.

One of my sons has Aspergers, and his report came through saying that his grades suffer due to his lack of organization. That he is a charming, amiable and respectful young man who does everything he's told, but he forgets to turn stuff in when it's due. And his backpack is a mess. And then, comes the killer...maybe Mom could help??

I am an excellent organizer, believe it or not. Why? Because I am terribly disorganized by nature. I can find anything you need in less than two minutes. Now, if I'm dead, I pity the poor soul who has to find it after me, but *I* know where everything is, because I have to use my own system. A system that I'm trying to pass on to the poor souls who inherited my madly-rushing brain. It's called, quit listening to the experts and do what works for you.

My system includes crazy file folders that all mean something to me. Animal print folders? It means taxes or money garbage that I hate to do. Because it's a jungle out there.

The Amalfi Coast Painting file folders? For my business because great art, nor Rome were built in a day. The kids are color-coded by their favorite colors. Let's say that you need to find the plumber's bill from six months' ago. That would be in the household file that does not include any of the regular household bills and it's green because it's money wasted (or money not spent on cute shoes or purses.) The recurring bills in the bill-paying folders, sorted by month and category (Utilities, Insurance, etc.)

Legal mumbo-jumbo? It's under the heading "Taxes" because it all makes no sense to me, so why not put that all in one place in the hopes that someone else will make sense of it? It's kind of my way of red-flagging something and saying, 'not my problem.'

If you think that's convoluted, you should see my phone book. "Oh they're under N because they were our neighbors back when we lived in Mt. View. Or that's under E because she's Elle's friend."

Do you navigate the world in a way that you would hate to explain to a professional? What traits did you pass on and ho you see your traits in your kids and feel guilty for passing it on? Work with me here. We'll file it under "Tips & Tricks" and give it a nice, pink, rosy folder to show our happiness and health when we work together.

Labels: , ,

posted at 2:33 AM  
  Comments (8)
Delicious Delicious

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.

Enter your Email

Powered by FeedBlitz