Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Quotes to help you keep on keeping on

Here's a couple of quotes to help you keep on keeping on even if today you're discouraged. We all get discouraged. Some of us sometimes wonder if we should keep trying to follow our dreams. If success is out there anywhere. So here's some encouragement. Don't give up. Keep dreaming. Keep working toward those dreams.

"Genius, that power which dazzles mortal eyes, is oft but perseverance in disguise." ..Henry Willard Austin (1858-1912)

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent." ...Calvin Coolidge


So may the Lord bless you as you persevere and persist this week and the next week and the week after that and, well, you get the idea. Nobody ever promised following your dreams would be easy.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

An Old-fashioned Frolic

Hi everybody. Have you ever been invited to a frolic? My father used to tell us a story about when he was a little boy and his granddaddy invited him to come over for a frolic. His young mind thought up all sorts of interesting and fun things his granddaddy might have planned, but when he got there, his granddaddy told him it was "a bean planting frolic." Somehow planting beans didn't sound like all that much of a frolic to my dad. But it made a good story and my sisters and I still talk about having "frolics" to this day many, many years later.

Well, we had a frolic Saturday at my mom's house. She has a summer room with windows all around on the back of her house. It's a great place for her plants and to sit and enjoy the birds. My mom has a green thumb and can grow anything, plus she loves watching the birds at her feeders. The only problem was that water somehow seeped under her door and ruined her rug. So me and my sisters decided the time had come for a flooring frolic. We tore up the old carpet and laid down vinyl squares. That sounds a lot easier typing it than it was actually doing it. The tearing up wasn't bad, but getting the glued down padding off the concrete floor proved challenging. Thank goodness the floor was nice and level when we finished and we almost did have fun putting down the new floor - except for the wear and tear on our not so young anymore knees and the fact that we didn't have very good scissors to cut the squares to fit. You'd think one of us would have thought to bring our good scissors. But we got it done and it looks great. We even joked around and said we should start a Three Sisters Contractors business, but I opted out on that pretty fast. I told them they'd better plan on Two Sisters. I've got a book to write. Actually I hope I have a lot of books to write.

I've been working hard on a new book about the Shakers to follow up The Outsider that will soon be on the store shelves. The early buzz and reviews have been good for the August 1 release, and I'm hoping that lots of readers will enjoy the story. The book is a different type of story than my Hollyhill Series, but then I've written a lot of different type stories and enjoyed writing them all. I did have fun writing about Jocie and her family in Hollyhill and I hope someday to maybe move along with Jocie and see what happens in Hollyhill down the road a few years. We'll see. Meantime I have already written another family drama type story that I'm hoping will make it out to my readers in the next year or so. Book publishing is sometimes slow business. It takes about a year to plan and write a book although I'm trying to be faster on the next two. Then the editor takes a while reading and deciding. After that it's a long process of editing and designing and publishing. Sometimes books make it out to the shelves in a year after a publisher buys it from the author and sometimes it takes longer. That can be hard on a writer who has so much of herself invested in the book. You want to see your words set in type. You want to see it with a great cover. (And I do love the cover of my coming book, The Outsider. They got Gabrielle just right in the picture. Thanks to the beautiful model who posed for the picture. If you want, you can see it at my website or at various booksellers out on the internet like amazon.com or christianbook.com.) You want to see your book on a store shelf. But even better, even more than all that, you want to see your book in a reader's hands. I thank all of you who have e-mailed me that you liked Jocie's stories. That means so much to a writer. That's like seeing you with my book in your hands.

Hope you are all having a great Memorial Day weekend. The weather is beautiful here this weekend. Great for picnics and fishing or whatever. Darrell and I took a long hike. Not unusual for me, but really unusual for him. But it was his idea. We trooped through the hayfields and woods and briars and brambles. The blackberries are blooming big time. So as long as we have some more showers along we should have some good pickings later on.

May the memories you have on this day of your loved ones who have passed on bring you smiles and that echo of love that never dies or fades away in your heart. And may we remember our soldiers and honor those who have fallen in service to our country.

Till next time.
Ann

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Reason to Smile

Hey, guys. How about a story to make you smile this week? I got my bulletins (the blank ones I have to print for the church), and this cute story was in the bulletin aids they send along with it. It's too long for me to put in my church bulletin, but it did make me smile. I'm going to change it a little here and there. You know writers and how they always have to edit everything.

Br. Jim's kitten climbed a tree in his backyard and wouldn't come down. The tree wasn't sturdy enough for Br. Jim to climb it to rescue the kitten or even to prop a ladder against it to climb up. He didn't want to bother the fire department. He wasn't even sure they really came out to rescue kittens and besides, he prided himself on figuring things out himself. The first thing he figured out was that kitten wasn't coming down on her own. So he pitched a rope up high in the tree and looped it around the tree. Then he hooked the other end of the rope to his car bumper. He figured he could bend the little tree over until he could reach up and rescue the kitten. Things were going pretty well. He eased the car forward and the tree leaned down. But the kitten, clinging tighter than ever to the branch he was wrapped around, still was a bit too high. So he pulled the car up a bit farther and then disaster struck. The rope broke. The tree went "boing!" and the poor little kitten went sailing through the air out of sight.
Needless to say, Br. Jim felt awful. He searched all through the neighborhood, but nobody had seen a stray kitten. Finally he gave up after praying, "Lord, I just commit the kitten to your keeping," and went about his business.
A few days later he was in the grocery store and met one of his church members. He was amazed to see cat food in her shopping cart. This woman was very vocal in her dislike of cats, and so he asked her why in the world she was buying cat food since she hated cats so much.
She said, "Br. Jim, you see it's like this. My little girl has been begging and begging me for a cat and I kept saying no. Finally I told her if the Lord gives you a cat, I'll let you keep it." The woman's face changed, got a look of awe, as she went on. "Well, my little girl went out in the yard, got down on her knees and started praying for the Lord to send her a kitten." The woman slowly shook her head. "Preacher, you are never going to believe this, but I saw it with my own eyes. A kitten came flying out of the blue sky, with its paws outspread, and landed right in front of my little girl."

Never under estimate the Power of God and His unique sense of humor. And keep finding reasons to smile. Proverbs says laughter worketh good like a medicine.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Creative Moments

Hi everybody. Hope you had a tremendous week with good blessings chasing you everywhere you went. You know sometimes we stay so busy that we don't always pay attention to the blessings around us. At church we have a Thanksgiving and Praise List in our bulletin where we mention special blessings of the week and those everyday blessings too. Things like the sunshine and the rain. The birds and the flowers. The smile of a child. A good sermon. An appreciated card. Being alive. There are so many reasons to be thankful. What are some of your everyday blessings? A good day at work. A restful night's sleep. Maybe a baby sleeping through the night for the first time. A new rosebush. An old rosebush blooming. We are so blessed.

We're also blessed with numerous electronic devices to entertain us. At least I think that's a blessing - most of the time. But I read an article this week about boredom and how now we have so many electronic means of entertainment such as i-pods, cell phones, laptops, and DVD players, that we don't have as many of those times when we're not busily trying to fill our minds with outside noise and pictures. Times when our minds are just idling with nothing to occupy us. Times when we might be bored. But those times are also times when we allow our thoughts to wander and from that wandering comes new ideas. When I first got married and had two little children, time was at a premium. But I had to iron every week. There's nothing much more boring that pressing pants and shirts, but that was when I could think up new things and write poems in my head. And what sounds more fun than sitting on a porch as the sun comes up or goes down and letting your thoughts meander down memory lane. A person has to have a few quiet moments now and again and a little boredom never hurt anybody. Unless of course you grew up on a farm and you made the mistake of telling your daddy you were bored. Then you might be out in the field picking up rocks or chopping thistles! So hope you have some restful moments this week to gather your thoughts and come up with some great new ideas.

A little writing news update - the Blue Grass Book Festival wasn't all that well attended this year. No Paula Deen to pull them in like last year, I suppose. I didn't get to go to the Blue Grass Festival last year, but all my writer friends who did kept telling me how wonderful it was and how many book buyers were there. So I was really looking forward to seeing a lot of readers this year. But alas, the sun came out after several days of rain and I think everybody stayed home to mow their yards and plant flowers. Who can blame them?

Still it was a fun day. I met some great writers and a few kind readers. I sat at the same table with Susan Green Gilmore whose book is titled Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen. Isn't that a great title? And the book looks like fun. My titles aren't bad. Summer of Joy and Orchard of Hope. But let me tell you, when people walked by our table, they were pulled in by Susan's title and more times than not bought her book. I told them I was going to rename my book Summer at McDonalds. No, that doesn't do it. It has to have the salvation in there too. How about Joy and Salvation at McDonalds? Of course there weren't any McDonalds in Hollyhill back when I wrote about Jocie and her family, so that won't work either. Oh well, I'll just stick with Summer of Joy.

Titles are important eye catchers. I sat next to a guy once at another book fair whose book was The Aluminum Christmas Tree. People were drawn to that one as well. It caught their memories. Next time I want to sit next to somebody whose book is titled something dull and uninteresting, say Today is Another Day or The Brown Cow. Or Red? Oh, wait, I think that one did very well. What is your vote for most un-eyecatching book title? Whatever it is, I don't want to use one like that on my next book. I want one that makes people stop and pick up my book to read the back copy. Maybe my new book, The Outsider, will have that kind of title. For sure it has that kind of cover art. It's very eye-catching. You can check it out on my website www.annhgabhart.com if you want.

So count your everyday blessings this week and I hope you run out of fingers and toes to count them all on. ;) Check in later this week for the quotes of the week.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Quotes to Make Us Think

Hi guys. Just a reminder if you're at the Blue Grass Book Festival on Saturday at JosephBeth Bookstore in Lexington, come by and say hello.

My quotes of the week are wise sayings from various writers and others. Some make you smile. Some make you think. Some made me add a comment or two. What do they make you want to say?

If my doctor told me I only had six minutes to life, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster. ...Isaac Asimov (1930-1992) {I might go hug my grandbabies instead of typing.}

Self Acceptance - Many people say you had better forget about yourself and love other people. Well, it doesn't work that way. The truth is, you must first accept yourself with all your mistakes - all your so-called sins, all the times you look like a fool, and all the times you've acted inappropriately. You must be able to stand before the entire world and make no excuse for yourself. When you can do that, you're coming from a position of unconditional love. ... Robert Anthony (writer) {Makes you think about the verse in the Bible to love your neighbor as yourself, doesn't it? None of us are perfect.}

Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor's noisy party than being there. .. Franklin P. Adams, humorist

Love is a net that catches hearts like a fish. ...Muhammad Ali - Boxer {Finally fishing I can enjoy.)

Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn't permanent. .. Jean Kerr, writer

The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be. ...Shakti Gawain, writer

The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thought, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy. ...Florence Shinn (1872-1940) writer {So make them good ones. Enjoy the day!}

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers - Everybody has one

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there and to all the children who have or had good mothers! Is there any blessing to compare to a wonderful mother who loves you without reservation and yet knows you're not perfect so she's willing to invest some time and loving discipline on you? The greatest gift we can give our children is their independence, but sometimes it's hard watching them fly away from the nest where we've done our best to keep them safe and moderately happy. I don't think we should take upon our shoulders any other person's happiness. We can be happy together. We can be happy for them. We have to teach our kids how to find happiness on their own. They're not ever going to be satisfied with happiness we try to plant inside them. They have to grow their own.

And yet it is sometimes so hard to watch our babies try their wings and fly right into storms or take off following the wrong flight pattern. We know they need to veer to the left or right and if we were only with them, we could tell them that. But we can't follow them every day of their lives. We have to let them go and when we do, we see them making mistakes the same as they've done all their lives. The same as we've done all our lives. Mistakes and messing up are part of a human being's make-up. We wish they were something we could avoid. Something we could help our children avoid. But the obstacles of life trip all of us up at times. So what can we do when our children are old enough to be on their own? We can pray for them. We can share in their joys and their sorrows. We can keep on loving them just as much as we always have. We can hope they will grow strong in character and abilities. We can give them the benefit of our experience, but don't be surprised if they smile and pretend to listen while holding mental hands over their ears. We had to learn on our own, making some painful mistakes in the process and so do our children. But we always want to help them. That's what mamas do.

I did my speech at the Paul Sawyier Library. The place was nice. The library there is a great facility. I took prizes and trivia fun. The lady who invited me to come was super sweet and kind. Just one thing went wrong, everybody forgot to show up. The weather was lousy and I don't blame people for wanting to stay in where it was dry and warm. I did have a couple of friends show up, so they let me practice my speaking abilities on them. I guess I'd better wait until I'm more famous or have more friends before the next outing. Still we had fun and as with writing where every new story adds to our storytelling experience, every speaking opportunity adds to my speaking experience and maybe my speaking ability. I enjoy speaking to people, but I have remind myself that if the Lord wants me to do this along with my writing, He will open the doors. He's certainly been opening some doors for me with my writing.

It's wet and chilly here today. Yesterday was fantastic - warm and sunny. But today we're having locust winter. The locust trees are beautiful this year. In bloom big time. I have yet to catch a whiff of their sweet scent. I guess it's been too rainy. But I'm going to grab a bloom to smell before all the petals blow away on the wind.

Hope all of you have a great week. And thanks for being great mothers.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Quotes for Mother's Day

Here are some quotes to give us some inspiration this week before Mother's Day. What a wonderful day. I hope you all tell your mother you love her if you're still lucky enough to have a Mom this side of heaven.

"God could not be everywhere so He made mothers." Hebrew Proverb

"Mothers are daily miracles we sometimes take for granted." Elinor Filice

"I know enough to know when you're in a pickle...call Mom." Jennifer Garner

"Good character, like good soup, is usually homemade."

"The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother." Therese of Lisieux


Hope all you moms have a great weekend of love.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Time in May to Enjoy

Here it is May already and such a beautiful May day here in Central Kentucky this first Sunday of the month. Yesterday was Derby Day and while the weathermen threatened rain and storms it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon for everybody who takes part in Derby activities. The night before wasn't quite as nice for the Derby parties as rain dampened a few hats. I'm not a Derby partier although I have had the church out for picnics on Derby Day just because it was the only day we could agree on for the most to be able to come. I used to have a picnic here every Spring but then Darrell started being on the road singing most weekends and I have a hard time finding a Saturday when he's going to be around to help host the event. But in years past, we always had fun. Our church has a small congregation, but we like to think of ourselves as a big family of God. And we are definitely part of the family of believers.

Back to Derby Day. I have never been to a Derby. Don't really have any plans to ever go to a Derby, but there are those who say every Kentuckian should experience it at least once in his or her lifetime. I do enjoy watching the race on t.v. Of course now the coverage goes on all day and I wouldn't mind seeing the crazy and the extravagant hats and hearing all those human interest stories about this horse or that trainer or owner, but I don't have time to watch t.v. all day. I usually just watch the 6 p.m. Run for the Roses. You know I never saw those roses yesterday. Big Brown was being so fiesty after the race, he would have probably eaten them. Of course it was sad with Eight Belles being put down. I've researched horse racing for a couple of books in the past and that's always a sad part of racing. Some horses want to run so much, have such a big heart, that they break down trying too hard.

Anyway, as I was saying, I don't have time to watch all the race coverage. How often do we say that? We don't have time. Our pastor used to correct us when we said that we didn't have time to do this or that. He told us we all had the same amount of time in the day the Lord gave us. It was just how we chose to use that time. Like now I'm blogging when I could be walking in the sunshine or cleaning up my kitchen or reading a book. I could be doing a lot of things and some of them are things I really should be doing. I've been putting off doing some chores like cleaning out my closets for so long that my closets are reaching critical mass point where I may very well end up under an avalanche of clothes I should have taken to the Goodwill Store months ago. But there are so many more interesting things to do and so many more "I said I would do it" things to do. I have another speech on Thursday night. They're expecting me to show up with something to say. All right, those of you who know me -- I know what you're thinking. When doesn't she have something to say? But I want it to be something that people will enjoy listening to for thirty minutes or so. I want to come up with some fun trivia questions. I want to get some good doorprizes together and I will do my best to get it done. But in order to do that I'm going to have to put those closets off a little longer and hope I survive the avalanche when it comes.

My talk to the Administrative Assistant luncheon on Thursday went okay and I had fun meeting some of the women who keep the churches going in the Frankfort area. The luncheon was sponsored by the Corinth Christian Bookstore in Frankfort. They are so supportive of the area churches and of writers like me. They always let me have a book launch at their store and have other writers in as well. In fact Beverly Lewis is going to be there for a signing on May 16th. They're excited to have such a well known author at their store. So go by if you're in the area and you're a Beverly Lewis fan. I've been told she's a super nice person. I may meet her on the next day at the Blue Grass Festival of Books at Joseph-Beth's Bookstore in Lexington. I'll be signing books there on Saturday, May 17 from 9 to 5. I hope some of you will come by and talk to me so I won't be tempted to wander away from my post and spend all my money on more books I don't have time to read. See there's that "I don't have time" again. It pops up everywhere.

Maybe I should think about how I'm spending my time. Is it the way the Lord wants me to spend it? Is it the way I want to spend it? Am I just letting the hours roll past without thought and those hours are rolling into days and then weeks and way too fast becoming years slipping by. "I don't have time." You know, one of these days that's going to be so true. Now while I do still have the time the Lord has given me, I need to make the best use of it. I need to squeeze and shove all the minutes together and make time for work and family and friends, but first I need to make time for the Lord, the giver of all time. The closets can wait.

Hope you have all the time you need this week and every week.