Monday, December 31, 2012

A Writer's Tale by Jan... for me... Thank you, Jan...

There came a morning
when

she woke
and knew

she
should be
a writer.

It was a morning no different
than any other.

It was all in the manner
of her seeing:

It was in the brass key 
whose teeth gleamed

fierce as any lion's
before plunging into the slim

neck of the lock.

It was in the web'd lace
of a blue sweater,

the tender  weave of it 
fragile and vast 
as the fresh spring sky.

It was in the scent of mint,
of rosemary.....

of t(y)ime,

the sharp breath 
of them

jogging upon a foot-loose wind,
casual and intimate

as two old friends upon the Road.

It was in music,

notes laid innocently
bare,

chords 
twined like 
snow-lace upon a winter's
window. 

It was in sunlight,
starlight,

double-be-nighted
night.

It was in  love and silence,
solitary letters 

and
the set-jewels of words.

It was in.....

all.

And that all, she knew,

would ever be
enough. 

With love, on this Yule, 2012,

Jan


True friends inspire me to be more, reach deeper, try harder, see clearer, love richer, dare higher, embrace wider, brave the truth, and reveal vulnerabilities. 


Sunday, December 30, 2012

The true story of Christmas...

...and yes, I always hear it in Linus' voice:

Luke 2

King James Version (KJV)
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Posts...

Amber Norris shares a bit of tech info on limb salvation:
http://thewriterlimitsauthors.blogspot.com/2012/12/fixing-what-you-lost.html

Barri Bryan had several lovely posts:
http://barribryan.com/blog/

Steph Burkhart has been exploring Christmas traditions over at her blog:
http://sgcardin.blogspot.com

Linda Swift shares a heartwarming memory:
http://lasrguest.blogspot.com/2012/12/stuff-your-stocking-blogfest-linda-swift.html

Celia Yeary posted Celtic Woman's rendition of O Holy Night:
http://www.celiayeary.blogspot.com/2012/12/celtic-woman-o-holy-night.html

A lovely end to this year, offering hope into the new year...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hope...

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

Today, I'm taking some time to reflect on the past year, and consider what the new year means to me...

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Soldier's Silent Night...

SEAL of Honor shared the following video on FB ~ A Soldier's Silent Night:

http://youtu.be/eWExFTFAQzA

God bless those who serve.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Editing, so a link...

I'm editing, so life is busy. The Roses of Prose is having a month of free reads, i.e., they're posting short stories on their blog. I started reading one, yesterday, and I want to read the rest. I don't know if they're good or bad, but I'm adventurous. I wanted an easy way to reach the site, so I'm posting the link here. Clever of me. :-D (I loved the one I read, and want to try other books by the author.)
http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com/2012/12/our-holiday-gift-to-you-month-of.html

Barri Bryan shares a Christmas memory:
 http://barribryan.com/blog/?p=68

I have a must read list. I also have a must try recipe list. Pinterest is great for keeping track of these.

Jamie Cooks It Up shares an "Easy Overnight Cinnamon Sticky Buns" recipe:
http://jamiecooksitup.net/2012/12/easy-overnight-cinnamon-sticky-buns/

With editing, I have a pile of links I haven't had a chance to peruse. Next week, I'll play a bit of catch up.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Les Miserable...

In 1986, I was in London. My friends asked if I was interested in seeing a musical or two. How could I not see a theatre event while in London? Cats was popular. I wanted to see it, and they arranged for tickets. They wanted to choose one other. They debated and tossed around various options. There was a new musical everyone was raving about. It hadn't made it across the pond. I knew of the story only because I knew of Victor Hugo. Les Miserable. Why not? They arranged for us to see a matinee. Most of the original cast performed the day I saw it. To this day, it is difficult for me to think of it without tearing. Powerful. Heart wrenching. Inspiring.

I returned to America, and no one knew what I was talking about. Then the Kennedy Center featured Broadway's anticipated new upcoming musical of the year: Les Miserable. Colm Wilkinson sang "Bring Him Home." Just thinking about it, I start to cry. I had heard him sing it live, in London, and he was finally on my television in America.

I saw the following trailer on Yahoo, yesterday. To my wonder and joy, Colm Wilkinson is playing the Bishop of Digne in the movie.

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/les-miserables-2/trailers/les-miserables-jean-valjean-165247192.html

I think Hugh Jackman is a brilliant choice for the role of Jean Valjean.

When I see the movie, I won't be wearing any makeup. What's the point? I'll cry it all off within minutes of it starting. :-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas angel story...


This is one of my favorite stories. No source has been found; I checked Truth or Fiction. Whether or not this specific is true doesn't really matter. I know true stories that are similar in nature. 
 
In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket.

Their father was gone..

The boys ranged from three months to seven years ; their sister was two.
Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared.

Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds.

He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries.

Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either.
If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.

I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job..

The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town.

No luck.

The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince who ever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job.

Still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop.

It was called the Big Wheel.

An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids.

She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning.

She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could start that night.

I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people.

I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night.

She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep

This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.

That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job... And so I started at the Big Wheel..

When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money -- fully half of what I averaged every night.

As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage.

The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home..

One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires!

There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires.

Had angels taken up residence in Indiana? I wondered.

I made a deal with the local service station.

In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office.

I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.

I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough.

Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids .

I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning.

Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.

On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. There were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe.

A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine.

The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.

When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes.

I quickly opened the driver's side door, crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat..

Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box.

Inside was a whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10!

I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans.

Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes.

There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items.

And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.

As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude.

And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.

Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.
 
THE POWER OF PRAYER. I believe that God only gives three answers to prayer:

1. 'Yes!'

2. 'Not yet.'

3. 'I have something better in mind.'

God still sits on the throne, and the devil is a liar.

You may be going through a tough time right now but God is getting ready to bless you in a way that you cannot imagine.

This prayer is powerful, and prayer is one of the best gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards

Let's continue to pray for one another. Here is the prayer:

Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and email buddies reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of Your love and power.

Amen

Saturday, December 15, 2012

This week's picks...

This is a new blog to me. I was interested in her post on One Gift. While I was reading, it registered I was also listening to "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserable. I heard it in London, in 1986, with the original cast. It still captivates and memorizes me.
http://theserendipitycafe.blogspot.com/#

Over at Sweethearts of the West, Celia Yeary shared a post on Louis L'Amour. I love Louis L'Amour. He was my introduction to western tales. I devoured everything. Though I gave many of my books away (an organization was looking for something besides romances ;-D ), I still own my Sackett series. Celia writes sweet western romances I enjoy.
http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com/2012/12/louis-lamours-short-christmas-story.html

Writer's in the Storm talks about book trailers. (Side note: Kris Tualla teaches a class.) I enjoy book trailers. I think of them as fun little extras.
http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/are-book-trailers-dead/

 A fun short story by B.J. Robinson:
http://woman2womanmagazine.com/readers-coner/internet-romance/

Sue Perkins is featured over at the Desert Breeze Publishing blogspot. She's there all week. This is the first post. I love cooking related stuff. Guess what's being added to my TBR list:
http://desertbreezepublishing.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/author-spotlight-q-with-sue-perkins.html

Sue is also featuring a Christmas story round robin on her site. A group of authors write a single story together, each writing one part and handing it on to the next author. I'm posting the link to Part 1. The rest are posted in order:
http://sueperkinsauthor.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/christmas-story-part-1.html


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tina Pinson shared a link...

"Writing With C.S. Lewis" over at crosswalk.com:
http://www.crosswalk.com/family/homeschool/resources/writing-with-c-s-lewis.html?ps=0

I decided to explore it. I'm in the midst of edits. This is my opportunity to make sure what I mean is what I've actually written.

1. Sentences: I've found quite a few I've re-read now, and they don't make sense. Some I've cut, and some I've re-written.

2. Words: I agonize over my word choices. One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain: The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

3. Concrete nouns: I need to work on this one.

4. No adjectives: What a challenge. They're great for outlining the ideas. Sometimes I do this well; sometimes I'm lazy. It's a skill I think will improve with practice.

5. Small words: This one is interesting. I write both Regency and Vintage. In Regency, I endeavor to use older language, which often means larger words. It gives the story a flavor different from my Vintage, where I use modern language. I don't use anything I haven't read elsewhere. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Post picks from the last two weeks...

The purpose of my Saturday morning picks: I don't have time to read everything. I wish I could, but I can't. Being dyslexic, I'm an incredibly slow reader but determined. I've learned some tricks to make reading easier for me, but I still take longer than "average," and a whole lot longer than I want. There are so many wonderful things to read. My list is not intended as a must read every single one but a sampling to pick and choose what might interest anyone popping in, if you're interested in the same things I am. I try to choose sites that are "friendly" (not explicit or needing to agree to the warning, many of which are simply not small child friendly).

Tina Pinson visited Patty Froese and shared a bit of Christmas:
http://pattyfroese.com/?p=4098

Kris Tualla welcomes her guest writer David Pilling:
http://kristualla.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/welcome-my-guest-historical-fiction-author-david-pilling/

and David reciprocates:
http://pillingswritingcorner.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/a-discreet-gentleman.html

Book trailer for Jillian Chantal's free read Christmas at St. Charles Ave.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alAHp4sMjdM&feature=youtu.be

Patty Froese's guest poster, Robin Patchen, shared a fudge recipe I want to try. I've also added her book to my wish list.
http://pattyfroese.com/?p=4140

Trailer for Steph Burkhart's book The Faberge Secret:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf5ujOoDRXs

Naomi Musch and Elaine Marie Cooper are both interviewed at Grace Awards blog:
http://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/two-authors-with-a-love-of-wilderness-settings-talk-about-christmas/


Debra Parmley talks Mistletoe and First Kisses on her blog:
http://debraparmley.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=106:mistletoe-and-first-kisses&Itemid=1

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Natural stuff...

I have extremely sensitive skin. I've spent years trying to find anything to help my skin.

As a teenager, I suffered severe acne. Though I was put on antibiotics for years, it didn't actually help. I lied to myself it did. The cost was permanently stained teeth. Antibiotics do that.

The scars left behind aren't painful, but people often give me a pained look. Children, who tend to be more open about their curiosity, have asked if it still hurts. No, except in how people view me. I wouldn't know if they didn't tell me.

I've tried a variety of soaps and moisturizers. Some were worse than others. I was trying to reconcile myself to irritated skin.

This week, Yahoo posted a series of beauty tips. One of them caught my attention, and I decided to try it. It's been two days, and so far I love it.

It suggested a hot compress. Rubbing honey on your face. Another hot compress. Scrubbing your face with a combination of honey, baking soda, and oatmeal powder. I'm allergic to oatmeal, so I omitted it. Add a little water so the concoction isn't sticky.

Rinse and pat dry.

Use coconut oil as a moisturizer.

Repeat twice a day.

Do not use soap.

So far, I'm already having less trouble with dryness.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

One of my favorite stories...

This is a parable by an unknown author. (I searched.)

A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell.  He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.

"Mister," he said, "I want to buy one of your puppies."
 

"Well," said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, "These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money."
 

The boy dropped his head for moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.
 

"I've got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?"
 

"Sure," said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. "Here, Dolly!" he called.
 

Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur.
 

The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.
 

Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid.
 

Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up...
 

"I want that one," the little boy said, pointing to the runt.

The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said, "Son, you don't want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would."
 

With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers.
 

In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.
 

Looking back up at the farmer, he said,  "You see sir, I don't run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands."

With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup. Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.
 

"How much?"   asked the little boy...
 

"No charge," answered the farmer, "There's no charge for love."
 

The world is full of people who need someone who understands.