Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Buttered Up Birthday

Have you ever churned butter? We used to have a butter churn a lot like this one, but somehow with the passing of time, the churn is gone. I  suppose it was sold when my mother had a farm auction after my dad died. I don't remember, but we didn't find it in the house now. Not that I wanted to churn any butter. For that you need a milk cow, one that produces rich milk because you need cream to make country butter. 

So how do you make butter out on the farm? 

First, you milk the cow. Not something I ever learned to do, but my mother could and my husband milked cows when we were young and trying to make a living farming. He brought the milk that we were going to use to the house (sold the rest of it in milk cans) and we strained it through a big metal strainer with a paper filter fit in the bottom. Then after the milk cooled, the cream rose to the top and you could skim it off. That's what we used to make butter. You put it in a churn or sometimes if you didn't have a churn you just put it in a jar and shook it for a long time. I remember turning and turning that churn handle. Finally you would begin to see butter flakes start forming and then more and more until you had butter. Then you had to take it out of the milk that was left (the buttermilk or as we always called it, clabber) and work the moisture out of the butter until you had a little round mound of dairy fresh butter. 

Birthday Story 1 - Simple Gifts

You might wonder what any of that has to do with the birthday stories I've been sharing. Well, read on to see in Joyce's birthday story. I'm pretty sure she got a present for her birthday that few of us have ever received.  

Growing up on the farm, one of my jobs was to make the bread and churn the butter. I Hated making the butter, it was a long tedious job. Since we were a large family...we made the butter in one of those big cans that honey comes in. Do you know what I'm talking about? It stands about 18-20" and approx 12-14" (square). Well, Mom talked Dad into hooking up one of the old electric drills to the paddles; he added another 'handle' (a black iron pipe) so it made a T. Well, we could rest that on our legs while the drill worked the paddles. It did help tremendously and speed the process up. However, by this time, I hated butter. I loved going to Grandma's house because she had oleo (or margarine as they call it now). It tasted soooo good and we kids made pigs of ourselves eating bread butter and jelly on bread when we went to visit. For my (I think 10th) birthday, Grandma didn't know what to get me and Mom told her to get me a box (1#) of margarine. She said I can't get her that!! Mom talked her into it and she did, wrapped it up in birthday paper and put it in our fridge. We were sitting down to supper and Mom said, did you open Grandma's present? I looked at her, then at Grandma and said no. Mom said it's in the fridge. I sat there looking confused (why would she put my present in the fridge?) I got up, found it in the fridge and sat down to open it, No Clue whatsoever as to what it could be. I think I screamed when I opened it. (Dad gave me a dirty look for screaming at the table.) My sisters wanted to know what I got and when I showed them, they all wanted some too. I was a selfish little brat and said NO, IT'S MINE! I sat there with my oleo and ate my bread with the happiest smile on my face. I have no idea what else I got for my birthday but I do remember that gift. It was priceless to me. I believe I did relent about a week later and let them each have One slice of bread with my precious oleo, but I was a miser and made that last for a long time.

Birthday Story 2 - Simply Fun

What a fun story, Joyce! Just goes to show how simple things can bring a lot of pleasure and how moms always know what we want most. Now here's another birthday story that's sure to bring a smile. Felicia tells us about a fun party she had for her daughter. 

We lived in Florida at this time and I don't recall how old my daughter was, maybe 10 or 11. I let her have a few friends over for her party. And we didn't have a lot of gifts. But we had a lot of fun. So the theme was scavenger hunt. I handed her a clue and she and her friends were off. That clue led her to a small gift and another clue and so on. Her next to last clue led her to the above ground pool. She picks up the last clue and it was one word. DUCK! She says that word and her and her friends look over at us confused, which is when we 'opened fire' on them all with water balloons and water guns. It was fun! The kids loved it. She still remembers that party and we all smile when we think about how much fun we had that day.

Felicia's story is another good lesson in how simple things are sometimes the most fun and creative thinking can make birthdays great without having to spend a lot of money. 

I hope you've all had fun with the birthday stories I've shared forward. I always get more than I can share, but I do enjoy reading every one. I'll be drawing for the winners this week for my birthday giveaway, but the real winner is always me since I get to hear from you and read your stories. If you haven't entered yet, you have two more days to leave a comment here with a way to contact you or to send me an e-mail to annhgabhart(at)yahoo(dot)com. I'll be picking three winners of the gift cards and book. All the details are at my website.

Let me know if you've enjoyed the birthday stories or if you've ever churned butter. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Never Say Never

How many of you have told yourself or others to "never say never?" That's an especially important thing to remember when you're talking about your kids as in my kid would NEVER do whatever wrong thing we're seeing some other kid do. Experienced parents don't let that my kid will never do words out in the open. But people who have yet to be blessed with children are often heard uttering those words. Such words generally come back to haunt whoever says them because you never know what kids will do in spite of every good parenting intention. 

But one thing I thought I was safe in saying was that I would never have a tattoo. Just not my thing. I don't even have my ears pierced. Couldn't see any reason to add extra holes to my head. :) And I'm the wrong generation to look fondly on tattoos, but there is that never say never. Today I got a few little black tattoos to mark where I will be getting radiation treatments in a few days as a precautionary treatment after my lumpectomy. No cute butterflies or initials or flowers. Just black dots. Even so, they are a tattoo that will be there forever. So that never I said became a guess I will. 

I did get good news today along with the tiny tattoo dots. No need for chemotherapy. Guess my hair is safe, but I was imagining it coming back in curly or maybe red. I know many of you have undergone chemo in your treatments and I know you've been strong and done what was necessary to fight your cancer. I appreciate all of you who have shared some of your experiences with cancer treatments. My little tattoos hardly compare to what many of you have gone through. While no cancer would have been the best, so far all my tests have come back as good as they could once that diagnosis was made. Caught early. No lymphs nodes involved, and now no chemo. Plus, the doctors and technicians have all been super. Thanks for all your prayers.

Now how about a couple of birthday stories? It's almost time for me to draw for the winners of my Birthday Celebration Giveaway. If you haven't thrown your name in my drawing hat, you have until September 30 to do so. Just leave a comment here with a way to contact you, either your e-mail or if you have "liked" my author Facebook page, I can contact you from there if I have your name. Three winners. One $50 gift card and a book. Two $25 gift cards and books. See complete details on my Events page on my website.

First Alla shares about being tired of NEVER having a birthday party, so she takes care of that by throwing one for herself. 

When I turned 50, I decided I was going to have a birthday party.  I had never had one, so I decided to throw myself one and started calling all my friends and family. My youngest daughter lived in Denver at the time, so she flew home to help me celebrate. When I picked her up at the airport we waited at the terminal for her luggage and much to my surprise I see this 60’s looking lime green luggage coming toward us. I said “Look at that cool bright luggage. Isn’t that awesome?” She said “Well, I am glad you like it since that is your birthday present.” I will never forget that as long as I live. She had put a collapsible bag inside with all her clothes, because that is the only way she could figure out to get it here. She had also brought her guitar and my youngest brother joined in “picking & grinning” with her at my party. That is the only actual party I have ever had in my life, but was so memorable, it will last a lifetime!!!!

And then Rebecca shares a special birthday story about a friend. 

I have a wonderful birthday story about a friend of mine and her husband. The husband had been on a kidney transplant list for over 5 years, while his quality of life slowly slipped away. He is a husband, father, brother, son and papa to his family. A few months ago they finally got THE CALL and his kidney was waiting for him. The amazing part friend got the greatest birthday gift she could of ever asked for, because on her birthday, her husband received a kidney transplant. It has changed their lives and once again he is able to be active and live life to the fullest.

The gift of life. Thank you, Alla and Rebecca, for sharing your birthday stories with us. And thank all of you for your prayers and good thoughts. Such a lot of positive energy coming my way from you. You're the best. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Butterfly Season

"Butterflies are self-propelled flowers." (R.H. Heinlein)

I'm taking a break from birthday stories tonight to think about butterfly season. As autumn begins to cool the air and paint the trees, the butterflies start appearing more and more in the hayfield where I often walk with my dog, Oscar. Sometimes I can get them to sit still long enough to take a picture there, but the butterflies tend to flit away just as I get focused in on them. I have better luck sneaking up on them in the garden where the zinnias are blooming profusely.

"Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine." (Jeffrey Glassberg)

I wrote a book about butterflies. Well, at least butterflies played a part in the plot. The book for young adult readers was titled Only in Sunshine since butterflies need sunshine or warmth to be able to fly. Butterflies can't move their wings at all if they get too cold. So if you feel energized by a beautiful day of  sunshine, then you can claim kinship to a butterfly. 

How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar. (Trina Paulus)

 Here are some things you might not know about butterflies. First a group of butterflies is called a Kaleidoscope or a Flutter. I like both of those names although the butterflies in my field are often loners. The little white and yellow ones do sometimes gather in a Flutter. That name fits them best. The Kaleidoscope might fit the Monarchs all in a bunch in their winter quarters. I've seen a few Monarchs this year, but none that will pose for me. They stay on the move. 
Some butterflies are very tiny, only 1/8 inch. Others can have a wing span of 12 inches. They see red, green and yellow so those flowers attract them. However they do like those orange milkweeds. Many butterflies can taste with their feet to find out if the leaf they are on will be good caterpillar food and thus a good place to lay their eggs.

There are 24,000 species of butterflies. I've only seen a small percentage of them. Moths are even more numerous with around 140,000 species discovered all over the world. If I leave the porch light on at night, it looks like at least half of them gather at my door to sneak inside, but actually it's probably not over a hundred or so. :) Talk about a flutter. Some moths are beautiful. Some are plain grays. Moths can race along at twenty-five miles an hour while butterflies top speed is twelve miles per hour.

Two more interesting insect facts to end with here. First, there are more types of insects in one tropical rain forest tree than there are in the entire state of Vermont. Then, in 1958, 
entomologist W.G. Bruce published a list of Arthropod references in the Bible. The most frequently named bugs from the Bible are: Locust: 24, Moth: 11, Grasshopper: 10, Scorpion: 10, Caterpillar: 9, and Bee: 4.  I would have thought there would be more than that. What do you think? (Some of the butterfly facts listed and more can be found here.)

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it turned into a butterfly. (Proverb)

You do still have until the end of September to get your name in my birthday celebration giveaway. Check out the prizes on my website event page. You can enter by leaving a comment here with a way to contact you or by sending me an e-mail at annhgabhart(at)yahoo(dot)com.

  • Butterflies range in size from a tiny 1/8 inch to a huge almost 12 inches.
  • Butterflies can see red, green, and yellow.
  • Some people say that when the black bands on the Woolybear caterpillar are wide, a cold winter is coming.
  • The top butterfly flight speed is 12 miles per hour. Some moths can fly 25 miles per hour!
    Butterfly facts -everything strange, unusual or bizarre about butterflies is revealed here!
  • Monarch butterflies journey from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of about 2,000 miles, and return to the north again in the spring.
  • Butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 86 degrees.
  • Representations of butterflies are seen in Egyptian frescoes at Thebes, which are 3,500 years old.
  • Antarctica is the only continent on which no Lepidoptera have been found.
  • There are about 24,000 species of butterflies. The moths are even more numerous: about 140,000 species of them were counted all over the world.
  • The Brimstone butterfly (Gonepterix rhamni) has the longest lifetime of the adult butterflies: 9-10 months.
  • - See more at:

  • Butterflies range in size from a tiny 1/8 inch to a huge almost 12 inches.
  • Butterflies can see red, green, and yellow.
  • Some people say that when the black bands on the Woolybear caterpillar are wide, a cold winter is coming.
  • The top butterfly flight speed is 12 miles per hour. Some moths can fly 25 miles per hour!
    Butterfly facts -everything strange, unusual or bizarre about butterflies is revealed here!
  • Monarch butterflies journey from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of about 2,000 miles, and return to the north again in the spring.
  • Butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 86 degrees.
  • Representations of butterflies are seen in Egyptian frescoes at Thebes, which are 3,500 years old.
  • Antarctica is the only continent on which no Lepidoptera have been found.
  • There are about 24,000 species of butterflies. The moths are even more numerous: about 140,000 species of them were counted all over the world.
  • The Brimstone butterfly (Gonepterix rhamni) has the longest lifetime of the adult butterflies: 9-10 months.
  • - See more at:

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Birthday Stories and Flowers

    Birthdays can be like flowers, lovely and bright, different even as they come on the same day year after year. The birthday stories some of you have been sending me are the same. Some of you have birthdays where not much fuss is made, maybe cake and ice cream. Others of you have had parties and special vacations and surprises. All fun as you celebrate the gift of another year here on Planet Earth. Some of the stories are touching. Some funny. Some loving. Some sad. A few have been a combination of all those emotions. 

    That's the way the story is tonight. Chris shares about her mother who is in a nursing home suffering symptoms of dementia. But that doesn't mean she doesn't have a birthday to celebrate or reason to smile. If you can find those smiles on that hard Alzheimer's road, then life gets easier if only for a little while. Here's some of the story Chris shared with us.

    "First, thank you for sharing your journey with your mom with us. My mom's 90th is this month and ...I am getting her a small tiara to wear for that day! (& balloons for the wheelchair...maybe a wrist corsage?) Last year, my sister and I took her out to lunch but the nurse forgot to let the cafeteria know that she wasn't Mom found out and felt bad since they had gone to the trouble of fixing her fried shrimp. (I think she forgot we were coming.) Anyway, we pick her up and she insists that I take her lunch from the Center with us because she wants to eat it too! ... So off we went to our little favorite restaurant...,a 1950's cafe with the best food in the world... So Mom insists on bringing the food from the Center in...I am like Mom! is rude to bring food into a restaurant and not eat their food...this is the best food ever. My sister...trying to please Mom pushes for the Center food to come in with us. Of course, the owner & the chef notice we brought our own take out food in. :/. She is so gracious, wishing Mom a happy birthday...and she asks about the food. Mom explains she couldn't hurt the Center's staff's feelings by not taking the food with us. Then she refuses to eat food at the restaurant...only soup and just a bit because she doesn't want to get full. And she eats the Center food! Crazy time!"

    With someone with memory problems you might as well just go with the flow, Chris. Hope this birthday was less crazy for you but fun for your mother. But here's a preview from Chris on how things might go this year in another story she shared about her mom. 

    "My mom has Alzheimer's/dementia, and the other day I got a call from her. She spoke to my husband first...asking him how it was going (like she was perfectly in control). Then I got on the line...she said she was working all day at the college and needed to go home but apparently she was home...her roommate got to go home with her husband! I said, "You're confused, aren't you, Mom?" She said she was very confused and we talked about the college she worked at, what she did...then I said she had a birthday coming up and did she know how old she was? She didn't, but then when I asked 50? No. 60? No. 70? YES! I said, "Well, there you have it! When you were 70, you did work for the college, and if you are confused and think you are 70, of course you'd be going home on the weekend! I said she was going to be 90 and she denied it over and over! Ha! What a hoot. So I said, "Well, we could pretend to lose 20 years, but then we won't have my youngest daughter (who's 19) yet!" I asked if we could pretend we don't have 20 extra pounds instead and we laughed and agreed."

    Thanks for sharing, Chris. That last story made me think about my mother who drifted in time to different ages. Sometimes she was only 16 and sometimes in her thirties. She looked at me like I was  nuts if I told her she was in her nineties. She knew that wasn't right. But it definitely might be good to forget those 20 extra pounds, Chris, especially after birthday cake and pie.

    Since I last talked to you here, I got another year older, but I'm still celebrating all month and you can celebrate with me by entering my birthday giveaway contest. Check out details here. Deadline to enter is September 30.

    Also, today and maybe for a couple more days, The Blessed, one of my Shaker books has a special e-book price of 99 cents or less. Check it out at Amazon; Barnes & Noble (Nook); or Maybe other internet e-book sites too. Be sure to check the price to see if it's still on special before you download.

    Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing your birthday stories with me.

    Sunday, September 14, 2014

    Mothers, Feed Sack Dresses and Sparklers

    "My mother taught me about the power of inspiration and courage, and she did it with a strength and a passion that I wish could be bottled." ~Cathy Fiorina

    I know you were expecting more birthday stories to go along with my birthday giveaway. (Remember you can check out details here.) So the mother quote may have surprised you. But without our mothers, we couldn't have a birthday. Mothers and birthdays have an undeniable connection. Plus, our mothers may be the first to give us wonderful birthday celebrations.

    One of the fun parts of these contests I have is hearing from you, my reading friends. Some of you have shared stories with me over and over in different contests, and I'm so grateful for that. The stories make me a winner every time I have one of these giveaways and I do hope you enjoy sharing your stories too. 

    Sometimes a friend will share something more the way Ola did here when she sent me the above picture of her on her 7th birthday in a dress made by her mother. It's so pretty and you can see how Ola loved it. When I asked Ola if I could use her picture, she wrote me a little more about her mother. So many of you have shared about your mothers after I shared about mine in my newsletter. A good mother is a blessing and a gift and Ola had one of those good mothers. Here's what she told me about her.

    "No, I don't mind if you share. That's one of my favorite pics of me. I wish I had one of the dresses my mama made me now. I would really love to have one made of feedsacks that she made. She was an amazing woman to raise 7 kids mostly by herself. She raised a big garden and canned it to feed us. She sewed, knitted, crocheted, quilted and made all sorts of dolls to sell. She went back to school and graduated from high school when she was 67 years old. She's been gone 10 years now and I still miss her but see her all around me."

    Thanks for sharing about your mother, Ola. She does sound like an amazing woman and I'm sure she raised some amazing children. You also brought back memories of those feed sacks or flour sacks. I don't remember if I had dresses made from them, but I do remember others talking about those cotton sacks. The feed sacks I remember were gunny sacks and the flour companies switched over to paper bags. But here's a pattern I found on this blog, The Country Farmhome, all about those feed sack dresses and some interesting photos and history. Any of you remember these?

    Sometimes our mothers have parties for us and sometimes we have parties for them. Here's Stefanie's story about how she tried to make her mother's birthday special, but sometimes great ideas need to be fine tuned a bit. Even so, mothers know how to take it in stride with a smile. 

    "My birthday story is about my Mom. She was born on July 10 and loved the 4th of July. Well, one year I decided to put sparklers on her cake. Let's just say that there were quite a few burning in place of candles. We could not eat the cake because the metal sparklers had left a gritty, black soot on the frosting and the cake itself tasted like the sparklers smelled!!! But Mom, being who she was, loved it anyway!!! She has been gone 16 years and I miss her like it was today. Love you, Mom."
    Thanks for sharing with us, Stefanie and warning us off those sparklers in place of candles. 

    Hope if you haven't thrown your name into my drawing hat for the giveaway for gift cards and books, that you will. You can find out more about the prizes and how to enter on this post. As always, thanks for reading.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014

    Surprise! It's a Birthday Party!

    All right, how many of you have had a birthday party? A real party with a cake and candles to blow out (like this doghouse cake my granddaughter had a few years ago complete with  dog biscuit look-alike cookies) and friends singing happy birthday to you? I hope all of you are nodding and thinking about some special birthday when everything came up smiles and even if there weren't lots of people around, you felt loved and appreciated and didn't mind getting older. 

    I'm celebrating my birthday month all through September by having a birthday giveaway. You can check out details on my blog post, September Means Birthday Giveaway or at my website events page. Easy to enter and I think you'll like the prizes. Three winners too.

    But on to the parties. I invited readers to share birthday stories and I'm working through the e-mails reading them all. My surgery last week has slowed me down a little so if I haven't responded to your e-mail, be patient. I will. Meanwhile here are a few stories about parties I hope you'll enjoy. 

    Missy's Spooky Halloween Birthday Party

    A birthday story. Well... My birthday is in October. So every year my mom and nana would throw me a Halloween themed birthday party at a dance studio they worked at. We had the works: Carnival room, including cake walk, costume contest, etc. We had a fortune teller. We had a face panting and spray on hair dye room. And we had, of course, a "Haunted House". The haunted house was the locker room. Bowls were set on tables that were filled with grapes, spaghetti noodles, etc, and mixed with creams and water to feel like guts and brains. Parents dressed in scary costumes and waited to scare you. The decorations were hung. Two people went in at a time. I went in with my girlfriend. We walked in. A werewolf jumped out of a closet. We laughed and continued on. We made it to the table, where we grossed ourselves out by feeling the gooey mess. We were laughing so hard we didn't see anyone behind the table. Hands shot out and grabbed our ankles and we tumbled to the floor. Ouch. Not a second after we hit the floor did a door bang open right beside us. A witch jumped out. The lights were dim, only the glowing decorations giving any light, but the witch's costume was intense. Scary good makeup. My friend and I shrieked and jumped up, our trip to the floor forgotten. We raced to the door, the witch on our tails. Slamming the door behind us, we started laughing. Later that night, after most everyone had left, we were talking to one of the parents, who had admitted to being the one to pull us to the floor. We asked if she knew who had dressed up as the witch. She said, what witch? My friend and I thought she was kidding. So we asked around. No one admitted to seeing a witch that wasn't one of the kids, and none of the kids had put as much effect into their costume as the one in the dressing room. I asked my mom and nana. They said they didn't ask anyone to dress up as a witch. To this day, I still have no idea who that freaking witch was that scared the holy heck out of me and my friend.

    Okay, Missy, I think I'd start celebrating my birthday in July!!! Now to a less scary party. 

    Susan's Aunt Hattie's Birthday Party

    For my great aunt Hattie's 95th birthday, we decided to throw her a big party and invite all of her friends and family. We used the town fire hall and all of the attendees brought food. At 95, Aunt Hattie was still sharp as a tack, out in her garden planting the flowers that she loved and always busy socializing with people. About 75 people were able to attend and boy, was she surprised! She had a great time chatting with everyone and eating a little of everything. The following year, her health declined and she had to move to an assisted living home. I'm so glad we were able to give her this party because it gave us a nice way to remember her in her prime and having fun!

    You know sometimes the best parties are for someone else. We celebrate with one of our church members every year. This year she was 98. I'm looking forward to celebrating 100 with her. Some of you might remember that I had an Aunt Hattie in my Heart of Hollyhill books. Aunt Hattie could pray down the power. Loved it when she started praying in my stories. Okay, one more party story. This one is when a couple attending a surprise party got a surprise themselves. LOL.

    Debbie's Oops Birthday Story

    My favorite birthday story isn’t about my birthday, but a surprise birthday for a friend. This was years and years ago and his wife invited us and told me all the details…my husband and I showed up at his parents' house for the party. They let us in and took us to their den and we sat and talked for a little bit and then they awkwardly said, we have to leave to to go Raymond’s party. Well, we died of embarrassment because we thought the party was at his parents' house not His house!!!! We meekly laughed and left red-faced and proceeded to the right house for the party. I know it was just as awkward for his parents, because I’m sure they were sitting there thinking, why are they here? What do we do to get rid of them? Funny!!!

    Isn't it good how we can laugh at ourselves and embarrassments can turn into great stories? Thanks so much for sharing with us, Debbie, Susan, and Missy. Who knows what surprising stories I'll find in the rest of the messages I'm getting? Thanks so much for joining in my birthday fun!

    Sunday, September 7, 2014

    Stories to Celebrate and Prizes to Win

    "Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon." ~A.A. Milne

    Have you ever had balloons on your birthday? Balloons just seem to say let's celebrate. Just ask Winnie the Pooh. That old bear can float around with a balloon and enjoy every day, birthday or not. 
    So today here are some balloons to get us in the birthday mood and to remind you that this month I'm celebrating getting older by giving away some prizes. Three winners will get gift cards and their choice of one of my books. Check out complete prize details on my website. Entry is easy. Just send me a message from my website or leave a comment here on a new blog post in September. Please remember to leave a way to contact you in case your name rises to the top of my drawing hat. For fun, you can share a birthday story and get a bonus entry in the giveaway. 
    I love hearing your stories and I will eventually get around to reading them all. My surgery has slowed me down a little, but I'm getting back up to speed. Of course, with adding on another year, speed is a relative term. Perhaps I should say I hope to keep plugging along. 
    Age wasn't a problem for Karen in this birthday story she shares. She was turning that magical "I can drive" age. But the license issuing offices just would not stay open for her. Here's Karen's story.
    I'll be ?? on November 11th. Now my birthday is a federal holiday so all state & federal government offices are closed on 11/11 and where do you go to get your driver's license? Right, a government office. Well, when I turned 16 I was very anxious to get my first driver's license. I was so upset that the DMV office was closed on my birthday that I called about a week before to see if I could get my DL on the 10th since it wasn't MY fault they weren't open on the 11th. LOL Well, of course, the answer was NO. That year my birthday was the longest day ever waiting for the 12th to arrive and I could get my driver's license. Don't we sometimes wish we had those youthful days back again?
    Indeed, Karen. Oh, to be 16 again, but then I don't think I want to take that driver's test again. I was soooo nervous when I had to take a ride with the state policeman giving the test. But maybe not as nervous as he was. LOL. 
    When Karen told me I could share her story forward she added how the story makes her smile now when she thinks about her impatience. To add to her anticipation, her brothers were both in the service and had left their old Chevy at home and given Karen permission to drive it. So there was that car in the driveway just begging her to get under the wheel and start it up, except her parents hid the keys. Our parents just know us too well sometimes. For sure that day had to be Karen's "longest day ever!"
    But about those balloons again. They aren't much fun until we put a little effort into filling them either with our own breath or some helium to make them float. Did you ever wonder if you could float up in the sky if only you could hold onto enough balloons? 
    As Karen says, oh to be young again with a zillion dreams clasped in our hands as life beckoned us down dozens of exciting roads. Each birthday is a milestone and one we're celebrating with balloons today.

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

    September Means a Birthday Giveaway

    September is my birthday month and as I've told you all before, I love birthdays. I've just quit counting them up. Not enough fingers and toes to count on for that. :) I'd have to call the fire department if I had a cake with candles. But if you don't count them, then you can consider Satchel Paige's question. "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?" So, what do you think is the perfect age? 25? 35? 55? Or maybe the perfect age is whatever age you actually are.
    I just sent out a newsletter with all the details, so if you're on my newsletter list, you may have already entered. (If you want to be on my newsletter list, just let me know.) I've gotten lots of e-mails, but since I had surgery yesterday, I haven't started going through them yet. The surgery went well. I'm sore, but the surgeon thought everything looked good. They will run more lab test to be sure they got all the cancer and I will have to have some followup treatments after I heal for a while. I do appreciate all your prayers and sweet concern. After I tell you about the Birthday Contest, I'll tell you another story, I think you'll like. But first the contest.
    I do enjoy having birthdays and it's even more fun when I celebrate getting older by giving something away to my reading friends. This time I thought and thought and came up with nothing exciting to give away - well, other than my books. :) Then I remembered how green always fits. So 1st prize in my Birthday Giveaway is a $50 gift card to the winner's favorite online book place (Amazon, B&N, or Plus the winner gets his or her choice of one of my books. Two 2nd place winners will get a $25 gift card and their choice of one of my autographed books.
    How to enter? It's easy. Just send me a message. You can send me a message from my website or leave a comment on a post here on my blog in September with a way to contact you. That's very important for without the contact info, I can't get in touch with you should you be one of the lucky winners. Comments on blog posts don't automatically include your return address. Deadline to enter is September 30 at midnight EST. You must be 18 to enter. For fun and for a bonus additional entry, you can tell me a birthday story. It can be about your birthday or someone else's birthday. You don't have to share a story to enter - any kind of message will do - but I enjoy reading your stories when you want to share one with me. I sometimes share a few of them forward here on my blog but I won't without your permission.
    Now for the other story. Last night after my surgery, I was missing Mom. The other times I've had surgeries, Mom was always there for me, helping me with whatever needed to be done, sympathizing with me, loving me. Moms are just good at that. So I was missing her and when I went to bed, I was thinking about her and it was as though I felt a hand gently caressing my hand. It only lasted a minute, but I couldn't help thinking that Mom had reached down a little comfort to me. Just writing this today brought tears, but it was good.
    Thanks for reading.