Monday, November 30, 2009

Saint's Roost

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Terry has over 30 books in print, including work in a dozen short story collections and four non-fiction books plus numerous articles and short stories.

His last book Beyond the Smoke is a 2009 winner of the Will Rogers Medallion for best youth fiction and a nominee for the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He has a three book Mysterious Ways series out from David C Cook, and Trails of the Dime Novel from Echelon Press.

A graduate of West Texas State he did post graduate work at Southern Methodist University. Terry plans to continue writing inspirational fiction as well as working as an agent for Hartline Literary Agency. Terry is a native Texan Living in Amarillo, Texas with his lovely wife Saundra.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Terry Burns has written a novel rich in Texan drawl and old western authenticity.

Saint’s Roost opens with a determined couple leaving a wagon train to set off on their own, only to be set upon by savages. Patrick, an eager evangelizing preacher, steps out to share the Good Book with the savages and meets an untimely demise, leaving his wife, Janie, alone on a trail to nowhere with no one to help her survive.

She makes her way across the frontier determined to follow her husband’s calling, but she doesn’t know where to begin, or even how to take care of herself. When her travels bring her into the lives of two cowhands, an ex-prostitute, a young boy and his drunken grandfather, and towns filled with cowboys waiting to be saved, she discovers there’s more than one way to spread God’s word.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Saint's Roost, go HERE

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not The Same In The Country

I have never been a Black Friday shopper.      I hate crowds and I can't imagine there being anything worth getting up at 3 in the morning to go fight all those crazed shoppers to get.     However, about mid-morning Friday my sister-in-law decided that we would hop in the car and go look at the one store that Union had to offer.    You did get that, right?    The one store.     

I don't know if you remember my post from the summer where I told you that our husbands knew how to get to the campgrounds where the family reunion was held by turning at the broken toilet.      Well, SIL and I knew we were on the right track when we passed the broken sink on the way into town.     We knew you wouldn't believe us so we took a picture.




The little store that we went to browse had closed so all that was open was the Piggly Wiggly which is owned by one of our husbands' friends.     I remembered seeing a boutique advertised in a nearby town in the recent Mississippi magazine so we ran in to see if they had a copy.       Unfortunately they had sold out of all their copies.

We decided we would chance it and run up to the gas station on the corner.     I told SIL to stay in the car and I ran inside.

Just inside the door was a guy who distinctly reminded me of Barney Fife.      His thumbs were hooked inside his pockets and he gave me a nod as I entered the store.

Me:  "Excuse me.    Do you carry magazines?"

Barney:   "Hmmmm.     Ummmmm.     Do you mean like paper?"

Me:   "Yes."   (Let me tell you that it took all my self-control to NOT say, "No, I meant a gun magazine.   I intend to rob the store and I forgot my ammunition when I was putting on my makeup.)

Barney:    "No maam."

I thanked him and went back to the car.       I told SIL and we both just died laughing.     We both had visions of having to call our husbands and tell them that we were arrested because the local Barney Fife arrested me because he misunderstood me and thought I was trying to hold up the Spaceway.   

Things just don't mean the same thing in the country!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Little Elvis Fan

It is still a mystery to us where Little Guy picked up his obsession with Elvis.      I do know that several years ago he brought all his money to me and asked, "Is this enough to buy an Elvis CD?"     He had heard one of his songs and he really liked it and wanted more.      We found a collection of his greatest hits and he listened to that CD every night at bedtime for weeks.   

If he saw an Elvis book in the bookstore he will pick it up and look through it.     If he hears an Elvis song, he will point it out.      But he has been asking for quite a while to visit Graceland.

*sigh*    Neither hubs or I are big Elvis fans.    We both remember when Elvis died in 1977.   I was at my friend's house down the road.      We were standing in the kitchen and her Mom heard the news and she became hysterical.    I don't mean upset.    I mean hysterical.    She turned and told my friend and she became hysterical.     They turned and told me and I remember thinking, "Who in the world is Elvis?"     When I did not become hysterical they promptly told me I had to go home because there had been a death in the family.   

Anyway, we decided that we would suck it up and take Little Guy on the big tour during this little visit to Memphis.       He was soooo excited.      The rest of us.... not so much.     We even tried to "buy" him out of the tour by offering the tour money not to go, but he wouldn't have any part of it.

As you can see by the pictures below.... he was "all shook up"!  (I know.   It was bad, but I wouldn't resist!)




In front of the "Lisa Marie".   Look at that "Elvis" smirk on his face.   He cracks me up.













I even convinced Big Guy to take a few pics....





The official drink of Graceland is Coca-Cola.     Hmmmm.... you know I am a Pepsi girl.



My favorite picture from the day...




Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Vacay - Part 1

When hubs took me to see "Wicked" back in July, we saw on the calendar that the Cirque de Soleil Christmas show was going to be in town over the Thanksgiving holiday.     I started working, scraping and saving to buy tickets to take the boys away to see this show as well as the CSI: Live! Mad Science show.

The Cirque Holidaze show was awesome!     I loved the toy soldier who performed on the tight rope.    Little Guy loved the girls who performed with the chinese yo-yos and on the bicycles.       Big Guy thought the audience participation with the bells was really cool.      Really and truly it was all amazing and hard to describe!



The CSI:Live show was part of The Orpheum's family series so we went again the next night.    An entire show about forensic science and solving a mystery which happened on the stage at the beginning of the show?     The boys thought it ROCKED!!
 




On the way into the show we passed the Mad Science van and grabbed a quick pic.



Before the show, the Mad Science people were conducting experiements that the kids could participate in...





They also made twirler airplanes which I kept carefully in my purse until after the show.    When we got back to the hotel they got permission from the front desk to fly them off the top floors and let hubs catch them in the downstairs atrium.       They had the best time ever and so did we watching them have fun.





Friday, November 20, 2009

Charm City

Hubs recently took a trip to Baltimore to check on one of his business clients.     While he was there he tried to find Charm City cakes to take a few pics for Little Guy.     Unfortunately, the address in the phone book was an old one and they had moved.    However, he enjoyed driving around and snapping a few pictures.     

Here are just a few pics he snapped on the way to one of his meetings.    We would love to go back with him on one of his trips because the city looks just beautiful!






Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why I Fuss

I sent Little Guy to his room with some clean laundry. He came back WAY too fast and I knew that he had not put his things away. I told him to turn around and head back to get those clothes put away where they belong.

When he returned this was the conversation we had:

Little Guy: "Mom, I hate it when you have to fuss at me."

Me: "I don't like it either, Little Guy. In fact, it hurts my heart, but I am your Mom. It is my job to teach you to be the young man you are to be so that you can grow up to be the man God wants you to be. If I don't teach you those things do you know who is going to fuss at me?"

Little Guy: "God?"

Me: "Exactly. God would fuss at me because He has given me rules to follow in being your parent which is why I expect you to follow my rules."

Little Guy: (after a second) "Well, fuss away, Mom."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pasta Making Class

Little Guy loved his first class at the Viking Cooking School so much that he asked to take another one.    He really wanted to take the pasta making class.     It was a family class which required at least one parent to attend so that was a BONUS because it gave me an excuse to be able to go with him.

Little Guy and I wanted to take home all those Viking appliances... big and small.   


Rolling the pasta through the pasta maker...


Cutting the pasta into fettucini....



Making ravioli...






We were amazed at how quickly fresh pasta cooks!      While I was cooking the pasta, Tanner made the garlic bread.      Making the garlic butter...


Our finished pasta dishes.     Making me so hungry!


 
We are serious Viking Cooking School addicts.   I wonder if they would consider frequent "cooking" points to earn a free class because we both would prefer this to any gift we could think of!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Timberrrrrr

We are blessed to have several large trees in the back yard. Our house backs up to The Natchez Trace so have a beautiful view. About two weeks ago, Big Guy came in and said that there was a problem with one of our trees. While outside he had a stick and happened to lean against the tree. When he leaned the stick went all the way into the tree. That is not supposed to happen. We went outside to look. The outside looked fine, but there was obviously something going on from the inside.

We called several tree guys around and got several quotes. Wow! They must have been planning trip to Disneyworld for the quotes they gave us. I mentioned that we were wanting to cut down a tree on Facebook and several people from church sent us the names of people in our church who did that type of work. We knew them quite well from being in Sunday School and our boys being in Sunday School together, but we didn't realize they did this as a side business. Hubs gave them a call and we set up a time.

Little Guy found himself a safe place to watch from....



Even though the tree was completey dead on the inside, it was kind of sad to see that it only took 1 minute to completely take down what had taken so many years to grow into such a beautiful stately tree.

Little Guy kneeling beside the tree to show how it was rotten from the inside.




Poor Big Guy came out to look at what the tree looked like inside, but he had felt so bad that day.    I only let him come outside for a few minutes and then made him go back inside.   


 
 
Now that the tree is down there is a lot of work to do getting it cut up into firewood.     Of course, we are thankful to have the firewood since we are out and they are predicting a really cold winter.       

Isn't God amazing?      He provides for us in so many ways.    The tree was rotted and could have been a danger to our house, but God's hand guided Big Guy to discover the problem.     We were out of firewood, but now we have an overabundance.     He helped us to find just the right person to cut down our tree.       We serve a Big, BIG God!



Monday, November 16, 2009

Painting Little Turkeys

Handprint art is just one of my favorite things.     Now that my twin nieces are here I have an excuse to do it again plus I want my sweet baby sister to have the mementos of her sweet girls and how fast they are growing.    

This is LK and MM's first Thanksgiving so of course they needed to do the traditional handprint turkeys.     So last Thursday while they were here I asked Big Guy to grab the camera and take pics while I put the girls into their seats.

LK was really curious why they were being put in their seats when it wasn't time for breakfast.



MM jumped right into the project and picked the paint she wanted to use when I offered her a choice.    Yes... I definitely gave her a choice.     Even though they are only 11 months old it is important to give them choices when you can.      I offered her the choice:   light brown or dark brown.     This is the one she liked!



Just like their personalities, the girls reacted so differently to having paint put on their hands.     LK watched intently and sat very still.





MM squished and rubbed her hands together to see what it felt like.



If you had asked me before hand, I would have thought it was going to be the exact opposite.     However, when we were through we had such cute little handprints.       I didn't check the camera until after the girls were gone so I didn't realize that we didn't get a picture of the completed projects.     Oh, well,  not important!



The girls had fun.     Even cleaning up was fun for them....



And if I get to spend special time with them and laugh and giggle with my sweet nieces.... that is all that matters to me!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What The Bayou Saw




Segregation and a chain link fence separated twelve-year-old Sally Flowers from her best friend, Ella Ward. Yet a brutal assault bound them together. Forever. Thirty-eight years later, Sally, a middle-aged Midwestern instructor, dredges up childhood secrets long buried beneath the waters of a Louisiana bayou in order to help her student, who has also been raped. Fragments of spirituals, gospel songs, and images of a Katrina-ravaged New Orleans are woven into the story.


The past can't stay buried forever Rising author Patti Lacy's second novel exposes the life of Sally, set amid the shadows of prejudice in Louisiana.

Since leaving her home in the South, Sally Stevens has held the secrets of her past at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband, has heard the truth about her childhood.

But when one of her students is violently raped, Sally's memories quickly bubble to the surface unbidden, like a dead body in a bayou. As Sally's story comes to light, the lies she's told begin to catch up with her. And as her web of deceit unravels, she resolves to face the truth at last, whatever the consequences.

If you would like to read the first chapter of What The Bayou Saw, go HERE

Watch the Book Trailer:














Book Review: Everyone has secrets in their past. Some are more haunting than others. Patti Lacy is intriqued with those secrets and it is what gives her the inspiration for her books. Although she has only been writing since 2005, Lacy writes with a depth in her characters that will have you drawn in from the very first page of the book.

I am a southern girl. A G.R.I.T.S. - Girl Raised In The South. Even more than that I was a southern girl raised in Mississippi. It is hard to understand just how well Lacy captured the complexities of the emotions, tensions, and social structure unless you grew up in the midst of it the way we have. I found myself crying, clenching my teeth and anxiously reading through painful paragraphs.

This story was made even more "raw" by the fact that it was set during parts of Hurricane Katrina. Being able to visualize what she was writing about and parts of the city she was describing made the book very visual and alive to me.

I can't wait for Patti Lacy's next book. No matter what the topic or who the characters... I know that it will be a story that will make me explore my heart and think more about how I draw closer to Him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another Man's Treasure

We have talked for months about having a garage sale. Every time we have started to plan a weekend we have had some sort of conflict with either work, church, or RAIN.

I just needed a push. Something to motivate me.

Then...

Our middle school pastor came and told me that we will be having our first Disciple NOW weekend in January. SO awesome. We are going to be a host home. More than likely we will have a house full of boys since Little Guys has already requested that we not host girls because they are "Icky!".

Next came the BEST motivator of all. My BFF called from Atlanta and had the gall to ask how I felt about her and the kids coming for a week in December. How do I feel about it?     This kind of sums it up...


My BFF could care less what my house looks like.     When she lived next door to me we saw each other's house in every imaginable state.     We would just push the pile of clothes to the middle of the couch and sit and talk over the top.    ha!

But, with the holidays coming up and this being pretty much the last possible weekend to have a garage sale, I had received my motivation.

I started with the boys' rooms yesterday and you literally can't see my dining room now.     Games, toys, books, shoes, educational materials....   oh my heavens.  

We still have to go through my closet, the hobby shop and the attic.    It almost scares me to think about how much stuff there is in there.

So... if you are wanting to do a little garage shopping THIS SATURDAY let me know.    I'll email you my information!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fit To Be Tied


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Fit to Be Tied

Zondervan (November 1, 2009)

by

Robin Lee Hatcher



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon



ABOUT THE BOOK

Cleo Arlington dresses like a cowboy, is fearless and fun-loving, and can ride, rope, and wrangle a horse as well as any man. In 1916, however, those talents aren’t what most young women aspire to. But Cleo isn’t most women. Twenty-nine years old and single, Cleo loves life on her father’s Idaho ranch. Still, she hopes someday to marry and have children.

Enter Sherwood Statham, an English aristocrat whose father has sentenced him to a year of work in America to “straighten him out.” Sherwood, who expected a desk job at a posh spa, isn’t happy to be stuck on an Idaho ranch. And he has no idea how to handle Cleo, who’s been challenged with transforming this uptight playboy into a down-home cowboy, because he has never encountered a woman succeeding in a “man’s world.”

Just about everything either of them says or does leaves the other, well, fit to be tied. Cleo Arlington knows everything about horses but nothing about men. And though Cleo believes God’s plan for her includes a husband, it couldn’t possibly be Sherwood Statham. Could it?

Their bumpy trot into romance is frustrating, exhilarating, and ultimately heartwarming.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fit to Be Tied , go HERE.

Watch the book video Trailer:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Miss You Like Crazy


My sweet friend Bob is celebrating his first Sunday in heaven today. I am so jealous of him. After a long and adventurous life, Bob just met Jesus peacefully in his sleep this past Wednesday.

I met Bob when I was working at the Madison Herald. We were both freelance writers. We loved talking about what we would be writing about the next week. For him, it was effortless. For me, not so much.

Bob was an accomplished journalist. He had worked for quite a few newspapers around Mississippi as both a reporter and photographer. I discovered that he had quite the love for his Mississippi State bulldogs which came with serving as the director of pr at MSU for 20 years.

We could talk and talk and talk. But mostly I loved to listen. He served in the Navy during WWII and was stationed in the Philipines. He didn't talk about that a lot. He would rather tell me about growing up in small town Mississippi. Oh, goodness, I would laugh until I couldn't breathe listening to his stories.

On my nightstand is the autographed copy of his book, "Kudzu, Homebrew and Dinner on the Ground," that Bob sent me last spring as a surprise. We had been talking and I had cried because something he told me made me cry.

Bob's diagnosis with cancer hit all of us as his friends more than him it seemed. He faced it the way he faced everything else he had in his 82 years of life. With laughter and determination and grit. He found it all so amusing that he even wrote a book about it called, "Hot Flashes, Swollen Ankles and Sore Breasts - And I'm a Man".

Today we will all gather for the visitation service and tomorrow will be his funeral. I have a feeling there will be a lot of story telling going today. Bob wouldn't have it any other way.

Good bye my sweet friend. I miss you like crazy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Linky Love: Audio Books

When Big Guy was little he wanted me to read to him every night. We had been reading every night since he had been born. It was my favorite time of the day. When he got to be about two years ago he started crying when it was time for me to read the last book because he knew it meant I was going to be leaving soon. He would try to beg me to stay and sleep with him for just a little while. I began to pray for a solution to the problem. Soon I believe the Lord gave me the idea to start a new routine that included an audiobook.

One afternoon while Big Guy was napping, I recorded two of his favorite books on tape for him. That night at bedtime I read him his regular two books and when it got time for his third book I told him that he was going to get to have two more books. I also told him that I was going to read them to him in a special way. And I gave him his books and his two books. I turned on his tape and he heard my voice say, "Hey, Todd!" The tape told him when to turn the pages and when to change books. It also told him when the books were over that his water cup was on his nightstand and when he was finished he could either turn off the light or just go to sleep with it on. I told him to leave me an extra kiss on the pillow -- always has been one of our routines -- and sleep tight. That night started not only a new bedtime routine but a love of audio books.

He would listen to the same couple of books for about a week and then I would record new ones. About a week ago he found a set of those tapes in his closet and he said, "Mom, I listened to those and they made me cry. I am keeping those forever."

Audio Books for Free

Free Classic Audiobooks
(Pilgrim's Progress, Treasure Island, White Fang...
we've used lots of great ones from here!)

Internet Archive
These are OLD archives: Dragnet, CBS Mystery Theater, etc...
Oldies, but some real goodies!

Learn Out Loud
Called a one stop destination for audio and video learning.
This directory features free audio books, lectures, speeches, sermons, interviews, and many other great free audio and video resources.

Open Culture
This guy searches the web for the best cultural and educational media.
We have used The Red Bad of Courage, Robinson Crusoe, and
Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!"

Project Gutenberg

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Watch For Opportunities

Since the boys were little we have tried to instill in them how to be gentlemen.     Hubs is such a gentleman that it is easy for the boys to watch him and know exactly what that means.     

One of our regular statements is:   Look for ways to be gentlemen.

So you can imagine my happiness yesterday as we were on an outing to the Manship House.      Demonstrations were being held all over the grounds from local craftsmen demonstrating the art of blacksmithing, weaving fabric, weaving baskets, wood carving, old paint techniques, and period home pieces.     

We were standing with a local school group watching the blacksmith forge a piece of iron when out of the corner of my eye I saw Big Guy slip away from the group.    He walked out of the parking lot and down the sidewalk.   I saw him meet one of the local teachers who was struggling to carry a large box.    He asked her if he could carry it for her.     At first she seemed shocked but then said yes.      I watched them as they walked across the parking lot and through the Manship grounds to where the staff had set up for school kids to have a picnic lunch.      When he was finished he came back to the group and stood as if nothing had happened.

On the way home I told him how proud I was of him for being such a gentleman.    When he looked over he had a smile on his face that looked just like my hubs and said, "Just saw an opportunity."

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Secret of Indigo Moon


The Secret of Indigo Moon
by G.P. Taylor
This book was provided for review by:
Tyndale Publisher

Book Description
From best-selling author G.P. Taylor comes the highly anticipated second installment of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, a series that combines art and traditional text to help “reluctant readers” discover the wonder of books.
Erik Morissey Ganger, famed explorer and detective (well, in his dreams), and his mischief-making sidekicks, twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple, didn’t go looking for a secret tunnel beneath the school. They never intended to make the acquaintance of a shifty private eye with a nose for trouble. It wasn’t part of the plan to come face to face with an old enemy, one with an agenda of his own that could destroy them all. And unraveling the “secret of indigo moon” was the farthest thing from their minds.
At Isambard Dunstan’s School for Wayward Children, these things just seem to happen.
In The Secret of Indigo Moon, confirmed troublemakers Erik, Sadie, and Saskia plunge headlong into a new and perilous mystery, one that challenges everything they thought they knew about their lives, themselves, and whom it’s safe to trust.

Book Review
The graphic genre is very popular right now. When this book arrived in my mailbox, both of my boys said, "Ooh! Whose book is that?" Opening the pages of this book pulls you into "Lemony Snicket" types of illustrations which a lot of kids will immediately find visually appealing, but somehow put my guard on edge.

However, when I read books I read it as a "Mom". I want my boys to be entertained, but I also want to know what seeds are being planted in their minds as well. When a book is labeled for sale in the Christian bookstore, I want it to meet certain standards. As far as sex or inappropriate language, you don't have to worry. There isn't any of that.

But, it definitely has some creepy moments which some younger children might find a little too scary. To be safe, it is always best to read books before letting your children read them.

My biggest problem with this book is the ending. While I won't give it away, I will simply say that the first Scripture verse that came to mind when reading it was this: 'Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.' John 14:6

The Cook-Off

Saturday morning, Little Guy got up early and pulled out all his special ingredients.      He started by browning some chicken in butter and garlic.



Next he began opening some cans of ingredients.


He poured in his spices, some veggies and other things which make his white bean chicken chili special and set it to cook for the day.



Saturday night we gathered his crock pot and went to our church's Fall Festival.     Little Guy's eyes were not detered by the games, costumes or candy.     He was headed straight for the Soup/Gumbo/Chili Cook-Off Tables.       

We got him set up and waiting for the judges.    How cute is he in his denim apron and chef's hat?



After the judges tasted, the festival goers got to eat.      It took exactly 20 minutes for Little Guy to empty his crock pot.     People were begging for his recipe.

Finally, they announced the winners.     When they announced the chili winner it wasn't Little Guy, but it was a friend so we all cheered.     Little Guy was about to go run off to the cake walk to try to win a cake when Pastor Buddy said, "And this year's Overall Chili/Gumbo/Soup Festival Winner is Little Guy!"    



We all cheered, high fived and hugged...

then we went and got in the cake walk line!

To see Little Guy's Winning Recipe