Monday, September 29, 2008

I Am Back....

And I am just blown away by all the emails, comments and calls I've received about mom.  She is home and doing well, though she still faces more recovery of course. 

My mom is a trooper and has probably the highest pain threshold I've ever seen.  When we got to go and see her right after surgery she was fairly alert and I told her she was a tough old bird.  And before anybody gets shocked at that, let me assure you that my mother is the rare breed of person that loves to tease and be teased.  She smiled at my statement and has quoted it several times since then.

So many emotions after this sort of thing.  Mom has always been the caregiver in our family and to have roles reversed is an interesting situation.  In fact, the first morning at her house I woke up and sat there trying to identify the smell.  The silly woman had gotten up and made muffins for our breakfast!  In her defense, they were a mix and all she had to do was add water.  And she did take a hefty nap after that.  :)

And I was able to spend much more time with my brother than I have in quite some time and that was nice.  Most of the time I'm with him it's at some sort of event and the entire family is around, making talk more difficult.  So out of lemons comes some lemonade.

I will also admit that it's good to be home.  This sort of shook my foundation and I find that I am craving routine right now.  Earlier I had my coffee, loved on my animals and had my quiet Bible time.  So comforting.

One last thought.  Between my girlfriend weekend and mom's surgery I was away from Keith for over a week.  When I saw him this weekend and ran into his arms it was the best thing.  He held me and I knew that all was well in my world again.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Short Little Break

I might be missing from the blog for a bit - my mom had surgery this morning and I'm in Oklahoma to be with her.

Prayers would be much appreciated.......

Friday, September 19, 2008

Girlfriend Retreat

Greetings from a great girlfriend weekend! A group of us go on a
retreat to a bed and breakfast at a nearby small town three weekends a
year and have such a wonderful time.

Today we took some time to go shopping at a nearby scrapbook store,
then a quilt shop and then we saw a bakery across the street and
dashed over. It was described by one gal as being "her happy place"
and really I couldn't agree more.

Only on girlfriend retreats can you have cupcakes for lunch!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CFBA - Isolation

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
FaithWords (September 12, 2008)
Travis Thrasher


It was during third grade after a teacher encouraged him in his writing and as he read through The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis that Travis decided he wanted to be a writer. The dream never left him, and allowed him to fulfill that dream of writing fulltime in 2007.

Travis Thrasher is the author of numerous works of fiction, including his most personal and perhaps his deepest work, Sky Blue, that was published in summer of 2007. This year he has to novels published, Out of the Devil’s Mouth, and a supernatural thriller, Isolation.

Travis is married to Sharon and they are the proud parents of Kylie, born in November, 2006, and Hailey, a Shih-Tzu that looks like an Ewok. They live in suburban Chicago.





. . . Alone

When a missionary family moves into a secluded mansion in the mountains of North Carolina, they think they are escaping their nightmares. But when a snowstorm hits and they are trapped inside their new home, their worst fears become reality. As they fight to stay alive, they will be tested in ways they never imagined. Can their love for one another and their faith in God save them from the dangers lurking here?

A masterfully written story that will grip you from its mysterious beginning to its chilling end.

From Publishers Weekly:

"In this dark chiller, Thrasher (Sky Blue; The Promise Remains) demonstrates a considerable talent for the horror genre. Like Stephen King, Thrasher pits flawed but likable characters against evil forces that at first seem escapable but gradually take on a terrifying ubiquity.

The Miller family has recently returned to suburban Chicago after a harrowing experience on the mission field. Hoping to get away from the busyness of suburban living, they travel to the mountains of North Carolina for an extended stay in an enormous, remote lodge where husband and father Jim plans to write a book while trying to reconnect with his family.

When a snowstorm isolates them further and spiritual attacks make them feel they are losing their minds, both Jim and his wife, Stephanie, begin to wonder if God can rescue them and their two young children. Aside from sharing too many plot points with The Shining, this novel hits very few false notes and should appeal to fans of Christian fiction, the horror genre and all who enjoy well-crafted and suspenseful stories."

If you would like to read the first chapter of Isolation, go HERE

Honestly I had no idea at all what to expect when I considered a Christian novel that is in the horror genre.  In a nutshell, this is the scariest book I've read in a LONG time!  The only way I was able to read it was in small bits at a time, until I got towards the end and I couldn't put it down.

At the heart of this story is a young family that is staying in an isolated home during winter trying to re-energize after being on the mission field.  While it's true that this book shares plot points with The Shining, the big difference is how this Christian family handles the questions and problems that arise.  There is an 8 year old son, who is wise beyond his years, and a younger daughter that is barely mentioned.  The mother tries valiantly to give the appearance of a normal life in the gigantic house, but she knows in her heart that something is dreadfully wrong.  Her brother arrives to stay with them for a while and she breathes a deep sigh of relief.

It's difficult to write so many things about this book for fear of giving away the end!  I will say that it was a satisfying good vs. evil book and for edge of your seat excitement this book is definitely one to turn to.  Just don't read it after dark or right before bed!   :)

Silly Saturday

Here it is Wednesday and I haven't posted about my time with my beloved granddaughter last weekend!
Loni and Brooklyn headed over to Lynne's apartment Friday night for a girls' slumber party.  They said that Miss B had a grand time exploring her Aunt Lynne's apartment.  And I love it that my daughter and daughter-in-law get along so well.
Saturday morning the girls called us and we met them at Denny's for breakfast.  I ordered the cute little rocket ship sippy cup filled with apple juice for Brooklyn and she really thought that was great!  (And I just noticed the extra folks in the photo background - they are famous on the internet now and don't even know it!  LOL!)  After breakfast the girls went shopping and we brought Brooklyn home with us to play all day.
We had SO MUCH FUN with her!  For an hour and a half we all played, then she went down for a nap....and grandma and grandpa fell asleep on the sofa and chair - LOL!  Yes, there is a reason babies are given to young mothers.  :)  When she got up from her nap we were all off and running again.  Our house has a "circle" - the entryway to the dining room to the living room to the entryway.  She would walk around and make a grand entrance to the living room and we'd all throw our arms in the air and holler "HI!" to her.  She'd get tickled and start waving her arms around and laughing and would go to somebody for a quick hug and kiss and then off she'd go again.  Oh how I love that precious little girl.
After she went home I came in to transfer the photos from the day from my camera to the computer.  Can you believe the only pictures taken were from my cell phone?  BUT...I took 24 little videos with the camera - HAHAHAHA!!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cute Chocolate Cupcakes

Aren't these a beaut?  I have been wanting to get back to my cupcake baking and have been doing a thousand other things instead.  But yesterday I decided to put everything aside and take the time to "just do it" and surprise Keith.
I am more pleased with the appearance of these than any I've done so far.  I think they're cute.  :)  It's a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and I sprinkled some mini chocolate chips on top.  Unfortunately these cupcakes turned out very dry and only the frosting saved them.  I was even so careful when I added my flour and cocoa powder to stir by hand as I think that part of my problem with dryness is how much fun I have revving my Kitchenaid mixer up to warp speed.
Keith has already said that I can put an X next to this recipe and move on and try others.  Lucky for him I have a plethora of recipes printed out just waiting for their turn.
I almost hate to show the book where I got the recipe here because I said that we'd X'd the recipe.  But since I honestly think it's me and not the recipe I'm going to show the book.
Keith and I were in Half Price Books recently and when I saw this book you would've thought I'd found an original copy of the Declaration of Independence I was so thrilled!  One thing I liked when I glanced through the recipes is that there are quite a few that make a smaller batch.  With it being just the two of us I don't want 24 cupcakes around here because it seems to become our mission to eat them all. 
This recipe said it made 12 and I got 10, which would've given us plenty and still had some to take to the neighbors.  As dry as these were though I decided not to share.  ;)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Miss B At The Lake

Just in case anybody should wonder, little baby girls get very thirsty after they have played at the beach while at the lake.  She made short work of her little apple juice box.
And then, bless her heart, she was out like a light for the rest of the boat ride.  All the walking on the beach, playing in the sand and splashing in the lake will wear a grandbaby out!

CFBA - Wounded: A Love Story

I am thrilled to announce that I am now part of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and will be posting a book review about 3 times a month.  I hope you will find the reviews interesting and helpful!   :)

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Wounded: A Love Story

David C. Cook (September 2008)


Claudia Mair Burney


Claudia is the author of the popular Ragamuffin Diva blog and the David C. Cook novel Zora and Nicky: A novel in Black And White. She is also the author of Death, Deceit, and Some Smooth Jazz, and the Amanda Bell Brown Mysteries and the Exorsistah series for teens. Her work has appeared in Discipleship Journal magazine, The One Year Life Verse Devotional Bible, and Justice in the Burbs.

She lives in Michigan with her husband, five of their seven children, and a quirky dwarf rabbit.



If a miracle happened to you, wouldn't you tell everyone? What if they thought you were crazy?

Gina Merritt, poor in health and rich in faith is the last person to expect a miracle to happen to her. As she sits in a pew on Ash Wednesday with throbbing pain in her knees and a raging migraine, she turns her concentration elsewhere and silently prays, "Share with me, Jesus."

Instantly she has a holy vision of the Son of God kneeling before her. As tears fill her eyes, Christ kisses Gina's hands, leaving two perfect red roses. When the vision fades, Gina's hands are bleeding.

Anthony Priest, the junkie sitting beside her, instinctively touches Gina when she cries out, but she flees in shock and pain. A prizewinning journalist before drugs destroyed his career, Anthony is stunned that he is suddenly overcome with a sense of well-being and he instantly knows that he is cured of his addiction. Wanting an explanation, Anthony follows Gina home.

Is it a miracle, or just a religious delusion? It seems like everyone who knows of the mysterious stigmata has an opinion, and it's not always favorable. Putting aside their difference and their mutual distrust, Gina and Anthony embark on a search for answers. Along the way they encounter an uncertain evangelical pastor, a gentle Catholic priest, a certifiable religious zealot, and a transvestite drug dealer, all of whom lend their voices to the tale. It's a quest for truth, sanity, and grace…and an unexpected love story.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Wounded: A Love Story, go HERE

"Who doesn't really want a miracle, somewhere deep inside themselves?"  This quote sums up the feelings at the heart of this book.  Written in first person from the point of view of four different people, Ms. Burney weaves a story about a stigmatic and a heroin addict and their quest for the truth.
Gina, the main character, is a single black mother who suffers from a variety of health problems including migraines, bipolar and fibromyalgia.  She spends much time trying to convince herself and others that she is not crazy and her priest, the addict and his mother are all an integral part of the discovery process.
The ensuing love story and journey has some very uncomfortable scenes and verbage.  I'm not sure I would be able to recommend this book to most people I know and yet the other part of me is a bit challenged by what I've read.  Stigmata has always had a bit of mystery surrounding it and this book has only added to that.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Week At The Lake

We are back from an amazing week long vacation at the lake.  Really it couldn't have been more perfect - we started out with Labor Day weekend and had all the kids with us.  And little Miss B has decided that she does indeed love the lake!  I just knew that somewhere deep inside of her was a lake rat just like her grandma waiting to come out!  :)  The photo above I took, along with several of just her little footprints, because there are few things cuter than a one year old walking along a beach.

The kids stayed until Monday, then Keith, Joe (the golden) and I stayed until yesterday.  We did a wide range of things and tired ourselves out by the end of each day.  Gustav managed to show up full of wind and we pretty much stayed at the house for two of the days.  Though we did run to town real quick and one of the ladies there told us to go look at the lake as it had higher waves than she'd seen in years.  Sure enough, we were suitably impressed.  Mom said that Daddy used to say that the lake "got up on her high heels" when it was all stirred up like that.

I'm sure to have stories all week because I'll never be able to remember it all tonight.  :)

I will say that I highly recommend time together like this.  We are relaxed and ready for about anything.  And as we were packing yesterday and listening to an Alan Jackson CD the song "Remember When" came on and Keith and I stopped and did a little slow dance together at the cabin.  I ended up in tears because the song is so beautiful and the timing so good.

"Remember when
30 seemed so old
Now looking back
It's just a stepping stone
To where we are
From where we've been
We'd do it all again
Remember when"

~ Sigh ~   It was truly a beautiful moment and the perfect way to end our week.

Definitely Good Times.....

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Morning Quiet

Early morning is my favorite time of day. Having the time to sit in
the stillness of the house and start the day with prayer and Bible
reading is the perfect way to begin each day.

This morning after I had set my Bible aside and was drinking coffee
and getting my thoughts in order this is what I saw. I can't decide
if Joe was enjoying the quiet with me or if he was wanting something a
little more action packed!!!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

At Water's Edge

We are back from an afternoon of hiking and geocaching. Today we hiked
some trails on some fairly impressive hills so I'm sitting here with
spaghetti legs now while Keith is mowing the backyard (he's obviously
in better shape than I am!). It was a beautiful trail that ran right
at the lake's edge, so the sound of the waves hitting the shore was
always with us. How gracious God is for surrounding us with such beauty!