Thursday, July 30, 2009

Celebrating: Back to School!


Missy here. And before you think I'm one of those moms who throws a celebration the day school starts back, let me explain the title of my post. :)
I'm actually going to miss my kids when they start back to school on Monday! I always dread getting back into the school day routine. I miss having them home with me, too. No more spontaneous trips to see a movie or running to McDonald's if I don't feel like making lunch.
But I think a new school year is a time to celebrate. It means lots of of learning. Of meeting new friends. Of enjoying new teachers. And it's a fresh beginning.
I love fresh beginnings, don't you? When you're in school, you have a clean slate. A new chance to prove yourself. And for me at home, it's a chance to get back into my quiet writing routine. It means better focus, less interruptions.
So I'm celebrating change today. Sometimes it's not easy, but it's almost always good. What about you? Any good changes lately you'd like to celebrate? Any new beginnings?
Oh, I can't believe I almost forgot! I'm also celebrating my first Love Inspired book, Her Unlikely Family, being nominated as a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Contest! I'm so thrilled and honored! :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Men and Women, Mars and Venus, Viva la Difference!


What do you think? Would a little girl have stuck her head in there?

Linda Goodnight here. Remember a few years back when the book, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” was the big buzz? It was fun learning how men and women view things differently and about the science behind those differences. I’m convinced God wired us this way for very good reasons, and to tell you the truth, I find our differences endearing, affirming and pretty funny, too.

For instance, we women are champions at multi-tasking while men are single-task oriented, able to wrestle a problem carburetor until the thing will run again. I don’t know a carburetor from a radiator and don’t want to. Meanwhile, we women cook super, talk on the phone, help the kids with homework, wash a load of clothes, and think about getting our hair cut all at the same time. This completely blows my husband’s single-focus mind, but he likes it because he gets to eat, the kids are cared for, and he has clean clothes to put on after he’s gotten all greasy from fixing the carburetor.

We all know men dislike asking for directions, but I’ve also discovered that men give directions differently, too. My husband says things like, “Go five miles south of highway 10, two miles west, then a quarter east of the intersection of blah and blah. By then, my head is spinning-I don’t do numbers. So now, I say, “Give me girl directions”. You know—“Go to the Taco Bell and turn left. Drive until you see a blue house with a birdbath in the yard. Turn right and stop at the third driveway-the one with the crack running all the way up to the garage.”

As a writer, I try to remember these unique characteristics when creating my heroes, but I’m always on the look-out for more. So who can help me out? Can you share a male/female difference you find interesting or funny?

Oh, yeah, and while you're at it, celebrate a little because life would be so boring if we were all women!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Let's Celebrate Love & Commitment

If you want to see something that will shock and then delight, go to YouTube with this link and see a truly memorable variation on Here Comes the Bride.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-94JhLEiN0

So what do you think about that?

Lyn Cote

Monday, July 27, 2009

Celebrating Each Other Whole-Heartedly





Janet Tronstad here. When I think of celebrating at this time of year, I think of all the writing awards we writers receive. I have to say I am never prouder to be part of the Steeple Hill family than when award time rolls around. No matter who wins, everyone celebrates with a gusto that cheers the winner on. I have never heard any back-biting comments like 'she didn't deserve it' or 'what were they thinking?' -- This attitude makes winning and losing both easier.




I remember growing up how we all loved to have a contest -- a spelling bee or a baseball game, we all wanted to win. I learned early on that I won some (usually the spelling bee) and lost some (any kind of sports) so I learned to both win and lose with some measure of grace. I think of track meets and entries at the state fair. I remember winning an essay contest once with a $50 prize and feeling rich (I think I was in the seventh grade at the time and that was a lot of money to me). What are some of the wins -- and losses-- that you remember growing up?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Heroine Interview from Bluegrass Blessings by Allie Pleiter

Heroine Interview from Bluegrass Blessings by Allie Pleiter:

1. Dinah, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I love to bake. Anything and everything, but especially things that surprise you. Why just make ordinary cookies when you can make gingerbread hippos? Now, my mom wouldn’t say that’s the most interesting thing about me--she thinks my baking is...well...perhaps we’d better not go there. I love to do cakes, too. They almost always mark special occasions and I have loads of fun making them fit the character of the people they’re celebrating. I’m so jazzed up to do my good friend Emily’s wedding cake in a month or so, I might even forgive her for making me wear pastel ruffles. I own a gazillion pairs of flip-flops and wear them year round, but I’m sure I don’t have a pair to wear with a bridesmaid’s dress like she’s got planned.

2. What do you do for fun?
Baking’s fun, that’s for sure, but my finicky oven has a nasty habit of taking all the fun out of it. I like to be with my friends, that sort of stuff. All of life’s fun, if you ask me. Well, most of it.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Oh, that’s easy: dealing with my mother. There’s a reason I moved out of New Jersey as fast as I could, you know. We do much better with a few hundred miles between us. I know as a woman of faith, I should show a little more spine (or maybe compassion), but we can’t ever seem to talk without it turning into an instant argument. I love her but she drives me nuts.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Not getting the most out of life, I suppose. God hands us this bunch of years to learn what we’re all really about, to figure out how to love each other and decide what’s really important--we need to make the most of it. I couldn’t spend something as precious as life hunkered down in some office doing some sensible job--I need to be out in the world, frosting it!

5. What do you want out of life?
A really good haircut, an obedient oven, and the secret to great royal icing! No, really, I want to be connected with the people around me. To matter to people and have them matter to me. That’s why I moved to Middleburg--small towns do that better than anywhere else. Of course, we get all up in everyone’s business here, but it’s because we all really care about each other.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Celebrating life. Encouraging and celebrating all the little moments that make up life. Sure, there are the wedding cakes and the birthday cakes of life, but I want someone’s daily cinnamon roll to feel like a celebration. Cupcakes for no reason other than it’s Thursday. Extra frosting. That’s the kind of thing that makes me happiest of all, and why God put me on the planet.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
Well, cookbooks, but that’s obvious. I read one big, juicy novel on vacation every year. Other days, I’m too busy to manage more than just a magazine.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
When I was younger, I hated my red curls, but now I love ‘em. Why shouldn’t a stand-out gal like me have stand-out hair? Now, I suppose, I’d like to think before I act. I tend to be a shoot first, aim later person, and well, that’s gotten me into a far amount of trouble in the past.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
If I had a dog, he’d be the fattest dog in Middleburg, that’s for sure. Nope, no pets.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
Baker to a king in some medieval castle! Man, that’s when a feast was a feast and food really mattered. Of course, it was a bit harder then, but the drama would more than make up for it. Of course, then I’d probably have to wear something frilly and pin my hair up in some sort of contraption, but I’d cope just to get the chance to say “I’m the Royal Baker.”

Saturday, July 25, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: BLUEGRASS BLESSINGS

Everyone in Middleburg, Kentucky, lines up for baker Dinah Hopkins's cinnamon rolls. Everyone except her handsome new landlord, Cameron Rollings. The jaded city man doesn't like anything about small-town life—from the fresh air to her fresh-baked snickerdoodles. And he clearly considers Dinah as quirky as her eccentric oven. The way to Cameron's heart is not through his toned stomach. But the Lord led him to Kentucky Corners for a reason. And Dinah plans to help him count his bluegrass blessings.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Celebrating Each Day



I'm not sure about you, but for me, that's not always my first thought each morning. This year, however, life's many twists and turns have taught me to look at everything differently.

Whether I like it or not, I look at things from the good and the bad. I'd like to credit that to my writing, but I think that is simply the way I was born. When my husband was reassigned to a non-school position, my first instinct was anger. Then I chose to look at it as a blessing, that he would have less stress and more time with our family. As the year proceeded, we did indeed need more time together. We had a new grandson, my mother spent several days in the hospital, and we were adjusting to an empty nest – for the third time.

Then came another turn we never expected. My husband, the eternal optimist who never has a bad day, who loves going to school so much he didn't count days until summer vacation but until the first day of school in the fall, lost his job.

In our 32 years together, we have learned to make the best of the good times and hold on tight through the rough times. I won't lie, it's a challenge at times not to let fear and depression steal our hope. But we know that we are not alone. The little things that used to sound cliché now ring true. We have our health. We have our love, and we have our faith. God has a plan, and we're taking this opportunity to appreciate all we have been given. We're taking this time to simplify our lives. Before we know it, we'll be busier than ever and cherish the gift of slowing down.

I am practicing gratitude- for the coolest and wettest summer on record. Thankfulness for the countless blessings we share. Simplicity-remembering that we can live without so many modern conveniences. Our empathy for the many who have been down this road is stronger and deeper than ever before.

So today find something to celebrate!

Carol Steward





Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Romance Writers of America RITA award

This past week was the Romance Writers of America conference held in Washington DC. For several days romance writers from the newbie to the long time seasoned pro gathered to learn, share and network.
On Saturday night was the RITA and the Golden Heart awards. The RITA award is to recognize outstanding romance novels published in 2008. The Golden Heart award is to recognize outstanding manuscripts by unpublished authors. The award show was held in the ballroom of the Marriot Wardman Park hotel. Its a night for dressing up and celebrating the romance genre.


This year I was honored to present the RITA for Best Inspirational Romance. The award went to Susan May Warren for the book Finding Stefanie.

Congratulations Susan!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Seven Years? How did that happen? NOT

Last Monday was my seventh wedding anniversary. Yup, seven years. I still feel a bit like Cinderalla who found a prince. When I met my husband Don, I was not only a hopeless romantic but already a romance writer. LOL. So, what happens when a romance writer gets married? Well, here's my wedding invitation, word for word. Yup, I wrote it.


Chapter One
Once upon a time there lived a plumber named Don and a teacher named Pam. They were both searching for that "Special Someone." Truthfully, they really weren't having any luck until one day a matchmaker named Patti got involved. "Huh" said Don. "Hmmm?" said Pam.

For three months they huh'ed and hmmm'ed but kept going out once a week. Then, during month four, Don said, "Uh huh," and Pam said, "Hmmm, yum."

They doubled their time spent together but that wasn't enough. So, do you want to know how this Fairy Tale ends? Good! Join us for...

Chapter Two
On July 13, 2002, the hero and heroine of this Fairy Tale request the honor of your presence at the marriage of Pamela Kaye Tracy to Donald Allan Osback on Saturday, the thirteenth of July, Two thousand Two and six-thirty...

And, yes, when I sent out the Thank You cards for the gifts, I wrote the blurb and it was Chapter Three. Then, when I sent the baby announcement, it was Chapter Four. Now that we have a son, I have no more time to write my own cards LOLOLOL I guess Chapter Five will be his high school graduation.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Heroine Interview from Hometown Courtship by Diann Hunt

Interview with the heroine from Hometown Courtship:

1. Callie Easton, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Does any woman ever think her life is interesting? Hmm, I’m a hair stylist/manicurist, and I love what I do. I can give a mean pedicure, does that count? I can turn those disgusting little toes and cracked heels into a thing of beauty.

2. What do you do for fun?
Hang out with my friends and my aunt. I love to eat out and have fun. I’ve been called a free-spirit, and I think that’s true. I enjoy life.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Telling Aunt Bonnie and Uncle George about the community service thing. It’s coming at the wrong time of the year.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Never seeing my dad again.

5. What do you want out of life?
I’d like to find a good guy some day, get married, settle down, have kids, all that. Most of all, I would love to see my dad again.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Family.

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

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I get the hiccups when I’m nervous. Also, if I could add one more thing to change, it would be my disorganization. It gets me into so much trouble. Yet, now that I think about it, it is the reason I met Brad Sharp . . . .

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Yes, Chaos, a sandy-haired cocker spaniel pup. It seemed like a good idea at the time the breeder showed her to me. Now, I’m not so sure.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I love my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle George, but if I could go back in time, I’d go to when Mom was alive and Dad was still around.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: HOMETOWN COURTSHIP BY DIANN HUNT


His matchmaking brother is sending another single gal Brad Sharp's way. Under the guise of community service! The Make a Home project—building houses for the needy—is Brad's life. He fully expects hairstylist Callie Easton to show up for "work" with a pink hammer and not even use it. Hardly a match for him!With a heart of gold and a talent for transformation, Callie works hard. Still, Brad won't notice her. His grief over a tragic loss has hardened his heart. Well, Callie knows all about loss. And thanks to Brad, she knows even more about making a home—for them.
With a heart of gold and a talent for transformation, Callie works hard. Still, Brad won't notice her. His grief over a tragic loss has hardened his heart. Well, Callie knows all about loss. And thanks to Brad, she knows even more about making a home—for them.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Celebrating with Awards and Rewards

One way to celebrate is with awards and rewards. Sometimes, we can reward ourselves when we've accomplished something. Other times someone else may reward us. As writers, it is fun to celebrate an award. Receiving an award is great, but it is also fun to celebrate with friends when they receive awards as well. Here is a group of the Craftie Ladies as they celebrate with Linda Goodnight last year when she won the RWA Rita Award for best inspirational romance.



Tell us about an award or reward you have received. We would love to celebrate with you.
Merrillee

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fun in Denver


Recently I went to a writer's retreat in Denver. Although I enjoyed listening to some excellent speakers, I'm most thrilled by the fact I totally relaxed and enjoyed the company of other writers without actually feeling I needed to write. I forgot to worked on my story for four whole days and it felt good.

The last night I was in Denver I went out to dinner with Camy Tang, Cheryl Wyatt, Danica from the Steeple Hill boards, Allie Pleiter and Robin Caroll to Cheesecake Factory where believe it or not I didn't eat a piece of cheesecake that day. But I also went on Thursday with Cara Putman, her husband and Karen Ball, and I did get a piece of Snicker Cheesecake. I love snicker bars and the dessert was delicious.

Above is a picture we took after eating at the Cheesecake Factory right across the street at Writer Square. How appropriate is that for six writers!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Heroine Interview from Second Chance Family by Margaret Daley

Interview with the heroine from Second Chance Family by Margaret Daley:

1. Whitney Maxwell, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Since my brother, Noah, found me in Dallas last year, I have hope that I can make my life count for something. I’m studying to be a teacher and have discovered how much I love working with children.

2. What do you do for fun?

I love to ride horses. I go out to Stone’s Refuge to ride with the foster care children there.

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

Cleaning my apartment—you clean and not a couple of days later it is dirty again.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Last year I would have said nothing. Now I’m beginning to think never having something like Noah and Cara do. Seeing how much my brother and sister-in-law love each other makes me wish I could have that—but I don’t see that really in my life.

5. What do you want out of life?

To help others—especially children in need. I’ve been there. I don’t want others to go through what I did as a child.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

Being needed, accepted totally no matter what I’ve done.

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

Right now I’m reading a lot of textbooks because I’m going to school to become a teacher.

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

My past—it’s something I’m not proud of. I made some bad choices. I was angry and didn’t have much hope my situation would change.

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

Callie, a cat. She is a great listener.

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

To when I was a child. I wish I could do over my life with what I know now.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: SECOND CHANCE FAMILY BY MARGARET DALEY

Dedicated teacher Whitney Maxwell gave up her dream of a family years ago. But she's about to get a lesson in faith and family from an unexpected source—a brave little boy named Jason. Jason and his dad are dealing with his autism the best they can, but Dr. Shane McCoy can't put his tragic past behind him. As Whitney and Shane work together to help his son, could these two lost souls open their hearts to love again and become a lasting family?

Friday, July 10, 2009

THINGS TO CELEBRATE



I'm not the kind of person who has to be entertained or feted to be happy. There are many times when I'm just high on life, itself. That's the best celebration of all - being alive and living in a country where we can express ourselves and worship the Lord without fear of reprisal.




This is where I live, in the Arkansas Ozarks, and I've never been happier.




I'm also blessed to have been kept busy writing the books of my heart for Love Inspired. Right now, there's a FREE online serial running on eHarlequin called FIREWORKS. I know the sidebar by my name says Thunderstorm, instead, but it really is FIREWORKS. And we have an active blog running with it so if you'd like to read along, stop in. The previous chapters are archived so you haven't really missed a thing!




Oh, and my broken arm is healing nicely. There were a few times when I had to opt out of posting here for various reasons but that arm strapped to my side was the best excuse of all. I asked the doctor if I could type by freeing my lower arm at the wrist and he just rolled his eyes. I did do that a bit, though. I even managed to write that whole serial I just mentioned while basically one-handed. I am now happy to report that I can also eat equally well with my left hand, meaning that there is no reason for me to ever miss another meal. It was embarrassing to have to ask my husband to tie my shoes, though! I quickly switched to Velcro and all was well.




Was it possible to celebrate life when I was trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey? Sure it was. I learned a long time ago that happiness is less a matter of circumstances than it is of your response to those things. I might have broken a lot more than my arm. I might have hit my head on the tree I was passing and ended my days right then and there.




But I didn't. The good Lord has given me more time and I plan to make the most of it. The moment we're in is all we can be sure of and it should be celebrated greatly. Every breath we take is a special gift from God. And so is every person whose lives we touch.




You who read this have touched mine and I thank the Lord for each of you.


Blessings,

Val

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Celebrating Family!


Don't you just love family vacation time? Especially once the kids get older, and it's harder and harder to keep them at home or off the computer or from texting their friends. :)


Family vacation time, away from home, gives you a captive audience! (Can you see me rubbing my hands together gleefully??) :)


It reminds me of days gone by. Of times when my kids were little and didn't have all the distractions that the teen years bring. My husband and I can spend uninterrupted time with them and enjoy true family time beyond a quick meal together. We can walk together, eat together, watch TV together, talk, play games, dig in the sand, cook together...


The photo above is of last year's beach vacation. A land/water football game between my husband and kids. Of course, I was the photo taker. :) I love summer and summer vacation!! What about you? Do you have any summer family traditions?


Missy

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Life is Good, Let's Celebrate!


Hi, Linda Goodnight here, talking about celebration. Don’t you just love that word? It conjures up all kinds of happy events-birthdays, holidays, awards, anniversaries, and sometimes just plain old life. My daughter is home from New York for a few days. Having her here is celebration in itself, but today, out of the blue, she said, “Mom, let’s go get a pedicure.” Now, folks, I am not usually a pedicure kind of gal, although I love the pampering. I said, “Sure.” And off we went. What fun we had celebrating our Mom and Daughter bond as we sat in the massage chair getting our feet soaked, hot oiled, scrubbed, massaged and beautified. We giggled and joked and just had a grand time. Afterward, we stopped at the ice cream shop for ice cream and chit-chat. I mean, who can resist stopping for Rocky Road ice cream when your feet are feeling so gorgeous!

Sometimes you just have to celebrate living.


My son and grandson celebrating life together!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Celebrate with Food! What else?


I am a foodie and I married a foodie and we raised two foodies. My son is engaged to be married and he and his fiance are coming up to visit us at the lake this coming weekend. So I asked him what her favorite foods were so I would make what she liked. His reply; "She doesn't really have any favorites."

I'm afraid that there was a very pregnant pause. The thought that someone didn't have a favorite food dumbfounded me.

My favorite food is of course watermelon. Always has been, always will be. If you want a chunk of watermelon, my refrigerator is the place to go. We eat at least 1 a week. My brother and I used to go through 2 a week as kids!

For every celebration, our family has favorite foods. Also for every season we have favorite foods.

But my family was outclassed by my husband's clan.

I remember when I married my dh that I was a bit astounded that his family celebrated each birthday with not one, but two birthday cakes and with one or two kinds of ice cream. And then I figured out why!

The Cote family motto is "I'll have a little bit of each." I've threatened to cross stitch that and hang it on the wall of --where else?--our kitchen!

Well, I will love my new daughter-in-law even if she isn't a foodie. But she is marrying a Cote, so I think she'll have to get used to us foodies!

Now in closing I'd like to mention that my my blog Strong Women Brave Stories I'm featuring Yummy July. I'm inviting authors and readers to post favorite summer recipes.

So here's one of my favorite summer desserts which was an original recipe by my mom. Therefore it doesn't have a fancy title. Maybe you'll post a suggested title for me.

Ingredients:
2 small packages of orange JELLO
1-2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/2 to 1 pint of fresh washed blueberries
1/2 cantaloupe, cubed or balled

Prepare JELLO according to package directions. Then while still warm, stir in ice cream, then berries, then melon. Chill and serve. If served as salad, plain. If served as dessert, top with whipped cream.

This is beautiful to the eye, takes advantage of some of the in season summer fruits and it's delicious.

So what should we call it? I need a name for it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Best part of celebrating


Hi, Janet Tronstad here. Those of you who know me, know I'm a quiet party person. When I celebrate, I like to be in a group and I get swept away by the exuberance of other people.
Some years ago, I planned a party with a friend of mine (dinner, games, that kind of thing). We both had a good time and, when it was over, I asked her what - for her - had been the best part. She told me the 'after party' was best -- sitting down and going over the party together, remembering what had happened, talking about it, etc.. That made me stop and think. Not all of us like the same part of a celebration. As for me, I think I like the planning best. I like to imagine how things will go and figure out what we need to make everything go well. I'm usually not the one dancing on the tables, but I'm the one who thought to bring tables to the party in case anyone wanted to dance on one! What part of the celebration is your place to shine?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hero's Interview from Healing the Boss's Heart by Valerie Hansen

HEALING THE BOSS’S HEART, “After the Storm” series, book #1

1. Gregory Garrison, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Interesting? How about pertinent? I’m only back in High Plains because my father, Dan, is ailing. My cousin Michael, the local preacher, convinced me Dad was about to take his last breath but now that I’ve seen him, I wonder.

2. What do you do for fun?

Around here, very little. I brought my kayak with me when I came back to town but so far I’ve been far too busy to try it on the river.

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

I never put off anything. I handle all the tests that come into my life with skill. Well, except maybe making peace with my father but that man is impossible.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Hey, I’m not afraid of anything. Like I said, I can handle anything that comes along. I do sometimes wonder what possessed me to hire Maya Logan as my executive assistant. Her qualifications are excellent but she is a Logan, so you never know.

5. What do you want out of life?

What I want, I have. And I earned it all by my own efforts. Michael keeps telling me God brought me back here but I know better. It was a personal decision and as soon as I’m sure Dad is okay, I’m going back to Chicago where I belong. This small town life is not for me. Not anymore.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

My work, of course. Why would you even ask. And I have to admit that having Maya working for me has smoothed out the process. She’s smart and capable. It’s her rosy outlook on life that drives me crazy.

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

I read the Wall Street Journal.

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

Me? Change? Why would I want to do that? I made up my mind, after my mother died when I was a teen, that I was in charge of my own destiny.

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

Pets are a waste of energy. Look at that Tommy kid and his dog. They’re in trouble all the time.

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

I don’t know. I might like to see my mother again and show her how successful I’ve become, in spite of my father’s lack of support. Or maybe I’d like to see High Plains in its formative stage, maybe meet the founders. I imagine I’m a lot like them.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: HEALING THE BOSS'S HEART BY VALERIE HANSEN

When a tornado strikes a Kansas town without warning, wealthy businessman Greg Garrison rushes an orphaned boy to safety. His heroism—and kindness—stirs something inside single mother and secretary Maya Logan. Especially when her hard-nosed boss helps search for the child's missing dog. Suddenly, Greg is pitching in all over town—including her own destroyed home. Rebuilding efforts will take time. Yet Maya now has hope that there's room in her boss's much bigger heart for love…and family.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Fourth of July! from Carol Steward


The 4th of July has always been a fun holiday. The weather's normally awesome, there's no pressure to buy gifts and we always love the fireworks! So twenty-five years ago yesterday, I gave birth to my own little firecracker, Scott. Since he was due June 19th, I didn't even care that he didn't wait to be born on the fourth. We came home from the hospital on the fourth, and much to my mother's chagrin, I insisted we couldn't miss the fireworks that night. Since my husband was working at an arcade, it was just Mom and me and three little kids, including a 2 day old.

Not much has changed, except my baby is now 25, and we're missing him a lot. We'll be celebrating the fourth, and missing Scooter, with family and friends, much the same as we have for the last two or three decades. How time flies! The kids are grown, and their kids now keep us entertained. We grown-ups are the ones who really miss the fireworks, more than the kids.

We start the day at the Greeley Stampede Parade, largest fourth of July parade in the nation. My favorite is the fighter jets that fly over to start the parade. I choke up every year thinking of how our military is out fighting so we can enjoy our freedom.

Then we walk home (pull a few weeds from my garden) and melt in front of the AC for a few hours and get the feast ready for late in the afternoon. We spend the late afternoon and evening eating and laughing and playing games and celebrating the United State's birthday.

I have two specific favorite 4th of July holidays – Scott's birth year, and 1976, when Colorado had a double celebration. It was Colorado's Centennial celebration, and the United State's Bi-centennial. The whole town was abuzz with celebrations and events and small-town festivities like something in the movies. We had a great time.

What is your favorite way to celebrate the 4th of July? For your enjoyment, I hope this short video of the Lyon's fireworks comes through. It's one of my grandchildren's favorite things to do on grandma's computer.


video

Thursday, July 2, 2009

For Freedom



With the patriotic holiday approaching, I've been thinking about what the day actually means. We, as a country, are celebrating our independence.



Every time I think of freedom, I think of our military and my heart goes out to those serving and to their families. There are some great ways to support the troops. Here are a few:

--Pray for them and for their families
--Send cards or care packages
--Visit military blogs to stay in touch with what our men and women are facing and sacrificing for the sake of your/our freedom.

One of my favorite sites is Sarah Horn's A Greater Freedom. She has a lot of links there that are also great. Hope you will drop by there and give Sarah a shout-out and let her know you appreciate all she's doing to honor the military. www.agreaterfreedom.com

That's one reason I feature military heroes and heroines. I wish to honor them. It's my way of giving back while they risk and sacrifice for my freedom.


TWO MULTI-GENERATIONAL WIA (WOUNDED IN ACTION) WAR VETS EMBRACING

Another great organization is Freedom Alliance.

There is also Soldier's Angels. They help soldiers with care packages. There are a gazillion other organizations that reach out to soldiers.

If you know of more, I hope you will mention them in the comment section. Also, if you or someone in your family served or is serving, God bless you! I hope you will leave a comment letting us know where they serve/d so we can honor them here by saying thanks.

Have a fun, safe holiday. With the men and women serving, we're one of the safest nations on earth. I'm thankful for that.

Have a great 4th of July holiday...and don't forget to tell us about the heroes in your lives if you have a moment. Regardless, thank a vet today.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Faith, Fun & Fireworks





It's almost that time! The 4th of July is rapdily approaching, and of course a fun holiday weekend would have to fall right in the midst of other chaos in my week!

But guess what? This time, its all GOOD chaos. =)

As of tomorrow, July 2nd, I am officially a Stay at Home Mom! (SAHM!) This has been my fervent prayer since giving birth to my daughter almost exactly a year ago, and now the timing is right. God answered the desire of my heart and we're making it happen! I'm excited, nervous but peaceful. This will be a 4th to celebrate, for sure!

Also this week is my husband's birthday (also tomorrow!) We're having a fun family day and then Saturday on the 4th, we are having a joint birthday party with two of our other friends with early July bdays at my parent's house. It'll be a day of fun, fellowship, faith and fireworks. And of course, lots of cake. =)

This is a pic of my Little Miss getting into the recent Memorial Day's festivities. haha! No, the coke wasn't open, but it sure made a cute pic. And it was red white and blue so I couldn't resist posting it today.



I'll have to post a new pic after this weekend of my Little Miss in her 4th of July dress. Its a patriotic print pillowcase dress my friend made, and its precious! I can't wait for her to wear it. I'm also bringing my daughter's new inflatable swimming pool for her and another baby to splash in while we grill and eat lemon pie and soak in all the red, white and blue. This summer here in Louisiana is already a sorcher, (we're hitting 100 degrees already!) but somehow, the heat doesn't seem to matter as much when you're surrounded by the people you love.

I know the 4th of July is a day to celebrate our country, and our freedom. But I feel with that, its a time to celebrate our lives, and all our lives include - faith, family, friends. So don't save the grateful's for Thanksgiving. Be appreciative this weekend of all you have, of all God has blessed you with.

PS - We're continuing to hope for good news about my mother in law soon. She's still in her self induced coma but her body is healing and she is showing very positive signs that she might be waking up soon. We appreciate the prayers and support so much! =)