But before we head out on a new trail, we've got a few more birthday noise makers to blow and one more story to share.
Did you ever have your own bicycle? I didn't. I had a hand me down that needed tires, my inspiration for Jocie's old bike in Scent of Lilacs.Tara left this story in a comment on a post here, but I wanted to share it again.
"My best birthday memory. As a second child I spent a lot of time in hand me downs. Clothes, shoes, bicycles. My older sister had a very different style than I did, so her old blue bicycle with a banana seat was not my favorite. Every trip to town for groceries would see me at the Western Auto adjacent to the grocery store, riding around and around a little yellow BMX bike. Every year, I participated in (and rocked!) the St Judes Bike-a-thon in our tiny, tiny town and I wanted nothing more than to NEVER have to ride that hand me down blue bike again to do so. I have NO idea how many miles I logged on that little yellow bike just riding up and down the aisles until Mom was done at the grocery store. I will never forget Mom telling me to take out the trash or some equally unpleasant chore, on my birthday, no less, only to discover it was a ploy to get me to go around back where that little yellow bmx was waiting for me. I continued to ride it in those Bike-a-thons for years to come. One year, I earned enough pledge money to provide every participant with the t-shirt prize after it was all divvied up."
When I read Tara's story I was doubly touched, by her mother knowing how much she wanted the bike and finding a way to get it for her and by Tara's eagerness to raise money for St. Jude's even as a child. You may remember that my great-niece was treated for cancer at St. Jude's and one of my Facebook posts about her went viral a year or so ago. You can read that old blog post, Honk, Honk for Good News if you're interested. Anyway, when I asked Tara about using her story here, this is what she said, "Oh please go ahead and use it :) My best friend had cancer, she passed away when I was 11. She was treated at St Jude and it is still the charity that gets 99% of my charity dollars."
In November I'll be taking part in the St. Jude Walk in Louisville because Tara is right. Once you've seen how St. Jude wants to cure every child, you want to keep helping them have the money to find those cures.
But now get all those birthday noisemakers ready. It's time to announce winners. You may have already seen the names since I sent out a newsletter on Tuesday with the winners and the news that my book Words Spoken True was/is a free download. Only a few more hours for that so if you have an e-reader and haven't read my story set in 1855 Louisville with political intrigue, lots of romance and even a serial killer on the loose, you can download it today for free. (And yes, I know this is Thursday and that I'm a day late posting. I was in such a frenzy of editing out words last night I forgot to post.)
Oh yeah, back to the winners of my Christmas at Harmony Hill Giveaway Celebration. Donna V. wins 1st prize, the Shaker hand ornament and her choice of one of my books. Sue B. won 2nd prize of the quilt hanging and her choice, Christmas at Harmony Hill. Rachel L can't say she "never wins" anymore since she wins the Tea book, Melody Carlson's The Christmas Shoppe and she also picked Christmas at Harmony Hill. As as extra bonus, Peggy C is my "just because" winner. Angel Sister is one of her favorite books, so she picked Small Town Girl. (I haven't heard from Donna, so if I don't by next week, I'll pick a new winner.)
Thank you all for taking part in my giveaway fun and for sharing your birthday stories. I enjoyed reading them so much and in my very unscientific survey, I discovered surprise parties make great memories, especially if you're turning 50, that grandkids are cute blowing out candles, and that everybody loves a birthday cake with chocolate the favorite there.
Out of room for this post, but check back Sunday (or maybe Monday. lol) I'll have to celebrate Orchard of Hope being back out for readers somehow.