Friday, May 29, 2009

Winner of Yesterday's Drawing


I'm pleased to announce the winner of yesterday's drawing for a copy of His Forever Love:


Project Journal/Hannah. Congratulations, Hannah. I'll email you.


Thanks to all who shared about their grandmothers yesterday. I enjoyed all the comments so much. Also, please be sure to leave a comment on any post to be entered in the monthly drawing for the Love Inspired books that month. May's drawing will be held soon! Included will be Tides of Hope by Irene Hannon, Blind-Date Bride by Jillian Hart, The Baby Bond by Linda Goodnight, and The Cowboy Next Door by Brenda Minton.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grandmas are Special, too!


Missy Tippens here. I’m excited to announce the June 1st release of my newest Love Inspired book, His Forever Love! It’s available online now and should be in bookstores very soon (I saw the shelf tag at Target yesterday!) And as part of my blog tour, today I’ll be offering a free copy in a drawing from among all who comment! Please leave your contact information so I can reach you if you win. (As a side note, remember that any time you comment you’re automatically entered in our monthly drawing for that month’s Love Inspired books.)

As we finish the month of focus on motherhood, I thought I’d tell a little bit about one of the characters in His Forever Love: Granny Bea. My hero, Bill, lost his parents when he was young, so his grandmother took him and his brother in to raise them. When the story starts, Granny has taken a fall, so Bill comes home to check on her. And what he finds is that Granny now has her first outside-the-home job, plus a man with a crush on her! Oh, and of course Bill finds the heroine, too. And he just happened to have loved her in high school and hasn’t seen her in fifteen years. Of course, she’s not too happy with his plans for Granny! :)

As we think of motherhood this month, I couldn't help but remember my wonderful grandmother. Do any of you have a special Grandma you’d like to tell us about?
I hope you'll visit me at www.missytippens.com to learn more about His Forever Love and to sign up for my newsletter.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A DIFFERENT KIND OF MOTHER

As this month of discussing mothers and motherhood draws to a close, I wanted to mention a different kind of mothering. My husband and I have a heart for orphans, particularly the children of Eastern Europe. Statistics from reputable sources reveal stark realities for those kids who are turned out on the streets, uneducated and without resources at the age of 15 or 16. Sixty percent of the girls will end up in the sex slave industry and seventy percent of the boys in a life of crime.

Why am I discussing this here? Because a few years ago we felt God calling us to do something. So we signed up to host a Ukrainian orphan. The tiny six-year-old arrived in oversized, stinking boots, ill-fitting, dirty clothes, reeking with body odor, and starved for food and attention. Our lives were forever changed by this beautiful, resilient little spirit.

Long story short, we tried to adopt her but Ukraine was in political turmoil and closed the doors to Americans for a time. We fell on our knees, prayed and fasted until somehow in His great love, God moved a mountain. In a country where only one percent of orphans are ever adopted, a young American couple ‘happened’ to squeeze through the rapidly closing window of opportunity and adopted the child and her sister. (They still send us photos.)

We rejoiced, happy to know she would never eat potato peelings and dog scraps again. But our hearts would not let us stop with one. Since that time, we have hosted a child at least once a year and then advocated for each child’s adoption. (Because of our age, Ukraine will not allow us to adopt.) All but one of our girls has now found a loving home. I continue to pray for Vika and I write to her regularly, send gifts, school supplies, clothes, and anything she needs. While I am not her mother in person, I am her mother through God's love.

Each time we host we say, “This is the last time.” Letting the child go hurts too much. But God won’t let us stop. And so later this summer, we take the plunge again. This time a teenager will come, a teenager who never had a mother to tuck her in or brush her hair. A teenager who cried in the dark and no one came to comfort when she was sick or afraid.

After this summer though, for the rest of her life, she will have a mother-albeit a long distance one-and I count it both joy and privilege to be that different kind of mother.

Now that I’ve brought this up, I’m curious. Have any of you hosted or fostered or adopted or felt the call to care for the fatherless?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wisconsin Dells & Summer Memories from My Mom



The Wisconsin Dells with its unique natural beauty and Ducks is a wonderful place to make memories.

Memorial Day Weekend officially launched Summer. (Don't get confused by the weatherman who says summer doesn't start till the Summer Solstice in mid June. We know better!)
I have lots of good summer memories that came because of my mom. Since I grew up an hour north of Chicago, one of these was going to the Wisconsin Dells.


If you've never heard of this Midwestern tourist destination, it is quite unique. In the last ice age (as in the animated movie, "The Ice Age"), this area of Wisconsin was not covered by the glacial ice shield and so it has very interesting landscape compared to the rest of Wisconsin and Illinois. If you'd like to read up on this which is called the "Driftless Area" of Wisconsin, go to

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dells_of_the_Wisconsin_River


The Dells is known for its Ducks, amphibious vehicles left over from WWII. These are the coolest things to ride in and around the Dells. For more on these unique vehicles. Visit http://www.dellsducks.com/history.html




My memories of the Dells are the delicious bakeries of Wisconsin. We'd leave early in the morning and then stop in one of the small towns and buy our breakfast at a bakery and then go to the local park and eat breakfast. Then we'd drive north to the Dells, get our motel (always with a small outdoor pool) and then do the Dells tours on the Ducks or a boat and then we'd go to the Ho-Chunk store (The American Indian tribe Winnebago called themselves Ho-chunk-gra (Ho-Chunk), "People with the Big Voice." http://www.answers.com/topic/winnebago-ho-chunk ) and I'd buy another silver and turquoise ring or little buckskin beaded purse.

I know it doesn't sound that exciting but it was. I loved the carnival atmosphere mixed with the natural beauty of the Dells. Do you have any memories of special summer spots where your mom made memories for you?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Proud of those who have served our country


We've been talking about our mothers for the month, but today I am turning the focus to Memorial Day which is most likely about our fathers (although women have done their part to preserve our freedoms in many different ways through the years). Memorial Day began for the purpose of decorating the graves of Civil War veterans and has since become a day on which all war dead are commemorated. Even if I don't visit a grave today, I will spend some time being grateful for my freedoms. I also plan to call a few veterans I know and thank them for serving.

Do you have any special plans for the day? Or do you want to post a comment expressing your gratitude for those who have served our country? If so, please do.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: BLIND-DATE BRIDE BY JILLIAN HART


Getting stood up on a blind date was the best thing that could happen to police officer Max Decker. No small talk. No personal questions. No lies. And no pretending he's ready to give his heart to anyone. Anyone like vulnerable Brianna McKaslin—who was stood up in the same restaurant! The lovely, kind, Christian woman is everything the embittered cop used to dream about in a bride. And Max can't be the one who lets her get away.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Other Side of Motherhood




When my husband and I were young, I dreamt of the white picket fence and being a mother. It was about 29 years ago, right before mother's day when I found out I was expecting my first child. Never would I have imagined the joys and challenges ahead of me.

I gave birth to three children, spent 15 years as a part-time mother to another 119 as a licensed child care provider, and have been blessed to welcome three more children and three grandchildren (so far) into my heart. My dreams couldn't have been filled any more completely had I had a crystal ball.

Yet along with the hugs and laughter, there are also tears and heartaches as I strive to guide them through the twists and turns of life. As much as I wanted to spare them the pain of making mistakes and falling down, I knew that they needed to learn to pick themselves up, because even now, as they're grown up and raising their own children, that built confidence in their own abilities. Like my mother did for me.

And as I continue to learn, being a mother isn't just a stage of life. It doesn't move out when the kids do. It keeps changing through the years. Sometimes I stumble through motherhood, just like my kids did childhood. Some years are wonderful, and some are not. And while my children no longer want me to coddle them, that need to know I will always be there to share their joys and pains is still as important as the nights I held them while they were cutting their first tooth.

Motherhood is not only one of the hats I wear, it is who God made me. Though it wasn’t always what I thought it would be, I realize what an honor it is that God allowed me to fulfill that dream, and what a blessing that He has always been here to help me along the way.

My motto, as a writer, and as a mother, is "never give up on your dreams." What dreams did you have when you were younger? Have you kept reaching for them, and have they turned out the way you expected them to?


Happy Dreams,


Carol Steward

Houston...I have power! AND a great mom...


Sorry for getting this up late. We only recently had power restored after an enormous storm...ever heard of an inland hurricane?

Neither had I until two weeks ago when I saw whole trees sailing past my windows. LOL!

Today I'd like to honor my mom by telling you a story. I've wanted to write since I could hold a crayon. My parents always encouraged me toward my dreams. My mother is the kindest, sweetest person I know. She always believed in me and told me so. She never once doubted my potential even when I did. After high school, I went to college to be a nurse. I worked in health care for about twenty years before trading in my nurse's hat and running those corridors at midnight to running after the patter of six little feet.

Becoming a stay-at-home mom is a choice my mother made when we were young too, and I was so glad for that time with her. I thought, my kids are only little once and I can never get that time back with them. Staying home with them enabled me to begin writing. Actually, what started me staying home was the fact that I was placed on bedrest with a pregnancy. So God really launched the gift of story in me then, though I'd written for years.

After seven years of trying, I finally sold my 7th completed manuscript but I'd finished 15 by that time. Once my author copies of my debut novel came in the mail, I went straight to my mom's house, because she's been my biggest champion and I knew she'd be so proud of me. I handed that book to her and said, "Look! My first book!"

She smiled in her sweet way and said, "No, actually...this is your first book." And she walked over to a file cabinet that she'd kept drawings and art projects and things from my sister and I from when we were young. She pulled out this tattered blue construction paper book that was illustrated and had a story in the pages about a dog named blue (LOOOOOOOOONG before Blues Clues! LOL.). I'd written it when I was in elementary school, probably around age 5. She handed it to me and said, "THIS was your first book." Then she hugged me and said, "I always knew you could do it."

What would we do without mothers?

For those of you whose mom has passed on...my prayers and thoughts are with you today. I pray God will grant you special memories today.

Blessings,

Cheryl

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You Know You're a Mother When...


This May was extra special - my very first mother's day!!! Last year in May I was pregnant, but this year, I had almost 10 months of experience as a new mommy, and wow, how my life has changed!

All for the better, of course.


Somehow, seeing my Little Miss's toothless grin and hearing her precious giggles makes me forget about how tired I am, or how desperate I am for a maid, an endless supply of Diet Coke, and a nap. All of that goes away when I look in her eyes and she smiles back at me.

I've concocted a list that I'm sure many can relate to.

YOU KNOW YOU'RE A MOTHER...

When you find yourself groggily attempting to start your car with a pacifier, because that's what is always in your hand.

When you, a long-time right handed woman, suddenly finds herself ambidextrous in all things, even eating soup left-handed, because your right hand is busy feeding your baby.

When you dig through your purse to find a hairbrush and come up with yet another back-up pacifier.
When you are easily able to do body contortions in your car by driving one handed and stretching your arm into the back seat to offer comforting pats.
When you cut your daily showering/dressing routine in half time-wise but still someone manage to look presentable.
When you learn how to live life on 5-6 hours of sleep instead of the once-necessary 8-9.
When you find yourself dancing/singing Ricky Martin songs in the mirror because that's the only thing that makes your little one unafraid of the hair dryer.
When you can carry your baby around on your hip for hours, even long after it goes numb.

When you share Gerber snacks because you're hungry, but too tired to go find your own crackers.
When you train your bladder to hold it for hours because your baby finally asleep on your chest and you aren't about to budge.
What can you add to the list? =)

And of course I can't write a blog on the topic of mothers without giving a shout out to my mom, the precious woman who helped mold me into who I am today. Love you, Mama!!!



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Motherhood

Happy belated Mother's day to all the mom's out there. When I became a mother many light year ago, I was given some words of wisdom and advice.
1) Do the job of raising you kids well and don't expect a thank you until they are grown and have children of their own.
2)housework can wait, time with your children won't.
3)they need you home with them when they are little and when they are in high school
4)be consistant
I'm sure there were more pearls of wisdom gleaned along the way but those are the ones that come to mind this morning.
Being a mother is the greatest and hardest endeavor a woman will face.
May mother's everywhere be blessed and strengthened through the love of Christ today and everyday.

My upcoming June Love Inspired Suspense is the story of a mother's struggle to reclaim her memory so that she may reclaim her child, but there is someone who doesn't want her to do either.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Remember I Love You

The theme of this month has been a tug of war for me. When it was first assigned, I knew what I was going to write. See, for a long time, I wished for a letter from my mother. She passed away in 1993, before I was mature enough to realize just what a gem she was. Now that I have my own son and am a little more mature, I have so many things I want to say to her. I do say them. In the car, I talk to her and often I cry. In the shower, I do the same. Right now, in front of the computer, I'm a little weepy. But, you're hearing what I do. Let's go back to the wish.

I wish for a letter from my mother. It's selfish of me. I want to read that she knew all along that when I was pushing her away it was because I needed to (as my four year old says) "Do it myself." I compose this letter in my mind often. I tried to write it. I couldn't.

Next I decided to find the letter my mother's best friend wrote to me after Mom's death. It was a four pager filled with memories of my mother as a young girl in 1940s. It's about roller skating and Mom's big sisters. It's about the clothes they wore. It talked about Mom being so afraid of high school that she fainted on the first day, and my grandma came and got her and carried her home, so Mom didn't have to go. It talked about the kind of friendship that lasted five decades. I couldn't find the letter from Mary Hale, Mom's best friend, but I found a letter from my mother to me.

No, not the one I keep writing myself.

The letter I found was with my personal stuff because it contained important information. See, when I was in my 20's, I was mugged and lost my purse. I had to call Mom and have her send me some information so I could replace stuff. Last night I found the letter and recognized Mom's handwriting. God gave me such a gift last night. See, the last lines of my mother's letter read:
"I miss you so very much and I sure do love you. There's really not a lot of
news so I'll close to get this mailed. So remember that I love you."
I didn't need a letter, really. I needed the words.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Heroine Interview from The Cowboy Next Door

Interview with the heroine from The Cowboy Next Door by Brenda Minton:

1. Lacey Gould, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I don’t know if I’m a very interesting person. I’m a waitress at the Hash-it-Out Diner. I grew up in St. Louis in a family that was pretty dysfunctional. Living in Gibson, Missouri is my dream. Oh, I do have a police record.

2. What do you do for fun?
I love my church and my friends. I love going to the rodeo and watching bull rides, and cowboys. Who doesn’t like a cowboy?

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Telling people the truth about my past. I tried it once and it didn’t go over very well. The guy I was dating decided my life was a little too much reality, more than he wanted to deal with.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
People walking away from me. But I’m learning to trust God, because this is my life and He’s in control. People will either like me, or they won’t. I can’t control what they do. I can only control what I do. Wow, it sounds easy, doesn’t it? Life is never that simple, that cut-and-dried.

5. What do you want out of life?
Doesn’t every girl want a Happy-Ever-After? Sometimes I wonder, though, if there’s a man out there who will love someone like me.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Right now, my baby niece, Rachel. I didn’t expect her to be in my life. I didn’t expect my sister to show up, and to make more wrong choices. But Rachel, she’s what is important. She needs me. She needs to be in a safe home. I want to give her what my siblings and I didn’t have; love and someone who is always there for her.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
I don’t have a lot of time to read. I’m going to night school, trying to get my GED. So for now, I read history and science. Isn’t that exciting?

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
If I was normal, I would say that I would change my past, undo mistakes. But if I did, I wouldn’t be me. So I’ll pick something less cliché. If I could change something about myself, I would change my fear of dogs.

9. Do you have a pet?
If so, what is it and why that pet? I have ceramic dogs. Growing up in apartments we couldn’t have pets. Lately, though, Jay Blackhorse’s bloodhound has spent a lot of time at my house. He’s big and slobbery, but he’s growing on me. (the dog, not Jay)

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
That’s a hard question with a lot of answers. I think I would like to have been there when Jesus told the people stoning that woman; “He who is without sin, throw the first stone.” Yes, I’d like to see that. I haven’t had a lot of stones thrown at me, but I have felt like that woman. And I’ve always been thankful that Jesus stood between me and my sin.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: THE COWBOY NEXT DOOR BY BRENDA MINTON


Never again would he be burned by a city girl! No matter how sweet and loveable they seem, Lacey Gould and her niece won't win over Jay Blackhorse. Still, they clearly need his help. Lacey needs a place to stay…he has a house to rent. She's clueless about caring for the infant her sister abandoned. Jay has a talent for stopping the baby's tears. But when a dark secret from Lacey's past blows into town, will Jay's help be enough? And who will help Jay when he realizes he's falling for the city girl next door?

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Mother and Mother-in-law


The picture above is my mother, Gladys, when she was a young woman. Mothers are special people, and I was blessed with a wonderful mother. Unfortunately, my mother died too young. She was hit by a car as she was crossing the street just weeks before her 65th birthday. That was nearly twenty-six years ago, and I still miss her. Although my mother was reserved and often stood in the shadow of my dad and even my three brothers and me, at times, she had an inner strength born of her faith that carried her through the difficult times, including the death of her husband ten years prior to her own death. She always opened her home to a myriad of family and friends who remember her hospitality. She is my heroine because in her quiet way she supported me and gave me the confidence in my younger years to reach for my dreams. Because of the encouragement she gave me when I was growing up, I persevered in my adult years through many rejections, until I finally sold my first book. She was gone before I decided to write a book and try to get it published, but the lessons I learned from her helped me not to give up. I just wish she were here to see one of my books on the shelf of a bookstore.



This next picture is my mother-in-law Mary on her 75th birthday several years ago. She was born on Christmas day. So every Christmas we celebrate two birthdays. I am also blessed to have a wonderful mother-in-law, especially since my mother passed away early in my married life. My mother-in-law has also been an encouragement to me in my effort to get published. No one was more excited on the day that I sold my first book. She had read a number of my manuscripts over the years and still doesn't understand why I haven't sold the manuscript that won that Golden Heart. About eight years ago we moved to Florida and now live two miles from her. We are so thankful we are here because she has had some health issues in the past couple of years, and we have been able to help her because we live close. Throughout most of her life, she has been an energetic woman and has had difficulty realizing that she is getting older and can't do all the things she used to do. Despite age and health issues that have slowed her down, she still loves to play bridge every chance she gets. She is a delight to everyone who knows her.

I have been twice blessed to have a wonderful mother, then a wonderful mother-in-law. Tell us about your mother or mother-in-law.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mom never ceases to amaze me.

My mom’s not exactly a dinosaur. She’ll be 78 in a few days, but I worry about her. I live several hours away and I don’t see her as often as I’d like. My dad takes wonderful care of her, but she likes to do things her own way. She doesn’t ask for help. They still live on the family farm so maybe it’s a good thing she’s such a stubborn little Bohemian.

Mom fell this winter. As bad as that sounds, you should know she falls a lot. She has bad arthritis in her knees and they barely bend at all. My dad once left in the wee hours of the morning for a cattle sale out of state. He told Mom to stay in bed until my brother came over. She didn’t. Soon as Dad was gone she tried to get up and slid to the floor. Unable to rise she simply pulled the bedding down with her and went back to sleep because she didn’t want to bother any of us in the middle of the night. Two of my brothers live within fifteen minutes of the farm and she had a phone!

Then there was the time she was taking the trash out to the burn barrel, lost her balance and fell into the ditch at the edge of the lane. She couldn’t get out, got tired of yelling, so she pulled over an empty plastic bucket and beat on it with a stick until Dad located her. She might be forgetful at times, but when push comes to shove, she can be amazing.

Of course, her next fall was more serious. It was winter and my father had gone to bed. Mom realized she’s forgotten to lock up their cattle dog Charlie. Charlie and the local coyotes don’t get along. It was late, Mom didn’t want to bother Dad, so out she went and...fell by Charlie’s pen.

She couldn’t get up, she tried and tried, but couldn’t. So this 77 year old woman log-rolled herself across the frozen yard until she reached the back steps and was able to use the railing and steps to hoist herself to her feet.

Needless to say we were all shocked speechless when we heard her story. She thought it was funny. Dad was furious. I said, “Mom, what would you have done if you couldn’t get up using the stairs? You could have frozen to death!”

She said, “No. I would have rolled back to Charlie pen and slept with him in his doghouse.”

Actually, that wasn’t a bad plan B. My mother should have been a writer. You can’t make this stuff up.
Her life has been amazing and it isn’t slowing down although I imagine her guardian angel is getting worn out. God willing, I wish her many more adventures, just not the scary ones. Her kids can't take much more.
Pat

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My mother

This is the month we celebrate our mothers who do so much to shape our lives. I want to pay a tribute to mine who died nine years ago. I miss her every day. But I’m comforted by the knowledge that she touched so many people’s lives.

After my father died when I was twelve, she moved us to Mississippi so she could be nearer her family. There were three of us and she always was there for my two brothers and me. She’d taught nursing in Kentucky where we had lived. When we arrived in Biloxi, she went to work as a nurse. She filled several different positions in various hospitals over the years and even taught nursing at the junior college on the coast.

One year she was a school nurse for the Biloxi School District. That was the year Camille, a hurricane with winds over two hundred miles an hour, struck the coast and destroyed a lot of my hometown. She spent hours helping people get back on their feet as a nurse and friend. When something had to be done, my mother was at the front of the line volunteering to do it.

When she would talk about one of her patients dying, you would have thought it was her best friend. That was the way she was. She felt deeply another’s pain and was there to help the person get better. She was a caregiver and a deeply religious woman whose faith in the Lord never wavered through loss, illness and destruction (more than Hurricane Camille wrecked havoc on the coast where she lived).

When my mother retired from being Director of Nursing at Biloxi Regional Medical Center, the Board of Directors said:
Catherine David has been an inspiration to the nursing profession. She was a moving force and leader in the establishment of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Coastwide. She had shown genuine concern for the welfare of the patients and has demonstrated support and concern for physicians, employees and people of the community.

That was my mother, a caring, loving, concerned Christian. I miss you every day, Mom.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day is every day


I had an interesting, different kind of Mother's Day. A few days ago, one of my best
friends lost her mother. Miss Hilda Marie was in her eighties. She was such a sweet, delightful woman. The funeral was held on the same day a group of us were headed to Florida to the beach. We left the graveside and changed clothes and headed out,somber about leaving our friend behind but happy to be on the road. At the beach, I visited with my own daughter (Pictured with me here) who lives there and teaches high school. We all had a great time shopping and beaching and just hanging out. But we were still sad about Miss Hilda. (I named a character in my "In the Garden" series after her. The Sunday after she passed away, the choir sang that very song--In the Garden.)

After we made it home through some storms, I was more tired than when I left--probably because we stayed up late, laughing and talking, we played too much in the sand and the pool and the lazy river and we shopped and ate too much. That long drive in unpredictable weather seemed to drag on, but we made it through. Then my son left for Florida to spend the summer with his sister. So I have an empty nest. He left the day before Mother's Day. But he did leave me a little message on the refrigerator. I have lots of refrigerator magnets from places I've traveled andfrom friend--the kind with those cute sayings on them ( a lot of them involving shoes.)I like them arranged all organized and pretty. My son always came along and rearranged them just to aggravate me. On Sunday afternoon, I noticed he'd done it again. He'd taken all my rooster magnets and staggered them down the refrigerator like doorsteps. I had to laugh. His way of getting the last word.

Anyway, Mother's Day this year was different. My mother died when I was in my twenties and my husband's mother died a few years ago. No flowers to send, no phone calls to make. Just a quiet day for the two of us. But my son and daughter did call to wish me a happy day. And it was a bittersweet, happy day. Because I've never been real keen on Mother's Day anyway. When you're a mother, every day is Mother's Day. Every day, you find some joy, some pain, and little reminders that being a mother is a wonderful thing--through the good and the bad of raising children. You're a mother when a child calls crying and upset. You're a mother when a child laughs at your lame jokes or rolls his eyes in disdain. You're a mother when a friend is hurting and needs a listening ear. You're a mother when you hear horrible things on the evening news. And you're still a mother when you stand at your refrigerator and realize your babies are all grown up and marching to the beat of a different drummer.

Mother's Day is never-ending, always challenging, and worth every bit of effort.

We wouldn't have it any other way, would we?


Lenora :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Blessings



Hi Debra Clopton here--I had a wonderful, if not odd Mothers Day. I recently had a huge tree fall down which needed to be chopped up and removed it was a huge job. It just happened that the only time we had to do it was on Mothers Day...so yesterday my two sons and and a friend pulled out the chain saws and went to work. It was hot work but we had fun doing it. We visited as we worked and laughed alot. All in all I will remember this day for many years to come because we created a memory. When my kids were little we would do things just to create memories...this wasn't making cookies but it still worked! During the midst of all of this chopping and burning I also got to shoot a shotgun for the first time. My sons decided it was time mom knew how to use a gun so they pulled one out and we took a few moments to do this. The boys enjoyed instructing me--and laughing at my form :) I finally shot the tree stump on the 3rd try! I'm afraid I will never be good with one of those things but I'm not to worried about it. Still it was another great memory. I hope all of you had a great day yesterday and that you made some memories of your own.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Heroine Interview from Tides of Hope

Interview with the heroine from Tides of Hope from Irene Hannon:

1. Kate MacDonald, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I don’t consider myself that interesting, but others always seem intrigued when they find out I’m a Nantucket native and that I operate a charter fishing boat.

2. What do you do for fun?
Fun’s been in short supply these past few years. Since my husband died, I’ve been busy raising my daughter alone and just trying to make ends meet on pricey Nantucket. There hasn’t been a lot of downtime. But my favorite fun activity when time permits is spending an afternoon at the beach with my daughter.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Apologizing. I have fiery red hair—and a temper to go with it. Often I have a hard time saying I’m sorry after a blowup. That’s why my relationship with our new Coast Guard commander got off to such a rough start.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Losing someone else I love.

5. What do you want out of life?
Inner peace. I know that sounds trite, but the past few years have been filled with so much upheaval and worry…I would love to be able to wake up in the morning and feel the way I did when Mac was alive—cherished, joyful, secure and optimistic about the future.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
My faith, my daughter and my Nantucket heritage.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I have no time for pleasure reading. But when I’m not operating the Lucy Sue (my charter boat) or substitute teaching at the high school, I copy edit manuscripts for a publisher in New York. They send me all different kinds of books, but I have to say my favorite ones are those that have a happy ending.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My temper! I wish I could be calm, cool and collected like my neighbor, Heather Anderson, who runs The Devon Rose Tearoom next door. I admire her poise.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No pets. My daughter has asthma and is allergic to lots of things—especially cat dander—so it’s not worth the risk.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
To the whaling days of Nantucket. I’ve read so much about the history of the capable, independent women who ran the town alone while the men were away at sea. I’d love to meet some of them. They’ve been my inspiration these past few difficult years.

(Author’s Note: Tides of Hope is Book 1 in my Lighthouse Lane series. Watch for Heather Anderson’s story, The Hero Next Door, coming in August.)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: TIDES OF HOPE BY IRENE HANNON


He's an officer…but is he a gentleman?Not if you ask feisty single mom Kate MacDonald! Everything about Lieutenant Craig Cole, Nantucket's new Coast Guard commander, rubs her the wrong way. Worse, everyone else is smitten with the man—including Kate's four-year-old daughter. Local gossip reveals that Craig has saved many in the line of duty. He's a true hero. Kate doesn't want to like him—she certainly doesn't want to love him—but Craig's quiet honor could win her heart after all.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I miss Mama

This is an interesting subject because I lost my mother a few years ago and have still not gotten over it. I suppose a person never does.

I will say this for her, she (and her own mother) are probably the reasons I've been successful as an author. Mama was a stickler for proper grammar. There were no erroneous verb tenses allowed in our home. And my grandmother was a wonderful storyteller. Add the two of them together and you sort of have me!

As I was looking for a picture of her to include here, I discovered that she was usually the photographer and was therefore missing from many of the group shots. I have a few candid pics of her but choose not to include them because she was clowning around those times and I know she wouldn't appreciate my posting her behaving in a less that dignified manner. Mom was a complex character. Near the end of her life she didn't know me and thought my sister was her mother, so we didn't have many in-depth chats then, but I recall many times when I learned a great deal from her and I'm thankful for those good times.

If you still have your mother with you, remember her fondly while you can.

Blessings,
Valerie Hansen

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Remember Your Mother or Mother Figures!


Missy here. First off, a reminder: If you haven't already, be sure to mail your Mother's Day cards and gifts! I bought mine a week ago and still forgot to mail them on Wednesday! So I'm reminding myself, too. :)

I love Mother's Day. I have three children who have always loved to celebrate the occasion. The last few years, they've planned and carried out breakfast in bed--all by themselves (no help from Dad). They're so cute as they invariably wake me while banging around in the kitchen and arguing over who's going to do what. I usually lie in bed and just grin because I've discovered I can't go out to check on them. I made that mistake the first year, and they had a fit when I walked out of the bedroom! So I've learned to just wait and enjoy all the chaos in the kitchen.
They always make quite a spread and bring it to me on a tray. One year, they made me a frozen waffle, scrambled eggs, a banana, orange juice and a huge glass of milk. Oh, and I think they also made me a bowl of cereal to go with it! I guess they just couldn't decide on a menu. :)
What a sweet treat it is to know they want to make the day special for me!
What about you? Is there a mother or some other special person in your life you'd like to honor on Mother's Day? Any ideas what you're going to do for her? We'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Rose For Mama


Are you a white rose or a red one?

When I was a little girl, living in the country, roses grew outside my bedroom window. Every year at Mothers’ Day, the roses would bud, sometimes even bloom. I have no idea where the tradition originated, whether it was regional or otherwise, but on Sunday morning before church, Mom and I would go outside to the roses. We each cut a red rose to pin on our dress for the service. The red indicated that our mothers were still living. Mom would also cut a white one to take to Grandma. The white symbolized that Grandma’s mother had passed away.

Many years have passed since I wore one of those buds, but I can still smell the light spicy scent of those old-fashioned floribunda roses and remember the pride with which I wore my little homemade corsage. It was a lovely tradition, honoring my mother, which I remember fondly. Maybe this year, I’ll bring it back. And wear my white rose in honor of a never forgotten mama.

So tell me, have you ever heard of this tradition? Do you and your mother share any kind of traditions on Mother’s Day?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lyn Cote's Fun Mom


My mother "imprinted" herself on me. If you had met us together, it would have been obvious that I was her daughter. My voice, my word choices, my inflection, my mannerisms matched my mom's. My mother's last days were heartbreaking. Dementia changed my mother into a hostile stranger. When she passed away, I had a feeling of relief, not only for myself but for my mother. She would not have liked herself as she was. She passed away in August of 2007. I have mourned her in fits and starts.

Trying to change my sorrow to joy, I began remembering all the remarkable things about her. And especially what a fun mom she was when my late brother Bobby and I were kids. I grew up in Waukegan, IL, which is on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. Waukegan had the most wonderful beaches! These were the days before pollution took its toll on water quality. Waukegan's North Beach had beautiful white sand, a WPA built bath house, a lovely shady picnic area and miles and miles of shoreline.

The highlight of summer were the days when the usual westerly wind would shift to an east wind. An east wind drove the warmer waters back to the shore in HUGE waves that gave us hours of fun. My mother was running the family business (May's Floors), kept a spotless house, cooked fantastic meals and still took time for afternoons at the beach. And she didn't even like to wade! So it was just for me and Bobby. Whenever I hear the call of a seagull, it takes me back to those wonderful times, dancing in the waves, shouting and laughing and splashing and making friends with every other child lucky enough to be at the beach. This is how I choose to remember my mother.

Did you have a fun mom too? What is your best childhood memory that your mom made possible?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pansies and Mother's Day


When I was a child, I always associated pansies with Mother's Day. In our small country church in Montana, each mother (really each adult woman) was presented a pansy plant in the church service. The children would pass them out. This went on for years and it wasn't until recently that it occurred to me to wonder how the pansy give-away came to be. It turns out that a man in the church had started providing the pansies some forty years ago as a tribute to his own mother (who had died when he was small). After the man died, his widow provided the pansies each year as a silent tribute to him. I say 'silent' because I had to ask alot of people before I discovered who the pansy benefactor was (in a small church of 100 or so it's unusual to keep something like that so quiet). Now, of course, everyone in the area knows because I had a Mother's Day pansy give-away in my book, A Match Made in Dry Creek. I notified the local paper about this and they came out and interviewed the woman, Norma Olson, who enjoyed being able to talk about not only her husband's mother but her mother as well. I know we usually think of celebrating our own mother on the day, but I applaud Norma and her husband for thinking of all mothers. Do you have any similar ways of honoring mothers in your church or community?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hero Interview from The Baby Bond

Interview with the hero from The Baby Bond by Linda Goodnight:

1.Nic Carano , tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I’m a firefighter, an adrenaline junky some would say.

2. What do you do for fun?

Name it and I do it. Fun is my middle name. If there’s a party going on, Nicky is there.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?

I’ll tell you, but keep it on the down low. I dread telling my parents that I love my firefighter job. They have higher aspirations for their baby boy. At least, I think they do.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

A few weeks ago, I would have said nothing. Then my mom got sick. That scares me a lot. She’s a rock, the family anchor. I’d do anything for her.

5. What do you want out of life?

I used to think it was a good time, but lately—I don’t know. Everything changed the night I brought a baby out of a fatal house fire. I can’t get the little dude off my mind. Or his classy looking aunt either.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

My friends would say the most important thing to me is being the life of the party. But you want to know a secret? My family tops the list. Don’t get me wrong. Fun is good. But family—well, family is everything.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?

Lately, I’ve had my head in medical review books gearing up to take the MCAT, the big test to get into medical school. Keep that quiet too. I don’t want it getting around to my friends that my IQ is bigger than my shoe size.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d be more like my brothers. They’re both lawyers. The fam is proud of them. I’m proud of them too. They’re great guys, good lawyers, successful. They’re not like me. Well, except for the good looks and charm.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

Cassidy, my upstairs neighbor and a most discerning lady who won’t give me the time of day, house-warmed me with a Venus Fly trap. Does that count as a pet?

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

Second grade. Miss Eely’s class. I would never have worn that ridiculous poodle costume in the spring play. You should see those pictures in the family album. Embarrassing. I’m convinced that traumatic episode contributed to my class clown status. Scared me for life.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: THE BABY BOND BY LINDA GOODNIGHT


Firefighter Nic Carano relishes his bachelor lifestyle. Then he loses his heart to a rescued baby. And when he meets the infant's lovely aunt—suddenly a mother—Nic starts considering love, marriage…and a baby carriage.Yet Cassidy Willis isn't convinced. Nic's been a lifesaver with all that he has done, along with his big-hearted family and fellow firefighters, to help the new mom. But after all she's been through, could she really be happy with someone whose life is always in danger? Now it's up to Nic to show Cassidy that his bond with her and the baby is forever.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May the Countdown Begin!


May Day(anyone remember those fun days of childhood), Mother's Day, Graduations, Birds, and Rain.


I always associate Spring with Mother's day because that was my request every year as the kids were growing up and asking what I wanted for "my" day. It was always flowers to plant in our containers and maybe even a new flower to plant in the gardens. Spring is the most uplifting time of year. And here in Colorado, it's just around the corner.

Plus, in Colorado, we don't dare plant anything fragile like flowers until after mother's day because we so often get our final major snow of the year that weekend, which also happens to be graduation weekend for most colleges in the area. And since I work at the university and live on the fringe of the university, this is a major day in our year! This year, we don't seem to be catching a break for our springtime weekends to get our yards cleaned up. It's rained every weekend for the last four weeks in a row, with snow several weekdays. It seems like every Wednesday, the sun has broken through the clouds and been gloriously warm – making it oh-so-tempting to leave for lunch and not return. And then by Friday, here comes the moisture again. This weekend is holding true to that pattern.

Three weeks ago we prepared for spring by cleaning out our canoe. You see, our house sits about 6 inches lower than our neighbors, and heavy downpours the water flows right over the rain gutters and into our basement. So in 2002, as my husband, daughter, our neighbor, his son, and I were out in the 3 hour downpour, trying to keep the water from creating a waterfall right into our house, I realized, the canoe that sits between our houses ¾ of the year without use, could finally do us some good. We flipped it over, and voila, we save our basement. And three weeks ago, even with a slow and steady rain, we filled the canoe twice, siphoned it out to the front lawn and let it do a little more good there before it flows down river. (One of these years we really should fix the landscape the "right" way, but this is so much more fun and fitting to our lives.)

I opened the door to let the dogs out this morning to a chorus of singing birds, and I have to admit, it was wonderful to hear their chipper little voices, even if there is rain on the way in just a few hours. It brought a smile to my face. I'm not much of a morning person and I do NOT wake up cheering the sunrise, even though we do have some pretty awesome sunrises in Colorado, too. I wake up dragging myself out of the warm, snuggly bed, tripping over the cat and dogs, racing them up the stairs to go outside. So anything that can make me smile at 5 am is nothing short of a miracle.

I can't wait for one more week, I want to play in the dirt and get my flowers in the ground! I want to see color in my gardens when I walk up to my house! I am definitely anxious for next weekend, when I can join the birds in their morning songs. And even with the rain, I still love spring!