Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Joys of Mud

Spring is a great time for mud and since we're adding on a room that required some digging, we've got plenty of mud to go around. My grandkids are loving it. They like sitting up on the dirt piles digging for treasure. Who knows what might be under the very next dirt clod? Gold maybe. Well, not likely. More likely at best a geode with a shiny middle or at worst, another dirt clod just like the one on top. But the kids don't care.

They came out last weekend. It was warm and so the creek down below the house drew them like ants to sugar. Of course it didn't take long before the mud was spattered all over all of us. The seven-year-old who is very neat by nature took off her shoes and plopped her feet right down in the muddy creek and let the mud squish up between her toes. You remember doing that, don't you? Nothing quite like cool mud wrapping around your feet like socks and the sucking sound your foot makes when you lift it out of the mud. Of course the nine year old boy, well he was in kid heaven trying to catch tadpoles in the pond and dig new channels in the creek mud with a stick. Then the new dog, Oscar, knocked the two year old in the mud. She didn't think that was fun at all. Guess she's not quite old enough for some of the joys of mud.

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful. - E.E. Cummings, American poet, 1894-1962

So that got me to thinking about mud. When I was a kid one of our favorite things to do was make mud pies. Do kids do that any more? My sister and I had our own little outdoor kitchen with pans and spoons fenced off from the chickens . And we had fun.

Mud-pies gratify one of our first and best instincts. So long as we are dirty, we are pure. - Charles Dudley Warner, American Editor and Author, 1839-1900

Of course other mud memories out on the farm aren't so pleasant. We used to have to go to the barn and try to step on rocks to keep the cow stomped barnyard mud from swallowing us whole. Well, maybe we wouldn't have really sunk to China, but I was never sure. If I happened to miss a rock and let my foot sink down in the mud sometimes I had to pull my foot out of my boot and balance on the other foot while I yanked my boot out of the mud. That mud was no fun at all. I didn't find a quote to quite go with that experience. I'll just let you picture a little girl half afraid of the cows, balancing precariously on a rock while tugging at a mud covered boot. And you've heard people talk about good clean mud. That mud wasn't good clean mud. It was very used and yucky mud. Made a girl learn balance, though.

And now to the muddy thoughts a writer can sometimes think. I like the idea behind this quote.

“Writing is like walking in a deserted street. Out of the dust in the street you make a mud pie.” - John LeCarre quotes (English Writer, b.1931)

I'm trying to stir up a lot of dust in that deserted street in my head right now so I can get that mudpie made. The new Shaker book is coming along, but there's lots of dusty street yet to walk down before the end comes in sight.

I hope some of you have had fun getting the excerpts of Summer of Joy from DearReader.com. It's fun getting the e-mails and reading along with you and wondering what you might be thinking about this or that section. It's a great way to sample a book and I'm hoping any readers sampling mine are going to want to read the "rest of the story." I'm ready to respond to any questions or comments readers might post of the Reader forum.

Don't forget my new book-giveaway. Send me an e-mail and I'll put your name in the hat for Virginia Smith's new Sister-to Sister book Age Before Beauty and my book Summer of Joy. No mud pies in my book, but I think Ginny's character does a mud pack on her face. Now that's something I've never done. No cucumber slices on the eyes or mud on the face - at least not in an attempt to make me more beautiful.

And remember the proverb "Don't pray for rain if you're going to complain about the mud."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Sunday of Gifts

How long has it been since you gave yourself a gift? I gave myself a gift today - a gift of time. Of course the day already was a gift since we had our "we paid it off" celebration at church today. That gift was for our whole church family. And we had a great old fashioned country church dinner after an old fashioned straight from the Bible sermon and to make the day even more unique, we had an old fashioned barbershop quartet, The Light Brigade, singing some specials for us. They have a great sound that you can check out at their website, http://www.lightbrigade.com/. The lead singer, Terry Gabhart, is Darrell's cousin. Darrell has musically talented relatives on both sides of his family so it's no wonder he ended up a singer. So anyway, you can guess that our church is sort of old fashioned. In good ways, we hope.

That started the day out as a gift although I was running late this morning and then the quartet got lost. They were trying to use their GPS system and Terry kept saying "She's saying turn left" or whatever. I guess "she" hadn't ever been out on our backroads down around Goshen. If you don't know where you're going, you can lose your way down in that part of our county in a country road minute. I know. I've been lost down on those roads myself. Anyway he says, "We're lost." And I must have asked the stupid question of the year. I say, "Where are you?" Well, of course he doesn't know or he wouldn't be lost, would he? But on the other hand, how can I tell them how to get to the church if I don't know where they are? Finally he got back to the beginning turn off and I went out and led them in. We got there with a whole minute to spare, but the guys did a great job singing even without time to warm up and we were glad they persevered and kept looking for us.

So that was the first gift. But then I came home and gave myself another gift. A gift of time. I've been so busy this spring that I haven't been able to go check the wildflowers out over at Panther Rock. So the sun was shining. I've got my new dog, Oscar, and my old dog, Dub, to walk with me. Plus Roxie, the Saint Bernard from across the road, came along too. It was great. I saw shooting stars, jack-in-the-pulpits, pinks, wood poppy, buttercups, trilliums, May apples, rue anemone, wild hyacinths, and various others I'll have to look up in my flower book. A lot of the early flowers are already gone. It was nice down on the creek, but the ice storm was rough on the trees alongside it. Several large sycamores were broken and uprooted. Then at one place so many trees were over the creek, that it was a challenge for me and the dogs to make it through. Oscar and Roxie kept looking at me as if to say, "Are you sure we want to crawl through that?" Dub's used to the creek so he just kept trucking over all the obstacles. I certainly got my exercise for today.

I hope you give yourself a gift every once in while. Maybe go to a movie you've been wanting to see. Or sit down in a spot of sun or maybe in the shade if it was hot like it was here today and read that book you've been looking forward to reading. Or take your grandkid to the park or down a creek and let them play in the mud. (My grandkids did that here on Friday night. They got sooo muddy that I had to do laundry so their momma and daddy wouldn't see just how muddy. But they had fun.) You know sometimes we take life too seriously. So we have jobs and deadlines. We have chores and other obligations. But the Lord never expected us not to pause and enjoy. Else why would He have made our world so beautiful, our kids and grandkids so much fun, and our elders with so many great stories to tell about their lives. I hope you can take time to look and play and listen this week.

If you have a little extra time, http://www.dearreader.com/ is featuring my book, Summer of Joy, on their Good News bookclub this week. If you haven't read it and would like to sample the story, you can sign up for the bookclub by going to their site and following the directions. It's easy and it's free. Then every day they send you a portion of the book that might take about five minutes to read. That usually ends up being about two or three chapters. Enough to know whether you want to read the rest of the book. I'll also be responding to questions and comments on their forum during the week. I'd love for you to stop by and ask me a real stumper. If you do, I'll be sure to make something up. That's what I do, you know. Make stuff up.

Then I've also got a new book give-away on my website. I'm giving away an autographed copy of Summer of Joy to celebrate the book being on DearReader.com along with an autographed copy of Virginia Smith's Age Before Beauty. Ginny's book will make you smile as she takes you into the life of another of the sisters in her Sister-to-Sister series. Just send me an e-mail from my website or leave a comment here and you'll be entered in the drawing that I plan to do the end of May. If you've already got Summer of Joy, you can always give it as a gift.

Enjoy your week and remember to give yourself a gift.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Celebrating K Hall

We had a beautiful Wednesday here in Kentucky. Monday it was chilly and breezy, a sort of March day, but they say by Friday we'll think it's June and everybody will be putting their convertible tops down and wearing shorts and flip flops. That's okay with me. A little variety is good, especially if it means changing the weather to be more like June.

We want the good weather to hang around for the weekend because we have a big day planned at church Sunday. We're having a note-burning. A couple of years ago our little church stepped out in faith and decided to build a fellowship hall next door to our church building that was built in 1875. Sunday school rooms were added on in the 1940s. We put in bathrooms in the 1990s. Before that we had a path. Some of you old timers know what that means. And there for a while after we added the bathrooms I wasn't too sure the church was going to make it and that we might have to tell the last one out to flush the john and turn out the lights.

When we got down to fewer than twenty faithful souls, we had a good, caring preacher, Jim Moon, who grew up a missionary's kid in Brazil. Br. Jim said he could help us whichever way we decided to go - keep the doors open or close the doors for good after almost two hundred years. The church was established in 1812. I suppose the Lord wasn't ready to let us close the doors because He blessed us with a few new families and the spirit of the church grew. Br. Jim, who had been attending seminary in Louisville while he pastored our church, graduated and decided to go back to Brazil.

Once again the Lord had a plan for us, and we called Br. Fred back as pastor. Br. Fred had been there the seven years prior to Br. Jim but had to resign for a number of family reasons. But once we got him back, we haven't turned him loose and he's still preaching for us, heading into his twenty-second year bringing us good old-fashioned Bible sermons. Br. Fred has a running joke about how forgetful he is - and he is - except about Bible things. He knows his Bible and because he does and because the Lord has blessed him with preaching talent and teaching talent, all of us at Goshen know a lot about the Bible now too.

So to get back to our big day Sunday, we decided to build a fellowship hall that would be easily accessible to all our members, old and young. The steps down into our cramped little basement were steep and hard for many to navigate. It wasn't an easy decision to make. We're not a rich church with a lot of endowment funds or money in the bank. We don't have that many active members. We think we have a crowd when fifty people show up. The church at the end of my road just completed a new sanctuary that will seat eight hundred and they will probably fill those seats. But you know, the Lord loves little churches and He loves middle-sized churches and big churches and mega-churches. Where two or more are gathered in my name - wasn't that what He said?

So we decided that if the Lord wanted us to build, He would help us find a way. And He did. Not only did He help us find a way, He helped us accomplish a near miracle by paying off our loan in under two years. We owe a great deal of gratitude to many who have roots in our church but have gone on to serve in other churches, but they prayed for us and sent money. Then in September before our building was finished, we lost one of our most loved members to a heart attack. Mike believed in our building program so much that he had written a new will leaving part of his estate to the church. His loving gift is making our celebration this Sunday possible. How often sadness and joy mix in life! But he's up at the big celebration dinner in heaven now where "Paid in Full" can be stamped on all our debts.

We named the building after Br. Fred - the Fred Knickerbocker Fellowship Hall. Br. Fred was an electronics teacher for many years and his students all called him Mr. K. We've adopted that and call our new building K Hall. And this Sunday we'll be thanking the Lord and glad we stepped out in faith two years ago when we had no idea how we could accomplish such a feat, but now we know. Only with God. Think about us Sunday as we burn our note with a paid by date of 2034. We'll be doing some happy dancing. Well, maybe not real dancing. After all we're Baptists. Not Shakers. The Shakers are the ones I'm writing about. I'll have to try to keep that straight. ;o)

Talk to you again on Sunday.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Sunny Saturday at the Book Fest

It's rained buckets today in Kentucky but we had a beautiful spring day yesterday. Couldn't ask for a nicer day for a belated Easter egg hunt (some of my grandkids got to do that with their other grandmom) or a day to wet that fishing line or to take a walk down the creek to feast your eyes on some newly bloomed wildflowers. That last might be my pick for such a welcome warm sunny day.

But it was also a good day to talk to some readers and writers and sign some of my books. That's always a favorite day for me and that's what I got to do at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest on Saturday. I told some of my fellow writers at the reception the night before that nobody would be at the Book Fest because they would all be home mowing their yards or planting flowers or still picking up limbs from the ice storm. All along the road down we saw piles and piles of limbs and trees where the road crews were cleaning the fallen branches out of the right-of-ways.

I'm glad to say I was wrong about the Book Fest and not everybody stayed home to mow his or her yard although one lady did tell me she couldn't come to my panel discussion because she had to get her yard mowed. Me, I've never worried that much about grass. You'd have no trouble believing that if you could see my yard now. I gave that chore over to Darrell when he retired and he mows on his own schedule. But even when I was doing more of the mowing, I would have picked a book fest over mowing any Saturday of the year. It is such a treat to be able to wander through rows and rows of authors all ready to talk to you and tell you about their books.

I've been on both sides of the table. I've been the wanderer wanting to buy every book in the place, and I've been the author hoping my book will catch a shopper's eye and he or she will want to stop and talk to me for a while. Even better maybe give my book a chance. Or best yet, maybe have already read some of my books and be anxious for the new one. I was fortunate enough to have several of those best yet readers come by my table this year. That's always fun.

One of the other most fun things besides meeting so many readers is meeting so many writers. I was in a great row of writers. On one side was Elizabeth Emerson Hancock with her memoir about growing up a preacher's kid called Trespassers Will Be Baptized. Titles that make people smile draw the browsers over to an author's table and so many of those browsers bought Elizabeth's book that she sold out before the Book Fest was over. Of course I bought one too and I think the inside is going to be a make-you-smile story too. The book got a starred review in Publishers' Weekly. Not always an easy accomplishment. So I'm looking forward to reading it.

On my other side was Patti Lacy with her first novel, An Irishwoman's Tale, based on a true story. This book is also getting great reader reviews on Amazon.com. I didn't buy it because, well, I couldn't buy all I wanted yesterday or I would have had to rent a truck to bring them home and then build a room to hold them. Oh, wait, I am building a room! But that's to hold all my grandbabies. Still a few extra books might fit in there somewhere. Patti's book looked and sounded very interesting and I'm sure I'll enjoy reading it when I do get it.

Then down the table was Leisha Kelly who publishes with Revell the same as I do. I came home with one of her signed books, Julia's Hope, that I'm going to use in one of my book give-aways. I'll announce what next Wednesday. Got to make up my mind. I bought several books to give away. Leisha and I were on the historical novel panel together and one way she researches for her novels is by going to nursing homes and talking with the people there. She says she wants to keep their stories alive. I did something the same with my book, Angel Sister, that Revell has scheduled to come out in January 2011 about the depression years because I used all the stories my mother and aunts told me about those years to get the feel of the era.

I was also on a panel for Inspirational Fiction for Women with some great writers: Patti Lacy, Virginia Smith, Angela Benson, and duo writers - Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant. We didn't have many people come to listen, but those who did got a treat. I did too as I enjoyed hearing about the other ladies' books and writing methods. I bought Angela Benson's The Amen Sisters, a gritty story of hope and strength that tells it like it is. That one will be in a give-away soon too. I already have my friend, Virginia Smith's book Age Before Beauty since I did an endorsement for it. That will probably be the first one I give away. All of us had a blast talking about our writing as we shared a lot of laughter. I made some new writing friends and reading friends. I wish I could go to a book fair every month. But if I don't stay home and do some writing I won't have any reason to go now, will I?

Baby Raegan is home from the hospital and doing well. So is Mom although it'll be a while before she's ready to run any races. Dad's staying home this week to take care of everybody. He's great with the kids and with the baby. As soon as I get a chance I'll get a picture of Raegan posted along with some updated pictures of the twin boys.

Tune in on Wednesday. Who knows what I'll talk about then! I'm sure I don't.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Raegan Elizabeth Discovers America!

That new grandbaby is here and she's a petite sweetheart at five pounds ten ounces and seventeen and a half inches. Both Mom and Raegan Elizabeth are doing well and big sisters and brother are proud and happy. Grammy and Pa haven't gotten to hold her yet. We were there last night soon after the birth but she needed to rest. We'll get our chance soon. There's something about holding those little babies for the first time. They are always so tiny, so precious.

Grandchildren are a blessing awarded to those of us who have a bigger birthday number than we could have ever imagined possible back when we were the young people having the babies to make our parents grannies and granddads. Grandkids are worth the wait. And even better you know what a blessing and treasure your own children are receiving as they hold that newborn baby full of promise and love.

Perhaps that's the best gift of all - knowing the gift your son or daughter has been given. Grandparents just stand on the sidelines and cheer while offering a special brand of pure love that has few conditions. And when they shine that love down on the little ones, it reflects back to them so that a grandma doesn't mind reading that same book for the fiftieth time. That glow of pure love makes a granddad just smile when the fishing hook gets tangled up in a tree branch - again. We've been around the block a few times. We know nobody is perfect. We're not. Our children aren't. And even though we claim our grandchildren are, we really know better and that they'll make mistakes the same as the rest of us. But we also know we're going to love them right through those mistakes while we keep them in our prayers.

So I was happy to welcome another grandbaby into my life last night. Here's a couple of quotes that I think will make most grandparents nod in agreement.

"It's funny that those things your kids did that got on your nerves seem so cute when your grandchildren do them." ...Anonymous

“Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends - and hardly ever our own grown children.” .. Ruth Goode

Hope you grandparents out there are remembering fun times you've had with your grandbabies and those of you who are too young for to be grannies and granddaddies yet will be remembering special times with your own grandparents and that you're smiling.


In writing news, the panel I'm on at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest in Bowling Green has been changed. I'm now doing the Historical Fiction panel with Leisha Kelly, Kathleen Kent, and Ashley Crownover at 10 a.m. Hope if you're in the area, you'll come by and say hello. The Book Fest is always a great event with a variety of writers. You know, some big, some small, some old, some young, but all of us putting words on paper and hoping somebody wants to read those words.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Hope all of you had a blessed Easter day with time to celebrate with your family and church. Darrell and I did some celebrating this morning with both our sons and their families at church. We filled up two pews. Eight beautiful, healthy and (Grammy thinks) brilliant grandchildren. The ninth one was there too, but she's still being shy about making her appearance in the world. We had another "this is going to be her birthday" day last Friday, but she said not yet. So we'll see what happens next week.

But the other grandbabies were all in fine fettle. The twin boys didn't raise a ruckus in church and the older kids sat quietly and listened to the preacher. It must have been our day to receive one of those everyday miracles we don't always notice. At any rate, they were all very good. On the way out of church to the car, Katie, the three-year-old, told Br. Fred goodby and then she said, "Goodby, Jesus." Her mama reminded her that we don't say goodby to Jesus and leave him at the church, but that he goes with us wherever we go.

We had an Easter egg hunt here at the house after dinner. My chocolate lab, Dub, found the first egg. So I ruined his fun, got out the leash and made him be an observer only. The kids found all the eggs faster than it took me and the oldest grandkid to hide them. I always put pennies and other change and a few dollar bills in some of the eggs, and my grandson likes finding the eggs that rattle. I never liked Easter egg hunts when I was a kid because I was never fast enough to find any eggs, but today we had plenty to go around and everybody ended up with full baskets and enough candy to keep them bouncing off the walls for a while. It was probably a good thing that they all got to church too late for the little Easter egg hunt they had for the Sunday school kids there.

One of my readers who says she can't comment here for some technical reason nevertheless sent a great comment on my April Fools' day post about Oscar. She thought maybe I was going to say that I had an Oscar Mayer hot dog on April Fools'. I told her I'd share her e-mail smile with the rest of you. I'm glad my real dog, Oscar, wasn't an April Fools' joke. He's a lot of fun.

Well now that we've had fun with April Fools' day and celebrated the blessings of Easter, next week we have to stare tax day right in the eye. That's rarely anybody's favorite day. At least nobody but my granddaughter, Ashley. She'll be six on April 15th. She's way too young to worry about taxes. So instead of taxes, I'll just think about the fun gift Ashley is to our family. Besides we're going to mail in our taxes Monday. We like to be early. Hope you are so blessed as to need to pay taxes, but I imagine you might rather keep thinking about Easter blessings while you save a little chocolate to eat on Wednesday to keep the spirits up.

Maybe I'll have baby news to report on Wednesday. If not, I'll have to start worrying about the Southern Kentucky Book Fest this coming Saturday. But babies can't be rushed. Books can. At least the words in them, but you know I'm not sure the story can be rushed. At least not mine. Those story words have to grow and accumulate and eventually spill out on the writing surface whether that's a computer screen or a notebook.

I'm looking forward to meeting readers at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest on Saturday. I like talking to all of you face to face, so if you're in the area be sure to come by and say hi. I'll be part of a panel at 1 p.m. Check out my website for more details. It sounds like fun.

Don't eat too many chocolate bunny ears. I'm relieved most of the candy I bought went home with the grandkids. My will power's a lot better when the candy is at their houses instead of mine.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Dog Named Oscar

I forgot to let you know if I was April fooling you about my new dog. I wasn't. I do have a new dog named Oscar. He's a very nice dog. Part lab and who knows what else. He was a stray who found a loving home at a horse barn, but the people who welcomed him there weren't able to keep him since they follow the horses during racing season. So Darrell, who had been hunting a dog for me ever since I didn't get the pup at Christmas, came across him on the internet and for some reason this time I said why not? I think it was his name that got me. Plus he reminded me of Max, a black lab I had several years ago. Max has gone on to doggie heaven, but he was one of the nicest dogs I've owned. Oscar promises to be the same. I've had so many good dogs. Most of them I got when they were puppies. But not Dub, my chocolate lab. He was about a year old when we got him. And now not Oscar who is about ten months old.

As I've shared with you before, I'm a dog lover. I remember when I was about ten or eleven I told everybody I was going to be a recluse who had a dozen dogs. Well, that didn't happen! Thank goodness. I don't think I'd do the recluse thing well. And a dozen dogs might be a few too many to have to take to the vet and keep in dog food. But back when I was a very shy little girl I could imagine living in a cabin on a mountain somewhere spending all my time writing. Oh yeah, and feeding and walking all those dogs, I suppose.

While some little girls yearn for a pony, I wanted a dog. My own dog. Wilson Rawls gave words to the feeling I had in his wonderful book Where the Red Fern Grows when he wrote about his character having the dog hunger. That really rang a chord with me even though I didn't read the book until I was an adult. Still, I knew exactly what he meant about his young character having the hunger to have a dog because that was the very feeling that had eaten at my insides when I was a kid.

I just went out on the net trying to find the publication date for that book and came across some interesting information about Rawls. His story was first published in 1961 as a three part series in The Saturday Evening Post. I never did find out when it was first published in book form. The re-issued book from Yearling still has a number one Amazon ranking for books for kids about dogs. But the really interesting or perhaps sad information I came across was that Rawls had always dreamed of being a writer but after he wrote something he would lock it up in a trunk so no one else could see it. Then when he was in his forties he got married for the first time, thought he needed to be more responsible and burned all his stories. His wife disagreed with what he'd done and encouraged him to keep writing. Out of that encouragement we got a story that still touches hearts today. But you have to wonder about those stories he burned.

Well, I went off chasing rabbits tonight for sure. But back to Oscar, I think he's going to be my next very good dog. And he'll help keep that dog hunger of mine satisfied.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Books, Writers, Singing and Grandkids

They're playing for the championship in basketball tonight. I'm not watching yet. I might later, but if my team had made it - and they didn't even get in the tournament (alas) - I'd be glued to the set. But I'm trying to catch up answering e-mails and such since the weekend was so busy I didn't have time to do any of that. I generally try to stay day to day caught up on e-mails so that it won't overwhelm me. Anyway, since the weekend was so busy, you're getting a rare Monday entry.

Saturday I got up at the crack of dawn - no, that's not right. I got up long before the crack of dawn to drive to Barbourville, KY to take part in Writers' Row at Union College for their Redbud Festival. That was fun, but we could have used a few more book lovers. A writer can always use a few more book lovers.

This festival had all kinds of vendors from candle and jewelry makers to bowl carvers and watercolor artists. Not to mention quilters. And lots of writers. I sat next to a Civil War history buff. Wayne Taylor had all sorts of Civil War relics from spent lead bullets to Confederate uniforms and canteens to Union money and bayonets. And since I have been researching the Civil War in Kentucky, the seating arrangement was great for me. I bought one of his books, The Terrible Time, that tells about the Civil War in Bell, Knox, Laurel and Whitley Counties. If you are a genealogist, he had a book listing names of the men serving in many of the regiments. You can check out his books at lulu.com. It was great talking to him and I look forward to using his book to help me picture how things were in 1862.

On my other side, I had the pleasure of talking to John Snell, an extremely talented photographer who has a beautiful coffee table book with pictures of the Red River Gorge. He showed me some of his prints and I wanted to buy a dozen of them. They were gorgeous. If you want to check some of them out, go to his website, http://www.johnsnellphoto.com/. He not only does the nature shots, but also horse racing photos. Besides that, he's just a super nice person and his story about getting started in photography is fun and interesting.

I also got to visit with my writing friend, Virginia Smith, who rode to Barbourville with me. We had a lot of fun comparing writing notes and commiserating about some of the challenges of meeting deadlines and figuring out how to best promote our books. Ginny has some great books out and a new one is hitting the market in a week. It's called Murder at Eagle Summit. I got a copy and look forward to reading it soon. I'll probably use her newest Revell book, Age Before Beauty as one of my next give-away books. I'll be posting details about that soon on here and on my website. You can check out Ginny's books at http://www.virginiasmith.org/. She usually adds some humorous touches to her books that are sure to keep you smiling.

Then after driving two plus hours home I went on to the Patriots' singing in Frankfort and enjoyed talking with new and old friends there. We didn't get home till almost midnight and I was bushed. Early Sunday morning my son calls and they're getting ready to go to the hospital. We thought sure we were going to get to celebrate Raegan Elizabeth's entry into the world, but she decided she wasn't quite ready after all. So we're still waiting. But the other kids went to church with me and we enjoyed a beautiful Sunday afternoon outside playing in the big dirt piles from where we're adding a room on to the house. Nothing like a big dirt pile to keep kids happy. Late in the afternoon we hiked to Panther Rock to see the wildflowers. The only problem with that was the little granddaughter got tired, so then I got tired carrying her back to the house! Still it was fun. And we beat the storms home. Got back to the house in the nick of time. That was really good.

I'm busy proofing the galleys for The Believer. So far I've found very few problems. I hope readers will agree when they start doing their own sort of proofing as they read my new story.

A special thanks to Elizabeth in Ontario who talked up my books at a Christian bookstore there to a group of church librarians. Wish I could have been there to hear what everybody said.

Hope you all have a wonderful week.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Crazy Sunday

Hey everybody. Just signing in to say today is a wild and crazy day and also night. My daughter-in-law had a false alarm about having her baby this morning. Went back to the hospital. Got sent back home. Those of you who have been through that sort of thing can sympathize with her for sure. I never had labor pains until it was time and that was usually two weeks after my due date, so I did a lot of waiting. But anyway the three other kids are here and I am way busy. So I'll check back in tomorrow night.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools'

So how many tricks did you get played on you today or how many did you play on your friends? I never do any good at April Fools' Day jokes. I guess I don't have much of a poker face. But one of the guys at church got one of our ladies tonight. He asked her what happened to her garage, that one wall was knocked down. She was getting worried and I was wondering why I hadn't noticed that when I drove by her house, but then he said, "April Fool." So he got us both.

In years past I've listened to radio stations that carried on elaborate hoaxes with fake news stories. Today we could have really done that here in Kentucky since we just hired Coach Calipari as the next UK coach. But this morning the radio stations could have announced anybody as coach and had fun with it. Of course, I told the people at the church that the joke would be on us fans if at the end of the day UK announced that all the news conferences today were elaborate April Fools' jokes. Memphis would be happy if that turned out to be true, but UK fans would go into a spiral of depression for sure.

Anyway I checked out some famous April Fools' jokes and most agree that the most well known and famous one was the report by the BBC in 1957 showing people harvesting spaghetti from trees and reporting that the dreaded spaghetti weevil had finally been eradicated. Another good one was Burger King's 1998 ad about their new "left-handed" whoppers that were designed so the condiments would drip out the right side. Some customers ordered the new left-handed whoppers while others requested the old right-handed ones. Are we gullible or what?

It seems the BBC is always readier to make a joke on April Fools' Day than the t.v. stations here. And we think the British are too serious. Of course NPR usually pulls some kind of news joke on April 1st. Last year it announced that in order to be sure the stimulus checks were spent instead of being put in the bank the government was sending out consumer products instead of checks. I'll bet that got them a few excited calls.

I think April Fools' jokes are fun as long as they aren't mean. I enjoyed reading the BMW annual April 1st improvements like the "toot and calm" horn designed to calm other drivers and eliminate road rage. Or the SHEF (Satellite Hypersensitive Electromagnetic Foodration) that synchonizes the car's GPS system with home appliances so that a perfectly cooked hot meal would be waiting when you walk in the door. We wish! Last year they came up with BMW Tow Technology where your car had some sort of magnetic gizmo that hooked up with the car in front and then you just turn off the engine, sit back and let the other car tow you along. And then there was the elastic solutions on the windshields in 2004 that bounced off insects (IDS - Insect Deflector Screens). Sounds like some promising ideas, but all April Fools' jokes.

Maybe the best thing about April Fools' is that it gives us a chance to lighten up and not take ourselves so seriously. So think up something to smile about and get ready for spring.

Oh yeah, and I got a new dog today. His name is Oscar. Guess you'll just have to figure out if that's an April Fools' joke or not.